When Chewbacca, Rey, and Finn joined up with the Resistance following the attack on the Starkiller Base in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Chewie really could’ve used a hug. But after seeing his best friend die at the hands of Kylo Ren and narrowly escaping with his own life, his old pal Leia waltzed past him to hug Rey, a person who (as far as we know) she’d never met before. And now, more than ever, it seems like our favorite Wookiee really did want that hug.
But, why did this happen the way it did in the first place? In an interview earlier this year with /Film, Abrams explained, “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.”
But now, it seems like J.J Abrams really does regret this decision, actually going so far as to call it his “biggest regret” of the most recent Star Wars film. As comments about his audio commentary for the Blu-ray of The Force Awakens elucidate, he wishes this could have been different. “It’s a distraction that he’s there and doesn’t hug Leia,” Abrams said, “Which he totally would have done after Han’s death.”
Elsewhere, Abrams further justified the hug by pointing out that Rey would’ve known quite a bit about Leia Organa, given her pretty complete knowledge of Han, Luke, Leia and Chewie’s long-ago escapades in galaxy-saving. Leia, for her part, would have heard plenty about Rey even though she hadn’t yet met her, and she would’ve recognized the Force in Rey. Abrams explained that they would’ve been drawn to one another’s strength.
All of the storytelling decisions Abrams has offered make sense, to a point. But here’s hoping his regret means this is the last time Chewie is left hanging in the hug department.