In which I love every Star Wars romance. Shipping fictional characters is one of my favorite past times. Like everyone I have specific tropes I am am drawn to and certain couples I am most interested in, but I have the capacity to ship everything because it’s dissecting the connection that excites me. I ship canon, I ship non-canon, I ship characters who’ve never met, I ship crossovers, I ship it all.
Star Wars is a Tragedy
As my brother mentioned in our discussion of The Rise of Skywalker, every canonical romance in Star Wars is a tragedy. Their romances are fleeting, made up of heated exchanges, weighty glances and stolen moments, and nearly always end in death. Even the non-canonical romances tend to follow this pattern.
Part of it is structure. Star Wars is a story about war, or at least a story set in war and an existential battle between good and evil. Our protagonists form relationships – romance, family, friendship and the rest – in direct response to the feelings of isolation, fear, anger, and hopelessness, or the Dark Side, as it were, that war perpetuates. Their romances are brief because they all engaged in something bigger, their partners die because that’s what happens in battle.
And part of it is philosophical. I often compare Star Wars to Camelot, to Shakespearean tragedy, to greco-roman mythology, and to Game of Thrones. Melodrama is a foundation of these stories and despair is built in. . . because that’s where hope comes from. Without the dark, you can’t see the light, or perhaps more pertinently, you can’t appreciate the light.
The Last Unicorn
But the part that captures me is summed up in a quote from The Last Unicorn film:
There are no happy endings, because nothing ends.Peter S. Beagle
Star Wars is mythic and cyclical. It starts with “once upon a time” but it never ends with “and they lived happily ever after” because the story continues. Hope lives.
I have very complicated feelings about The Rise of Skywalker and especially its ending. But even there, it ends on the word “Skywalker”. In Star Wars Skywalker is synonymous with hope, and in English skywalker implies a journey.
Star Wars Romance
I use the label “OTP forever” for certain ships I am eternally devoted to (e.g. Anidala), but even there it is technically a misuse of “One True Pairing” because I am a hardcore multi-shipper (e.g. I’ve written Obidala and Sabé x Anakin). For the next few weeks I will be highlighting Star Wars Romance and my Star Wars OTPs. My choices likely won’t be a surprise to anyone – I revealed my most favorite in this paragraph, and also in our first podcast episode – but I look forward to sharing my love.
Do you have a favorite romance in Star Wars?