So, we now know that Finn and Poe will definitely not be overtly a couple in Episode IX. This has been addressed head-on by cast and crew ahead of the film’s release. I’ve been thinking about this and why I find it particularly upsetting. (I should say, I’m not even a hardcore FinnPoe shipper. I think they are adorable and obviously in love, but I ship Poe with just about anyone and it’s not something I seek out fic or fanart for. This isn’t about me being upset that my OTP didn’t set sail.)
For me, the upset is because it seems like a much more conscious decision of exclusion. Not even thinking about including queer characters is one thing (still a bad one), but they know what they created with FinnPoe. They leaned into it. The fact that they even felt the need to address it at all, shows that they aren’t oblivious to it. But they still refuse to actually acknowledge it on screen.
Some people have talked about John and Oscar queerbaiting, but I don’t think it’s fair to put that on them. Especially not Oscar, who has been very vocal about wanting to see them be shown as boyfriends on screen. But for JJ to have said a couple of years ago that it’s time to have LGBTQA+ characters in Star Wars and have the do nothing with the PERFECT OPPORTUNITY is frankly disgusting. It’s cowardice or bigotry. Either way it ends up the same.
I’m lucky. I have family and friends who have always been supportive of my sexuality. And representation would still mean the world to me. Can you imagine how much it would be to a little kid who doesn’t have that support? To someone who is struggling? Who can’t come out to their family? Who gets bullied at school? Who is constantly told that queer people are lesser than? For them to see two heroic leads in one of the biggest movies of all time? That can be life-changing. It can be *lifesaving*.
I don’t know if it was LucasFilm, JJ, Kathleen, Disney or some combination who made this decision. But however it played out, it was deliberate and shitty. And it hurts.