Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an incredibly diverse portrayal of humanity across the galaxy, with one notable exception — there are no LGBT characters onscreen. However, could one of our new The Force Awakens heroes step up to fill that void?

This article is full of spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Read at your own risk!

The afternoon before the release of the most anticipated movie of — well, let’s call it all time, shall we? — the three young heroes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk to America’s BFF about the experience that’s already changed all of their lives forever. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are a dream come true for a new generation of Star Wars fandom — they’re fun, smart, charming, unjaded and relatively lacking in celebrity polish. They’ve become ours, instantly, and watching any press with them is a delight. However, on Ellen’s couch last Thursday, a conversation took place that I’m kind of surprised isn’t making world news.

After a lighthearted chat about filming locations and Boyega’s impersonations, Ellen implores the cast to spill the beans on whether we’ll see romance between any of the trio in the new movie. Oscar Isaac, who plays Princess Leia’s top Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, is the first one off the marks, explaining “I think it’s very subtle romance that’s happening. You know, you have to just look very close — you have to watch it a few times to see the little hints. But there was.” Isaac sounds seemingly honest with this statement, then goes on to make a few jokes with the others of the ‘we can’t spoil you, so we’re getting ridiculous’ variety. However, Ellen comes back to Isaac to confirm: “So it’s subtle, but you were playing romance. When we’re watching you, that’s what we should be aware of.” Here’s where it gets good — Isaac agrees, but teases that he won’t say with which character, gesturing between Ridley and Boyega.

Hmmmmmmmm.

Look. I know what you’re going to say. Isaac could have easily been talking about the seeds of potential romance between Boyega’s Finn and Ridley’s Rey — only really hinted at when Finn asks Rey, rather worriedly, if she’s got a cute boyfriend to get back to – and maybe turned the heat onto himself as a joke to distract from Ellen prying at the others. He could have been talking about Poe’s deep passion for flying, or his adoration of his droid, BB-8. We all feel pretty strongly about BB-8. But if you’ve seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens already, you’ll know that, if Isaac was being serious, the romance that he mentioned playing as Poe was directed towards his male, not his female, co-star.

There’s every chance that Isaac wasn’t even trying to hide this fact. Maybe he was outright referring to Poe and Finn’s relationship as a romance in a tongue-in-cheek fashion — he even checks with Boyega who agrees, once they start messing around. But a) at this point, we didn’t know anything about how Finn and Poe would interact in the movie, so there was no big homoerotic subtext-y in-joke to wink and nudge elbows at, and b) Oscar Isaac really doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would play up a no-homo bromance for laughs. He may make a lot of dick jokes, but this is a man who also recently called out a journalist about trying to assign gender to droids, with an approach I’m starting to recognize as his trademark — he seems to address such issues head-on with a progressive, sharp and dead serious attitude, spun with just enough of a laugh to keep it playful, before bringing it back to the genuine point he wants to hammer home.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Maybe I’ve interpreted it wrong. Maybe this is Isaac’s idea of humor. Maybe he just has the world’s best poker face. But maybe, just maybe, there’s something in this, and if it’s real, it’s going to change everything.

It’s fascinating to me that Ellen uses very vague, non-heteronormative language and gestures to ask about the romance between any of the characters, rather than either man with Rey specifically. It’s fascinating that Isaac is the first one to jump on the answer, and it’s even more fascinating that after his jokes are over, she checks back in with him and makes sure to confirm his comments in a sincere manner. If you were to analyze the “evidence” further (Oscar Isaac wants a rainbow lightsaber, you guys!) you could wonder if there’s a possibility that she’d been let in on the secret by Lucasfilm’s PR, and if it had been requested that she guide the conversation in this manner to help lay the groundwork, but when you spend too much time thinking about that kind of thing, you begin to tread into conspiracy theory territory, which is not actually the point I’m trying to make. I’m not actually sitting here trying to convince you that Poe Dameron is gay. I’m trying to convince you that he should be.

