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Pairing: Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin
Alternative name(s): N/I, Napollya, Illeon
Gender category: m/m, slash
Fandom: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (series)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (film)
Canonical?: non-canon
Prevalence: popular
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Napoleon/Illya is a popular slash pairing from The Man from U.N.C.L.E series and movie.

Canon and Fandom Overview

since the original 1964 TV series, fans have been shipping the two characters as one of the first slash ships. Napoleon/Illya is the most popular ship in the MUNCLE and TMFU fandom.

The beauty charm of the actors who play them, the depth of their relationship in both media, and the way sexual ambiguity and tension is handled in scenes related to them, make the ship is highly appreciated by its fans.

In the television series, agents Napoleon and Illya are co-worker partners and great friends, even though they are of different nationalities, with Napoleon an American and Illya a Russian. They are played respectively by the actors Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. Fandom focused primarily on the physical medium, with the production of zines and other fanworks in print, later migrating to online fandom, where they had a significant presence.

2015 Film

The fandom was mildly quiet until late 2015 when the movie was produced and new and old fans alike joined the ship – or not so much since there was a slight split in the fandom. Unlike the series, in the film Napoleon and Illya are initially enemies, who become co-workers and friends – not that the last two not in that respective order of course. Their country of origin is the same, but we see in the film the emergence of UNCLE, and that Napoleon and Illya previously belonged to other spy agencies, the CIA and the KGB respectively. They are played by actors Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.

TV Series' Fanworks




Fan Comments

UNCLE slash has always been a bit weird. I suspect the 60's atmosphere and timing of the show leads to some of it. This may be the slash couple that comes closest to sitcom behavior and style (especially in the silliest third seasons shows), although those who are familiar with I Spy are invited to comment. As such, domesticity and weddings are slightly more apropos than in, say, Professionals. One strong vein of N/I for a long time was and is extremely "romantic," which tends to lead to formal lifetime commitments instead of a quickie behind the weapons arsenal, time permitting. Perhaps, too, it should not be ignored that Napoleon has a general resemblance to Darren Stevens, which come to think of it might explain a lot about why Illya is so much the more numinous and put-upon of the two, as well as account for the plotlines of several well-known fan stories. [1]

Film's Fanworks

  • The Neighborhood affair by melissen, a enemies to lovers/neighbors au, The line between love and hate can sometimes be so thin that even the best spies can simply miss it.
  • The Honey Trap by Mamalazzer, a humor Fake Relationship fic, In which the boys have to go undercover as a couple, with Napoleon having a whale of a time while Illya isn't sure whether to knock Napoleon's teeth out or kiss him.
  • The Gemini Affair by manic_intent, a post-canon story, In the first month of being co-opted into working with Illya Kuryakin full time at U.N.C.L.E., Napoleon stole Illya’s father’s watch four times, twice out of spite, once out of drunken curiosity, and once out of sheer boredom. After the fourth time, Gaby sprained one of Napoleon’s fingers and threatened to do worse if he did it again.

Archives & Resources