Now a few months removed from the intense hype surrounding its release, it’s clear that J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a flawed, but immensely enjoyable return to a galaxy far, far away.
One of the biggest criticisms leveled against the film is how it handled the fallout of a major character death; and Abrams totally agrees. In a recent interview with Slashfilm, Abrams admitted that he made a pretty significant blunder by having Leia embrace Rey instead of Chewbacca in the wake of Han Solo’s death.
“That was probably one of the mistakes I made in that,” Abrams said. “My thinking at the time was that Chewbacca, despite the pain he was feeling, was focused on trying to save Finn and getting him taken care of.”
“So I tried to have Chewbacca go off with him and focus on Rey, and then have Rey find Leia and Leia find Rey,” he continued. “The idea being that both of them being strong with the Force and never having met, would know about each other — that Leia would have been told about her beyond what we saw onscreen and Rey, of course, would have learned about Leia. And that reunion would be a meeting and a reunion all in one, and a sort of commiseration of their mutual loss.”
While it was disappointing to not see Leia and Chewie hug it out, Abrams’ explanation makes a lot of sense and he deserves credit for owning up to his mistakes with the film. Even though he won’t be directing it, Star Wars fans will probably forgive him so long as there’s at least one scene of Leia and Chewie hugging in Episode VIII. Take note, Rian Johnson.