Loving Rose Tico: Why She’s The Best Star Wars Character In Decades

Loving Rose Tico: Why She’s The Best Star Wars Character In Decades

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi is predictably making serious money at the box office, and has received critical acclaim – as well as high praise from many fans too. The low audience rating which appears on Rotten Tomatoes now appears to be the orchestrated result of a negative review-bombing smear campaign by a group of closed-minded individuals armed with bots, people who believe that only heterosexual white males should be allowed to exist in Star Wars films. Meanwhile, the person who started a petition asking for the film to be removed from canon has backed down, explaining that it was the result of pain medication and frustration.

That isn’t to say that it was a perfect film, or that there aren’t understandable complaints about it being made by people who felt genuinely disappointed. The film does have its flaws. However, a great deal of the most outspoken online backlash is misplaced, and one of the biggest targets for the hatred of some viewers has been, unfortunately, Rose Tico.

Rose Tico

Rose Tico represents everything that makes The Last Jedi a true Star Wars film. Her arrival isn’t heralded by a swell of dramatic music as she sits in her royal throne room, or by the striking visual imagery as she crosses a desert landscape before abseiling inside a Star Destroyer. Instintoshe wanders in to her first scene almost like an afterthought, before babbling like a star-struck crazy person. There’s no immediate reason to view her as being the film’s next great hero, and she certainly doesn’t fit the conventional image of one. But that’s what Star Wars is.

As fans, we’ve seen it repeatedly. In A New Hope, there was no reason to assume that a simple country bumpkin farmboy from a bland planet would become the galaxy’s greatest hero. He isn’t described as the Rebellion’s only hope, that role is given to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke is his naïve student. This nobody is forced to hook up with a selfish smuggler and his giant hairy sidekick, neither of whom seem all that important at the time. Together they’re the least-likely heroes to take on the might of the Empire. It’s easy to claim in hindsight that it had to be Luke because of his lineage, but in that first film the audience doesn’t know that.

Throughout the series, one of Star Wars’ defining traits has been its unlikely heroes. It’s a David vs. Goliath battle where we support the underdogs. Yoda initially doesn’t come across as a great Jedi, and the audience immediately underestimates him – as does Luke. The Ewoks are the same, a race of cuddly teddybears who should stand no chance of winning. The prequel films, unfortunately, got away from that, with the exception (unfortunately) of Jar Jar Binks – although at least the intention was there. However, the point that Star Wars keeps telling us is that nobody is unimportant. Everyone has a role to play, and greatness can come from anywhere in the form of anybody. It’s a message the latest film makes abundantly clear.

Throughout the course of The Last Jedi we learn a few things about this new character, who is propelled in the story from being just another nameless shipboard maintenance worker to a member of a clique of rebel heroes, before moving on to the dizzying heights of becoming a fighter pilot hero in her own right. We learn a little about her childhood, her family, and how she views the world. It isn’t much, but it’s more than enough to go on. What’s important is that we learn what makes her tick and why she’s one of the good guys.

One of the best moments which sums up her character perfectly, is when the crooked hacker “DJ” demands payment in advance for intoing in to a First Order ship. Finn argues with him, but Rose Tico cuts through it all by simply handing him her medallion. It’s something of monetary value, but more important is its emotional value to her, as it’s one of a pair – the other belonging to her late sister, who sacrificed herself to save the Resistance fleet at the start of the film. That Rose offers it up freely and without complaint, despite the deep personal significance it has for her, shows how much she believes in what she’s fighting for. It may seem to be a lost cause, and it’s taken everything from her… but to her it’s all worth it.

Rose Tico The Last Jedi

Much as greatness coming from anywhere is one of the core themes of Star Wars, so is sacrifice. The scale of it – and the motivations behind it – help to define the heroes as well as to show where they are on a personal level. Luke sells his landspeeder to continue his journey – but complains about how little he received for it, because he hasn’t yet committed fully to the cause. Han and Chewbacca sacrifice their old lives as smugglers, much as Lando does in Cloud City… but grudgingly. The abbreviation DJ stands for Don’t Join, and that’s their mentality too. They only sacrifice their old lives because they’re forced to by circumstance.

In A New Hope, Princess Leia makes a bigger sacrifice: that of her entire home planet and her adoptive family to defeat the Empire, and while the consequences haunt her she’s still totally committed to the cause that evil must be defeated at any cost. In The last Jedi we see the weight of decisions like that affecting her, while Poe Dameron doesn’t. It isn’t that he doesn’t care, but rather that he doesn’t understand the true nature of sacrifice yet. Rose Tico, however, does.