Rewind for a minute. I hadn’t seen that Ellen interview when I first saw the movie — in fact, due to Australian time zones, I saw The Force Awakens before many spoilers had even hit the internet. So it was with no preconceived notions about these people that I sat down in the cinema — I actually hadn’t even seen the trailer. I wasn’t looking out for a potentially queer character, or a ship that everyone was hyped for — I knew nothing about what was promised in The Force Awakens except that it was going to be good, as I’d been too caught up in my experience watching the other six Star Wars movies. And it was good — better than. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an absolute triumph which rewards every second of love and energy that you’ve put into this franchise in the past, yet also stands on its own feet as a piece of cinema that holds up on its own. And then, there was him: Poe Dameron. Handsome, daring, feisty, viciously competent, sweet, elegant… and gay, some part of my own queer subconscious immediately whispered to me. I’m pretty sure he’s meant to be gay.

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Poe Dameron is the first hero of The Force Awakens — the movie opens on his story, and he’s the first character we root for. He’s introduced as the best pilot in the Resistance, implicitly trusted by Leia, tasked with finding Luke, and he immediately proves himself to be highly skilled, full of chutzpah, and very defiant of the First Order’s authority, even when captured and tortured. He’s, as Isaac has stated in press, got a mouth on him, especially when it comes to Kylo Ren, (a man he very likely grew up with, given his canonical off-screen backstory.) He’s unquestionably the space cowboy of this piece. In the past, a guy like this would display all the trappings of typical male posturing — just look at Han Solo. He’s pretty much the blueprint from which characters like this have been copied for the last 40 years.

But Poe isn’t like that. He’s different. In the best possible way, he has nothing to prove, and it makes for a very refreshing change. He’s an action hero without a chip on his shoulder. Poe is fearless, but not reckless. He’s compassionate, he doesn’t feel the need to pretend he doesn’t have feelings, even about his little droid. When he’s not whooping in delight while flying, he speaks softly and kindly. He’s confident about his abilities — “I can fly anything,” — but it never transgresses into cockiness, and he admits when he’s challenged. Rather than swagger, he moves with an old-Hollywood grace: in the moment where he climbs out of his X-Wing at the rebel base after the battle on Takodana, he looks like an aviator from the 1920s — all he needed was the silk scarf. He’s respected as a commander and beloved as a friend. He doesn’t have to be convinced to believe in things, or in people — there is nothing bitter or hardened about him, but there’s also nothing naive.

There’s nothing whatsoever to say that all of these admirable attributes can’t belong to a straight man, and, indeed, having Poe as a role model for upcoming generations of heterosexual masculinity sure would be nice. Regardless of sexuality, Poe Dameron is a fantastic, exciting, attractive, atypical portrayal of manhood, and I hope that it continues to be the case. But then, there’s the Finn factor to consider.

Finn rescues Poe from the First Order because he wants to use Poe as his chance to escape. Poe never once calls this out as self-serving, instead throwing himself all in with Stormtrooper FN-2187 and considering him an instant team-mate. His handling of Finn’s panic in their escape in the TIE fighter speaks volumes about Poe — he doesn’t condescend, he’s patient with offering instruction even in this life or death scenario, and he instantly interprets the disgusting treatment Finn has undergone up until this point, giving him the thing he needs most – a name, an identity, something to set him apart from the First Order. It’s the start of something beautiful… until it all comes crashing down. Literally.

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We then follow Finn for a large portion of the movie as he takes the gifts Poe left behind – a jacket and a name – and struggles on, presuming his first friend is dead. Interestingly, Oscar Isaac — who was hand-picked for the part by director J.J. Abrams — recently revealed that Poe was actually meant to die at this point, for real. That huge opening, and then he’s gone, leaving Finn to carry on his mission in his place. Well, Finn does complete Poe’s mission, but Poe got a reprieve anyway. Why? “Never mind. I’ve figured it out. You’re in the whole movie now,” Abrams came back to Isaac after initially offering him the role — death and all — in a Paris meeting. “Let’s say that it was in that conversation [in Paris] that we began to see a way that being in the movie would be worth his time and the audience’s,” Abrams stated cryptically. How curious. Could it perhaps be that they threw around some ideas about why this particular character could have an important legacy – that he might be able to represent something that’s never been represented in Star Wars before?

