Is A Poe/Rey Relationship A Good Idea?
Star Wars has always included elements of romance, with many fans still loving the relationship between Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in the original trilogy. Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala's (Natalie Portman) relationship may have been less well received in the prequels, but it was undoubtedly an important aspect of Episodes I - III. This latest Star Wars trilogy doesn't quite have anything akin to those relationships yet, though the burgeoning dynamic between Rose and Finn in The Last Jedi has the potential to become much more.
If Rose and Finn do become more involved romantically in Episode IX, then it's possible Rey and Poe could also form a romantic attachment. As key members of the Resistance, they may be spending a great deal of time together. However, there's no real reason Star Wars needs to include a romantic subplot in Episode IX. With the Resistance forces continuing the fight against the First Order, they'll no doubt be more focused on war than romance. Even Rose's declaration of love at the end of The Last Jedi is more about further establishing the Resistance needs a spark of hope to keep fighting. In that moment, the romance - the only explicitly romantic scene in the whole movie - takes a back seat to further hammering home the movie's theme.
In that case, a romantic subplot suddenly appearing between Rey and Poe in Episode IX likely would feel ham-fisted into the film in order to fill some kind of romance quota, which would be a disservice to fans. While romantic storylines have been threaded through the previous two Star Wars trilogies, there hasn't been one through The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Instead, Episodes VII and VIII have proved to be successful without major romances, and it's likely Episode IX could be just as well received by fans even if there's no explicit romance.
All that said, there has been a great deal of discussion since The Force Awakens surrounding the character of Poe and to whom he could be romantically linked. Certainly, there are fans who are hoping to see him paired up with Rey - and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that idea. If Episode IX develops a relationship between Poe and Rey that is compelling and feels earned, the two could prove to be this latest trilogy's great love story. But, if that were to happen, there would no doubt be fans disappointed that Star Wars had the chance to introduce an explicitly LGBT character and didn't.
Ever since The Force Awakens, fans have campaigned for the creative team behind the Star Wars films to have Poe come out as gay and explore a relationship with Finn. Although it was suggested in the novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan that Laura Dern's Amilyn Holdo is bisexual, Star Wars hasn't introduced any main and explictly LGBTQ characters in the live-action films. Holdo's sexuality is vague even in the novel, and movies of late have seemingly taken the 'have your cake and eat it too' approach to LGBTQ representation. Rather than include overt LGBTQ characters, movies feature vague or throwaway scenes seemingly confirming a character's sexuality, allowing films to take the credit for representation while not rocking the boat too much.
Poe being gay - or bisexual - would go a long way to LGBTQ representation in the Star Wars movie universe, and many fans would love to see that realized in Episode IX. Certainly, fans have pored over scenes from the films and supplementary information about Poe to determine whether he could be gay or bisexual. In fact, fans called attention to an entry in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary about Poe's necklace, which states, "Poe wears the wedding ring of his late mother, Shara Bey, on a necklace, waiting to share it someday with the right partner." The use of the word "partner" has led fans to further speculate about whether Poe will come out at some point in the movies.
If Poe were to explore a romantic relationship with Rey in Episode IX, it would be a missed opportunity to have a main Star Wars character come out as gay. Of course, he could still be bisexual, which would be a chance for representation, but fans may feel cheated depending on how the franchise handles it. As for whether Poe will come out as gay or bisexual, Abrams has voiced support of LGBTQ characters in Star Wars, though that doesn't necessarily mean he'll incorporate such representation in Episode IX.
At the end of the day, Lucasfilm, Abrams, and the other creatives behind the franchise will make the decisions for how to continue and complete this latest Star Wars trilogy. That could mean a romance between Rey and Poe, or a relationship between Poe and Finn - or no romantic relationships at all - in Episode IX. Until we find out how exactly this chapter of the ongoing saga ends, fans can continue to speculate and hope their 'ship is realized in Star Wars: Episode IX.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019