Tran plays Rose Tico in the sequel trilogy, and got her introduction in 2017’s The Force Awakens.
What followed her movie debut was a deeply unsettling display of online misogyny and racism from a particularly ugly corner of the Star Wars fandom.
Tran ended up quitting social media over the relentless, unfounded abuse.
Today, when she was introduced to the crowd at Star Wars Celebration, members of the audience could be seen leaping to their feet, and Tran became visibly emotional.
Wiping tears from her eyes, she said: “It’s really overwhelming. Hi, hello, thank you!”
Director JJ Abrams said: “I was grateful to [Last Jedi] director Rian Johnson for so many things he did in Episode 8.
“The greatest was casting Kelly Marie.”
Today’s panel also saw Abrams talking about using previously unused footage of Carrie Fisher as Leia.
“The idea of having a CG character was off the table, we’d never want to try,” he said.
“So the idea of ‘what if we could work scenes around her’? And emotionally, every day it hits me that she’s not here but it’s so surreal because we’re working with her still.
“She’s in scenes, and so alive in the scenes. The craziest part is how not crazy it is.
“In some scenes with Billie [Lourd], her daughter… Princess Leia lives in this film in a way that is kind of mind-blowing to me.”
And speaking about the destruction of the lightsabre in Last Jedi, Daisy Ridley said: “My answer is not the end of the story and there are many months to come – but the lightsaber that Rey inherited from Luke lives.”
Naomi Ackie also confirmed her character name is Jannah – but refrained from giving a concrete answer on whether she is Lando Calrissian’s daughter.
Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) did not attend.
Star Wars 9 is out on December 19.