In a post-50 Shades of Gray world, it seems like mainstream coverage of fan fiction is all but inevitable. And sure enough, here comes the Atlantic with a look at the fic prompted by The Force Awakens, with a focus on perhaps the most controversial ‘ship of all: Reylo.
For those who have remained blissfully unaware, Reylo is the portmanteau (ahh, modern fandom) for Rey/Kylo Ren. It’s by far the most popular new heterosexual pairing for The Force Awakens on the major fandom fic archive, Archive of Our Own (aka AO3,) with 1330 works. Finnrey (Finn/Rey) may have more canon support, but less than 500 fics. (Just over 500 is Jedistormpilot, aka Rey/Finn/Poe.)
The Atlantic article is, as these things go, not bad. It at least touches on most of the major ships that are flooding AO3, and it’s pretty clear of the ‘teehee, girls writing gay sex’ subtext that we frequently saw back at the height of Harry Potter fandom.
That said, slash (male/male pairings) still rules modern fandom, and The Force Awakens is no different. Both major slash pairings for the film top Reylo and Finnrey combined, with tags for Stormpilot (Finn/Poe) and Kylux (Kylo/Hux) both hosting over 2000 works. These numbers aren’t scientific, of course – AO3 writers can and do tag multiple ships for the same works, and not all fics are even about ‘ships. But it gives you a general idea.
However, Star Wars has rarely followed general fandom trends, and a lot of what we’re seeing here on AO3 is a post-movie flood that’s likely to die down as other films (Captain America: Civil War is a likely candidate) divert attention. What will the fanfic landscape look like a year from now? Or by the time Episode VIII is launching trailers? Who knows.
In the interest of, um, science or something, feel free to recommend your favorite The Force Awakens fics in the comments. All pairings and ratings are welcome, just be clear with your labeling. (Yes, basic HTML works.)