Right. Back to the facts. Poe, very much not dead, comes swooping in to save the day, and his reunion with Finn is where all the pieces about him click into place. Poe, healthy and whole, is revealed to Finn in a total romantic hero shot — the aforementioned 1920s aviator moment — and both men, who thought the other was dead, realize all at once that they’re not. It’s a literal screaming-each-other’s-names, running-into-each-other’s arms situation. No shame, no restraint, just relief. But when Poe pulls back and notices Finn is wearing his old leather jacket, that’s the clincher, because unless you’re so heteronormative that you still believe that Hannibal and Will are just buds, it looks like Poe likes what he sees, in a way that’s more than friendly. He even bites his own lip while admiring Finn. Well, hello there. From here on out, I was certain of two things: firstly, that Poe himself had absolutely had the potential to be canonically queer, and secondly, no matter what, that ship was going to sail like nobody’s business. Poe brings Finn to Leia, where he’s treated with trust rather than suspicion, and, as The Daily Dot points out, the next time the two men have to part, “the camera spins around them like something from a ballroom scene in a Regency romance, showing the two men pass through each other’s orbits before they leave for battle.” After Starkiller is destroyed, Poe is last seen running after Finn’s unconscious body as he’s wheeled off to medical.

As much as I’d love to see the new era of Star Wars end in a queer romance between two of its heroes, I still think that Finn/Rey is the canonical ship to beat here. My love triangle theory, if Poe is indeed gay, is that he’s attracted to Finn but won’t end up with him – through this plot, we’d learn that he’s queer, and it will either be heartbreaking or a “more (male) fish in the sea, still love ya, buddy” situation. Or maybe Finn won’t factor into it at all, and we’ll incidentally see Poe saying goodbye to a boyfriend or husband before his next mission, revealing that yes, in his private life, it’s all about the dudes, but it’s not a major part of this story. The non-love-triangle option might be less controversial for Lucasfilm, as it’s slightly less in-your-face, but given Isaac’s comments, it seems like Poe’s got it pretty bad for our favorite Stormtrooper.

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Another thing to note is that in times of yore, alpha-male characters like this would always end up with a chance to cement their manliness by proving to us that they want women, whether that’s by outright interactions with a girl, a comment to a pal, a metaphor. Poe? Nothing. Granted, there wasn’t a lot of screen time for this to happen in, but I’ve seen it shoved into less plausible scenarios. If they wanted to put it in there, they could have, and they didn’t.

As soon as I got out of the cinema, I was desperately searching Twitter and starting conversations with friends about whether anyone else had seen what I’d thought I’d seen. Plenty of people had latched on to the idea of Finn/Poe as a new OTP, which is totally fair, but it seemed like it was simply because they enjoyed the potential and the chemistry, not because they thought it might be real. Fandom is gonna ship as fandom always ships: with the glorious, transformative disregard for canon that has always been both its greatest strength (carving spaces for ourselves that were denied to us in the narrative) and its biggest downfall (no one takes us the hell seriously). I love fandom and I love queer interpretations of characters, but I never go into new franchises wearing slash goggles. Some people look for, or actively invent, queer pairings to ship in every fandom, and that’s fine, but it’s not me, and in this scenario, I’m more invested in the idea of this one character being gay, with no romance involved, than in shipping a queer ship that will probably never come to pass. However, I can’t deny that this one’s definitely got some textual fodder. In the week since The Force Awakens has come out, even the media has jumped all over the Finn and Poe “bromance” as the internet’s favorite new ship, but for all that, there still hasn’t been much serious discussion of whether this is a thing that is actually happening, even in a one-sided way.

I was ready and raring to come home from The Force Awakens and write this article on the spot, but it would have consisted mostly of me shouting “OMG! Poe should totally be gay! Why? Because I say so!” which, admittedly, may not have made much of an impact, and would have played right into the hands of those who stereotype us negatively for seeing a queer narrative where they see a straight one. So I slowed my roll, but as the week unfolded, more commentary about this situation began to make its way to me. When it came out in America, others who had immediately vibed the same thing came to talk to me about it on Twitter. A couple more articles were published – mostly about the shipping hype surrounding Finn and Poe, but one, from Bleeding Cool, was similar to my experience — a journalist who walked out of his screening having read Poe, specifically, as queer. And of course, there’s the Ellen thing, which is a whole other ball game.

