I feel a great disturbance in the ‘shipping’ fan community, as if millions of voices are suddenly crying out in disappointment. Today’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi news appears to be focused on what’s not in the film rather than what is, and according to Rian Johnson, “[There’s] no one-to-one equivalent of the Han-to-Leia, burning, unrequited love. In our story, that’s not a centerpiece.”
Though Han and Leia’s romance subplot gave us one of the all-time iconic lines in the franchise (“I love you.” “I know”), it’s safe to say that Anakin and Padme’s romantic canoodlings in Attack of the Clones didn’t exactly burn up the screen with passion. Anyways, it’s not as if The Force Awakens left any obvious dangling romances undeveloped, though I’ll always hold out hope that Finn and Poe’s bromance will one day drop the ‘b’.
The jettisoning of romance also marks another way in which Johnson is distancing himself from The Empire Strikes Back. One of the few accurate criticisms of The Force Awakens was that it often felt a lot like a remake of A New Hope, especially in the climactic scenes. Johnson has taken this criticism on board, it seems, and has been vocal online about doing his best to avoid cribbing from the classics too much.
But just because we’re not going to see dewy eyes and smooching, that doesn’t mean we might not see some flirting or the beginnings of a romance that’ll be further developed in Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX. Star Wars is probably always going to be somewhat chaste, but surely love can find a place alongside the lightsabers and space combat. Let’s hope Johnson doesn’t have a true heart of stone.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released into theatres everywhere on December 15th.