SPOILERS for Rogue One Ahead
The newest Star Wars movie is out, and it's a hit, pulling in $155 million in its opening weekend. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a series of historic firsts for the franchise. it's the first film in the series that isn't part of the episodic Skywalker Saga. It's the first film where none of the main characters are Jedi (and in fact, there are none ever seen on screen). And as it turns out, it could be the first Star Wars film with gay characters on screen.
That's the popular theory online about the characters Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe. The characters are "Guardians of the Whills, protectors of the Kyber Temple." An organization of elite and Force-devoted soldiers, the Guardians lived in Jedha City, a holy place for the Jedi, protecting Kyber crystals. Unfortunately, the Empire ravaged the holy moon, taking the Kybers to fuel their super weapons.
So, are Baze and Chirrut a couple, or just close comrades-at-arms? Well, the topic has certainly come up, and director Gareth Edwards isn't saying either way.
"I don't mind people reading into [Chirrut and Baze's relationship]. I think that's all good. Who knows? You'd have to speak to them," Edwards told Yahoo! Movies.
The fans that are "reading into it" cite the close give-and-take, and lines of dialogue like "I don't need luck, I have you" as their primary reasoning to "ship" the characters (meaning they're imposing/hoping for a relationship between them even if it's not explicitly stated). Of course, Chirrut also explicitly says "my friend" when addressing Baze.
They have more to read into in the novelization (pun intended), though like the dialogue of the film, it gives a mixed message. When Chirrut is walking through the firefight to activate the master switch, he thinks of Baze as "his brother and ward." But later in that same scene, when Chirrut lies dying, his stronger connection to Baze is underlined again.
"He wondered for a moment how Baze had crossed the battlefield to reach him. But of course the Force had reunited them before the end," Alexander Freed writes in the novelization. Baze's response, too, fuels the relationship fire.
"Once again, the Empire had stolen meaning from Baze. He might have screamed if not for the man he held.
"The Force is with me," he repeated. "And I am with the Force."
"He advanced on the men and women who had taken his past, his home, his friend, his hope, his faith; but he did not stray far from Chirrut."
So it comes again to the question: are they a gay couple? Ultimately, it doesn't matter to the story - friendship or romantic relationship, they're close and will be fan-favorites. Leaving it instead open to interpretation gives fans the chance to be a part of the story.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.
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