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I started to consider how likely this idea was — whether it was something that Star Wars could get away with, or pull off. Isn’t that a terrible way to have to think about it? “Getting away with it.” “Pulling it off.” In a fictional universe full of hundreds of worlds, thousands of sentient beings in their various alien forms, where we see unspeakable horrors and ethereally magical moments take place, where we’ve seen male aliens leer over females not of their own species, we have to seriously think about whether they can “get away with” a man being attracted to other male human beings? It’s nearly 2016, and for some reason LGBT representation still feels like the final frontier in Hollywood, particularly when it comes to family-friendly content. We won’t forget the reaction any time soon to Marvel’s generous statement that they might be able to include a gay character in their movies… within a decade. And Disney owns Lucasfilm, just as they own Marvel. Is it the House of Mouse calling the shots here? Is being queer something they can’t expose their audiences to? They just showed us Han Solo — the Han Solo — being violently murdered by his own son. Is that meant to be cleaner, less hard to deal with? If they can “get away” with that, they can get away with anything. The ball is in their court — it’s their choice about whether they want to include queer characters in this world, as simple as that. Nothing is holding them back.

Optimistically, there have been a couple of un-Poe-related incidents recently that made my faith in what Lucasfilm is capable of, and how they want to present themselves, grow. I discovered that Sinjir Rath Velus, the lead character of Chuck Wendig’s new Star Wars tie-in novel Aftermath, is gay, and that Lucasfilm were nothing but supportive of the first queer hero in a Star Wars story. “There was no issue in terms of the Lucasfilm people. They have been very gracious and accommodating for that sort of thing, as they should be,” Wendig told EW. Transgender rockstar Laura Jane Grace posted about playing with the voice effects on her new Kylo Ren mask, and the official Star Wars twitter got involved in a conversation with her, even using the hashtag #TrueTransForceRebel, a spin on one of Grace’s most famous songs about her gender identity, True Trans Soul Rebel. A transgender support hashtag for Star Wars fans? Started by someone sitting in their marketing department? Is this real life? There’s now even a fan petition to get her a role in the next Star Wars movie. Between Wendig’s and Grace’s experiences, it sounds like someone higher up at Lucasfilm has made an active choice to approve that kind of direction for the public image of Star Wars, and you’ve got to admit, that’s a very hopeful message. Even if it isn’t Poe himself, I find it impossible to believe that this next Star Wars trilogy will end without us seeing any queer characters at all.

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“Some stories just have shoebills in them, without being entirely about shoebills. These are valid narratives to exist alongside (but not replace, and certainly are only possible after) narratives that center entirely on the presence of the shoebill.” Stay with me, folks. A shoebill is a bird, and this quote is a joke in a tumblr post by author Maggie Stiefvater, a little bit of commentary about the response to her own books. It’s a very astute metaphor about minority groups in fiction — some stories just have queer people in them, without being entirely about queer people. Star Wars could be, should be, must become one of those stories. I’m not saying that The Force Awakens hasn’t taken giant strides in the right direction already — it has, and we must thank Lucasfilm for that. It shows us women and people of color, all ages, doing all sorts of jobs in every faction, in a way that’s played as completely standard. But it’s kind of actually gone so far that, unless these movies plan to feature no romantic implications whatsoever, the lack of queer representation — in the background, the foreground, wherever — is soon going to stand out dramatically. With everything this franchise currently seems to stand for, I can’t see them making that mistake.

In a recent interview, Hamilton creator (and composer of TFA’s new cantina music!) Lin-Manuel Miranda was asked what it means for him to be called a game-changer, and he spoke about how what he likes to think about is the impression left on the young kids coming to see his diverse, genre-melding, bar-raising show. “I’m excited to see what that kid writes, because for them, Hamilton has always existed. And that’s just what musicals look like to them. So if Hamilton’s your default musical theatre experience, what are you gonna make?”

Imagine the new Star Wars trilogy as your default movie experience, starring Rey, the tiny, terrifying Jedi whose womanhood is never equated with weakness, Finn, the black, brave ex-Stormtrooper who made a choice not to kill for his captors, and Poe Dameron: alpha male, queer, Latino, the poster boy for the Resistance. Imagine growing up, from childhood, with those characters as your Luke, Leia and Han. Imagine the way that could help to shape hearts and minds and opinions. Imagine what it would allow, and what it would normalize. Imagine what the kids for whom this has always existed will be able to contribute to the world.

