Star Wars is a fantasy film, not a science fiction one. Though the series may be set in space, in a galaxy far, far away, it has far more in common with the daring romances of the middle ages and the westerns of 19th Century America than it does with the works of Isaac Asimov and Orson Scott Card. Part of that is the love story aspect, whether it's Han and Leia or Anakin and Padme. So, what is the love story in our new trilogy? Does Rey love Finn?
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived in theaters in 2015, this seemed a likely direction for the series to go. (That is, if they didn't go all 21st century romance and radically create a story where Poe loves Finn.) Finn acts the archetypal male in the film, trying to safeguard women, including what he perceives as Rey's "damsel in distress," chased by Storm Troopers in search of a droid.
But from the beginning, the new trilogy was determined to turn that cliche sideways. Rey kept demanding that he stop grabbing her hand. She was the one leading the rescue, not Finn. She was the one piloting the Falcon into space while he struggled to keep up.
The chemistry between them was certainly there in the first film, but the dialogue and the action kept them as friends for the time being. With the final scene of the film leaving Finn in a coma, and Rey off to find Luke Skywalker, the question became, would this even be a possible romance?
Perhaps it could have been in a different set of circumstances. But Star Wars: The Last Jedi didn't see their paths as heading that direction. Instead, by keeping the two apart for almost the entire running time, their paths forged new directions.
Rey found herself admitting her attraction to Kylo Ren. Not as he is, but as he was, when he was Ben Solo. She spent a good portion of the movie attempting to save him, the same way Luke once tried to save Darth Vader. But, unlike Luke, she failed. Kylo killed Snoke, and took his master place as ruler of the First Order, offering Rey his heart... but only if she came to meet him on the Dark Side of the Force.
Finn, on the other hand, had a completely new and different adventure. Upon waking up from his coma, he spent the first third of the movie obsessing over Rey, coming up with yet more foolish, unnecessary schemes to "keep her safe," as if he had learned nothing from being around her in the first movie. He was so busy trying to "save" someone in zero need of rescue, he completely missed the person in front of him who was right there, hoping for just a moment of his attention: Rose Tico.
He and Rose were deep into their adventure before Finn started to realize and appreciate what a fabulous and resourceful companion Rose was. But he still seemed completely blind to the fact that she might have feelings for him.
It took her crashing her ski speeder into him full force — and out of the suicide path he had taken towards the cannon brought by the First Order — before the depths of her feelings crashed into his skull. Suddenly, he discovered that someone else looked at him and saw someone worth saving, the way he had been trying to fruitlessly do for Rey. That flash of realization sent Rose crashing into his heart.
By the time Finn and Rey did see each other at the end of the film, their possible romance was dead. Their hug was one that was that of good old friends glad to see each other alive and nothing more. Finn's emotions were now focused on Rose.
And Rey? Well, let's hope that charm of Poe's works on more than just Organa and Holdo, for his sake, if nothing else.