‘Gilmore Girls’: Is Jess Mariano Rory Gilmore’s Luke Danes?

Gilmore Girls fans have spent years debating the merits of each of Rory Gilmore’s boyfriends. Several fan theories have been born from the debate. One theory suggests that Jess Mariano, Luke Dane’s nephew, is supposed to be to Rory, what Luke was for Lorelai Gilmore. Even if Jess is just like Luke, does that mean he’d be the perfect romantic fit for Rory?

Is Jess Mariano supposed to be Rory’s Luke Danes?

The theory seems to make sense. Jess serving as a Luke-type figure to Rory would bring the story full-circle, something Amy Sherman-Palladino has admitted she strived for. However, that doesn’t mean that Jess and Rory’s story would play out the same way Luke and Lorelai’s story played out.

Milo Ventimiglia poses for a studio portrait circa 2002
Milo Ventimiglia portrayed Jess Mariano on ‘Gilmore Girls’ | Ron Davis/Getty Images

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While Lorelai often lamented that Rory was just like her, Rory was drastically different from her mother in adulthood. Rory lacked Lorelai’s boldness, and she also lacked her independent spirit. While Jess seemingly turned out just like his uncle, Rory didn’t turn out like her mother. That fact would suggest the pair aren’t exactly compatible as adults.

Fans believe Rory is supposed to be the perfect mix of her grandparent’s upper-crust world and her middle-class upbringing

Rory never really had to do a ton for herself. Sure, she studied hard, and she succeeded academically, but she had a lot of help along the way. Lorelai shied away from the Gilmore’s money in favor of making her own decisions. However, Rory leaned into her grandparents’ unending supply of money and wasn’t afraid to utilize it when she needed to.

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It can also be argued that Rory is far more like her father, Christopher Hayden, than her mother. If that’s the case, she would be more likely to take the “easy” way out. The easy way out would be to connect with someone who could provide financial security and career prospects. That leaves one love interest as her perfect match. Logan Huntzberger would likely be the most likely long-term love interest for Rory. He is, after all, an interesting blend of privilege and rebellion.

Who would Rory Gilmore end up with in the long run?

Jess and Rory’s relationship ended when they were just 17 years old. While Jess appeared to pine for Rory over the years, Rory didn’t seem to give Jess much thought once she hooked up with Logan. Even as her career aspirations caused her to turn down Logan’s marriage proposal, she didn’t run back to Jess.

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While fans largely love the idea of Jess and Rory together, it probably wouldn’t be fair to Jess. Jess turned into a responsible and reasonable adult after his rocky teen years. Rory grew into a spoiled 30-something, after being presented as an accountable and studious teen. In the end, Jess and Rory have never been on the same page. However, Rory and Logan appear to be well-suited to each other, even if they were both cheating on their respective partners the last time fans saw them.