This is something I’ve gone back and forth about publishing for a while… given everything that’s been going on between the creators of the new Star Wars series and the fandom.
This is a fight no one wins, so I don’t get involved.
That being said, there is a lot of buzz around Kelly Marie Tran and her character, Rose Tico.
First of all, I want to address what’s been going on recently. What’s been happening to Tran is, IMHO no different than what happened to Jake Llyod. It is not right, and it is not cool. No one should have to suffer that kind of negative blowback from a character they played.
Keep in mind, these actors do what they can with the roles their given. How they act and the lines they deliver are rarely of their own choosing. Harassing them is absolutely unacceptable and doesn’t do anything for the cause if such a thing exists.
All right, on topic. Anyone who’s read my review of The Last Jedi or Rogue One knows that I love the franchise and I’ve been… extremely charitable in my judging of these movies and have even gone so far as to defend many of the points of contention that fans have. I have not seen Solo yet, but I likely will be this weekend.
So… I welcome everyone’s input on this one… but I would like some feedback especially from my female followers/fans.
Since TLJ came out… the media has been singing praises for Rose Tico…
“in The Last Jedi, Rose Tico takes none of your fake sh*t.”
“It’s fun to see women on the big screen who continue to step up over and over again, proving just how strong they are.”
“Tran is also aware of the pressure of playing a strong Asian female role-model.”
“Her self-belief is as strong as her moral code of conduct.”
“From the moment we were introduced to the character of Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we knew we had met a strong woman we could root for.”
Reading these reviews of Tico… I can’t help but feel like I was watching a different movie from the ones these editorialists watched.
When I saw Tico, she struck me as a bit of a ditsy, obsessive, fangirl. She makes assumptions and acts without thinking, or in Fin’s case, without even considering that he may have a reason for his action. She seemed to have a bit of an inferiority complex when it came to her sister’s heroic sacrifice… Her motivations are horribly muddled, and her actions, at least in my opinion, do not fall into the description of ‘strong’.
I often find her being complimented for saving Fin’s life from… what they often describe as a pointless martyr complex at the end of the movie, but her actions come insanely close to sealing the fate of the remainder of the Resistance. She sacrificed everyone else to save the guy she loved… how is that strong and not even considered a bit selfish?
So… this is where I need the feedback. I write a lot of female characters. The fan favorites seem to be Raiya and Mary Jane, though General Xaphan has also gotten a few compliments.
When I write a character, be it male or female, and I want to make them strong, what I look for is a character that fits at least MOST of these attributes;
Independent, yet not averse to the idea of relying on another person if the need arises.
Prideful and confident: You pretty much need at least one of these to be strong.
Driven and determined: They have their goals and their own agendas that may or may not be in line with the overall narrative.
Opinionated. They have their own vices, but aren’t afraid to face them.
Can function as a leader, but is also willing to listen to others when needed.
Can show emotion such as fragility or even just a soft side, even if resistant at first.
Is strong both emotionally and physically to some extent.
Has a reasoning for their situation and their worldview, even if it doesn’t make much sense to others.
Their existence is not predicated on the existence of another character.
I saw very little of any of this from Rose Tico’s character at all. If anything, she was the antithesis to many of these. Like I said, she seemed like an obsessive fangirl half the time, clingy, emotional, and selfish the rest of it. Her motivations were a bit skewed, especially when it came to saving Fin, and her entire backstory served no purpose other than ramming blatant social commentary down the audience’s throat. Ask yourself… would anything have been lost had Tico and the entire Canto Bight sidequest been cut in favor of watching Rey train with Luke and Fin and Poe fighting the Empire in space?
So I am genuinely curious… is Rose Tico an example of a strong female lead? Is she someone we want our girls to look up to? Am I way off on my assessment of what makes a strong character? Is Rose Tico the way you want strong women portrayed?
Let me know in the comments. I’m genuinely curious here.
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:
Catch you on the flip side!