It feels like Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures has been building to something big for a while now. At first I thought it was going to be the confrontation between the Jedi and Nihil, more specifically the confrontation with Krix Kamerat, but it looks like that wasn’t the end goal. Instead, this issue showcases how things have been more about the matters of the heart than intergalactic war.
This issue sees our heroic Jedi bringing Krix into custody, and what happens after they’ve completed their mission. For some, like Farzala and Qort, this means spending time with some new younglings and making friends, but for Lula it means a ton of introspection. I’d mentioned in a previous review that it felt like perhaps something romantic was brewing between Lula and Zeen, that it seemed like these two young women were more than just friends. Well, this issue does away with subtlety and makes this very much the focus.
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So yes, Lula and Zeen love each other; and honestly, I absolutely love this. Love stories have always been a part of Star Wars, and whether that was Han and Leia in the original trilogy, Anakin and Padme in the prequels, or Kanan and Hera in Star Wars Rebels, love has been a big part of this franchise. And in a lot of cases, love involving a Jedi. Jedi aren’t celibate, they’re allowed to have sexual relationships, and in some cases like Ki-Adi-Mundi are encouraged to. It’s love that’s the big no-no. Obi-Wan had to give up Satine, Anakin refused to give up Padme, and now Lula comes to the realisation that she loves Zeen. The question is, will she let that love go or not?
Lula’s questions are the focus of the issue, and it really does feel like someone in the early stages of love, questioning if their feelings are real, if they should say anything to the other person, and if their love could alter their life forever. Now, that last one might not be a feeling that everyone who’s been in love will relate to, but there is one group of people who will understand that: the queer community.
The love story between Zeen and Lula is very much leaning into the fact that they’re both women, but not in a way that’s incredibly obvious. None of the characters seem to care that it’s two girls in love, as you’d expect from a society made up of hundreds of different species. Instead, Daniel Jose Older uses the Force to make it relatable for queer readers. Zeen has a conversation with Krix where they talk about her connection to the Force and how she was told if she would “stop using the Force and it would go away. And we could be normal again”. If this isn’t a ‘Have you tried not being gay?’ stand in I’ll eat my hat.
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We get more of this from Lula, who feels that her love for Zeen could ruin her life, because she’s expected not to have that kind of connection, because her life has been planned out for her, because people have put the expectation on her that she’ll become a Jedi. This immediately made me think about how families expect that their children are going to be heterosexual, so when you’re dealing with the knowledge that you’re not, you worry about whether or not they’ll accept that, because they’ve already mapped out in their heads that you’ll get married to someone of the opposite gender and have a family. The two of them are having a queer experience thanks to the Force and Jedi expectations.
This is honestly something that I’d never thought I’d see from Star Wars. The sequel trilogy did everyone a disservice by not letting Finn and Poe be a couple, and the ‘queer rep’ they praised themselves for in the final film was a blink and you miss it same-sex kiss in the background. Star Wars needs a queer relationship. Queer Star Wars fans need it to happen. Whilst the seeds for this have very much been laid here I truly hope that this isn’t going to be the end, that these two characters end up together, and that they actually get to kiss and have a happy ending. Because if Star Wars is dangling this in front of me and it gets taken away I’m going to lose it; especially if one of them dies. But hopefully this is the beginning of the first big queer relationship in Star Wars.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #13 is out now from IDW Publishing.