The Romance of Star Wars

“I love you.”

“I know.”

Princess Leia & Han Solo

The Empire Strikes Back

Romance has always been there in Star Wars. Be it in Luke’s (misguided) crush on Leia in An New Hope’ or the fateful love story of Anakin and Padmé, or the doomed, over before it started relationship between Rey and Ben Solo we have witnessed a number of love stories in that Galaxy far, far away.

The most iconic romantic relationship, I think across the whole saga is Princess Leia and Han Solo, especially in ‘Empire Strikes Back’ where the back and forth dialogue is laced with their burgeoning feelings for one another and it’s not until they are stranded that they finally act on it and share that iconic kiss. From there, their relationship is cemented and through the rest of the film, the banter changes slightly, as if that romantic tension has just floated away like the Falcon when it detached from the Star Destroyer.

Their relationship is key to the rest of the Saga. Leia frees Han from the Carbonite, letting him know it’s her by confessing her feelings again. They share some quiet and intimate moments throughout Endor which eventually leads to them (according to the ‘Shattered Empire’ comic, getting married during the celebrations) and eventually having their son, Ben.

We learn a bit about their relationship between the Original and Sequel Trilogies through some of the novels, Han spends a bit of time away doing races whilst Leia works in the Senate but they are always in contact and enjoy their time together but it’s when Ben Solo becomes Kylo Ren that their marriage falls apart and they become separated, only to come back together in the end, their love for each other never faltering.

When they are reunited, after that initial awkward hello they go back to their old routine, slipping into their ‘Rebellion’ roles like a comfy pair of slippers until Han leaves again, this time on another daring mission that he never returns from. Leia feels the loss of her husband through the Force and, in true Leia fashion, she doesn’t allow it to hold her back for long, until she is behind closed doors on The Raddus.

The Anakin and Padmé love story is one of necessity more than anything else, Luke and Leia needed a mother. But the love story is far from romantic. Young Anakin’s terrible pick-up line about angels aside, once he’s older and more ingrained into the Jedi Order, the guy has no game. In fact his almost stalker-esque gazes and complaints about sand (amongst petulant teenager rants about how no one understands him) actually work and gets him, not only a kiss, but a kiss from an older and incredibly attractive woman.

After some unsuccessful negotiations about keeping a potential romance a secret and going through the loss of his mother AND a one man genocide, it’s those last few moments before being paraded in front of an arena full of manic insects that Padmé finally admits her feelings for Anakin. And the relationship begins in earnest.

To step away from the films for a moment, when we see the Anakin/Padmé relationship in ‘The Clone Wars’ we actually get to see them as a real couple (as much as they can be given their respectives roles in the Galaxy) and the two of them work so well together. Anakin is still a bit cringey at times (offering to give her his lightsaber as a token of his love) but that is overshadowed by how “normal” they are at times. Their relationship does face some hardships when Padmé is called upon by the Jedi Council to act as an operative for them to find information on her former romantic partner, Rush Clovis. Anakin’s jealousy does get the better of him at times but ultimately they remain strong together.

Their romance comes to a gut wrenching end after Anakin falls to the Dark Side in an attempt to learn how to save Padmé from dying during childbirth that he sees in a vision. Ironically, it is his turn that caused her death and had he gone to Obi-Wan and confessed his secret life and left the Jedi Order, which I feel like he would have done after the Clone Wars to live with his family, then she never would have died.

The Sequel Trilogy didn’t have a traditional love story. There were hints along the way (Finn/Poe, Finn/Rose, Rey/Poe, Rey/Finn) but what it boiled down to was a connection shared between Rey and Kylo.

At first, in ‘The Force Awakens’ there wasn’t much of a relationship between them other than protagonist and antagonist, he tortured her for information, he throws her into the air and against a tree, he murders her recently gained mentor in front of her. She doesn’t like him. He’s intrigued by her and her growing powers. An interesting concept but to me, in no way romantic.

Their growing connection in ‘The Last Jedi’ definitely had some romantic connotations, their Force-Skype moments growing more and more intimate, starting with her hurling insults at him and developing to the point where they are confiding in each other.

Once they are together on The Supremacy and they battle Snoke’s guards we realise the depth of their connection where neither can beat the other in trying to pull the lightsaber, causing it to break in half.

For me, after he asked her to join him in ruling the Galaxy, that put an end to their romance. She wanted nothing to do with that and it was obvious.

However, their display of power and how neither could beat the other in the Force Tug-of-War showed the level of their Force Connection. This made me think about the idea of Balance in the Force more then anything else, perhaps they were the two sides of the Force Coin, one Light, one Dark and neither could be stronger than the other. And I think that was a pretty good thought seeing as Kylo announces to Rey that they are a Dyad in the Force.

Could that have been where their semi-romantic feelings came from? A deeper connection that they couldn’t place but almost came across as romantic feelings? Not to be gross or anything, but it does happen where long lost brothers and sisters meet (unknowing of their familial bond) and feel a connection which feels like romantic feelings. Could this have been a similar example (not as siblings but Force Connection).

But there was a spark of romance. Rey did feel an attraction, to Ben Solo. She saw a glimpse of him during ‘The Last Jedi’ and when Kylo turned away from the Dark Side in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ and became Ben Solo, joining her on Exogol to defeat Palpatine and bringing her back to life, she sees that he is Ben again and they kiss, and not to sound like a mushy sod, but I loved that moment.

Of course, his redemption and his saving of Rey cost him his life, which was gut wrenching but, in my opinion, was necessary. He wouldn’t have lived a happy life after all that he had done, either in exile or imprisoned which would have complicated the relationship status a bit.

Personally, my top romance is Han and Leia. The chemistry between them is great and their banter is incredibly fun. Also, it feels like there’s a lot less baggage than either of the other two love stories.

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