There are many things that stand out in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens: Daisy Ridley shines as the eternally hopeful Rey, John Boyega gives Finn perfect energy, and Oscar Isaac is wonderfully charismatic as Poe Dameron. With a diverse cast and interesting story, there's no doubt that #StarWars7 is breaking ground for the franchise. But are Disney about to do the most daring thing of all by introducing a gay couple in the form of Finn and Poe Dameron?
Probably not. After all, Disney aren't about to throw away the no doubt millions of ticket sales they'd lose in a potential boycott over this. But here's why it's important that at the very least, everyone is talking about this possibility.
First of all, let's get a few things straight (or not, heh heh). Of course all we have to go on is John Boyega and Oscar Isaac's undeniable chemistry, and nothing is canon yet. So imagine my surprise when the internet exploded over not Rey/Finn but Finn and a certain Resistance flyboy...
Stormpilot: The Ship You Never Expected
Finn/Poe Dameron, or Stormpilot as the fans are calling it, is the relationship that's got everyone talking. But why: is it their instant friendship, or the way their dialogue sparks? Maybe it's the fact that they share a jacket, or how when they see each other again they literally leap into each other's arms...
This relationship can be interpreted pretty much any way you want. But to many fans the strength of Finn and Poe's affection for each other implied that a romantic attraction lay beneath the surface. Not convinced? Try switching the gender of either Poe or Finn in your head. That might make the scenes read a little differently.
"You completed my mission! You're a good man, Finn."
We can argue over what's implied and what isn't for years. And it's likely that this relationship will always remain in the subtext of Star Wars, rather than ironclad canon. Although, Oscar Isaac seems to lean towards the canon side of things: skip to 2.21 in this video...
"You have to watch it a few times to catch all the little hints. But there was. At least I was playing romance. In the cockpit I was playing... there was a deep romance."
Yeah, he might be joking and honestly, the most important thing isn't whether this romantic attraction is true or not: it's the fact that so many people are talking about it.
The Importance Of Representation
The story of Star Wars encompasses a whole galaxy, filled with a myriad of creatures. Faced with such diversity both within the human race and beyond, it seems logical that Star Wars would represent lots of different kinds of people. And yet, you often have to squint to see anyone who isn't white (or male, for that matter).
This is one of the reasons The Force Awakens is so important, and Oscar Isaac (who is of course Guatemalan) says it best...
"How special it is that this very well could be one of the biggest movies, and you look at the leads and it’s a female, it’s got John Boyega in it, it’s got me in it. You know, it’s like the United Colors of Benetton up there."
But race and gender representation is one thing, and #LGBT representation is something else. Considering that gay relationships are illegal in a few of the countries #TheForceAwakens was distributed to, having an openly gay relationship in the film would jeopardise everything that Lucasfilm have worked towards.
The fantastic thing about this: a ship that would usually be confined to the most niche parts of fandom is getting a lot of mainstream press. MTV, Hypable, and The Telegraph all ran articles on it. People are wondering if a gay relationship or an openly queer character in Star Wars is not only possible, but already happening.
The more people talk about it, the closer we get to it becoming a reality. Yes, it's a long way off, but Star Wars has already taken some strides in this direction...
Not The Only Gay In The Galaxy
Star Wars: Aftermath was a book published in September 2015, which leads into The Force Awakens.
And it created quite a stir when it came to light that the book features not one, but three gay characters.
"Esmelle's wife, Shirene, steps in. She secures Esmelle's elbow with her own, giving the woman a kiss on the cheek."
These two women are the aunts of one of the leading characters. Another main character, the dashing Sinjir Rath Velus, is revealed as gay towards the end of the book when he rejects his female companion's advances. Neither the lesbian couple nor Velus are oblique in their sexuality: they exist as any LGBT people exist in the real world, that is to say, they're pretty normal. (For aliens who live in outer space of course.)
So will this gay representation spill over into the Star Wars films? Probably not. But there's a chance, however slim, that Poe Dameron could be the first gay (or bisexual) character in the movies. If not then hey, at least we're talking about it!