Shipping, initially derived from the word “relationship,” is the defined by the Shipping Wiki as “the desire by fans for two people, either real-life celebrities or fictional characters, to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise.”
Why ship? Because it’s LOVE! Everyone wants it to feel it, even if it’s vicariously through your favorite fictional characters, like those from a galaxy far, far away. Today being Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!), let’s take a look at the phenomenon of shipping as it pertains to The Force Awakens.
Shipping can involve virtually any kind of relationship: from the well-known and established (like Han Solo and Princess Leia), to the ambiguous or those undergoing development (like Finn and Rey), and even the highly improbable or blatantly impossible (like Rey and Kylo Ren).”
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it took a mere 15 minutes to determine which character pairings would be popularly shipped by fans. Let’s examine each of the TFA ships…
Reylo – Supporters of this ship want Kylo Ren and Rey to hook up. It’s all because of the interrogation scene and the perception of sexual tension in that moment: the soft voice, the suggestive binding, the “Don’t worry, I feel it, too…”. Fans have derived numerous justifications that Reylo is canon which are all based on storytelling, and literary device structure (Death and the Maiden Motif ). The Reylo ship exudes a forbidden love filled with much temptation, which is a standard-bearer story motif throughout the Star Wars saga.
The problem with the Reylo ship is that Kylo Ren and Rey may be related, either as brother-sister or cousins, although that theory has been debunked by JJ Abrams (source). But the likelihood that Rey is NOT related to the Skywalkers or Solos has nothing to do with the ship. It’s about Rey and Kylo being exciting characters.
StormPilot – Finn, former Stormtrooper FN-2187, and Poe Dameron, the best pilot in the galaxy. Most fans that ship these two are saying it’s about time. The scene that sparked the ship is the “jacket hug” when Poe says, “Keep it. It suits you.” JJ Abrams says that there will be gay characters in Star Wars (source).
The problem with StormPilot is that Finn may be in love with Rey — but shipping isn’t necessarily binary. But it is outside of the purview of the story. Stormtroopers have no lives. Attraction is not drilled in their minds. Reconditioning can happen when individual attributes are manifested. It seems the First Order had seen this action. If Finn has “awakened” as an individual, then it seems likely that he loves everyone. He loves Poe, but thought Poe died. He loves Rey, because she had the droid they were looking for. But he loves and protects because that is what good soldiers do. However a serious ship, not sure how he reacts with Poe or Rey. But Poe seems like the safest bet as a ship.
FinnRey – which is the Finn Stormtrooper (FN-2197) and Rey. People like this ship because it is two “good guys” – two heroes. Their dynamic is they stick together in a large part of the movie and Finn does what he can to say Rey when she’s captured by Kylo Ren and his men. He respects her. His actions can be seen in the movie.
Finn may not be the optimal counterpart for Rey until we know for sure in Episode VIII. Force users who have not seen many other Force users tend to gravitate toward one other as forbidden fruit. Unless Finn gets turned into a Force user, then it seems story-wise, that is not possible.
There are many other The Force Awakens ships (Hux and Ren for instance) that were not discussed and in the new movie there will be more. Getting into the shipping game is not difficult, but just understand to keep an open mind as it can get a little “out there”. Most of it is marked as adult, but the writers behind ships are actually kind people that have families and jobs, and as a hobby, they love to ship, write fan fictions and/or create fan art.