Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Star Wars franchise has historically had love stories running through them – from Princess Leia and Han Solo in the original trilogy to Anakin Skywalker and Princess Amidala in the prequels – but now with The Last Jedi it seems romance is being explored even more – and those romances look like they are going to be very messy when Episode IX hits theaters.
The latest Star Wars instalment, from director Rian Johnson, somewhat derails any potential romance between Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) by keeping the two characters separate for almost the entirety of the movie’s rundown, but by the movie’s end there seems to be plenty of other romantic avenues they each could go down. Sparks are already flying between Finn and Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose, who dramatically saves him from a suicide mission and then kisses him before passing out.
Rose, a mechanic for the Resistance, meets Finn while carrying out the duty of stopping any deserters from taking an escape pod. It turns out she’s a massive fan of Finn because of his heroic actions in The Force Awakens, and through their time together trying to find a master coder on Canto Bight and surviving Captain Phasma’s (Gwendoline Christie) capture on the First Order ship, after being double crossed by DJ (Benicio del Toro), Rose falls in love with her newfound friend.
At least, that is what is implied during the battle on Crait, just after Rose stops Finn from sacrificing himself to yet another First Order cannon. “That’s how we’re going to win,” she tells him. “Not fighting what we hate; saving what we love.” She punctuates her point with a kiss… and then passes out from her injuries.
This seems to shock the former Stormtrooper. This whole time, Finn has been so busy fighting to protect Rey, to make sure she can return to them without being captured, that he didn’t notice the feelings developing between him and Rose. And there may well be feelings on both sides, as Rey seems to recognize at the end of the movie while watching Finn look after Rose. There is a tenderness to the way he sits by Rose’s bed and ensures she is warm that could be the first sign of something more between them.
While this may be disappointing for fans who were hoping for Finn and Rey to become more than friends, the development opens up doors for Rey to develop her own romances with other potential suitors. There are certainly a couple that have been hinted at so fa – the main one being Kylo Ren.
Rey and Kylo (Adam Driver) have shared a connection since The Force Awakens; both yielding a grasp of the Force more powerful than has been seen before. Snoke (Andy Serkis) manipulates their connection, allowing them to speak to each other from across the galaxy in order to locate where Luke Skywalker has been hiding. It’s through this bond that Rey and Kylo share more of their emotions, their suffering and pain, than they have every shared with a person before. But the sexual desire between them is also pretty palpable, even if most of it is subtext – apart from that scene where Rey has to ask the half-dressed Kylo to put a shirt on.
Sexual innuendos aside, Rey sees the light in Kylo (she even starts calling him by his original name – Ben) and a path for him to return to it, and while it seems for a moment that they are about to see their futures sync up, it is ruined by Kylo’s continued desire for ultimate power. It’s interesting, though, that Kylo spent so much time obsessing about Darth Vader that he didn’t seem to notice that he has just as much Anakin in him as well. As much as he might see himself as Kylo Ren, Ben Solo is still very much there inside. It’s Ben who cannot bring himself to kill his mother, and who lets his guard down, allowing Rey to get close. Ben’s internal conflict seems much like a mirror to the one Anakin suffered too, so there may be a moment of true redemption – through love – for Kylo Ren too. For now, the door to their relationship seems closed, but who knows what could happen in Episode IX.
However, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) might throw a spanner in the works for this Rey-Ren romance, or even a Rey-Finn romance. The two finally meet at the end of The Last Jedi, and whether it’s a mutual appreciation for their flying, or mutual attraction, their lingering looks and quizzical smiles hint at something more to be explored in Episode IX. It would create a rather testing love triangle for the final movie in this trilogy, one of Shakespearean proportions, that has so far not played out since the Star Wars franchise was restored in 2015.
Both The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has refrained from using John Williams’ love theme for any characters apart from Han and Leia so J.J. Abrams next outing with the franchise could see it getting updated to soundtrack some romantic moments in the next chapter. It certainly wouldn’t feel like a Star Wars trilogy if there weren’t some loving in it, and with the passing of Carrie Fisher, as well as Han Solo’s death in TFW, there is a gap that needs filling with a new love story.
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