In case you haven’t seen the movie yet, spoilers are ahead for The Force Awakens.
If you talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens for any length of time with a fellow fan, you’ll probably eventually get around to a discussion about one particular scene towards the end of the film: following the death of Han Solo, when Rey and Chewbacca returned to the Resistance Base, where Chewy walks right past Leia, and the Princess-turned-Senator gives Rey a meaningful hug. Both of these things have stirred up plenty of conversation.
First, the question of why Chewbacca apparently snubbed Leia. He was easily the closest person to Han besides Leia, and I didn’t understand why he’d stroll past her rather than crushing her in a comforting Wookiee hug. For anyone else who didn’t quite get that aspect of the scene or why Leia and Rey hugged, director J.J. Abrams has explained it.
In an interview with Slashfilm, Abrams explained he thought Chewbacca was distracted by making sure Finn was okay—the trooper turned Resistance fighter was rather badly injured after all. The director said, “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 on screen 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.”
Next, the (potentially more important) question of Leia and Rey’s hug. Some thought maybe Leia and Rey embraced because they recognized each other or experienced some sort of familial spark. Does Abrams’ dissection of the scene definitively mean Rey isn’t a Skywalker? No, but it’s certainly looking less likely now. Rey and Leia connected solely because of the Force. Though Rey only recently met Han Solo, she quickly developed a bond with him—like Luke with Obi-Wan in A New Hope. She likely felt Leia’s pain through the Force and was drawn to her, so to speak.
Abrams added that he thinks if he would have blocked the shot differently and not had Chewbacca pass right by Leia, it wouldn’t have come across as a cold, furry shoulder.
Did you think Chewie snubbed Leia during that scene? Do you prefer the scene as is? Talk to me in the comments.