These Romance and Sexuality Theories From Star Wars are Creating an Uproar

Romance and sexuality are always a huge topic among fandoms and the Star Wars fandom is no different. The internet wasn’t really a thing when the first Star Wars trilogy came out, but we can imagine there were probably ship wars regardless. (A moment of silence for those who shipped Luke/Leia…). But now with The Force Awakens, we’re seeing shipping wars (arguments over who should be paired with who), romantic controversy and much speculation about the sexual orientation of various characters. Even the actors are getting into it. So let’s buckle up and take a look at the biggest debates raging among The Force Awakens fandom when it comes to who wants to kiss who. Feel free to talk about your preferred pairings in the comments!

  1. Finn and Poe- More than Friends? Fans and Actors Weigh In

    Many fans came out of The Force Awakens wanting to see Finn and Poe in a relationship, so many that there have been several articles written on the subject. Finn and Poe didn’t get as much screen time together as Finn and Rey did, but the time they did get together was full of huge gestures. Fans have cited the fact that Finn’s first act of rebellion against the resistance was rescuing Poe and that Poe gave Finn his name and also his jacket, saying “it looks good on you” while biting his lip. Ships have certainly been built on a lot less.

    Oscar Isaac seems to intimate that he imagines a romance between Finn and Poe as well. In an interview on Ellen, Isaac talks playfully about a romance between unnamed characters. He says, “I think it’s very subtle romance that’s happening. You know, you have to just look very close — you have to watch it a few times to see the little hints.” He then says he won’t say who these characters were, but gestures between himself and John Boyega, who plays Finn as well.

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    However, John Boyega himself disagrees with Isaac on the subject. In an interview with Shortlist, when the speculation about a Finn/Poe romance is bought up, he responds “Yeah, I’ve seen that. It’s so not true. Oscar wishes it was though, it’s all in his head. It’s a brotherly love, a bromance, that’s for sure.”

    Boyega’s words are unlikely to stop the shippers from hoping though. For some, their desire comes from more than a belief in Boyega and Isaac’s romantic chemistry- many articles have noted that with the new trilogy embracing diversity, it might be nice to make the LGBT community also feel included. Some hold out hope for Rey being into girls- you can see cute fanart of her with Jessika Pava, one of the Resistance pilots. Seeing a gay hero in their favorite movie could be pretty affirming for some child who’s discovering their orientation. “Surely, the "Star Wars" galaxy is big enough for everyone,” the Huffington Post says.  

  2. Speculation about Luke Skywalker’s Sexual Orientation

    Speaking of fans looking for representation, there has recently been a new rash of speculation on Luke Skywalker’s sexual orientation. This was likely bought on by his appearance in The Force Awakens reminding everyone that he is one of the characters from the original trilogy we haven’t seen romantically involved with anyone. While many speculate Rey might be Luke’s daughter, others feel that even if this is the case, Luke is not heterosexual.

    When a twitter user @kynoren asked Hammill if Luke was bisexual, Hamill responded by saying “his sexuality is never directly addressed in the films. Luke is whatever the audience wants him to be, so you can decide for yourself”.

     That certainly is fair answer and it’s nice that Hamill is fine with the idea of queer fans to seeing themselves in Luke.  It’s true that a more direct answer one way or another also could have gotten Hamill in trouble, but he could have chosen to ignore the question if he didn’t want to deal with it. Instead he made it known that any kind of headcanon is okay.

  3. Is There a Budding Romance Between Finn and Rey?

    Shipping aside, venues like Bustle point out Finn and Rey objectively have the best shot at making out in space, just considering the amount of screentime they have together and how many dramatic emotional moments therein. The Star Wars script describes Finn as a boy Rey “already adores”.

    Finn x Poe and Finn x Rey shippers have already started butting heads a bit. In fact, a lot of Finn x Rey shippers intimate that a lot of the pushback Finn x Rey is receiving might be down to racism. Fans have gone so far to wonder if Finn is subtly misogynistic in the scene where he keeps grabbing Rey’s hand despite her angry protests.

     One fan argues that people’s aversive reaction to this comes from their expectations of black men and hypermasculinity- they naturally see Finn as aggressive in that scene because of cultural baggage. The fan argues that Finn was clearly scared in the scene and that was why he kept grabbing Rey.