Star Wars has brought hope to millions for many years, and it’s bringing hope again now like never before. This one issue, which should be unremarkable and yet is still the most remarkable thing in the world, this is all that’s missing. You’re so close, guys. Follow through on this. Shine your Light on the LGBT community – give us the hero that we deserve. Any queer character would be a long-overdue win, but for the love of the Force, make it Poe Dameron. It’s all but there — all he needs is your blessing.

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‘Game of Thrones’ season 6 team-ups we didn’t see coming

We also thought a couple of the people were dead.

4:30 pm EDT, June 24, 2016

From enemies making friends, to dead people being not dead, Game of Thrones season 6 brings together many people we never expected.

Game of Thrones has given us many unexpected yet awesome team-ups over the seasons. We loved Arya and the Hound in season 3, as well as Jaime and Brienne, a pairing that’s still going strong. We got super excited for Tyrion and Daenerys to form an alliance, and when Sam and Bran met, we couldn’t help but squee since it was the closest thing to a Stark reunion we’d had.

Season 6 gives us even more surprising team-ups. Some we love, while others leave us scratching our heads. Here are the most surprising alliances of the season, from worst to best.

Ramsay and Smalljon

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Once we understood who Smalljon Umber was, it was definitely a surprise to see him want to align with Ramsay. The last we heard of the Umbers, they were staunchly supporting the Starks. Jon Umber merely laughed when Grey Wind bit his hand off, and Rickon went to the Umbers because of their Stark devotion. So what happened?

Truth is, we don’t really know why Smalljon switched allegiances. It seems as though he hated his father, but enough to want to betray the North? Why, and where did that come from?

The ambiguity of the allegiance change led fans to believe he was actually just pretending to align with Ramsay and would turn on him in the battle. But seeing as the battle has happened without a ‘psyche!’, it would seem Smalljon legitimately wanted to side with the Boltons. As surprising as an Umber/Bolton allegiance is, it’s nothing compared to the surprise Smalljon will feel at Ramsay’s defeat.

Margaery and the High Sparrow

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Unaware of her family’s new frenemies, Margaery made new frenemies herself. At least, that’s what we think. It’s not clear yet whether Margaery is faking her newfound divinity, but it’s probably safe to say she’s only siding with the High Sparrow so she can set herself free.

It would be more of a surprise to find out Margaery is truly a believer, since she hasn’t shown such beliefs before, and the turnaround seems too quick. If she is genuine, then I’m blue-eyed and made of ice.

Tyrion and the Masters

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Another frenemies alliance, though much more tenuous, and less friendly. In fact, it’s more of an agreement than an alliance, and it’s also one of the less exciting duos of the season.

Tyrion tries to make peace with the Masters, and while the conditions are fair and agreed upon, peace is short lived. As surprising as it is that a truce is made, it’s equally as unsurprising that it doesn’t last.

To be honest, the sooner the Masters and Harpy storyline is over the better. We definitely don’t want to wait seven years for a conclusion, so I say let them break the truce! That way Dany has a reason to annihilate them and get this over with.

The Lannisters and the Tyrells

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The two families that hate each other the most hit rock bottom. It’s the most desperate move either family has made: aligning with each other.

Cersei had all but lost control of her fate, and on the brink of losing Tommen she went to the Tyrells. Equally against a door without a Hodor, the Tyrells agreed.

It’s a tenuous alliance, yet it might be the most honest one we’ve seen. Both families admit to hating each other. Both admit they’re only using each other for their own gain. And both admit what that gain is. They both know it’s only temporary, and in a way, that makes it one of the strongest alliances. It’s juts unfortunate their common enemy is better than them.

Bran and Benjen

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It’s not such a surprise that Benjen would help his nephew. What is a surprise is that Benjen is alive to do so. Oh my gosh guys, Benjen is alive!

We waited six years for some kind of closure on Benjen’s fate, and we got it in the best way possible. First, Benjen saved the day. Second, he saved Bran, which means Stark reunion! Everyone loves a Stark reunion.

