Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams explained to Slashfilms why he chose to have General Leia hug Rey instead of Chewbacca, after the death of Han Solo, when the pair returned to the Resistance base…
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When sitting down with uber-director J.J. Abrams about his newest project 10 Cloverfield Lane, Slashfilm had a chance to ask the director of The Force Awakens why he chose to have Leia hug Rey — someone she basically didn’t know — over Chewbacca — someone she had a long relationship with — and whom would have been hurting terribly over the death of his friend, Han Solo. Abrams had this to say:
"“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.”"
Abrams does acknowledge fans who think it was more of a slap in the face to Chewie who was a lifelong friend to Han, who owed the old smuggler a life-debt. He comments that had Chewbacca not been where he was, we the viewer probably wouldn’t have thought of it, at all. But because he was right there when the Falcon landed, passed by Leia, it felt almost like a slight, which Abrams says was definitely not his intention.
There it is, straight from the horse’s mouth: It was not intentional to have Leia bypass Chewie to go and hug Rey. Still though, as a lifelong fan of Star Wars, I can’t help but feel like that lovable walking carpet got a raw deal.