Ok, I'm absolutely in love with your persuasion au. I didn't know how much I needed something like this until I read it. It's a treasure. Thank you SO MUCH for it! Can I ask you why do you ship rebelcaptain? as a deep question, I just want to read your thoughts about them 'cause you write so well
First, thank you for the compliment no my Persuasion AU! I’m glad you like it! And I’m going to get working on the next chapter of it now that I’ve written this 1,400+ word treatise I wrote on rebelcaptain because of your question lol.
Diego Luna and Felicity Jones have and had amazing chemistry as Jyn and Cassian. The eye contact, the lack of personal space, and the passion they conveyed as their characters with and without words was really impressive. Even when Jyn and Cassian were arguing and angry with one another, you got the sense that they fought as they did because the other person mattered. Their arguments are never about romance, but they were about the important basics of any relationship, romantic or platonic: truth, trust, faith, belief, and how you choose to act (or whether you choose to act at all).
But their chemistry isn’t just sexual or romantic. They also have chemistry as a battle duo. They work together well almost instantly. When she’s sporting for a fight on Jedha, he knows exactly when to pull her back. When a Partisan bomb is about to blow her to bits, he saves her—it’s not a question. On Scarif, they seem in sync the whole time from when she gives her speech to when they die together on the beach. They don’t question the other because there’s implicit trust and they seem to instinctively understand that what the other person is doing is the right or best way. They’re on the same page if you will.
Individually and Individuality
I love them as individual characters. They are my murder son and my murder daughter.
They both have defined and deep character arcs in the movie, and they grow because of it. They act as catalysts for the other for the change to come. They grow because they met each other, and they do so in the platonic sense.
Jyn’s forced herself into apathy because she’s been hurt, abandoned, and traumatized by “the cause” and the battle between the Rebels and the Empire. She lost both her parents. She was abandoned by her foster parent. She was stripped of anything that ever felt safe, that felt like home. The passion and fight intrinsic to her personality was temporarily snuffed out. She’s given so much but what has she gotten back but misery? She now only fights for herself. But meeting and knowing Cassian reawakens that passion and drive in her. The catalyst moment is when he gives her his trust on the U-wing to Jedha, and it builds from there. He pushes back against her resistance, and where others may have not cared enough to do that, he does, and that fight wakes her up again. Then he offers her a home and a family in him (and Kaytoo, Baze, Chirrut, and Bodhi). Thet cause, which has only taken from her, has given her something back. It has given her people she cares about and who care for her to fight for.
For Cassian, after 20 years of war, I think part of what traps him in this prison of his own making is that he feels like he’s fighting for abstractions now. He’s lost everything and everyone he cares about. There’s only the cause, and it’s made him do terrible things that have been cutting him into little pieces. But then he meets Jyn, and she’s not an abstraction. But it’s not love or love for her that acts as a catalyst for his change: it’s her inner fire. I think he sees in her what he used to see in himself. It reminds him of what he’s fighting for, in part, too, because he sees the tremendous losses she has also suffered at the hands of the fight. In her push to go to Scarif, she also gives him a specific way he can justify everything he has done as a soldier. And like it is for Jyn, I think Cassian finds himself now with people he cares for specifically, people for whom he fights (aka the found family he has personally collected over the course of a week).
I like the idea of opposites attract, but I love more the idea of complementary personalities who share a lot of similarities. I think Jyn and Cassian fit this bill. They’re both orphaned child soldiers (essentially). They’re both passionate fighters. They are iron-willed, confident, resolute, and strong people. They’re different enough, though, that they can balance the other out.
They are complete people when they meet—there’s no need for one to “complete the other”; it’s rather like I argue above, that parts of them have gone dormant, and meeting each other brings them back to life; they fill in the cracks.
And they are equals. There’s no power differential. Sometimes he takes lead. Sometimes she does. They’re a team. It’s beautiful.
The intimacy between these two characters scrambles my brain, to be honest. The first time I saw the movie, it didn’t hit me until late (HI, ELEVATOR SCENE), but it hit me hard when it did. The intimacy in that elevator scene goddamit it—it made everything click for me. Not just the shipping but like, the wholeness of their character arcs. They are both initially cast as loners who guard themselves really closely from others—from affection, from attachment, from any ties to another living thing. But in that elevator scene, it’s all there flashing in their faces. For the first time, Jyn looks soft and lost as he stares at him in the darkened space, a whole future they won’t get to live flashing before her eyes. For him, he looks at her like she’s the only person in the galaxy that matters, and for him too, it’s colored by this sadness of what if. How long has it been since he’s been touched like this? When was the last time he had someone he could love before now?
With the idea of intimacy, too, I would argue that they both let their guard down around one another in a way they don’t with anyone else. Cassian is supposed to be this cool-headed, seasoned solider and spy, but he meets Jyn and is almost immediately running around, disobeying orders, screaming her name, saving her at all cost to his own life and to the cause. Maybe this is how he’s always felt about things, but he’s been able to push it all down before. He can’t with her. She’s triggered something in him that makes him feel. Jyn can also read him like no one else can. He’s an open book in her hands.
And for Jyn, because he’s shown her the first semblance of trust in years, the fact that he just refuses to ever leave her behind, opens her up. Even with Saw, she puts on this air of “don’t care” (“It’s not a problem if you don’t look up”). Again, the personal space issues! The touching and closeness (she touches his arm when they get the clearance to enter Scarif; she notes how he smells [of blaster oil and Eadu dirt]; elevator, beach, he’s the most beautiful person she’s ever seen etc etc.).
He makes her care about someone again because he cares for her. If you watch the scene on the beach when they hold hands—note how Jyn reaches for his hand first. But when she does, it’s tentative and unsure. He senses her hesitation and then he reaches out and takes it.
And the hug to end all hugs. I can’t even.
With most of what I ship, it’s usually the unrealized potential that sets my brain on fire. I love a good established couple (Baze and Chirrut) but because they seem to have had their happiness or their happy ending, it doesn’t tug at the heart strings as hard. I don’t actively ship because I don’t have to wonder. To quote one of my favorite shows, Veronica Mars:
And I still contend that I’d ship them just as hard if they had survived and the ending of Rogue One hadn’t given us an explicitly romantic ending (kissing, declarations) because it would still be unrealized potential. Their deaths just make it more tragic and force more sad whale noises from my mouth.
Veronica: Come on. Ruined lives? Bloodshed? You really think a relationship should be that hard?
Logan: No one writes songs about the ones that come easy.