#RomanceGate - A Survival Guide
Okay, so I know a lot of people in the Reylo fandom are hurting right now. I have closed my ask box because I was only getting the same questions over and over again, and I felt it a better use of everyone’s time for me to just put together one big post covering what I reckon are people’s main questions.
1. What actually happened?
This was published in a web-only article on Vanity Fair:
FIVE THINGS THAT ARE NOT IN THE LAST JEDI
A big, central-to-the-plot romance. For all the fan-fiction fantasies of “Reylo” (an imagined union of Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren) or “Stormpilot” (the same, for John Boyega’s ex-stormtrooper Finn and Oscar Isaac’s pilot Poe Dameron), Johnson says that The Last Jedi offers “no one-to-one equivalent of the Han-to-Leia, burning, unrequited love. In our story, that’s not a centerpiece.”
And, on cue, all hell broke loose.
2. Oh my God! Does this mean Reylo is dead?!
It means we’re not going to see a full-on romance between Rey and Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi. It doesn’t, however, mean that we’ve been seeing things or that Rey and Kylo aren’t important to each other’s stories. We have lots of good reasons (in TFA and in external stuff like the Databank) to believe that they are. There’s still a fascinating and compelling dynamic there, and we know that The Last Jedi is going to explore that in more depth. The Vanity Fair quote just means that the dynamic won’t be blooming into a passionate love affair in Rian’s movie.
3. So there’s no romance whatsoever in The Last Jedi?
We don’t know. Rian’s quote simply says that there’s no analogue to Han and Leia’s central love affair, but that doesn’t mean there’s no romance at all. It’s perfectly possible that they will subtlety allude to attraction and tension between Rey and Kylo without that developing into a full-on romance. But again, don’t take that as a promise - it’s a possibility, not an inevitability.
4. So, does that mean we should pin all our hopes on Episode IX?
I don’t think we should pin our hopes on anything. The best way to enjoy these films is going to be to try and go in with as few expectations as possible, and take them on their own terms. There is, of course, a chance of Reylo becoming romantic in Episode IX, but I would advise against counting on that or believing it’s inevitable. We can’t think that far ahead without seeing The Last Jedi first.
5. What happens to the Reylo fandom?
It should 100% continue. Period. I want to see it flourish and thrive. I want to see people write their stories and create their fanart. I want people to discuss the characters at considerable length and be excited about seeing them again in The Last Jedi. And I really don’t think this news should affect how we engage with fandom at all. I do think it should make us moderate our expectations for what we’ll see in the films, but we absolutely should not let it kill our enjoyment of the characters and their dynamic.
6. How do you feel about this?
Personally, I’m mostly annoyed because of the response that this news will inspire - it will unleash an onslaught of antis in the Reylo tag, gloating on fanboy enclaves, and outpourings of despair from shippers. All of these reactions are inevitable, and in the case of shippers’ feelings I totally understand the sadness and disappointment. I empathise, because I feel those things too. I’m the first person to admit that I let my imagination run away with me and set my hopes/expectations too high when it comes to Reylo, so the Vanity Fair quote came as something of a reality check for me. I’m a little sad, but I have absolutely no intention of quitting Star Wars or quitting Reylo fandom. I love Star Wars, and the Reylo fandom has been a cornerstone of my experience of it. I love what we create as a community, and my main concern right now is that we remain resilient and continue doing what we do best. Block antis and haters without prejudice. Try to be realistic, but still be enthusiastic and excited about seeing your faves on screen again come December. Most of all, remember that fandom should be fun - focus on the things that you enjoy about Star Wars and Reylo, keep on creating, and remain strong as a community. I’m not going anywhere, and I’m still just as excited for The Last Jedi as I ever was. Bring it on.