The most popular Star Wars ‘ships’ on AO3

Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel. Image courtesy
Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel. Image courtesy /

It’s February here at Dork Side of the Force, and that means Valentine’s Day! I thought it would be fun to see which characters fans have on their minds when it comes to romance. To do this, I pulled up my handy dandy Archive of Our Own account and started pulling up some numbers.

Archive of Our Own, or AO3 for short, is a Hugo Award-winning site where fans can craft fan works, mainly fanfiction. It’s an important part of fandom as anything on its site is protected under the banner of the Organization of Transformative Works to advocate for fans and their fair use of copyrighted material like Star Wars. They also have the legality to protect fans from corporate exploitation. That’s a fancy way of saying Disney can’t sue you for writing about your favorite space wizards kissing like how other authors like Anne Rice did in the past.

This is a long way of saying I’m using AO3’s comprehensive tagging system to pull these top relationships or ‘ships.’ Keep in mind, though, as fans are always creating, these numbers are subject to change. It’s also determined by how things are tagged. One example I ran had Tech from The Bad Batch with more fics than Crosshair, but under different parameters, Crosshair had more. I pulled this from the general consensus of fics.

With that, I set off to see which romantic couples would be on top!

I started with the “All Media Types” tag for Star Wars. This tag covers everything from the Legends continuity to the Sequel Trilogy and everything in between. It was DOMINATED by the Sequel Trilogy relationships taking the top 6 out of 10 spots. So from there, I decided to start narrowing down the numbers by time period.

Going through the big three eras of Star Wars being the Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy, and the Sequel Trilogy, it’s where I started seeing more variables. What was also interesting to me was seeing what relationships have started to bubble up to the top from the supporting shows. For example, The Mandalorian is set in the Sequel Trilogy era and Star Wars Rebels is the Original Trilogy. But both shows overlap with other eras depending on the characters. In turn, Din is popping up in Original Trilogy fics while Hera, thanks to novels like Alphabet Squadron, will be in Sequel Trilogy works.

The Original Trilogy definitely had the main characters at the forefront. The ship of Leia and Han took the top spot followed by the pairing of Luke and Han. Han is a lucky guy here. Where it got more interesting was the next most popular ship in the Original Trilogy Era which was Padme and Anakin. Keep in mind that people write AU’s (Alternate Universe) in fanfiction. Many of these AU’s are stories like where Padme lives, Vader defects, Anakin never falls to the Dark Side, and so on. To round out the Original Trilogy was the slowly growing in fandom popularity ship of Luke Skywalker and Din Djarin.

Touching on Solo: A Star Wars story briefly, Han and Lando was the top ship of the movie. Though what was surprising at the time of writing was the Han and Qi’ra ship was tied with Leia and Han tagged under the movie’s section. Next was one of my personal favorite ships which is Qi’ra and Darth Maul. Yes! Please give me more of them. And to round out the top 5 were Lando and L3-37.

Moving on into the Prequel Trilogy, Obi-Wan Kenobi is definitely the “it girl” of this batch as he’s part of all of the top ships in this category minus Anakin and Padme who stole first place. In fact, Kenobi has the most fics written about him in this category with 23,500+. Anakin is in second place with most fics coming in at 16,000+. Obi-Wan’s pairings in order are Anakin, Qui-Gon Jinn, Commander Cody, Duchess Satine Kryze, and Padme rounding off the top spots. Padme and her handmaiden Sabe along with Bail and Breha Organa came in just behind.

With a focus on just Clone Wars, Ahsoka and Rex come in behind all the top Prequel Trilogy pairings. There are a lot more ships from the show like Barriss Offee and Ahsoka, Rex and Commander Cody, Commander Bly and Aayla Secura, and… Commander Fox and Quinlan Vos!? I didn’t even know they were a thing and I was pleasantly surprised to see them there!

With the Sequel Trilogy, there was no surprise for me that Rey and Ben Solo destroyed the competition with the top spot. In fact, they had 3 of the top 4 spots in the “All Media Types” tag with the mix of Rey and Ben Solo, Rey and Kylo Ren, and Rey and Ben Solo + Kylo Ren. They held these same spots in the Sequel Trilogy rankings. Taking the third and fifth spot was Hux with either Ben Solo or Kylo Ren followed by the ever-popular Stormpilot ship of Finn and Poe. Some of the other top spots were Rey and Finn, Rey and Poe, or the trio together in a throuple or an OT3 pairing. What did surprise me was I thought for sure the top female/female pairing would have been Rose Tico and Rey. I was shocked to see them second under Rey with Resistance pilot Jessika Pava.

