JJ Abrams Explains that Weird Moment Between Chewie and Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 - 3:47PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 - 3:47PM
JJ Abrams Explains that Weird Moment Between Chewie and Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
If you're like me, you've probably seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens an unhealthy number of times since its release last year. You've probably also noticed more new tidbits with every viewing, something that serves to only deepen your appreciation of what JJ Abrams created. But, as good as The Force Awakens was, there were a number of moments that will have no doubt niggled you every time you watched it. For me, and many others, one such moment came towards the film's climax in which two of the original trilogy's biggest characters seemingly ignored each other in what would have been a deep time of need for the both of them.

Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens follow


As the Resistance fleet returns to base, victorious after destroying Starkiller Base, the celebrations are somewhat muted because of the fact that our heroes are returning without Han Solo. As Resistance pilots race off to congratulate each other, General Leia Organa makes a bee-line to the Millennium Falcon, just as her old friend Chewbacca emerges with Rey and the injured Finn in tow. With Han being such a significant figure in both Leia and Chewie's life, we were all expecting the pair to share a moment of comfort with each other. Imagine our surprise, then, when they walk right by each other, without even sparing a glance for the other person. Leia rushes off to embrace Rey, while Chewie just kind of stands on the fringe of the celebrations like the guy who knows nobody at the party.

SlashFilm's Peter Sciretta put the challenge to JJ Abrams to explain this bizarre turn of events, and the director conceded that it might have been a mistake on his part.

Opening quote
That was probably one of the mistakes I made in that. 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. 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.
Closing quote

Abrams went on to explain that, had we not seen Chewie in the shot, we probably wouldn't have even given it a monent's thought.

Opening quote
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.
Closing quote

I must admit, when discussing this moment with friends, we generally circled around one of two explanations. One being that Chewie had pretty shrewdly sensed that Leia and Rey would need to hug this one out, the other being that Chewie was focused on getting Finn to safety after the ex-Stormtrooper had so patiently tended to his wounds earlier on in the movie. Certainly it would seem that, had we not seen Chewie just kind of standing there twiddling his thumbs, JJ's explanation would work out pretty well.

Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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