After Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens introduced us to Rey and Finn, the next episode in the saga will bring in some new heroes, while continuing the journey begun in the previous film. These newbies were announced a few months ago, and there was a lot of buzz about Benicio Del Toro (rumored to be playing the villain), as well as who Laura Dern might be playing. But it's Kelly Marie Tran, a relative newcomer, who might have the most important of all the new roles.
We don't know much about Tran's character yet, but judging by her age the smart money's on Tran joining the other young heroes — Finn and Poe Dameron, specifically.
John Boyega is the only actor who has spoken so far about shooting scenes with Tran, so it's likely the two have spent quite a lot of time together. Boyega even dubbed Tran the "new lead" of Star Wars 8, while at a press event in the UK earlier this year. And now, we have some more comments from director Rian Johnson to back up this intriguing teaser.
Tran May Have A Pivotal Role
Last weekend was Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm's biggest event of the year (bar the actual release of the movies, of course). The final panel, entitled "Future Filmmakers" invited Johnson and other Star Wars directors onstage to talk about their upcoming projects — naturally, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were hilarious, proving once and for all that they're the perfect pick for the Han Solo solo feature.
Unfortunately, we didn't get many cheeky hints about Episode 8 from Johnson, but he did specifically comment on Kelly Marie Tran, saying:
"I am so excited for you to meet Kelly. She's really something special."
Why pick out Tran to talk about, out of all the new roles? It seems Tran might have a bigger part in Star Wars Episode 8 than we expected, and in light of Boyega's earlier comments that isn't unduly surprising. Pablo Hidalgo — head of the Star Wars story group, making him king of what's canon and what's not — followed up Johnson's statement with praise of his own:
"Kelly's a great addition to our Star Wars family."
Other than that, we really do have nothing to go on about Tran's role. Personally, I'm expecting her to be a plucky Resistance fighter (maybe a pilot), who joins Poe and Finn on whatever interstellar road trip they embark on... but maybe that's just wishful thinking. All we know for sure is that Tran is appearing in Episode 8, and her role seems to be of some significance — we'll just have to wait to find out the rest.