Sure, it took a movie and a half. But when Leia said those three little words to Han Solo, fans breathed a sigh of relief. We knew in the moment that Han replied “I know” that we hadn’t seen the last our favorite scoundrel. As I thought about that scene, and Han and Leia’s relationship in general, something dawned on me. There is something missing from the sequel trilogy: a Star Wars romance.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we need a sappy subplot with intergalactic Air Supply playing in the background. But look at the original trilogy and how the Star Wars romance it featured melded so masterfully with the rest of the story. There was sexual tension, certainly. (While there was even a hint at a rivalry from Leia’s affection initially, thankfully that went by the wayside. Because ew.) But it wasn’t a Star Wars romance for the sake of having a romantic subplot; everything in that subplot served a purpose and moved the story along.
Is the Sequel Trilogy Missing a Star Wars Romance?
There’s a right way and a wrong way to write a romantic subplot. When it comes to Star Wars, however, you have to be especially careful. To pull it off you need to depend on not only quality writing, but quality acting. And the actors need chemistry.
That’s where the prequel trilogy love story between Anakin and Padmé went so unbearably wrong. When the writing isn’t there, you almost have to rely on the actors’ abilities to make it believable. Unfortunately, Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman just didn’t have any palpable chemistry.
Enter Rose Tico
When it comes to Star Wars romance, the sequel trilogy is just a hot mess. The Force Awakens hinted at an initial dislike and distrust between Rey and Finn. They eventually developed what was a believable bond, making many hope for Finn’s recovery and their reunion in The Last Jedi.
While Rian Johnson tried to follow the “I hate you but I’ll grow to love you” pattern with Rose and Finn, it failed miserably. John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran just don’t have the kind of chemistry necessary to make fans root for the relationship. And I don’t think it’s going to blossom in Star Wars Episode IX, either.
Maybe I’m just old school. Or perhaps Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher were that good at their roles. Okay, we know they were. It’s just plain doubtful we’ll see that kind of chemistry again in an episodic Star Wars film. And that’s too bad. Because deep down I think most of us want at least a little Star Wars romance.