Why I think Starco is one of the best couples in fiction
Four years ago, Disney XD premiered a quirky new show about a magical, trouble-prone princess called Star vs. The Forces of Evil. Drawing influence from the Japanese anime series creator Daron Nefcy loved as a kid, the show was a massive hit with viewers. People had already been making fan art months before it even premiered, and it became Disney XD’s flagship show. By the second season, I was a solid fan of the show, and I consider it one of the best cartoons of the decade.
Tomorrow morning, this hit show about a magic-wielding princess will air its final episode on Disney Channel. Before that happens, I wanted to reflect on one of the show’s best aspects: the relationship between its main characters, Star and Marco, and how they went from being best friends into one of the best romantic pairings I have ever seen in fiction.
The first episode established Star and Marco’s characters pretty well. Star’s upbeat and has a childish enthuisaism who tries (and often does) making friends with everyone. She’s also impulsive and prone to breaking things, which is why her parents send her to Earth to learn how to use her magic. In contrast, Marco’s an insecure boy who, paradoxically, wants more excitement in his life yet is too afraid to step outside his comfort zone. So when he’s given the task of being Star’s guide on Earth, he doesn’t take well to it at first.
Despite Star turning his life upside down, it doesn’t take long for Marco to become Star’s best friend. Together, they go on amazing adventures through different dimensions, battling monsters and getting in and out of trouble, and having each other’s backs no matter what.
On Star’s part, while she seems energetic and happy-go-lucky, deep down, she struggles with the pressure that comes with being a princess. It is part of the reason why she hates following the rules and acts recklessly. In Marco, she finds someone who is willing to let her be herself without any judgement. Just as important, he keeps Star grounded, and helps her learn that just because she can do something does not mean she always should.
Conversely, Star’s free-spirited and adventurous ways help Marco to do things he never would have otherwise. As the series progresses, Star’s influence sparks a noticeable boost in his confidence. On a subtler level, he also learns that sometimes following the rules in life isn’t always best, and that you need to take risks in life to be happy.
Star and Marco bring out the best possible versions of themselves, helping each other grow as people. It gets to the point where Star shows she knows Marco better than his own parents, and Marco can say the same about Star.
Just as important is the fact that when one of them gets hurt or in danger, the other will go to the ends of the universe to help them out. And unlike some other partners, Marco has the martial arts skills to back that up.
When Marco got kidnapped by monsters in the Season One finale, Star was so furious that she dropped her normal, battle-loving demeanor and went into a calm, no-nonense rage.
When everyone thought that Star was dead, Marco punched the one responsible that it left a hole the guy’s chest. He was ready to kill someone; that’s not something you do lightly!
Star and Marco’s friendship is as strong as any I’ve ever seen in fiction, and it’s half the reason why I like them as a couple.
Before the show even started, fans were already shipping Star and Marco as an item, and it only got stronger as the series went on. Disney and Daron even encouraged this by teasing the fans as early as the first season. They not only acknowledged the term “Starco” to describe their relationship, but even worked it into the show.
Then they put this into the teaser for Season Two, and the fans went nuts:
I’ve seen ships in fandom’s before, but Starco has stood out to me as different from most others. Most romantic pairings in fiction have two people realize their feelings, and then realize that the other person feels the same, and then they become a couple. In comparison, what makes Starco special is how realistic it portrays itself.
Starco is not as simple as “Point A to Point B”. It is complicated by many events, some of which are beyond their control. For starters, they start out the show with crushes on different people entirely. Marco had a crush on classmate and skater girl Jackie Lynn Thomas, while Star falls for this wannabe musician.
Star encourages Marco to tell Jackie how he feels, but just as they start dating, she realizes she developed a crush on Marco. She tries keeping it a secret for Marco’s sake, only for a songstrel to reveal not only in front of Marco, but all of Mewni! It was the most embarrassing moment of her entire life.
She doesn’t have time to sort it out though, as a new threat forces her to return to Mewni without Marco. They meet up again, but said threat prevents them from addressing everything before Marco returns to Earth.
Meanwhile, try as he might, Marco just can’t adjust to a normal on Earth. Realizing he liked Star (before even he did), Jackie breaks up with him, and he returns to Mewni unannounced, which leads him to realize he’s fallen for Star. By then, though, it’s too late, as she’s gotten back together with her ex-boyfriend, Tom.
Then it gets even further complicated when the two get locked in a photo booth by a goblin who forces them to kiss each other before letting them out. And since Star was still dating Tom, that led to a lot of guilt on both parts.
Point is, it wasn’t that simple and straightforward. It was like a long, twisting road that could lead to anywhere. But despite all the awkwardness, their friendship remains strong, and it becomes clear to everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, on Earth and on Mewni. Everyone on Mewni thought they were dating, despite saying otherwise. When Marco babysat his new baby sister, everyone on Earth thought she was his and Star’s kid! How they got Disney to agree to that is beyond me, but it says something about their relationship.
Future of Starco?
In the end, after many adventures, breaking with their respective other, and awkward moments, Star and Marco finally realize they love each other. Disney even released a video making a big deal of it! That can be what happens in real life: love is a complex road, but it can be worth it in the end. It’s why seeing them finally become an item is so rewarding, and why I think they’re one of the best couples I’ve ever seen in a work of fiction.
Whether they may stay a couple, though, is another thing entirely. Thanks to the actions of Star’s mom, Mewni’s on the verge of being destroyed, and the only way that Star can think of saving it is by eliminating magic from the multiverse. Doing so, though, may permanently separate her and Marco forever. Which is why fans are more worried about this than the finale for Game of Thrones.
Whatever happens, I know one thing: Starco is one of the most realistic couples that I have ever seen in fiction, and I will never forget it no matter what happens. But if they don’t end up happily ever after, I’m gonna be so mad tomorrow morning!