Rogue One: Are Chirrut and Baze Star Wars's first same-sex couple?

Tom Butler
UK Movies Editor

‘Rogue One’ is unlike any other ‘Star Wars’ film that’s come before for many reasons, but one of the most exciting is the diversity of its cast. From its female lead, to its international roster of actors from all around the world, it’s clear the franchise has come leaps and bounds from the original trilogy with its sole non-white character – Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian.

Beyond the characters’ ethnic backgrounds though, same-sex couples are still apparently absent from the ‘Star Wars’ movie universe… or are they? Could ‘Rogue One’ also feature the franchise’s first same-sex screen couple, too?

Why two actors play Darth Vader in Rogue One
Rogue One trailer scenes that aren’t in the movie
Rogue One earns rave reviews

Certain corners of the internet are already shipping Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) as a couple and, having seen the film twice now, there’s definitely a closeness and bond between the two that seems to transcend friendship, so we had to ask ‘Rogue One’ director Gareth Edwards whether this was intentional.

“I don’t mind people reading into [Chirrut and Baze’s relationship],” Edwards told Yahoo Movies in our  video interview above.

“I think that’s all good. Who knows? You’d have to speak to them.”

Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen as Jedha natives Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe – Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Death Star overseer Orson Krennic, says he’s happy that people are able to interpret the film how they want.

“I think Chirrut and Baze are an enormously entertaining part of this film,” Mendelsohn told us.

“I found them thoroughly enjoyable. Any [gay] subtext, I think, is certainly… people like to enjoy these films on many different levels, and if people are enjoying it on that level – that’s it. That’s what you pay your ten bucks for, as it were, so good for them.”

After the release of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2015, many were quick to ship John Boyega’s Finn with Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, but this imagined romance was later denied by Boyega who told Shortlist: “It’s so not true. Oscar [Isaac] wishes it was though, it’s all in his head. It’s a brotherly love, a bromance, that’s for sure.”

Chirraze? Bazrut? Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

JJ Abrams, the director behind ‘The Force Awakens’, later confirmed same sex couples would appear in the franchise somewhere down the line. “I would love it,” he told The Daily Beast. “To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”

For British ‘Rogue One’ star Riz Ahmed, he feels it’s cinema’s duty to represent all walks of life on screen.

“This just feels very natural and right,” Ahmed who plays defected Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook told us, “It’s 2016, this is what the world looks like in 2016. These days when you tell a story you tell it to the world whether people are watching it at home or in multiplexes around the world. You tell a story: you’re telling it to everyone. So it makes sense that our stories are as diverse as the audiences that are going to see them.”

Dunkirk: Watch the first trailer
Despicable Me 3 trailer
Rizzle Kicks’ secret Star Wars cameo

“In this day and age,” adds Edwards, “Films like ‘Star Wars’ should reflect the whole world. You’ve got things from like robots to talking fish in the movie, you at least need to represent the rest of the world.”

‘Rogue One’ is in UK cinemas now. See more from our exclusives interviews below.