Artwork by Sapphicsmiles on tumblr.
I watched Star Wars 3 times in the cinema. That’s not a lot, but when you have to pay almost £10 for a cinema ticket, it’s plenty. There is no hint of any romance between any of the characters, bar Leia and Han and I loved the film for that. Personally, I rarely hope that characters will get together unless I know that’s the way the narrative is heading (bar Korra and Zukko in Avatar: the Last Airbender. I’m eternally mad about that). It’s just less painful that way. The internet has very different opinion to me regarding shipping though. As soon as Kylo Ren took off his mask, I knew there would be a million people shipping him with Rey, I also knew Rey would get shipped with Finn and Poe. Being pretty much the only romantically available female in the film, that was inevitable.
However, I came out of my third screening shipping something entirely different.
I am StormPilot trash.
The plot line of The Force Awakens is pretty much A New Hope, we’ve all acknowledged that. We are seeing the parallels of Luke, Leia and Han in Rey, Poe and Finn. Rey is an excellent pilot and also Force sensitive, she is the one in the group destined to be a Jedi, just like Luke was. Poe is already involved in the Resistance, he has history as a rebel and was captured and tortured for information, just like Leia was. Finn is the wild card, the one who starts off by putting himself before anyone else but in the end comes back out of friendship, just like Han did.
So if The Force Awakens is following the characterisation of A New Hope, Finn and Poe will eventually fall in love, marry and have a child that kills Finn. Just kidding, hopefully that last part won’t happen. It does follow that Finn and Poe fall in love though.
There’s plenty of people that will tell you there’s absolutely no evidence that Finn and Poe are gay, and they are right, but there’s absolutely no evidence that they are straight either. While I agree that there is little to no romantic hints between Finn and Poe in The Force Awakens, there is slightly more than what is between Finn and Rey. This isn’t to negate the amazing representation of a healthy heterosexual relationship between two guys that we got in Finn and Poe. I loved that from the moment they met they were mutually encouraging of each other. There was no aggressive displays of masculinity, no pea-cocking, no need to prove to one another that they were tough enough, just a mutual desire to bring down the death planet of The First Order. We rarely see that in films and it was extremely refreshing.
Likewise, Finn and Rey had a very healthy, mutually encouraging relationship. Gah, that scene in the Millennium Flacon celebrating after getting rid of the tie-fighters! My heart soared. They were clearly so happy in the amazing job that the other had done, and not even the slightest whisper of anything more than friendship.
The difference between the Rey and Poe as potential love interests lies, I think, in their positions at the end of the film. Finn is lying in sickbay, terribly injured after a disastrous fight with Kylo Ren. Rey is on an island halfway across the galaxy, presumably to learn how to use the force from Luke. Where is Poe? We haven’t been told explicitly, but it’s a pretty safe bet to say he’s with Finn. After all, he is the best pilot the Resistance has.
John Boyega has already stated that Finn is just learning who he is. Of course he is! The poor boy has been brainwashed for his whole life and has only just managed to break away from that. He doesn’t have a clue what he likes and doesn’t like, what his sense of humour is, what he’s good at, anything like that. I am looking forward so much to seeing Finn develop as a character in the next film. And who is going to be there helping him do that? Why Poe Dameron of course. Poe will be there when Finn wakes up, there to help him discover who he is and what his place in this universe is. That leave plenty of openings for romance to blossom between the two of them.
I don’t doubt the strength of friendship between Rey and Finn. There are somethings you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and taking on three rathtars is one of them. Finn and Rey will always have an unbreakable bond I believe, but for me, that bond is firmly platonic.
Having an on-screen romance between Finn and Poe would be a huge step for Disney. One would be forgiven for thinking it is too big a step for them to take. Not only would they be first gay couple in a major sci-fi franchise, they would also be the first interracial gay couple in a major sci-fi franchise. (To the best of my knowledge.) There are few things that permeate our culture as much as Star Wars does and whether you ship StormPilot or not you cannot deny the impact this would have on thousands of LBGTQ+ teens and adults around the globe.
Of course, there are cons to StormPilot becoming cannon. The lack of toxic masculinity shown between the characters could be contributed to their sexuality, not just the fact that’s the way men should act. The risk of one of them dying would go up dramatically, if past homosexual relationships in modern media are anything to go by, and we would have to endure years (possibly decades) of angry homophobic comments all over the internet. However, Poe’s already got one respite from a death sentence, so we can but hope that he was written back into the script to last to the end, not just get killed off at a later date.
The fact that Finn, Poe and Rey are clearly the new trio gives me hope that if Finn and Poe do end up together, Rey ends up with no one. Not because I want Rey to be alone her whole life, but because the lack of an on-screen romance for Rey would mean the steady development of her character without it revolving around a boy. (What an original thought, that women can grow and change without the motivation of doing it for a man.) Also, by the very nature of Star Wars, the love between Finn and Poe would not be the central plot. It may sway in and out of it, like Han and Leia’s did, but taking down the First Order is clearly the mission of the day. Star Wars is not a romance film, it’s a sci-fi with a bit of romance thrown in there.
The Force Awakens has already inverted so many genre tropes, why not let it go one more and invert the romance element too?