If you add up all the movies, shows, books, comics, everything that makes up Star Wars, there's a lot of romances (and countless more potential romances, according to some) to be found. It's a big part of a lot of characters and storylines, and really shapes the course of events sometimes.
Romance is an extremely common (arguably the most common) feature of stories spanning time, genre, and medium. It defines stories more often than not, yet it can be used for various different means. To celebrate Valentine's Day, here are just some of the hats that romance wears in the galaxy far, far away.
Romance as Tragedy
This feels like the most obvious, and perhaps the most common one. Romantic tragedies are tales as old as time, and Star Wars has plenty. The most notable is definitely the one between Anakin and Padmé, which spirals into the events we see in Revenge of the Sith and creates the fearsome Darth Vader, as well as ending Padmé's life before she gets to really hold her children. There are plenty of other tragic romances in Star Wars, like Obi-Wan and Satine or the couple from the Star Wars Visions' short "Akakiri"- in fact, I'd say about every romance in Star Wars is tragic. It's a really great way to pull at the heart strings, and it works every time- take two people who love each other, and find the most painful way to rip them apart. It's a common, common story trope, and one that Star Wars seems to love.
The real thing that intrigues me with romantic tragedies is how much they can shape everything. With Anakin, his possessive love over Padmé really leads to changes in the galaxy, and not for the better. The connection between two people can be so powerful that they can, arguably, alter destiny, which I think is a message as beautiful as it is scary. In a romantic tragedy, love is just much a destructive force as it is a healing one.
Romance as Motivation
While we start with romance as tragedy in this article, that doesn't limit it to only being sad all the time. Romance can also be a strong motivator- which isn't always a good thing, like with Anakin and Padmé's story, but it certainly can be. For Lost Stars' Thane and Ciena, the love and connection that they have for each other motivates them to protect their partner- even when they find themselves on the opposite side of a war. Kanan and Hera are frequently motivated by affection for one another to save each other and continue their fight to make the galaxy a better place. Han stays motivated to keep going to rescue Qi'ra in Solo, and Qi'ra's love for him has her try to spare him from the criminal life at the end of that movie. In the case of Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress in Dark Disciple, love motivates them both- to do both bad and good things.
Love is a big motivation for countless characters. One of the biggest themes of Star Wars has always been having hope no matter how bleak things seem, and I think love is just a subgenre of that. The love that these characters share keeps them hopeful and optimistic for a future where it can just be their love, and this motivates them to keep going and stay hopeful no matter what. That doesn't mean love as a motivator is always sunshine and rainbows- again, look at how far Anakin took things, but it absolutely can be used to make things better.
Romance as Celebration
Finally, the happiest of the uses for romance, is for it to be shown in celebration. It's an everlasting trope- the good guys won, the evil was defeated, and two overjoyed characters celebrate by throwing themselves together for a kiss. We see it with Han and Leia, Iden and Del in Battlefront II, and plenty more characters throughout Star Wars. It's a trope that always makes me happy, and shows that for these characters, the fighting was all worth it because now the people that they love are safe. It's a really sweet trope, and definitely one I hope never ends.
What are your favorite Star Wars romances? Let us know in the monthly poll on the homepage and tell us on social media!