[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) was really, really good, but there were some moments that fans took issue with. One of these scenes was at the end of the movie, as our heroes recouped at the Resistance base. Obviously the mission to destroy the Starkiller base had taken its toll, and many fans were expecting a tearful reunion between Chewbacca and General Leia, as they commiserated in their grief.
And yet, they walked past each other without so much as a backward glance. Instead, Leia and Rey rushed into an embrace, which left many fans baffled. The two characters hadn't even been introduced yet: how did they even know each other on sight?
Shutting Down The Rumors
Of course, this prompted a plethora of fan theories to explain the apparent recognition between Leia and Rey.
Now J.J. Abrams has stepped in to shut down those rumors, explaining to SlashFilm why Leia seemed to ignore her old friend Chewie.
"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."
Far from a social snub on Leia's part, it seems that Chewbacca's concern for Finn was why we didn't get a reunion between the two old friends.
Abrams also explained how Leia seemed to recognize Rey, which has been the foundation of many a fan theory.
"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."
There you have it folks: Leia and Rey had never met before. This goes against the speculation that Rey had trained with Luke Skywalker before the Jedi temple massacre, and that her memories were erased when she was abandoned on Jakku. Having said that, the idea that Rey and Leia would recognize each other because they're both "strong with the Force" is a little strange.
As far as we know Rey didn't see Leia in a Force vision, and vice versa. This confusion, added to Leia apparently ignoring Chewbacca, has lead Abrams to admit something else...
Leia Should Have Hugged Chewie Instead!
Abrams clearly had a vision of how the moment would go. Chewbacca, caught up in his concern, raced after Finn as he was rushed away by paramedics. In the meantime, Leia and Rey shared a tender meeting. And honestly, it was a very sweet moment. But in hindsight, Abrams has reconsidered this narrative choice.
"That was probably one of the mistakes I made... 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."
Abrams isn't one to shy away from admitting to his mistakes, and his clarification of this moment does help us understand what he intended to do. It's good to know that Leia wasn't ignoring Chewbacca.
And yet, it's a shame that we didn't actually get to see their reunion. Considering the loss of Han Solo, this could have been a very poignant and nostalgic moment. Here's hoping the two old friends get to work together in Star Wars Episode VIII!