Did you ever watch a couple of on-screen buddies with great chemistry and think to yourself: “Whoa, there’s something more going on there …”? The smouldering subtext of potential soul mates keeps us coming back for more with the addictive tease of the "will they / won't they" question. The possibility of a pairing can trigger fans to create their own story arc, producing reams of fan fiction over the couples they "ship". Here we present some of our favourite character duos who never ended up together but totally should have.
Finn and Poe (Disney Star Wars, 2015–19)
You’ve got to admit that the best bromance in the Disney-era Star Wars trilogy is that of Storm Trooper-turned-rebel fighter Finn (John Boyega) and daredevil pilot/maverick Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). In fact, the chemistry between these two is so strong on screen that we whole-heartedly believe the writers missed a huge story arc by not taking this romantic tension to the next level. Aside from the many relationship parallels they could have made to Han and Leia from the original films (I love you, bro/I know, dude), both Isaac and Boyega have openly told media that they would’ve welcomed a Finn/Poe love plot. #FinnandPoeforever
Harry and Hermione in (Harry Potter, 2001–11)
Aside from a severe love of the alliteration that comes with a H&H love, this obvious coupling makes sense in so many ways. First of all, the Harry and Ginny romance was a random twist that was just there to fill the love interest void for Harry in Half Blood Prince when everyone else was coupling up. Ron – although lovable and goofy – just isn’t on the same level intellectually as Hermione. H&H understand each other – they both came from muggle families, they supported each other through that whole Horcrux hunting business, and even the queen herself (JK Rowling) admits that it probably would’ve made more sense to see those two together. Case closed.
Crowley and Aziraphale (Good Omens, 2019)
Good vs evil – ahhh the age old set up for a love that can never be. The demon Crowley (played by David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (played by Michael Sheen) have united to prevent the end of the world. They say opposites attract right? The “ineffable husbands” have struck up an “arrangement” that has blossomed over 6,000 years into a love more enduring than we mere humans could ever fathom. Regular lunch dates and the adorable use of pet names make these two feel like an old married couple. Their pairing potential was already recognised with a huge fan fiction following of the novel, and the television series leans right in, turning their bond into the lynchpin that holds the narrative together. Watch four minutes of their adoration and try to tell us you don’t want someone to look at you the same way that Crowley looks at Aziraphale.
Phoebe and Joey (Friends, 1994–2004)
Ross & Rachel, Chandler & Monica, Phoebe & Joey. For a soothingly predictable sitcom, it just works to have each of the six neatly coupled up. Also – Regina Phalange and Ken Adams are the best ones! (if you know, you know). Let me clarify: 1. They’re both quirky AF and would be super supportive of each other’s terrible creative pursuits (Phoebe can’t play any guitar chords and Joey is an abysmal actor); 2. they’ve consistently flirted throughout all 10 seasons; and 3. they’ve both played the field a LOT and can grow old together in the thumb of Joey’s great big hand-shaped mansion.
Jess and Jules (Bend it like Beckham, 2002)
There’s a rumour that director Gurinder Chadha originally did mean for Jesminder and Juliette to end up together in this 2002 rom com but changed her plans to avoid upsetting a conservative Indian audience. But the film is peppered with references that make us believe this rumour is definitely true – from their glaringly obvious chemistry (the scene at the bus stop!?), their jealous tension over their coach Joe’s affection (an obvious cover up for their hidden love) and the fact that both their mothers believe they’re in a relationship at various stages of the film. Sorry Gurinder – Joe should’ve stayed as the brooding coach and nothing more.
Missy and Torrance (Bring It On, 2000)
*SPIRIT FINGERS* This film is so intrinsically camp that we will never understand why the writers didn’t just let Missy and Torrance’s obvious love thrive. Missy was coded as queer from the start – the bitchy cheerleaders call her an “uber d*ke” during her tryout, she never shows any interest in dating any of the high school boys and she seems genuinely disappointed when Torrance starts flirting with her brother Cliff. Missy and Torrance’s chemistry is undeniable – they basically spend every waking moment together, constantly sleep over at each other’s houses – and remember how Torrance reacts when she sees Missy in her cheerleading outfit for the first time? We wish Cliff had moved out of the way and let the real romance happen.
Rory and Jess (Gilmore Girls, 2000-07)
Jess, Dean or Logan – every Gilmore Girls fan has a fierce position on which man Rory should have ended up with. The only logical answer is of course Jess Mariano. He arrives on scene with a leather jacket, a cynical attitude, and a folded paperback in his back pocket. His angsty edge breaks Rory out of her good girl constraints and gets her into trouble – the kind of trouble that helps her find herself. It’s Jess’ character development over the entire series that sees him become Rory’s best match. Not only do they have undeniable chemistry and a shared passion for literature, Jess is the only one of Rory’s significant beaus who really sees her. When she drops out of Yale he tells her, “I know you. I know you better than anyone else. This isn’t you”. It’s Rory who influences Jess to take his writing seriously, enough for him to publish his own novel. It’s Jess who gives Rory the idea to write a book about her childhood with Lorelai. And let’s not forget the way he looks at her – with the same sense of loving longing from season 2 right through to the 2016 Netflix revival. Dean didn’t challenge her. Logan brought out the worst in her. Oy with the poodles already! It was always meant to be Jess.
Xena and Gabrielle, (Xena, Warrior Princess, 1995-2001)
The bond between these warrior besties was the foundation of the series. The love they felt for each other was glaringly obvious – and often declared – but Xena and Gabrielle were never officially a couple. They kick ass side-by-side by day and pour their hearts out in emotional fireside chats at night. There are back massages, hugs, kisses and steamy baths (with more back rubs), not to mention multiple proclamations of never-ending devotion – this is the stuff of pure romance. The seductive subtext is so strong that many fans view this coupling as a 100% done deal, despite never having the satisfaction of explicit confirmation. In the finale (spoiler alert from 19 years ago) Xena dies. Her spirit promises to always remain by Gabrielle’s side, so in some weird ghost-human union they do end up together. They’ll just be enjoying less massages.
Troy and Abed (Community, 2009-15)
When people think of Community, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the irrepressible duo of Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) – their fantasy morning show jingle is still a permanent ear-worm after all these years. And the love between them is something beautiful that runs so much deeper than pure romantic love. It is the mutual understanding, respect for and joy they have for everything that makes up the other's quirky and unique personality. It is the imaginary worlds they build together. It is their fundamental differences that make them stronger as a pair. Both Troy and Abed had female love interests throughout the show but you always knew they were each other's true non-sexual life partner. And this makes Troy's sudden departure in season five all the more heartbreaking. Glover elected to leave the show to pursue the Childish Gambino aspect of his multi-faceted career. Although his send-off was moving and fitting, it left Abed hanging in the wind for the next season and a half before the show's eventual end, and us with a giant Troy shaped hole in our hearts.