Tyrion and the dragons

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Tyrion was making friends all over the place this season! Not only did he try and make peace with the Masters, he also tried to make peace with Dany’s dragons. I’d wager the dragons are easier to befriend.

It’s a tense scene when Tyrion goes down to see Viserion and Rhaegal. We’ve seen Drogon’s temper, so we couldn’t be certain how the other two would react to a stranger. Evidently Tyrion is a dragon whisperer, because he leaves the dungeon unharmed and presumably having gained some of their trust.

This moment is particularly exciting because we know Tyrion has dreamed of riding a dragon, and as of yet, we don’t know who will have the honor of riding Viserion and Rhaegal. It’s possible this is setting up a future where Tyrion will finally live his dream. Can you imagine Cersei’s face if Tyrion flies over King’s Landing on a dragon? Now that’s something to dream of.

The Hound and the Brotherhood Without Banners

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First it was (kind of) a surprise to see Sandor Clegane back and healthy, but even more surprising is who he ends up aligning with. The men who tried to kill him all the way back in season 3 are now asking him to join their group. Somehow it actually makes sense.

The Brotherhood Without Banners are a fairly open-minded, easy-going bunch. They recognize the Hound’s win means they lost and that’s that. But more importantly, they see the Hound for the changed man he is, and what value someone like him can give them. His past be damned, it’s his present that’s important, and I for one am all for this new and improved Brotherhood.

The Wildings and the Night’s Watch

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Maybe a Wildling and Night’s Watch alliance isn’t that surprising, or at least, it isn’t so surprising now. The Wildlings and the Night’s Watch have been enemies since long before Game of Thrones started, so any kind of truce between the two seemed as likely as dragons existing.

But dragons do exist, and an alliance has happened, and it’s happened naturally, largely because of Jon Snow. He understands they don’t have to be enemies, that they actually have a common enemy, and he’s established a relationship with them.

Yes we saw the peace between each group coming, but historically, this feud and hatred has run deep, so to finally see the fighting end in season 6 is something to take note of and celebrate.

Daenerys and Yara

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Unarguably the best duo that comes out of season 6 is Daenerys and Yara. It’s incredibly random and was thrown at us out of left field, and if you’d heard Dany and Yara would team up before seeing it, you probably would have squinted your eyes in confusion and shrugged in disinterest. Yet here we are, loving this new alliance, and I can already hear the keys typing as fanfic rolls out in droves.

You don’t have to ship them romantically to ship them. Even Dany ships them, though it’s probably much more literal for her. Yara says all the right things to get on Dany’s good side, appealing to her feminist nature, and dissing their daddies. And like everyone else who’s come across Daenerys, Yara is clearly taken by the beautiful dragon lady.

It’ll be interesting to see how long this alliance lasts and what they can accomplish together, especially with the impending arrival of Euron and his 1000 ships. Hopefully it’s just the start of an entire lady takeover of all of Westeros.

Which surprising new team-up were you most excited about?

Cap and Bucky are finally having sex — in a new porno from Men.com

"In heroes we thrust."

1:30 pm EDT, June 24, 2016

Forget those no homo scenes in Captain America: Civil War (did Steve and Sharon have to kiss?). It’s about to get really homo between Cap and Bucky.

Men.com — a site visited by those looking for gay porn, and those who get curious about what could possibly be found at “Men.com” — has announced a new series of Captain America-themed pornos starring Cap, Bucky, Black Panther, Nick Fury, and Agent 13.

The first scene starring Cap and Agent 13 was released earlier this week, but Men.com is now promising that a scene between Cap and Bucky has been shot and will be released in the weeks ahead:

As if this is a freakin’ Marvel movie, Men.com has released a slew of character posters for their Captain America porno series:

The Cap/Bucky video is sure to be a popular one since fans have been clamoring for these two to become on-screen lovers for years. One of the most exciting aspects of watching a Cap/Bucky porno will be learning who tops and who bottoms. SPOILER ALERT: Based on a NSFW trailer, it looks like Cap will be the one bottoming in his scene with Bucky. In another scene Cap tops, which means that Steve Rogers probably lists himself as “vers” on Grindr. Nice!

Men.com is no stranger to parodies. They released an X-Men parody earlier this year. (I only know that because I visited the site today and saw it listed. I swear.)

