For many, pairing up fictional characters is more than just frivolous fun. Shipping isn't just a pastime; it's a playground filled with possibilities, and it's serious business. You get a surge of serotonin when you revel in your romantic headcanons — as long as you're not toxic when you preach your personal shipping gospels to creators and fellow fans.
Eros, or romantic love, is a powerful Force in the galaxy far, far away. "Star Wars" fans have witnessed Han Solo and Leia Organa's will-they-or-won't-they tango, Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala's star-crossed love, and a rather controversial relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren, which culminated in a kiss. Now, it's time to indulge in some imaginary (or maybe not-so-imagined) romances. If you don't see your chosen "OTP" (one true pairing) here, the glorious thing about shipping is that you can conjure your own ships elsewhere, be it your imagination, fanart, or fanfic. As a rule of thumb, this list is limited to characters who had canonical interactions in movies, TV, novels, and comics, because actual proximity suggests the most delicious possibilities (so, sorry to anyone who ships Ezra Bridger and Luke Skywalker — for now).
Lando Calrissian And Han Solo
"You slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler," Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) says to Han Solo (Harrison Ford) before they embrace in "The Empire Strikes Back." With a history rife with backstabbing, their barbs fuel their chemistry better than coaxium. When "Solo" revealed the genesis of the love triangle between Lando (Donald Glover), Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), and the Millennium Falcon, the charged banter between Ehrenreich and Glover over Sabacc cards made the movie feel like its own edition of "Scoundrels in Love."
"Solo" screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan confirmed that Lando is pansexual, but in a heteronormative sense, as this is primarily depicted via his affection for his female-coded L-3 droid. It's a missed opportunity to lean harder into Lando's sexuality. A Lando who more explicitly flirts with Han would have added a new dimension between the older Han and Lando in the Original Trilogy. The tension would be amplified to a great degree in "The Empire Strikes Back" if Lando also happened to be Han's ex-boyfriend; just imagine Lando's angst when he's forced to betray his ex.
Chewbacca And Maz Kanata
When the millennium-old pirate and tavern-owner Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) asks "Where's my boyfriend? I like that Wookiee" in "The Force Awakens," it induces some chuckles. But what if it's more than a joke? Maz is a true fangirl of the towering Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), flirting with him in Marvel's spin-off comics. In "Age of Resistance Special" #1, Maz tells Han, "Don't let anyone disfigure Chewie's perfect face!" When Han comments on that, he's so surprised by Chewbacca's (untranslated) answer that he remarks, "Too much information," which implies an offscreen intimacy between the Wookiee and the pirate. The same comic also delivers the unforgettable image of Maz riding Chewbacca's furry shoulders as they unload their blasters on adversaries.
More importantly, in "The Rise of Skywalker," Maz gives Chewie a medal, likely in response to the fan outcry over Chewbacca's from that honor at the end of "A New Hope." She flashes him a knowing grin, and their meaningful glances constitute their final moments on screen. After "The Rise of Skywalker," Chewbacca and Maz should renew their working relationship — Chewie can ride Maz's shoulders into the sunset as the head off on more adventures.
But hold on! Isn't Chewbacca already married to the Wookiee Mallatobuck, with whom he has a son, Lumpawaroo? Two words: open marriage. Maz is probably welcome at Chewbacca's dinner table, where she happily celebrates Life Day with Chewie, Malla, and Lumpy.
Chirrut Îmwe And Baze Malbus
With a bond as strong as a kyber crystal's connection to the Force, Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and Baze (Jiang Wen) have inspired plenty of mushy fan art. High-profile outlets have even discussed their potential couplehood. A fan may glance at the two Jedha temple guards in "Rogue One" and exclaim, "But they're already married!" However, their "romantic" relationship only exists in the subtext. The two have been through hell together, though, including a mission in Greg Rucka's novel "Guardians of the Whills" in which they help orphans survive Imperial oppression on Jedha.
