The highly anticipated Star War: The Last Jedi has everyone on the edge of their seats with excitement. Any news that comes out seems to make true fans happier, giving enthusiasts something to talk about until the movie’s release. Recently, it was reported that the upcoming film wouldn’t focus on a romance. When asked about the inclusion of romance in The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson said,
“[There will be] no one-to-one equivalent of the Han-to-Leia, burning, unrequited love. In our story, that’s not a centerpiece,”
The Star Wars franchise has always been ahead of the game when it comes to having a strong female character in a lead role, as well as refusing to force romances down our throats (except for Attack of the Clones). Despite this, many fans that were hoping to see a Han-Leia parallel are disappointed with The Last Jedi‘s lack of romance, and some would even go as far as to think that romance is important for the movie’s success. This is absolutely not true, and can be proven by the following examples of movies that succeeded without romance.
Mad Max Fury Road (2015)
One of the reasons Mad Max: Fury Road was so well received was due to the strong female lead, Imperator Furiosa. You could tell that she meant business, and had no time for hugs and kisses. Just like Finn and Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the relationship between her and Max developed throughout the movie, but didn’t turn into a love story.
Adding romance George Miller’s post apocalyptic movie would have taken impact away from Furiosa’s journey. She was there to be a strong lead woman, and the movie follows her mission to free a group of women from Immortan Joe. Had she kissed Max at the end of the movie, it would have been unnecessary and could have ruined the entire movie.
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $378,858,340
Logan is easily the best movie I’ve seen all year, and may go down as one of the five best comic book movies of all time. As I’m sure you’ll remember, there was no Jean Grey for Logan to fawn over and certainly no storylines featuring Storm as she wonders if her and Logan are going to finally kiss. It was a story about an old man helping his former mentor in the final last days of his life, while becoming a reluctant father to a daughter he didn’t know he had. Logan and X23’s storyline didn’t allow for romance, and was all the better for it.
There was absolutely no place for a romance in this movie. In fact, there was barely any room for moments of levity. Logan’s life has always been a tragedy, and his final days shouldn’t be any different. With Hugh Jackman’s time as Logan coming to an end, there was no way he could have ended his journey with a hopeful romance.
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $607,548,168
This trailer may look a bit dated and corny, but this is one of the greatest horror movies ever created. This is the reason people were and are scared to go in the water. The best thing about this movie is that you don’t see the mammoth shark until the end, adding more fear and allure to the creature – an element that was also used in the first Friday the 13th movie.
This was a movie of man vs beast. Where in the world could you have fit a satisfying romance that made sense without taking away from the lead character’s obsession with the shark? It just wouldn’t have worked.
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $470,653,000
Terminator 2 (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day is one of the most memorable and well received action movies of all time. I’d go as far as to say that without this movie, action movies still wouldn’t be taken seriously to the same degree. Terminator 2 showed the world that just because a movie is a high-budget action flick doesn’t mean it won’t have a deep and detailed story. While everyone may make fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice, he did an amazing job with very limited lines and sold his performance with a serious facial expression that sold his character’s lack of emotion perfectly.
Unlike the original Terminator, the movie’s sequel didn’t have a romantic subplot because it would’ve gotten in the way of Sarah Connor’s key objective: protecting her son at all costs. When Arnold sacrifices himself in the film’s final moments, she appears to be sad because she has lost a part of her family, despite the short time they spent together. The scene is emotional and impactful without the need for romance.
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $519,843,345
Disney has started a positive trend where female leads are no longer damsels in distress – instead firmly placing them as the real heroes of these stories. In Moana’s case, she was a princess but there was no suitor for her throughout the film. In fact, her love life wasn’t mentioned at all, as the film put a focus on the growth of her character instead. For her and her parents, it was all about prepping her for her future role as the leader of their tribe.
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $642,514,241
Before there was Disney’s Moana, there was Pixar’s Brave. In Brave, Merida was introduced to male suitors, despite having no interest in the matter. She rebelled against the idea despite her parents wishes, instead following her own path in life.
Had this movie ended with Merida picking a guy to fall in love with, the story would likely have sacrificed screen-time devoted to showing the powerful bond between Merida and her mother. More importantly, it would have taken away from the message of courage and independence. Merida wanted to live her life by her own rules and conforming wasn’t something she was willing to do. At the time time, Merida learned that she was being too stubborn and that stubbornness can be costly.
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $540,437,063
There have been many other box office hits like Silence of the Lambs, Tropic Thunder, and Saving Private Ryan that didn’t need a love story to become a classic. I applaud the writers and directors of Star War: Last Jedi for focusing on Rey’s journey without a romantic angle. With this subplot, there is more room for the character to explore her mysterious origin and allows Rian Johnson to focus on the ongoing battle between the dark side and the light. After all, what’s more romantic than fighting against the oppressive First Order by channeling all that is good within the universe?
Star Wars fans’ romance with the franchise continues with the release of The Last Jedi on December 15, 2017.
So, is it good news that Star Wars: The Last Jedi won’t have a romantic angle? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.