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The Real Reason For This Lack Of Romance In Rise Of Skywalker

Contains spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker

The Star Wars film franchise has featured its share of iconic romantic moments, but fans hoping for a specific budding romance in The Rise of Skywalker likely ended up disappointed.

Despite the two characters in question exchanging plenty of smoldering glances and partaking in tense discussions throughout all three films of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker side-stepped a potential, prominent same-sex relationship during its narrative — and one of the film's stars knows exactly why.

Oscar Isaac, who portrays the X-wing pilot and Resistance fighter Poe Dameron, recently spoke with IGN about why his character and John Boyega's former-stormtrooper-turned-Resistance-member Finn didn't become more than just friends. When asked about the lack of any love between Poe and Finn, who make up the popular pairing known on the internet as "Stormpilot," Isaac said the real reason the two never got together in the final Skywalker saga film is all due to Disney, which owns Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise.

Isaac told the outlet, "I think there could've been a very interesting, forward-thinking — not even forward-thinking, just, like, current-thinking — love story there, something that hadn't quite been explored yet; particularly the dynamic between these two men in war that could've fallen in love with each other. I would try to push it a bit in that direction, but the Disney overlords were not ready to do that."

Isaac has previously offered up his support for Stormpilot, and even said he was approaching the duo's relationship with romance in mind. During a press tour for 2015's The Force Awakens, he told Ellen Degeneres, "I think it's very subtle romance that's happening [with Poe and Finn]. You have to just look very closely — you have to watch it a few times to see the little hints, but there was. At least I was playing romance." 

So, what happened to these two as far as their romantic prospects were concerned? In The Rise of Skywalker, Poe did end up with a semi-romantic interest in the form of Keri Russell's helmeted, secretive Zorii Bliss, with whom he seemed to have a steamy past. As far as Finn, despite a passionate kiss with Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) at the end of The Last Jedi, he spent the movie following Rey (Daisy Ridley) around while Rose ended up completely sidelined. Anyone speculating that Finn had the hots for Rey will be let down as well, as the important message Finn wanted to relay to Rey in The Rise of Skywalker wasn't that he loved her but that he was Force-sensitive just like her.

Disney is dancing around LGBTQ+ visibility

It's interesting that Isaac blames his "Disney overlords" for blocking any romance between two of the film's leading men, but it's not entirely surprising. Since the studio has always tried to produce content that's friendly for the whole family, it typically skirts hot-button issues. With that said, it shouldn't be shocking in 2019 — or in any year, really — for two major characters to strike up a same-sex romance, especially since other Disney properties are providing better representation.

Star Wars might not be ready for an LGBTQ+ character on its front lines, but Marvel, which is also owned by Disney, is ready to take this huge and important step thanks to director Taika Waititi. In the New Zealander director's upcoming Thor film, subtitled Love and Thunder, the powerful Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) — named the new leader of Asgard by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) himself at the end of Avengers: Endgame – will be looking for her "queen" with whom she can rule. Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige confirmed in July 2019 that Valkyrie will be the MCU's first openly queer superhero. With a formidable, popular actress like Thompson taking on this sensitive and vital role within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, LGBTQ+ fans will get their first real chance to see their community represented within this pop culture juggernaut, which is certainly an exciting prospect.

As far as Star Wars goes, Disney's top brass clearly balked at the chance to make two of its most important characters a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and their attempt at inclusivity in The Rise of Skywalker was largely panned by fans and critics alike. The Rise of Skywalker did feature a brief same-sex kiss between two female Resistance fighters during the film's final celebration scene, but many viewers were upset at just how brief the scene really was — and it even ended up censored in conservative countries that refused to show two women kissing.

Isaac is clearly disappointed at Disney's stance on a romance between Finn and Poe, and he's not alone. Many fans walked into The Rise of Skywalker hoping to see the bond between the two find new depths, only to be left out in the cold. Even Boyega thought the two would work well together, telling Variety, "They've always had a quite loving and open relationship in which it wouldn't be too weird if it went beyond it." However, unlike Isaac, Boyega qualified his statement by concluding, "But at the same time, they are just platonic at the moment."

Thankfully, Star Wars loyals hoping to see better representation can turn to other canon within the franchise, with some LGBTQ+ characters appearing in its books. (In fact, one novel seems to confirm that Vice Admiral Holdo, played by Laura Dern in The Last Jedi, was pansexual.) When it comes to the big screen outings, though, this particular frontier is still unexplored.