If he could do it again, Star Wars: The Force Awakens writer-director J.J. Abrams admits he wouldn’t have had Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew and Joonas Suotamo) walk past Resistance leader Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) after her estranged husband Han Solo (Harrison Ford) was cut down by son Ben-slash-Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Abrams was criticized for having Leia hug budding Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley) while Chewbacca — Han’s longtime co-pilot and best friend — was too busy attending to a wounded Finn (John Boyega) to acknowledge Leia, and Abrams expressed regret over the snub as far back as 2016. While promoting The Rise of Skywalker, Abrams said he still considers the lack of a Leia-Chewie hug a mistake.
“I always look at what I have done and see things that I wish I had done better or differently,” Abrams told IGN Japan. “I wish that Chewie hadn’t walked past Leia in the third act of The Force Awakens after Han died. There are things all over the place I always know I could have done better, but that’s part of learning, I guess.”
In 2016, Abrams told Slashfilm the “slight” was unintentional.
“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 said. “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.”
Abrams continued, “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.”
But Abrams has no intentions to ever make revisions to his pair of Star Wars sequels. Asked if he would consider making changes to episodes VII and IX, Abrams said in a recent interview, “I don't think so. I respect anyone who feels like they want to go back and adjust and add; I get that. But I also feel like it's not the way I think about projects — which is to say I feel like you're done with a thing, and that's what it is. Maybe in 20 years I'll feel different, but I can't imagine feeling different about it.”
Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.