With the huge success of Arcane, many new fans have joined the League of Legends fandom. They fell in love with the portrayal of the characters and champions which inhabit Runeterra and of course, have brought a whole new meaning of fandom to the game.
Thanks to the chemistry of certain characters, many fans also started shipping specific characters together. When some ships didn’t come to fruition in Act II of Arcane, some fans were up in arms. But what is all the rage about?
What is Shipping?
First, we must explore what shipping even is. Within fandoms, fans usually pick two characters they think fit well together and imagine them to be in a relationship. Whether these relationships become canon is not always guaranteed.
What Did Fans Ship in Arcane?
The most prominent ship which came from the fandom was the Jayce and Viktor ship. With Viktor saving Jayce, many believed that their partnership could be more than just that of friends and fans quickly got to work with art, fanfics and more.
They were disappointed to find out that this ship was not canon though when in the second episode of Arcane Act II, Mel and Jayce got together.
- Is Mel working together with Swain?
Fans of the Jayce and Viktor ship were furious that their relationship was not further explored within Arcane, Riot Games reverting to the normal hetero relationship between two characters. They went as far as to say that this could be considered queerbaiting.
What is Queerbaiting?
Queerbaiting is a marketing technique for fiction and entertainment in which creators hint at, but then do not actually depict, same-sex romance or other LGBT representation. But did Arcane do this?
No. Arcane did not queerbait anyone into thinking that a mlm relationship would come from Jayce and Viktor. Reading through both champions lore on the League of Legends website, it would also suggest that these two were nothing more than friends or co-workers.
- Check out all Champions from Piltover!
The relationship between these two men never had any connotations of being in any way sexual. This is where fandoms tend to go too far at times, when they try to push for a narrative that had never been there to begin with.
Are there LGBTQIA+ Relationships in Arcane?
On the other hand, looking at both Vi and Caitlyn, there has always been the implication of there being more than just a ‘partnership’ between the two. In the second act of Arcane, this is explored further. Both characters have been coded as queer before.
- Are there canon LGBTQIA+ couples in League of Legends?
Whether anything direct will come of both Caitlyn and Vi exploring their sexualities is still unknown, but even without direct in-your-face proof of them getting into a relationship, there have been numerous hints that both fall into the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
Did Arcane Queerbait Fans?
So let’s go back to the question at hand. Did Arcane queerbait? No. It was never implied that Jayce and Viktor were anything more and Caitlyn and Vi have shown that they are in some ways attracted to the same gender.
The hints are subtle and aren’t distracting from the show itself, which is just what the plot needs. There is tension between both Vi and Caitlyn that didn’t exist between Viktor and Jayce.
Riot has over 150 champions and seems to be working on future shows, so there could be room to explore future mlm relationships or other LGBTQIA+ characters and champions.
So, just because one ship didn’t make it to canon, doesn’t mean that it was instant queerbaiting of the developers and creators. Even if Jayce and Viktor are not canon you can continue to ship them and just have fun with it within the fandom.