The Star Wars sequels tried to do something different with the franchise, but met an unexpected backlash.
A vocal group of Star Wars fans wanted nothing to do with women or minorities taking on major roles in the franchise. For a franchise built on aliens of all shapes and sizes making up the universe, it was a strange complaint.
The stars who met the biggest backlash were Daisy Ridley for daring to be a female Jedi and Kelly Marie Tran for daring to be a female X-Wing pilot.
It forced Kelly Marie Tran off social media when the bullying became too much and now she is talking about that very public, ugly break up with the Star Wars fandom.
Kelly Marie Tran on why she left social media
Kelly Marie Tran played Rose Tico, an X-Wing pilot.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tran said that she was very excited to join the Star Wars franchise and she was an active participant on social media, sharing the making of the movie with fans.
However, she never expected fans to turn on her based on the fact she was an Asian female.
“What’s interesting to me about working in this industry is that certain things become so public, even if you don’t really mean them to be, [like] the succession of events in which I left the internet for my own sanity,” Tran said.
“It was basically me being like, ‘Oh, this isn’t good for my mental health. I’m obviously going to leave this.'”
Tran also said she fell in love with the social media aspects of her career but then realized that it was toxic and suffered a “horrible breakup.”
“If someone doesn’t understand me or my experience, it shouldn’t be my place to have to internalize their misogyny or racism or all of the above,” Tran said. “Maybe they just don’t have the imagination to understand that there are different types of people living in the world.”
Kelly Marie Tran found herself after Star Wars
Tran also said that her social media experience after Star Wars: The Last Jedi helped her discover something about herself.
“It felt like I was just hearing the voice of my agents and my publicity team and all of these people telling me what to say and what to do and how to feel,” Tran said. “And I realized, I didn’t know how I felt anymore. And I didn’t remember why I was in this in the first place.”
She went on to say that it was important to remember why she got into this business to begin with.
I have to close up shop and go away for a while and really interact in the real world — read books and journal and go on hikes and look at a tree and remind myself that there was a fire that burned inside of me before Star Wars, before any of this,” Tran said.
“And I needed to find that again.”