Although the Imperial occupation has weathered them, it has not dented Chirrut and Baze's attachment. The pair's popularity owes a lot to their opposites-attract chemistry, which persists in spite of their spiritual disagreements about the Force. Chirrut believes in the Force, while Baze has hardened into agnosticism. Secretly, though, Baze wants Chirrut to be happy with his faith.
The two even speak in the language of a married couple. With one sly quote in "Rogue One," Chirrut wraps Baze around his little finger: "I don't need luck. I have you!" This activates Baze's protective instincts, and he follows Chirrut into danger. Even if Baze doesn't believe in the Force, he believes in Chirrut, and he'll keep his friend's faith alive by serving as his defender.
Ahsoka Tano And Kaeden Larte
In "The Clone Wars," Anakin Skywalker's beloved Togruta padawan (Ashley Eckstein) has a male love interest named Lux Bonteri. Then, in E.K. Johnson's novel "Ahsoka," Ahsoka Tano hides out on the moon Raada, where she discovers a friend in the farmer girl Kaeden. Johnson makes it clear that, if there's anyone who Kaeden would make out with before dying, it's Ahsoka. Very clear. When Ahsoka liberates Kaeden from prison, the farmer girl proclaims, "I could kiss you!" When the exiled Jedi reacts with confusion, Kaeden backtracks. "My timing is terrible and you have all those Jedi hang-ups," she says. "I just wanted you to know in case we die." Ahsoka's ambivalence permits some freedom of interpretation. How much would Ahsoka consider, even if unconsciously, a relationship with Kaeden? Would the idea of a romance appeal to a padawan already disillusioned with the Jedi teachings?
However, a subsequent downgrade in the canon disappointed fans, who accused Lucasfilm of LGBTQ+ erasure and whitewashing. Kaeden, now depicted as a lighter-skinned "Village Girl," appears in the "Tales of the Jedi" anthology as an unnamed harvester, scrubbed of her detailed backstory and personality. It's a letdown, because Kaeden was one of the earliest and clearest ways to code Ahsoka Tano as queer (if you weren't desperately already shipping her with Steela Gerrera, anyway). For many of Ahsoka's fans, Kaeden's obvious attraction to the Togruta is the first time that the Star Wars canon even entertained the thought of much-loved Ahsoka reciprocating queer affection.
Ahsoka And Trace Martez
During the period when "The Clone Wars" was (temporarily) canceled, a panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 titled "Ahsoka's Untold Tales" revealed this tidbit: Ahsoka was intended to "get kind of close" to a male mechanic after she left the Jedi Order, according to Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo (who also alluded to the tepid reactions to the Ahsoka and Lux pairing). But by the time "The Clone Wars" was revived, creator Dave Filoni had reimagined said male love interest as two sisters. While no romantic tension (deliberately) carried over, this ended up creating another lesbian ship for Ahsoka.
Before Ahsoka meets Kaeden, she's sheltered by another potential partner in season 7 of "The Clone Wars." After leaving the Jedi Order, Ahsoka finds a helping hand in the impoverished pilot Trace Martez (Brigitte Kali). Tano's speeder crashes into Trace's garage, and the latter offers her assistance, albeit for a fee. If this sounds like a meet-cute to you, you're not alone. Ahsoka's tenuous sisterhood with the bubbly Trace and her more standoffish sister, Rafa, is integral to Ahsoka's widening understanding of galactic complexities. This includes Trace's own contentious view of the Jedi. Though not always bright and obviously sheltered, Trace has a plucky optimism that makes her a good companion to the disillusioned Ahsoka. And that's all the more reason to imagine Ahsoka and Trace as a couple, especially after Trace joins the Rebels' cause in "The Bad Batch."
Din Djarin And Cobb Vanth
In "The Mandalorian," Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) has a light courtship with a widowed village woman. But Djarin has more chemistry with Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), the marshal of Tatooine's Mos Pelgo. Despite their argument over beskar armor, Din and Cobb prove to be killer partners who prove their mettle on the sandy battlefield in a fight against a krayt dragon. As you can imagine, a rugged desert sheriff and a stoic Mandalorian make for a legendary Western pair. It doesn't hurt that both actors are quite attractive, either. Hiding under his helmet and armor, Pascal is all mystique, while Olyphant flashes a cocky smile that could dent Djarin's beskar.
