Remember back in 2014 when Harrison Ford broke his ankle on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Apparently it was a blessing in disguise as J.J. Abrams has revealed it helped him shape Rey and Finn's relationship for the better.
Don't worry, Abrams isn't happy Ford was hurt on his set. He first told Entertainment Weekly:
“It was obviously a horrible experience that I wish had never happened for obvious reasons. But the truth is, once we knew that Harrison was going to be okay, we all realized this was this greatest gift to the movie, and I would think that any filmmaker would say, ‘If I could get a break after a month of shooting, for a few weeks, to recalibrate, I would take it.””
While time off was good for lots of reasons, the director was concerned they'd have to cut down on Ford's movements going forward and alter what they already had. Turns out, that wasn't the case.
“When it became clear that he was going to be just fine, we realized we didn”t need to change that at all. In fact, there are some places where he”s more active than he was prior to the accident. As you”ll see in the movie, he is running and doing more physical activity in this movie than I think anyone who knows he was injured would expect. Nothing was adjusted or lessened because of that accident. Even for Harrison, who is famously resilient and strong, he blew everyone”s minds.”
To be sure, Ford made the best out of it, even joking about his injury months later.
But what that unintended break did do was give Abrams a chance to rethink two major players in the film – Daisy Ridley's Rey and John Boyega's Finn. He told IGN.com in another interview:
“When I was on the set of the Millennium Falcon and we started to do work with Rey and Finn, the first time we did it, it didn”t work at all,” explains Abrams. “It was much more contentious. I didn”t direct it right. It was set up all wrong, and when Harrison Ford got injured – which was a very scary day – we ended up having a few weeks off, and it was during that time that I really got to look at what we had done and rewrite quite a bit of that relationship. So when we came back to work again, we actually just reshot from the ground up, those scenes. It was an amazingly helpful thing to get these two characters to where they needed to be.”
It's easy to see how Rey and Finn's relationship could have been a combative one after their first meeting so it's a relief (to me, at least) Abrams was able to rethink it and turn it into one of the most wonderful onscreen friendships between a woman and a man I've seen in a while.