With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams has the daunting task of concluding nine films spanning 42 years, so naturally there are things along the way the writer-director might wish he had been done a bit differently.
Abrams has said his wishes were to keep the saga cohesive despite changing visionaries along the way — particularly with Rian Johnson’s 2017’s Episode VIII taking the story Abrams launched with 2015’s The Force Awakens into unexplained directions.
“I always look at what I have done and see things that I wish I had done better or differently,” Abrams said. “I wish that Chewie hadn’t walked past Leia in the third act of The Force Awakens after Han died.”
Abrams is referring to the scene where Rey in Force returns from Starkiller Base after having witnessed Solo’s murder. Leia embraces Rey as Chewbacca walks on by despite the general’s decades-long relationship with the lovable “walking carpet” and barely knowing Rey.
“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,” Abrams said. “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 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 … 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.”