One of the most memorable dialogue exchanges in all of cinema happens in Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo is being lowered into the carbonite mold and frozen alive. Princess Leia, overcome with despair at what’s about to happen to Han, finally professes her feelings with a hasty and frazzled “I love you!” Solo, never one to lose his cool, simply responds “I know.”
It’s one of the most iconic scenes in the Star Wars franchise and, looking back on it almost 40 years later, would set the tone for how romance should be handled in Star Wars. When Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones was released in 2002, another romance was introduced: Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. Their relationship would inevitably end in the death of Amidala and Skywalker morphing into the menacing Darth Vader, but it was still a romantic arc that director George Lucas wanted to include.
There hasn’t been that kind of romance in the new trilogy yet. Star Wars: The Force Awakens revealed that Solo and Leia’s romance didn’t last as long as fans may have hoped, and the two had been separated for quite some time. The only hint of a new romantic relationship that seemed to spark interest among fans was between Finn and Rey — or Finn and Poe Dameron, depending on which Tumblr sites fans visited — but nothing ever came of it.
Talking to Vanity Fair, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson said there won’t be any major romances in the new film, either. Johnson was adamant there were “no one-to-one equivalent of the Han-to-Leia, burning, unrequited love.
“In our story, that’s not a centerpiece.”
Whether or not that means there may be some more teasing between the characters leading up to Episode IX is uncertain, but those who wanted to see a little more spark between characters will be sorely disappointed.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on Dec. 15.