Culture

After ‘Star Wars’ Actress Kelly Marie Tran Was Bullied Online, Fans Struck Back With Beautiful Artwork

by Tod Perry

June 7, 2018
Photo by Tiff Bartel/Twitter, used with permission, and Disney/ABC Television Group/Flickr.

In December 2017, Disney released “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” a film that would become one of the most divisive among fans of the space saga. While some praised director Rian Johnson’s bold and humorous take, others thought it trashed much of the plot developed in its predecessor, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Long before the film hit theaters, it was announced that Kelly Marie Tran, a San Diego-born child of Vietnamese immigrants, would be playing maintenance-worker-turned-Resistance-hero Rose Tico. Her addition to the “Star Wars” universe was important because she’s the first prominent female Asian character in the series.

That’s when the sexist and racist bullying began for Tran.

Once the film opened in theaters, her “Star Wars” Wookieepedia entry was vandalized with racist comments. Her name there was changed to “Ch*ng Ch*ng Wing Tong” and a fake quote was attributed to her character: “Heil Hitler and I don’t know why I was casted [sic] in a good movie like Star Wars.”

After months of enduring racist and sexist comments from trolls, Tran deleted every photo on her Instagram page.

All she left was one message: “Afraid, but doing it anyway.”

Tran’s move inspired “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson and her costar, Mark Hamill, to stand up for her.

To counter the negativity spread by the trolls who harassed Tran, “Star Wars” fans picked up their brushes, pencils, and tablets and got to work creating artwork that expressed Rose Tico’s beauty and perseverance.

The artwork was posted on Twitter under #FanArtforRose

Fans turned negativity into creativity, paying tribute to the actress who brought more diversity to the “Star Wars” universe. 

Share image by By Tiff Bartel/Twitter, used with permission, and Disney/ABC Television Group/Flickr.

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After ‘Star Wars’ Actress Kelly Marie Tran Was Bullied Online, Fans Struck Back With Beautiful Artwork