Their reunion in "The Book of Boba Fett" adds fuel to this shipping campfire, especially after Cobb's seductive line, "See, that's what I like about you. You always think you can get away with that smile." If a hot cowboy is admitting that your smile tempts him, that's a sure-fire sign of sexual tension. Get a room, you two. Considering their shared fondness for Grogu, the Marshal and Mando could have easily raised the kid together.
Neeku Vozo And Kazuda Xiono
It was a rocky start for the bubbly Nikto mechanic Neeku (Josh Brener) and the clumsy human Kazuda (Christopher Sean), the stars of "Star Wars Resistance." However, the two become inseparable as the First Order descends on their community and swallows up their normalcy. The two mechanics have their own love interests on the series, of course: Kaz crushes on Synara, and Neeku harbors feelings for fellow Nikto Nena (voiced by Brener's real-life wife, Meghan Falcone). However, out of all of the relationships on the cartoon, Kaz's dynamic with Neeku blossoms the most. Part of Kaz's growth involves embracing the paragon of kindness that is Neeku, the poor mechanic who builds a sky projection for his refugee community. For Kaz, Neeku is a beacon of compassion to follow.
There's a key moment in season 1 of "Star Wars Resistance" when Kaz screams at his Nikto friend, "I could kiss you!" Misreading the hyperbolic expression as a literal one, Neeku responds, "Hmmm. Sorry Kaz, but I do not feel the same way about you." He's not repulsed; he's just trying to let his friend down easy. It's a brief gag, but it's the closest the show gets to canonically entertaining any romantic affection between the two.
Needless to say, "Neekaz" is a real ship name. "Star Wars Resistance" ends with Kaz, Neeku, and friends getting a final drink together, despite the First Order still being a real threat. It's enough to make you hope that Kaz and Neeku survive the upcoming war and live to share a beverage once again — perhaps as more than buddies.
Obi-Wan Kenobi And Quinlan Vos
Obi-Wan Kenobi and fellow Jedi Master Quinlan Vos have a rapport that dates back to the now non-canon "Star Wars: Republic" comics. In the current, Disney-approved continuity, Obi-Wan (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) and Quinlan (voiced by Al Rodrigo) have a fleeting partnership on season 3 of "The Clone Wars." There, Vos is a chill show-off of a Jedi, much to the chagrin of the more disciplined Kenobi. Kenobi also sees Vos' darker side in Christie Golden's novel "The Dark Disciple," which is based on a canceled "Clone Wars" storyline in which Vos has a doomed romance with Asajj Ventress. The tragedy with Ventress aside, Kenobi and Quinlan deserved more screen time together. The two Jedi Masters probably would've had the same vibe as a married couple — or, at the very least, exes who annoy each other.
While the two have never appeared together in a live-action project (as of this writing, at least), there's a telling moment that speaks to their relationship on "Kenobi." Obi-Wan's (Ewan McGregor) eyes glitter when he discovers that Quinlan inscribed his name in a secret escape route for Jedi. Thus, this teases not only Quinlan's live-action debut, but also a reunion with Kenobi — if not something more.
Leia Organa And Amilyn Holdo
After losing Han Solo in "The Force Awakens," perhaps General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) should've rediscovered romance with her childhood friend and fellow Resistance rebel, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern). As tough as steel, the two women share an ardent devotion to the Resistance cause and a particular vision: the younger generation serving as the spark the Resistance needs.
In Claudia Gray's novel "Leia, Princess of Alderaan," Amilyn and Leia share an origin as teen political apprentices. There, Amilyn is a kooky weirdo who both befuddles and endears herself to Leia. In a revealing moment, Amilyn and Leia chat about their love lives. In response to Leia's explicit attraction to humanoid men, Holdo utters, "That feels so limiting," suggesting that Holdo is on the pansexual spectrum. While the novel follows Leia's heteronormative (and doomed) relationship with Kier Domadi, a fellow Alderaanian, Holdo's comment makes it too easy for the reader to envision a teen romance in place of Leia and Amilyn's platonic friendship.