To touch on other parts of Star Wars that aren’t some of the big movies, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Resistance, and The Bad Batch had their standout ships as well. No surprise that Kanan and Hera took the top spot for Rebels, but my sweet boyfriends Zeb and Kallus snagged second place with Ezra and Sabine following them. Star Wars Resistance had Kaz and Neeku win the top romance on the Colossus with Tam and Synara following.

The Bad Batch ended up being a heck of a contest! In that little corner of the fandom Character/Reader fics are big. What that means is the story is written where a character from the show is in a relationship with the reader of the fic. ALL of the top ships for The Bad Batch were Character/Reader fics! Which of the Batch members came out on top? Tech, my sweet nerd boy! Crosshair was second followed by Hunter then Wrecker, and I was surprised to see Echo last in this category.

Another show that was dominated by the Character/Reader ship was actually The Mandalorian. Din Djarin/Reader was the top relationship for the show’s tag. Following it up was the previously mentioned Din Djarin and Luke Skywalker ship. Cobb Vanth wasn’t too far behind as the main beau for our titular character. Rounding off the top romances for Din were Boba Fett, Cara Dune, and Omera from season one.

Din was also the top pick for Boba for The Book of Boba Fett, though granted, a lot of that is the crossover between the two shows. When excluding The Mandalorian from the tags, Boba/Reader and Boba/Fennec Shand come in as the top picks. There’s also a handful of Cad Bane/Reader on there too. I see you all! Cad Bane’s my favorite bounty hunter too, and I’d read those fics!

I am going to mash Rogue One and Andor together because they do have a lot of crossover for ships. In both categories, Cassian and Jyn Erso are the main ship. For Rogue One, everyone’s favorite Space Dads Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus took the next spot. They were followed by my personal favorite Rogue One ship to write myself, Bodhi Rook and Cassian. Though, very interesting to see at the number seven spot is a mighty niche ship in the Rogue One fandom which is the romantic relationship between Luke Skywalker and Bodhi Rook. I don’t know for sure if this was the first fic to write the couple, but the fic “I guess I’ll know when I get there” by Eisoj5 is the 8th highest-ranked Rogue One fic by kudos on Ao3. For context, kudos are a way to show you like a fic, and that one is all about Luke and Bodhi’s relationship. This is one of those fics that everyone in the Rogue One fic fandom has at least heard about. I’ve read it and it’s very good! It definitely deserves that spot.

To round out the rest of Andor, Cinta Kaz and Vel Sartha took the top spot followed by Ruescott Melshi and Cassian. Tay Kolma and Mon Mothma surprised me. Not because they were on the list but because they outranked Dedra Meero and Syril Karn. A lot of times fans like it when their baddies are making bigger bangs than the Death Star super laser, so it was shocking to see them rank under Mon and her quote-unquote “friend.”

And finally, tackling Star Wars’ newest era is a bit harder to do. The High Republic still doesn’t have a unified main tag so it’s all split up by the separate books and comics. Here are some of the highlights from the various works that I found when cross-checking everything. Avar Kriss, Stellan Gios, and Elzar Mann dominate most of these tags either paired off in couples or as a throuple. Phase II’s Vildar Mac and Tey Sirrek have quickly shot up through the ranks to firmly position themselves in High Republic fic lore. Emerick Caphtor and Sian Holt from Trail of Shadows own that pocket of comic space with Lula Talisola and Zeen Mrala taking the younger comics slots.

What is fascinating from this era are the non-canon fanon couples that have popped up. Reath Silas and Bell Zettifar have become a fan-favorite couple, and they’ve yet to be together in a book. I think the closest they’ve been is Bell mentioning a transmission from Reath in The Rising Storm. But the highest-ranking fan-made couple is Kantam Sy and Cohmac Vitus. The funny thing about these two is they were a ship floating around for about nine months before it was even announced Kantam and Cohmac were going to both be in Midnight Horizon together. While they aren’t romantic in the book, it was a neat coincidence that some fans guessed they were at least friends. And honestly, there are several romantic tropes in that book. I mean they shared one speeder bike and were hidden in tight quarters together. The fics write themselves here.

And that is the rundown of roughly the top romantic ships in Star Wars fanfiction at this time. Were there any surprises for you? Who are some of your favorite ships? Let us know in the comments!