The Force Awakens managed to revive Star Wars without angering the fans, but there’s one thing, at least, that many agree should have been handled differently: How Chewbacca acts in the scenes after his good buddy Han Solo’s death. Turns out someone else has beef with that, too: the film’s very own director, J.J. Abrams.
As caught by Entertainment Weekly, the filmmaker was speaking to IGN Japan about his return to the director’s chair on The Rise of Skywalker, in theaters next weekend. When asked what he’d do differently with The Force Awakens if he’d make it again, he actually had an answer.
“I wish that Chewie hadn’t walked past Leia in the third act of The Force Awakens after Han died,” Abrams replied. “There are things all over the place I always know I could have done better, but that’s part of learning, I guess.”
The scene in question finds Chewie and team back from Starkiller Base and reunited with Carrie Fisher’s Leia. The princess-turned-general hugs Daisy Ridley’s Rey, all while her longtime Wookiie friend — and the partner of her newly deceased ex — simply walks by her, not even acknowledging her presence.
Abrams has opened up about his reasoning before, while speaking to /Film in 2016. “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,” Abrams explained. “So I tried to have Chewbacca go off with him and focus on Rey, and then have Rey find Leia and Leia find Rey. 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 … Had Chewbacca not been where he was, you probably wouldn’t have thought of it. But because he was right there, passed by Leia, it felt almost like a slight, which was definitely not the intention.”
Anyway, live and learn! Here’s hoping The Rise of Skywalker has no such cataclysmic screw-ups.