Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits DVD shelves in less than a month, which will undoubtedly prompt diehard fans to comb the film for mistakes and easter eggs they hadn’t noticed in theaters. But there’s one gripe that’s been eating away at fans for months: a random exchange and awkward snub involving Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey that takes place near the end of the film. (In other words, there are major spoilers ahead, so please proceed with caution if you’re one of the three or so people in the world who somehow hasn’t seen this movie.)
The scene in question comes just after Han Solo’s death at the hands of his own, weirdly emo spawn, Kylo Ren. The crew of resistance fighters return to Starkiller base with the bad news and with the injured Finn in tow, and Leia seems to sense what happened to her estranged husband. She looks to her friends for comfort, but for whatever reason, she brushes off Chewbacca and hugs Rey instead. This was weird because Leia’s known Rey for all of, like, two seconds, but mostly because Chewbacca was Han’s partner-in-crime, and a lifelong friend of both Han and Leia. So why would she snub him like that?
Director J.J. Abrams recently caught up with Slashfilm, where this very topic was discussed at length. And while Abrams admits it was a “mistake,” he chalks it up to an unfortunate matter of positioning and blocking.
“That was probably one of the mistakes I made in that,” Abrams said. “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, “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.”
Some fans have taken Leia and Rey’s embrace as a hint at Rey’s lineage -- was Leia drawn to her because Rey’s part of the Skywalker bloodline as well? Whatever the case may be, we can only hope Leia and Chewbacca kiss and make up in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII, which hits theaters on Dec. 17, 2017. Patience, friends.