Kelly Marie Tran Talks About the Challenges of Shooting Leia’s Scenes for The Rise of Skywalker

Kelly Marie Tran talks about shooting scenes with the late Carrie Fisher for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and the prospect of some additional scenes when the film is released on Blu-ray/DVD. Beware spoilers ahead!

The actor, who disappointed fans have noted has less screen time in ‘Rise of Skywalker,’ alludes to some cut footage of Rose during the movie’s concluding battle: “I remember having bruises on my knees the next day.”

Kelly Marie Tran continues to hold her head up high as the world reacts to her reduced role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. For someone who’s already suffered a significant amount of social media abuse from a toxic group of ostensible fans, this latest turn of events is all the more troubling since Tran’s omission from The Rise of Skywalker can be viewed as pandering to the ugliest side of Star Wars fandom.

Despite not directly addressing her character Rose Tico’s diminished screen time, Tran does explain how challenging it was to shoot Leia’s scenes with preexisting footage of the late Carrie Fisher. Some of these scenes even required reshoots. Such details align with co-writer Chris Terrio’s account of how some of Tran’s scenes fell on the cutting room floor due to the delicate nature of repurposing unused Leia footage.

“It’s one thing to sit there, look at that footage and try to react to it, but a lot of the big group scenes felt like they were puzzle pieces if that makes sense,” Tran tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I think there were more reshoots on those scenes, specifically, to just try and make sure all of the performances matched up since she [Carrie Fisher] wasn’t physically there.”

Tran also alludes to some cut footage of Rose during the movie’s concluding battle on the planet of Exegol.

“It was insane to be running across this platform — which I know you only see for a second in the movie — but we shot it so many times,” Tran explains. “I remember having bruises on my knees the next day because we kept running, and then we would fall onto our knees and do some more shooting stuff. I don’t think that’s in the movie….”

In a recent conversation with THR, Tran also discusses the feeling on set during Leia’s emotional death scene, her newfound friendship with co-star Naomi Ackie and the significance of The Last Jedi’s Canto Bight sequence.

Well, you and Naomi [Ackie] seem to be having a good time on this press tour.

(Laughs.) We are having the best time. Naomi is the best.

Since you know what it’s like to be the new castmate in a Star Wars movie, did you reach out to her at the beginning of the process?

Yeah, I did! It must’ve been pretty early into the whole process, but we went for a drink in South Bank, London. We sort of talked about everything, and we have since been really, really good friends. It’s been really wonderful to have another woman of color to experience this whole thing with.

Last night [Dec. 18] was the European premiere in London. How are you feeling as things begin to wind down?

I’m doing great! I feel as if I went to Star Wars college. It was something that I was involved in for the past four years, and it was a wonderful experience. I’ve learned a lot, and now I’m graduating. It’s crazy. We’re all graduating. So, that’s kind of how I’m viewing it.

Read the interview in full here.