Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson has revealed that romance will not be a key aspect of his installment into the Skywalker family saga. The previous second entries in the past two trilogies - The Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones - worked a love story into the proceedings (with varying degrees of success) to develop the characters and show them in a new light. Many had presumed that would be the case for Episode VIII, especially with newcomer Rose Tico accompanying "Big Deal" Finn on a special mission that takes them behind enemy lines. The Force Awakens toyed with a flirtatious dynamic between Rey and Finn, but ultimately made the two friends.
While the franchise remains space fantasy at its core (with all the action spectacle that comes with it), love is still a famous aspect of the galaxy far, far away - as the plethora of "I love you; I know" merchandise illustrates. Fans were quick to imagine scenarios like Finn and Poe Dameron becoming a couple or Rey finding her way into Kylo Ren's heart to save him from the Dark Side, though it doesn't appear that will be in the cards. Companionship, rather than partnership, will be the emotional through-line of the sequels.
Vanity Fair has been unveiling their coverage on Star Wars 8 for the whole week, revealing a treasure trove of information about the upcoming blockbuster. Their latest piece details things audiences won't see in the movie, and that includes a passionate star crossed romance in the vein of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Per Johnson:
"[There's] no one-to-one equivalent of the Han-to-Leia, burning, unrequited love. In our story, that’s not a centerpiece.”
This isn't the most surprising development, given Johnson has previously said he worked hard to ensure The Last Jedi isn't just a repeat of similar beats from Empire. In a way, the lack of a major romantic subplot makes sense; the seeds for both Anakin and Padmé and Han and Leia were planted in their first films of their respective series, but there was no such thread to continue presented in The Force Awakens. The closest, as mentioned above, was Rey and Finn, but the two are presumably going to be separated for much of Episode VIII as Rey trains on Ahch-To with Luke Skywalker. Finn will, however, be furthering his bromance with Poe, so fans who enjoyed their quick chemistry in Star Wars 7 should see more of the duo this time around.
It's worth mentioning Johnson says love is "not a centerpiece" of the narrative, as that suggests it won't be completely absent. There could very well be sparks that'll be explored further in Episode IX. After all, Rose has the most screen time out of all the new characters and will be side-by-side with Finn, so something could happen there. The new Star Wars movies have done a good job of not forcing a romance angle into the plot just for the sake of it, which is a common trope found in many tentpole films. If there's no natural place for it in the particular story Lucasfilm is trying to tell, then it's better if they push it off to the side and let everyone love each other as friends.
Source: Vanity Fair
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019