They're clearly each other's spark by the time they both reach adulthood. The big downside? If Leia and Amilyn had become romantically linked in "The Last Jedi," it would've been devastating for Leia to lose yet another lover. But in a fix-it fanfic somewhere, they're growing old together, cracking jokes and teasing Resistance youths like Finn, Rey, and Poe.
Finn And Rey
After Rey's (Daisy Ridley) controversial kiss with Ben Solo (Adam Driver) in "The Rise of Skywalker," she returns to the warm embrace of her found family, including Finn (John Boyega). While her romantic future is not as important as her self-actualization, she has cultivated a tight attachment with the ex-stormtrooper since "The Force Awakens." Their friendship is tinged with hints of romantic attraction; they share plenty of meaningful gazes and a mutual admiration for each other's compassion and valor, and at one point Rey plants a farewell kiss on a comatose Finn's forehead.
Despite their separate journeys in "The Last Jedi," Finn aches to be with Rey, so much so that their reunion hug provides a welcomed respite from their tribulations. According to "Rise of Skywalker" director J.J. Abrams, Finn also longed to discuss his Force-sensitivity with Rey, but had no time to do so. Alas, the movie passed over another opportunity for Finn and Rey to bond. However, Ridley and Boyega's performances remain persuasive, and add to Finn and Rey's spark. However, the FinnRey pairing has some serious competition. They don't sizzle like firecrackers as much as…
Poe Dameron And Finn
Did you ever hear the tale of Stormpilot? I thought not. It's not a story Disney would tell you. At least, not as much as the "Star Wars" fandom. The meet-cute of Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and the ex-stormtrooper Finn is the stuff of legend. Chemistry is an incalculable concept, and spotting chemistry has a you-know-it-when-you-see-it magic. Well, that enchantment can be found when Isaac and Boyega explode into euphoric hoots and hollers as Poe and Finn hijack a TIE Fighter from the First Order. When rescued by the AWOL stormtrooper, Poe senses that Finn isn't doing this out of compunction, and yet he smells (and loves) the rebel fire in Finn, as if the Force has granted him a soulmate. "We're going to do this!" Isaac says through a sexy smirk. Though Finn rescued himself from the evils of the First Order, it was Poe who gave him an identity beyond his stormtrooper armor —not to mention his name, his jacket, and his trust. Really, they saved each other.
Isaac himself was a vocal advocate for the "Stormpilot" ship because he understands the planet-shattering glory a gay "Star Wars" romance would have on the big screen (so far, the franchise has limited its queerness to printed tie-in media). "The Disney overlords were not ready to do that," Isaac lamented. Still, long live Stormpilot.
Poe, Finn, Rey, And Rose Tico
After two Finn-centric pairings, a roster of monogamous relationships feels "so limiting," to quote Amilyn. So, let's create a loving polycule of endless emotional support. Give Rey two hot boyfriends and a caring girlfriend. Give Finn his handsome pilot, a nice Jedi partner, and a sweet mechanic to round things out.
Say what you will about "The Rise of Skywalker," but the banter between Poe, Finn, and Rey is one of the film's bright spots. Meanwhile, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), having been sidelined in "The Rise of Skywalker," deserves to be included in Rey's group hug. This would be a better way to follow up her controversial one-sided kiss with Finn in "The Last Jedi" than downplaying it and dismissing its significance. There's more opportunity in exploring Finn and Rose's burgeoning romance than in leaving them as friends.
Speaking of which, fans were also denied some highly anticipated interactions between Rose and Rey, who were well-acquainted enough by the time that Marvel's "Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — Allegiance" #2 takes place to share worry over their beau, Finn. This would fix that. Look, Poe's Jacket of Love is big enough to contain the entire quartet. It's win-win-win-win.
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The post 12 Star Wars Romances That Should Have Been appeared first on /Film.