Even more vicious than the take-no-prisoners, intergalactic wars of Star Wars, are the take-no-prisoners interweb shipping wars of Tumblr.
A “ship” happens when a bunch of people online, get it in their heads that two fictional characters belong together and should have sex. A shipping war follows when groups of shippers try to ruin a competing ship by calling the other side racist, homophobic or pedophiles.
The new Star Wars trilogy is turning out to be fertile ground for a Tumblr shipping war. A multiethnic cast of sexually ambiguous characters means there’s plenty of fodder to call someone a racist. Ships are discussed on various tags on Tumblr, while those against the ship use “anti” tags.
One of the most popular ships on the site currently is Poe Dameron, the intrepid X-wing pilot and Finn, the reformed stormtrooper. The portmanteau for the ship is either PoeFinn or stormpilot.
Some stormpilot shippers believe the latest Vanity Fair cover offers proof that Poe and Finn are totally going to bang because Finn is wearing Poe’s jacket and belt buckle.
Sure Poe had already let Finn keep his jacket at the end of Episode VII, but the implication of the clothes swapping is that PoeFinn are such casual lovers, they unquestionably share each other’s clothes.
And Poe gave Finn some super thirsty eyes when he gave him his jacket.
Some stormpilot shippers are worried that Vanity Fair is just “queerbaiting” them. Queerbait is the term homosexual shippers throw out whenever their gay ship doesn’t pan out. The show Sherlock received a ton of flak by shippers when the series concluded and Sherlock Holmes and John Watson still had not had gay sex despite the imagined subtext.
A common motif of Tumblr shippers is that they believe any physical expressions of friendship between two men, automatically equals gay subtext.
But stormpilot is only one of many, many competing Star Wars ships. Probably the most reviled ship at the moment is Reylo, Kylo Ren and Rey. Some Tumlrites are calling this ship racist because it denies Rey a relationship with Finn (black) or Poe (Latino). And of course Kylo Ren is a disgusting, thin-lipped white man.
A more politically correct ship for Kylo Ren is Huxlo. The merging of Kylo and General Hux, the forgettable imperial officer played by Domhnall Gleeson.
Another interesting ship developed with the introduction of a new character, the rebel fighter Rose Tico, played by Asian actress, Kelly Marie Tran. A small faction of Rose/Rey shippers has coalesced, furiously writing saucy lesbian fan fiction.
Here’s a random section from a random Rey/Rose slash fiction for your enjoyment:
“I’m a gamer bisexual,” Rey manages, eventually. She’s actually not sure how she transitions from ‘deep and convoluted comparisons involving Rose’s lips’ to ‘coherent response to the social situation at hand’, but it happens, and she doesn’t even say anything odd or embarrassing on the way there.
Unfortunately not everyone is willing to let the fictional lesbian romance exist in peace. Some FinnRey shippers are calling the Rose/Rey “anti-black” for denying the chemistry between a white girl and a black guy.
mental illness common belief of shippers, is that if they are able to use social justice to shame other and belittle opposing ships, the creators of the source material will somehow notice and reward them. The Reddit user Bokai, wrote a comprehensive explanation of this twisted thought process and the anti-shipper strategy to smear other shippers.
So with all this shipping, and anti-shipping, the actual reality will probably be pretty boring. Finn and Poe will almost certainly just be friends, Rey may kiss Finn at some point, Kylo probably won’t kiss anyone, and no Star Wars movie has ever had a sex scene.
What will be funny however is the upcoming meltdown on Tumblr when one ship does not pan out because the character chooses another, known as a shipwreck. This usually results in a harassment mob targeting screenwriters or even the actors themselves, like with Arrow and Supernatural.
Keep it classy, Tumblr.