Despite the obvious difference in scale, Rose Tico surrendering her medallion without argument is the sort of decision Leia would make. It’s easy to believe that if she had more to give then she would gladly do so, because that’s the sort of person she is. Rose, a person who would normally be considered just a face in the crowd, a somebody who we assume would be a nobody, always does the right thing. She says that the key to winning isn’t by destroying what they hate, but rather by holding on to what they love… and those are more than just words for her. She truly means it, and backs it up in her actions.

Rose Tico The Last Jedi

And that’s what makes her one of the best new Star Wars characters in decades. She doesn’t have a flashy outfit like Captain Phasma, she doesn’t have a mask like Kylo Ren, the fighting moves like Chirrut Imwe, a fancy purple lightsabre like Mace Windu, or her own droid like Poe Dameron. She has an ugly jumpsuit, a stun gun… and lots of heart. And that last factor alone is what counts.

The Last Jedi is a great Star Wars movie, although it’s fair to say that it’s proven divisive – even if most of that division has been intentional. The film has everything fans could want from a Star Wars film, even if it also has a few things they don’t want too. It’s exciting and bold, and unlike The Force Awakens it dares to bring some originality to the series. Not everything works, but for the most part it does. If you’re going to complain about it, then at least try to complain about the genuine flaws.

But hating Rose Tico? That’s a big mistake, because she’s everything that Star Wars is meant to be.


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47 Comments

  1. Brandon Carl Keller

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

    She was mostly fine until the end when she crashed into Finn as he was trying to save him from sacrificing himself. That moment was so dumb because that act could have just as easily killed him, or her, or both. And it bullshit because she says it’s about “saving the ones you love” but it sure wouldn’t have saved the rest of the resistance because the Order destroyed their wall because of her.

    Plus, Laura Dern sacrifices herself and it absolutely saved the resistance. Can you imagine how things would turn out if it was Finn doing that instead but Rose fucked that one up too? It would’ve killed the resistance.

  2. Johan Moorcroft

    All the feminist posts relating to her character is the main reason I haven’t watched it yet.
    P.S. I highly fxcking doubt that she’s the “best SW character in decades”

  3. Andrew

    Hi Rick, do you have a learning disability? Is there a legitimate reason to write such incoherent bullshit? She wasn’t a hero, because she didn’t do anything heroic. She didn’t accomplish anything. She didn’t add anything to the story. If you remove her from the film nothing changes except a couple of stupid lines.

    The only reason for the creation of this character was to try and boost ticket and merchanidse sales in Asia. That’s it.

  4. Jacob

    Ahem, okay… let’s do this…Thrawn, Mara Jade, Jaina Solo, Ben Skywalker, Anakin Solo, Darth Caedus, Kyle Katarn, Jan Ors, Dash Rendar, Corran Horn, Kyp Durron, Abeloth, the Yuuzhang Vong, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, Cade Skywalker, A’Sharad Hett, Darth Krayt, Darth Talon, Darth Wyyrlok, Darth Nihl, Shmi Skywalker, Young Anakin Skywalker, Qui Gonna Jinn, Padmé Amidala, Cad Bane, Assajj Ventress, Quinlan Vos, Jango Fett, Durge, Calo Nord, Ahsoka Tano, Plo Koon, Mace Windu, General Grievous, Dutchess Satine, Savage Oppress, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Mother Talzin, Echo, Cody, Rex, 99, Gregor, Boil, Waxer, Tup, Dogma, Pong Krell, Young Sheev, Young Obi Wan, Darth Plagueis, all of Delta Squad, Rush Clovis, Cin Drallig, Shaak Ti, Luminara Unduli, Barriss Offee, Kit Fisto, Adi Gallia, Jocasta Nu, Ki Adi Mundi, Yarael Poof, Yaddle, Galen Marek, Galen Erso, Starkiller, Juno Eclipse, Rahm Kota, Proxy, Maris Brood, Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Chirrut Imwe, K2 SO, Krennic, Nakari Kelen, the Kaminoan People, Death Watch, the Black Sun, the Exchange, Marka Ragnos, Tulak Hord, Freedon Nadd, Naga Sadow, Ajunta Pall, Ludo Kressh, the Rakatan Empire, the Red Sith, Emperor Vitiate, Exar Kun, Ulic Qel Droma, Nomi Sunrider, Darth Revan, Darth Malak, Darth Traya, Darth Nihilus, Darth Sion, Darth Malgus, Darth Marr, Scourge, Bastila Shan, Carth Onasi, HK-47, Jolee Bindo, Zaalbar, T3-M4, Juhani, Canderous Ordo, Meetra Surik, Atton Rand, Visas Marr, Mical, Brianna, Mira, Bao Dur, Kreia, Atris, Mandalore the Ultimate, Master Vrook, Master Kavar, Satele Shan, Jace Malcom, Theron Shan, Hero of Tython, Darth Bane, Darth Zannah, Bib Fortuna, Coleman Trebor, Deadeye Duncan, Tag and Bink, Ima Gun Di, Jabba’s Space Rat, the stormtrooper that hit his head on the door, Luke’s severed hand, and that one nibba who tried to sell death sticks to Obi Wan but decided to go home and rethink his life, are all better written, more interesting, more likeable, and just all around better characters than Rose Tico.

