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Finn/Poe and Rey/Kylo Ren are the fan-favorite romances of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, made all the more enticing by the fact that neither are technically canon. There’s plenty of subtext to be interpreted for both pairings, inviting speculation about two love stories that were always unlikely to pan out onscreen—in one case because they’re a hero/villain ship, and in the other, because Disney probably wouldn’t permit a same-sex couple among the main cast. Now, J.J. Abrams has confirmed that Finn and Poe won’t get together in The Rise of Skywalker.
“That relationship to me is a far deeper one than a romantic one,” Abrams said in an interview with Variety. “It is a deep bond that these two have, not just because of the trial by fire in which they met, but also because of their willingness to be as intimate as they are.”
Throughout the promotional tours for the last two movies, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac expressed support for the many fans who wanted their characters to get together. At a recent press junket, Isaac said it would’ve been “a natural progression” for Finn and Poe to fall in love, and that he “kind of hoped and wished that maybe that would’ve been taken further in the other films.” Isaac has long been vocally enthusiastic about the fandom desire for Poe Dameron to be canonically queer, and last week Boyega released a video riffing on the romantic subtext with his co-star.
CANT BELIEVE THIS SHIT IS REAL MY GODDDDD pic.twitter.com/4DaohOa2UH— helen (@oscarpoes) November 29, 2019
Realistically, most fans didn’t really expect Finn and Poe to fall in love onscreen, but there was always a sliver of hope thanks to the actors’ public support of the relationship. This J.J. Abrams interview puts those hopes to rest, although there’s always the possibility of Finn and Poe getting together in the spinoff books or comics. If they both survive The Rise of Skywalker, anyway.
In the same interview, Abrams hinted that the new movie would include some kind of LGBTQ representation. “In the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film,” he said. It’s a characteristically spoiler-averse comment, but it does sound like we’ll see at least one LGBTQ character. Hopefully, this will be more gracefully handled than the Avengers: Endgame situation, where the filmmakers made a huge deal out of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from an unnamed gay man.
As always, the relationship between canon representation and fandom shipping is a complicated one. People want to see more meaningful queer representation onscreen, and it’s disappointing to hear that won’t happen with two beloved characters in the main cast. Most likely, The Rise of Skywalker’s LGBTQ character(s) will be someone with a smaller role. However, a lack of official recognition won’t make a dent in fandom’s love for Finn/Poe, and all the fanfic, art, and textual analysis that comes with it.
H/T to Variety
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor