May the Fourth be with you! Today is International Star Wars Day, and what better way to celebrate than to talk about the Star Wars couples that fans love to love.
Star Wars has a reputation for being a Serious Action Series, but from the very beginning, love stories have played a massive role in the story of the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Because of this, Star Wars has always attracted fans that love romance, just as much as Lightsaber fights. Since 1970’s these fans have been creating fan art and fanfiction for their favorite Star Wars ships – canon and otherwise – a practice that continues to this day.
So in the grand tradition of fangirls everywhere, I hoped on Archive of Our Own (Ao3 for short), the central hub of modern Star Wars fanfiction, and ran the numbers!
Without further ado, I present the top six couples that are inspiring people to feel the love in Star Wars fandom:
6. Anakin Skywalker & Padmé Amidala (AKA Anidala)
Who: Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi Knight who become the greatest villain in cinematic history – Darth Vader – and Queen/Senator Padmé Amidala, a master politician who fought for justice and peace, from the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.
Their Story: Doomed from the start, it was Anakin’s love for Padmé drove him to the Dark Side while Padmé’s risked everything trying to save him from himself. Torn apart by differing ideologies and forces beyond their control, this couple still fought for each other in their own way, until the bitter end.
Why Fandom Loves Them: Their story has enduring appeal for audiences because it plays on beloved tropes – from the star crossed love story to the romance between light and dark – and it is one of the great tragic romances of our time.
But people aren’t ready to let these two go yet! With more than 2,600 fics on Ao3, it’s clear that Star Wars fans are still emotionally invested in the love story that started it all.
5. Han Solo & Leia Organa (AKA HanLeia)
Who: Han Solo, the bad boy smuggler with a heart of gold and Leia Organa, the fearless Princess of the planet Alderaan, a hero of the rebellion and a legendary badass, from the Original Star Wars Trilogy.
Their Story: These two are the original power couple of the Star Wars franchise. From Han agreeing to assist the Rebellion because of his love for Leia, to Leia rescuing Han from being frozen in Carbonite, to their trademark “I love you” “I know” exchange: it’s impossible not to fall as hard for them as they did for each other.
Why Fandom Loves Them: Along with playing into the “bad boy/good girl” trope, these two bantered and bickered their way into love so charmingly that it’s hard to resist their charm. Also that height difference! There’s a good reason that Han and Leia are one of the most iconic romances in all of cinema history.
Because Han and Leia’s epic romance began long before the days of the internet, it’s impossible to know for sure just how much has been written about these two, but Ao3 boasts a healthy selection of stories about this couple, coming in at over 3,300 fics and counting.
4. Jyn Erso & Cassian Andor (AKA RebelCaptain)
Who: Jyn Erso, a Rebellion soldier and daughter of the Death Star architect, and Rebellion Captain Cassian Andor, from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Their Story: In a story filled with tragic beats, their whole relationship is especially bittersweet. While initially distrustful of each other, Jyn and Cassian learned to trust and depend on each other, challenging and helping each other grow each step of the way. Watching them hold each other as they face their inevitable deaths is one of the most heart wrenching scenes in the whole of the Star Wars franchise.
Why Fandom Loves Them: Fandom loves a tragedy with real emotional payoff and an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance. RebelCaptain has both of those things in spades. While they only had one movie to tell their story, if the amount of fanfiction about them is any indication, these two stole the hearts of fans as effectively as they stole the Death Star plans.
Though the bulk of the community has moved on to other parts of the Star Wars fandom in the years since Rogue One’s release, RebelCaptain is still going strong, with over 3,600 fics on Ao3 there’s sure to be something for any fan of this ship to enjoy.
3. Finn & Poe Dameron (AKA StormPilot)
Who: Finn (FN-2187) a Stormtrooper who defected from the draconic First Order and Poe Dameron, the best pilot in the Resistance, from the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy.
Their Story: Finn, a Stormtrooper who wants out of the First Order convinces Poe who is a First Order prisoner to help him steal a Tie Fighter so they can both fly to safety. Over the course of their friendship, Poe has given Finn a name, the clothes off his back, and a look (complete with a lip bite!) that has no heterosexual explanation.
Why Fandom Loves Them: From the very first moment these two shared on screen, it was clear that the chemistry between them was something special. While Finn seems to be the most eligible bachelor in the galaxy, sharing romantic or flirtatious moments with plenty of characters including Rey and Rose, it’s the interactions he shares with Poe that fans have really latched onto.
Immediately after Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Stormpilot was the most popular ship in the fandom and while the fervor has died down a bit, the pairing still stars in more than 5,400 pieces of fic to its name.
2. Kylo Ren & Armitage Hux (AKA Kylux)
Who: Kylo Ren, the brooding Dark Side apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke and Armitage Hux, the angry, power mad general of the First Order’s military, from the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy.
Their Story: The two most powerful people in the First Order – besides their shared boss, Snoke – these two are forced to co-operate (reluctantly) in order to achieve their goals.
Why Fandom Loves Them: There’s something entertaining about two characters that hate each other with every fiber of their beings being forced to work together. Which likely explains the way Kylux took the Star Wars fandom by storm.
While they don’t share much screen time, every interaction between Kylo and Hux is filled to the brim with sizzling tension and open aggression. And fans are here for it. There are over 9,500 pieces of Kylux fanfiction on Ao3. It was the most popular in the fandom until just recently when it was overtaken by…
1. Rey & Kylo Ren (AKA Reylo)
Who: Rey, a scavenger girl from a desolate, desert planet who rose to become the heir to the Jedi Order, champion of the Resistance and the Light Side and the Dark Sider, Kylo Ren, who, as it turns out, is also Ben Solo – the son of Han and Leia and a man at war with himself, from the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy.
Their Story: They first meet as enemies on opposite sides of a battlefield, where Kylo Ren takes Rey prisoner – marking the beginning of his interest in her and also last time he actually beats her in combat.
They develop a mental bond through the Force that allows them to talk (and touch hands!) across the galaxy. Rey learns from him and he finds his conviction swayed by hers. Both of them fight their masters for the other’s sake and Kylo actually kills Snoke to save Rey. After the most sensual fight scene in any Star Wars movie ever, Kylo even asks her to rule the galaxy by his side. While she rejects him, many speculate that their relationship is not over yet.
Why Fandom Loves Them: Reylo is both the most popular and divisive Star Wars ship: people either love it or hate it. But with a trilogy of movies dedicated to their saga and more than 9,600 pieces of fanfiction on Ao3, the fact that this ship resonates with people in a powerful way is impossible to deny.
While not explicitly romantic yet, Reylo is built on a long list of popular romance tropes from star-crossed lovers, enemies-to-lovers, and a meeting of Light and Dark. But really, it’s the power of the redemption narrative inherent to this pairing that drives its popularity.
Kylo Ren will have to redeem himself if he wants to be with Rey and that’s a compelling idea for many fans. The idea of someone becoming a better person for you is an enduring female power fantasy and this ship looks ready to become the defining redemption romance of our time.
As the release of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker draws nearer it’s nice to look back on the ways that love has brought people together both in the Galaxy Far, Far Away and in our world as well. After all, no matter what you ship, love is the thing that unites us all in fandom. We love Star Wars and we love these characters and we love their relationships with each other. And that love manifests in an outpouring of creative works made for free for other fans to enjoy.
I, for one, think that’s pretty wonderful.