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Can't Talk | August 15, 2020

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Did The Force Awakens Give Us an Awesome New Relationship?

Did The Force Awakens Give Us an Awesome New Relationship?

There are spoilers for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in this. If you haven’t seen it, it’s in your best interest not to read this until you’ve done so.

So, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has hit theaters, and it’s pretty damn great. If you read our review, you already know that, and if you’ve already seen it, you know that and you spent your money pretty wisely. It’s on the way to becoming the biggest movie of the year and is breaking all kinds of records in a way that hasn’t been done since possibly James Cameron’s Avatar or Jurassic World. There are a lot of reasons for this; the film itself has been brilliantly marketed to appeal to first-generation Star Wars fans, from the talk of practical effects and largely ignoring things the prequels set up to bringing back the original cast, in addition to just looking like a great old time.

But there’s also something else that the film did that more than likely got people interested, and that’s star a diverse cast of characters; Force Awakens has been heavily marketing John Boyega’s Finn, Daisy Ridley’s Rey, and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron are, respectively, a black man, a woman, and a Guatemalan man. That’s a pretty big deal, given that the Star Wars franchise as a whole and sci-fi movies (well, OK, a lot of movies) in general have more or less majorly starred white men. The dust up around it has been interesting, for lack of a less profane word. Director J.J. Abrams, who also co-wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Ardnt, flat out said that he wanted a diverse cast to reflect the world of today: “I think it’s important people see themselves represented in film. I think it’s not a small thing.” And it looks like Abrams meant this in more ways than one.

Again, if you haven’t seen the movie, do not read any further until you’ve done so.

Spoilers under the cut.
OK, so everything in the movie is largely driven by Finn and the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meeting each other early on in the film, since Finn is a Stormtrooper who defects and helps Poe escape the clutches of the First Order. The two later reunite after being separated, and there’s a certain moment where it feels like the film is hinting at something brewing between the two of them. Something, dare I say, romantic. Each Star Wars trilogy has had romantic elements in them; the original trilogy gave us the “bicker then lovers” ship of Han Solo and Princess Leia, while the prequel trilogy hadwhatever the hell you want to call the loveless dialogue between Natalie Portman’s Padmé and Hayden Christensen as the world’s most clearly ticking time bomb.

The signs are there, but subtly. When Poe sees Finn for the first time, there’s this look that alternates between confusion and interest (though to be fair, Finn is having a freak out in the middle of a firefight, which may explain that look), he straight up names Finn just minutes after meeting him face to face, the two embrace each other after reuniting at the Resistance base, and Poe even lets Finn keep his jacket and tells him it look good on him, a gesture typically meant romantically. Before the final battle, Finn gives this longing look to Poe as they cross paths typically reserved for that One Last Glance between two lovers in movies. The movie tries to hint at a thing between Rey and Finn, but it’s made clear that she’s not interested in romance and only views him as a friend, and it wisely ingrains his need to be a chivalrous macho guy into his arc about coming into his own and finding himself. Even discounting that, the movie never really commits to the two of them really seeing each other that way aside from one joke. And in case you think that this is all trying to find something that isn’t there, a lot of people thought this was a thing, even before the movie actually came out:

If that weren’t enough…

So yeah, Poe and Finn themselves say that they were playing their roles with romance in mind, unless Poe was talking about his secret crush on BB-8. Again, Abrams said he wanted to reflect the world we live in today, which does include non-straight people, so if Finn is gay (or bi, since again, he was trying to be smooth with Rey) and interested in Poe, that’d be one way to reflect the world. Abrams is only directing Force Awakens, but Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said that there’s “every intention to carry on exactly what J. J. is talking about in all the Star Wars movies that we intend to make”, so this will hopefully continue on in the writing, if not in the performances from Boyega and Isaac themselves. So the new Star Wars trilogy possibly has a romance between a bisexual black guy and a Guatemalan man.

Never thought I’d say those words, but now that I have, that’s kinda awesome.

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