hug it out

Rest Easy: J.J. Abrams Has Apologized for Making Leia Hug the Wrong Character in The Force Awakens

There, there, it’s all going to be okay. Photo: Lucasfilm

J.J. Abrams is sorry. He only wanted to sweep you away to a galaxy far, far away, to make your heart quiver with that joy you once knew as a child. He didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, especially not a Wookiee’s. But then he did. In The Force Awakens, there’s a scene where General (not Princess, to be clear) Leia reunites with Chewbacca and Han Solo, and first meets Rey. She hugs Rey, but seems to ignore her pal Chewbacca. The people wanted to know: After all these years, was Leia really that callous? Was Chewie still just a walking carpet to her? Hearts were broken. Garments were rent.

But according to J.J. Abrams, Chewie and Leia do not have bad blood; the blocking of the scene was merely a catastrophic mistake:

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.

“Had Chewbacca not been where he was,” Abrams continued, elaborating on his total failure to bring emotional nuance to a franchise that once featured Jar Jar Binks, “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.”

Other things J.J. Abrams has apologized for: Star Trek Into Darkness, and overusing lens flares. Other things J.J. Abrams should apologize for: Nothing — except maybe the opening-credits sequence in the last two seasons of Felicity.

J.J. Abrams Says Leia’s Hug Was a Mistake