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    I’ve been objective throughout this article, but I will break that briefly to say that, with no thoughts to shipping, I agree with this interpretation on the scene. Finn seemed scared to me throughout, and it seemed like he was grabbing Rey because he wanted to not be separated from her- he had, after all, already lost a companion in Poe. I can totally see not wanting to repeat that experience. I think Rey was naturally suspicious of this due to the fact she’s rarely met people she can trust and she’s used to doing things on her own. But in the end she understood that Finn was just on edge and wanted them to stick together, which is why she offered HER hand to HIM in the end.

    Others have said that while wanting a gay relationship is an understandable thing, they find it suspect that people would consider the idea of the Finn and Rey relationship happening to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, rather than the numerous white heterosexual relationships headlining blockbusters being the breaking point.

    This debate is perhaps best exemplied by tumblr user glamphonic’s responding to someone’s claim that they will walk out of the theatre if Finn x Rey happens with “man it’s gonna be super awks when u get up and walk out of a movie theater bcs a black man kissed a white woman”. Other tumblr users urge fellow fans to consider the context of their actions in this way and also point out that seeing black man/white woman couples headlining movies is still pretty rare, in part due to the ugly history of racism that paints black men as an inherent threat to white women. In fact we saw this brand of racism rear its head pretty recently- remember those “we don’t want black Stormtroopers breeding with our daughters” comments?

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    Many shippers have made lists of all the potentitally shippy moments between Finn and Rey and have made posts on how, even though Poe and Finn would be very subversive, Finn and Rey also gives interracial relationships good representation. The debate rages on.

    Of course, some fans simply cut through the Finn x Rey vs Finn x Poe argument by shipping Finn. Rey and Poe as a happy mutual threeway romance and getting the best of both worlds. It’s true that Poe and Rey haven’t met yet, but they’ll probably get along, right? They have so many common interests after all (Finn, flying, BB-8, rebelling against the First Order)! So many see a OT3 on the horizon. Sure, it’s almost certainly not gonna happen, but as we’ve already seen: shippers gonna ship.


  4. Kylo and Rey- is that creepy?

    But perhaps the biggest romantic controversy of Star Wars fandom is the (admittedly small minority of) people who want to see Kylo Ren and Rey get romantic. It understandably confuses some people where this comes from, considering the sum total of their interaction is Kylo kidnapping Rey, attempting to torture her and then the two getting in a lightsaber fight after she escapes. That’s not typically considered to be the stuff dreams are made of.

    Many fans have railed against the pairing as “glorifying abuse” and are disgusted by the very idea. But others have some philosophical insight into the subject.  A Tumblr user going by thejgatsbykid points out that the majority of “Reylo” shippers are teenage girls and the fact they are drawn to this pairing may have a lot to do with what kind of romances are typically marketed to that demographic.

    Twilight and beyond are an example how a lot of the romances sold to young girls feature brooding, tortured and basically abusive young men as the love interests- an archetype Kylo Ren fits perfectly. Teenage girls are being trained to see that type of character as someone to swoon under. It’s also pointed out that the “I can change him” narrative is often sold to young girls as well. Stories about a woman turning a man away from darkness with the power of her goodness and kindness are all too common. There’s something enticing about the idea you can “fix” someone, turning them from a horrific person into a suitable romantic partner.

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    But this fantasy is also dangerous when not fully recognized as such- there are people out there who will not change, nor should any woman have to put up with abuse in order to fix their abuser’s emotional issues. Many have spoken out how these romantic narratives have a potential to lead young girls into abusive relationships.

    Therefore, many call for someone to understand rather than hate on these young girls, saying that it’s the culture that promotes characters like Kylo as swoon-worthy that needs to addressed and changed and the ship is just a symptom. But it’s hard for those who’ve had their own bad experiences with people who treated them much like Kylo treated Rey to not get emotional over the issue.

    Of course, despite all this, there are many who would say it’s just kids (and adults) playing around and one shouldn’t take it so seriously. There’s many who would say that for all these debates. But shipping debates are certainly fascinatingly intense and culturally charged if you want to dig a little deeper. 

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