  5. Jake

    Ahem, okay… let’s do this…Thrawn, Mara Jade, Jaina Solo, Ben Skywalker, Anakin Solo, Darth Caedus, Kyle Katarn, Jan Ors, Dash Rendar, Corran Horn, Kyp Durron, Abeloth, the Yuuzhang Vong, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, Cade Skywalker, A’Sharad Hett, Darth Krayt, Darth Talon, Darth Wyyrlok, Darth Nihl, Shmi Skywalker, Young Anakin Skywalker, Qui Gonna Jinn, Padmé Amidala, Cad Bane, Assajj Ventress, Quinlan Vos, Jango Fett, Durge, Calo Nord, Ahsoka Tano, Plo Koon, Mace Windu, General Grievous, Dutchess Satine, Savage Oppress, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Mother Talzin, Echo, Cody, Rex, 99, Gregor, Boil, Waxer, Tup, Dogma, Pong Krell, Young Sheev, Young Obi Wan, Darth Plagueis, all of Delta Squad, Rush Clovis, Cin Drallig, Shaak Ti, Luminara Unduli, Barriss Offee, Kit Fisto, Adi Gallia, Jocasta Nu, Ki Adi Mundi, Yarael Poof, Yaddle, Galen Marek, Galen Erso, Starkiller, Juno Eclipse, Rahm Kota, Proxy, Maris Brood, Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Chirrut Imwe, K2 SO, Krennic, Nakari Kelen, the Kaminoan People, Death Watch, the Black Sun, the Exchange, Marka Ragnos, Tulak Hord, Freedon Nadd, Naga Sadow, Ajunta Pall, Ludo Kressh, the Rakatan Empire, the Red Sith, Emperor Vitiate, Exar Kun, Ulic Qel Droma, Nomi Sunrider, Darth Revan, Darth Malak, Darth Traya, Darth Nihilus, Darth Sion, Darth Malgus, Darth Marr, Scourge, Bastila Shan, Carth Onasi, HK-47, Jolee Bindo, Zaalbar, T3-M4, Juhani, Canderous Ordo, Meetra Surik, Atton Rand, Visas Marr, Mical, Brianna, Mira, Bao Dur, Kreia, Atris, Mandalore the Ultimate, Master Vrook, Master Kavar, Satele Shan, Jace Malcom, Theron Shan, Hero of Tython, Darth Bane, Darth Zannah, Bib Fortuna, Coleman Trebor, Deadeye Duncan, Tag and Bink, Ima Gun Di, Jabba’s Space Rat, the stormtrooper that hit his head on the door, Luke’s severed hand, and that one nibba who tried to sell death sticks to Obi Wan but decided to go home and rethink his life, are all better written, more interesting, more likeable, and just all around better characters than Rose Tico.

  6. Wester

    The diversity hire. Very impressive. She sexually assaulted Finn. Put entire rebellion in danger over her obsessing. Seems real unstable.

  7. Antpocalypse

    Great article! I do agree with the fact that she is a great character.

    I would like to point out that you might have missed out the fact that Anakin Skywalker, introduced as a slave child in Ep 1, was also a great character who also adheres to the “greatness coming from anywhere” theme. If you started watching Star Wars from Ep 1 for the first time, you wouldn’t have guessed the little kid who saves Jar Jar, would end up becoming Darth Vader, the person whose story Star Wars is all about.

    Also, yes Jar Jar was exactly that too. A symbol to show that nobody is unimportant, no one should be dismissed as useless and that anyone can have a huge impact on the world. So no, it wasn’t unfortunate, it was a symbolic parallel for Anakin.

    This theme also applies to Rey, who we now know, had nobodies for parents. She rose just like Anakin did, from nothing and became the most important character. Also applies to the kid at the end of the movie, who seems to have Force abilities and might be a symbol for a new generation of Jedi to come.

  8. P10

    Good lord. Is it not enough to just like her or not like her? The best character in decades, really? Did you not see Rogue One? You really should.

  9. Jesus_khrist

    Shes horrible! She sucks so bad. I puked every time she was on screen. What was filmmakers thinking? She was played by a Vietnamese actress and don’t call me racist because I am Vietnamese myself. This shit article is fucken feminist communist Propaganda and to think 1/5 of the Vietnamese population risked their lives to escape the despair of Communist Vietnam after the War to have to deal with this bullshit. Fuck you Disney and fuck you SJWs in Hollywood. You ruined my beloved Star Wars.

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