Amphibia’s ending was beautiful. After years of speculation surrounding the eventual fate of Anne Boonchuy, Sasha Waybright, and Marcy Wu we received a glimpse into the future where all three of our heroines are living happy, successful lives. Well, I imagine they’re all dealing with horrendous student debt and the usual horrors that haunt all zoomers, but happy nonetheless. Maybe Anne can use her fantastical knowledge to stop climate change.
By taking us ten years into the future we are far removed from the events of Amphibia, giving our characters room to grow and reflect on the trauma all three of them experienced in saving the world and finding themselves. Despite all the things they’ve been through and the hardships each respective friendship has endured, they still come back together. Their bonds are stronger through adversity, in finding the strength to forgive one another for mistakes and lies so abhorrent that most would simply falter. There’s a poetic brilliance in how Amphibia approaches forgiveness and self-worth, a thematic layering that punctuates the entire finale in a way that leaves the viewer wanting to be better people themselves.
Saying goodbye to The Calamity Trio wasn’t easy for fans, and neither was accepting the platonic friendship that Anne, Sasha, and Marcy find themselves in as the credits roll. For years speculation has run rampant about where the ending would leave us, and if a canon romantic relationship between the main cast would come to pass. I spoke to show creator Matt Braly ahead of the finale who confirmed that none of the main characters would be smitten with one another in the final moments, but wanted to keep the doors open for fans with established headcanons and where exactly things could go in the future.
“I love shipping, I feel like it is the greatest expression of love for characters,” Braly said. “You’re really thinking about them romantically and what’s best for them. We have canon couples that get together in the show but specifically, with our three leads, we have worked very hard to keep things very open and never commit because the last thing I would ever want to do is ruin somebody else's headcanon or ship for no reason. That’s destructive for me because oh my gosh all the fighting and the arguments. So for me, especially in this story that is ultimately about friendship, and their friendship dynamic is to end the show in a way that is constructive and open. That’s basically what I’ll say to that is how we’ve worked very hard to have empathy for the people who are shipping these characters and at the same time do right by the show and its themes. So, knock on wood!”
When this interview was published I grew curious and decided to browse Twitter in search of responses, and there was almost a sense of mourning emanating from queer fans slowly but surely accepting the reality of Anne, Sasha, and Marcy being little more than gal pals. I know friends who ship Marcanne, Sasharcy, Sashanne, and even all three of the main characters in a wonderfully adorable polycule. Fanart and fanfiction reflects this, with so many talented creators expanding upon these relationships in ways the source material just wasn’t able to. When you spend several years building upon these pictures in your heads, it’s understandable to feel some kind of disappointment when reality lets you down.
But we accepted it, seeing the value in a shared friendship that didn’t need to breach upon romance in order to have value. Anne, Sasha, and Marcy would do anything for each other, and that’s an unmistakable truth that persists even after ten years apart as they grew up, established careers, and found new friends. If someone really cares about you and wants to see you succeed and find happiness, they will always come back into your life whether you realise it or not. The Calamity Trio defines that mantra perfectly, and we all embraced that as a collective audience after realising the crew behind this show recognised the value of shipping, and might even pair characters together themselves outside the established canon. Olivia and Yunan are gay newts though, so I’ll take what victories I can.
Even though it didn’t conclude with a romantic confession, Amphibia’s ending only further established the potential of headcanons and how fans are able to take anyone or anything and usher them to narrative destinations that feel natural and earned. Sasha Waybright was confirmed as bisexual through a small sticker on her car’s mirror, but these delicious crumbs were enough for us to picture a potential relationship with Marcy or Anne, and how after years of friendship they’re finally in a place to pursue intimacy and discover a romance that was lingering amongst them all along. Seeing this trauma explored through loving glances or bottled-up confessions is something fanart has been exploring for years, but it’s only after the finale that we now have a canon foundation to build upon.
Braly and Disney haven’t ruled out a spin-off or continuation of Amphibia’s world, but this is seemingly it for The Calamity Trio. We’ve seen them grow up, permanently disconnected from their distant fantasy land in possession of life lessons they’ll take to the grave. They’re better people, and more accepting of reality’s many obstacles that I imagine they’d be even more appreciative of love, or feelings emerging, in the wake of growing up after experiencing something almost no teenager has ever been through.
Wounds eventually heal, but scars remain and are signs of battle we carry with us forever. But they’re also symbols of triumph, that we made it through hardships and lived to tell the tale. Sharing the stories behind these marks with someone, be it a friend or loved one is not only delicious material for romance, but experiences people can see themselves in. Amphibia allows for this expansion without ever taking away from the main narrative, and there’s a beauty in that being accepted.
I’m conflicted about Anne, Sasha, and Marcy being revisited in the years to come, fearing it will take away from the strength of their individual conclusions as characters, but fans are embracing the show’s ending and taking it to new places that could easily be seen as canon regardless. No matter who you ship or what relationship feels true to life in your own eyes, all of them have validity because Amphibia has given them agency, and freedom for us to make these characters our own now the curtain has fallen and they’ve found happiness.
As for me, I will forever and always be on the polycule train. Sashannarcy anyone?
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