Brush up on your world history before you see Independence Day: Resurgence and find out what’s happened in the last 20 years before Independence Day 2.

Independence Day saw the Earth invaded by aliens in 1996. Thanks to a few brave souls, namely Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), their attack was thwarted and the mother ship was blown to smithereens.

But as Resurgence has shown us, these creatures are far from extinct. We’ve had 20 years to use the technology we salvaged from the first attack to prepare for a second one, and we put that time to good use. Will it be enough?

Between the prequel novel Independence Day: Crucible and the website WarOf1996.com, we can piece together the events of the last 20 years to find out how we got to where we are today, in 2016, for Independence Day: Resurgence.

The world rebuilds (1997)

Don’t expect to see the world you’re used to in Resurgence. It took a year, but the rebuilding began in earnest and I’m hoping we’ll get updated versions of all those famous landmarks that were destroyed in 1996. Before they’re destroyed again, that is. It would be cool to see an Earth that looks alien to us (pun intended), and it’ll help show how the world has changed since the first movie.

The Earth Space Defense program is established (1998)

The United Nations created the ESD to prevent any more alien attacks. The program is a global effort and world-wide recruitment launched at the same time. Here’s to hoping this means there will be plenty of diversity in the sequel. It will be nice to see the world working together in a concentrated effort against the aliens, especially given our own global issues, though don’t expect everyone to get along. We’re only human, after all.

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New weapons are developed from alien technology (2003)

Though there was some push against developing weapons using alien technology, they eventually proved fruitful. We defeated them once before without the use of this technology, so now that we have it, we should be better prepared, right? What I want to know is if they’ll have better control over the weaponry than we will, and if we’ll have to go back to the basics. All that time and effort wasted would be a disappointment, but we banded together using a simple virus and Morse code once before. We can do it again.

Rumors of an alien prison are circulating (2005)

In the original movie, a secret base was revealed to President Whitmore, who was shocked this sort of information had been kept from him. The ESD offers no comment on these rumors, making me think they’re not only true, but that the government is definitely involved. The trailer certainly provides footage that supports this idea. It’s good to know that a facility like this could provide valuable intel for Levinson and his fellow humans, but could this backfire on them too?

The last of the aliens are killed (2006)

The African Congo held the final alien invaders, who fought for their lives for 10 years until they were defeated by the local government. This also proves that not everyone was on board with the ESD. It also raises the questions, what were those aliens doing for 10 years and how will this impact what goes on in Resurgence? We see that they had set up a little base of operations there, so it’s likely they were continuing to call for assistance.

independence day resurgence dylan hiller jessie t. usher

Captain Steven Hiller dies (2007)

This is probably the most important piece of information you’ll need to know going into the movie. Will Smith’s character won’t be present — though his wife and son will be! — because he was killed testing a new fighter pilot with anti-gravity technology. The book implies that if more tests were run and David Levinson had been more involved, the accident could’ve been prevented. This is, perhaps, the saddest part about this development.

David Levinson is the director of ESD (2009)

David Levinson is the newly appointed Director of Earth Space Defense, and there is a new base on the moon, whose headquarters reside in China. The Moonbase’s purpose is to monitor space for potential alien threats, and new bases also crop up on Mars and one of Saturn’s moons. Resurgence already feels like a bigger movie than the first, given the human race has expanded beyond Earth.

Elizabeth Lanford becomes president of the United States (2013)

President Lanford is the current president of the United States, though it looks like Whitmore is still involved in the fight against the aliens. Lanford looks like a decisive, intelligent, strong-willed president. Plus, it’s pretty cool she’s being heralded as a forward-thinking president who also happens to become the first woman to take the Oval Office.

independence day president lanford

Hybrid fighter planes become a reality (2014)

Despite Hiller’s death and initial issues with the technology, these jets are now being used as part of global defense efforts. With two years of working with these planes under their belt, the movie should see our heroes having no trouble using the machines to the best of their advantage.

We celebrate 20 years without incident (2016)

But all good things must come to an end. The aliens are back in Resurgence, and we can only hope that the new world leaders will put all this new technology to good use as we fight off the next wave of attack.

Are you looking forward to ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’?