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J.J. Abrams on why the Leia/Rey hug was probably a mistake

03.08.2016

First off, if you haven't seen STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS yet you should probably avoid this article as it will be full of spoilers. Those involved in huge productions like STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS rarely admit to mistakes, especially not while the film is still playing in theaters, but I've always found it refreshing when actors and directors are able to talk candidly about their work. J.J. Abrams successfully managed to bring Star Wars back and get an entire new generation of fans excited about the franchise but, as with any film, there are still plenty of areas to nitpick if you're so inclined.

Han Solo (Harrison Ford) sadly perished at the hands of his son during the finale of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, and even though the Resistance won the day, it came at a price. Upon returning to the Resistance base with a wounded Finn (John Boyega), a somber Rey (Daisy Ridley) was greeted by General Leia (Carrie Fisher) who, despite never having met her, embraced her, completely ignoring poor Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Many fans took issue with that scene but J.J. Abrams recently explained to /Film what his motives were while admitting that he may have gone about it in the wrong way.

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 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.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS will be released on Blu-ray/DVD on April 5, 2016.

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Source: /Film

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11:42AM on 03/09/2016
Glad he admitted his mistake, but it's stuff like that that always has me worried about JJ Abrams directing a movie. He relies on the audience to intuit too much from what they see on screen without providing enough context to properly inform them. His explanation of this scene is evidence enough, he thought the audience would just magically interpret the greeting between Leia and Rey as this connection through the Force, but he never once provided any context of that to the audience. With
Glad he admitted his mistake, but it's stuff like that that always has me worried about JJ Abrams directing a movie. He relies on the audience to intuit too much from what they see on screen without providing enough context to properly inform them. His explanation of this scene is evidence enough, he thought the audience would just magically interpret the greeting between Leia and Rey as this connection through the Force, but he never once provided any context of that to the audience. With all the times Rey reaches out to the Force in the movie, not once is there even a slight connection to Leia. It's just bad story telling.

Now all of that is not to say that he totally fucked up the movie. On the whole, he really did succeed at not only bringing Star Wars back from the grave, but also updating it properly for a new generation. But hopefully Rian Johnson pays a bit more attention to these kinds of details in Ep. 8 to make it a much more coherent story on screen.
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3:00AM on 03/09/2016
Chewie hasn't stopped bearing a grudge since Leia called him a big walking carpet, so yeah he totally blanked her.
Chewie hasn't stopped bearing a grudge since Leia called him a big walking carpet, so yeah he totally blanked her.
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+4
10:06PM on 03/08/2016
Well yeah, a common criticism of the movie is that they didn't handle the weight of Hans death sufficiently. It should have been a bigger Leia and Chewie moment.
Well yeah, a common criticism of the movie is that they didn't handle the weight of Hans death sufficiently. It should have been a bigger Leia and Chewie moment.
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7:34PM on 03/09/2016
The reveal of Kylo as Han's son should have come at the point of Han's death, that would have been high drama but instead JJ paced out all these reveals to the point that most lost any tension they should have had.
The reveal of Kylo as Han's son should have come at the point of Han's death, that would have been high drama but instead JJ paced out all these reveals to the point that most lost any tension they should have had.
10:00PM on 03/08/2016

Really?

J.J thinks the hug between Leia and Rey was a mistake? What about the blatant "borrowing" from A New Hope? I think there were bigger mistakes here than a hug between two people grieving for the same person.
J.J thinks the hug between Leia and Rey was a mistake? What about the blatant "borrowing" from A New Hope? I think there were bigger mistakes here than a hug between two people grieving for the same person.
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9:46PM on 03/08/2016
Yeah I didn't quite get that, appreciate your honesty JJ, loved the film still.
Yeah I didn't quite get that, appreciate your honesty JJ, loved the film still.
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9:17PM on 03/08/2016
Don't worry JJ, this is Star Wars. And by that I mean that you could totally revise the entire scene on the 30th Anniversary Special Edition Ultimate Collection with better CGI and other pointless cosmetic changes just so we can watch the movie the way you intended it in the first place.
Don't worry JJ, this is Star Wars. And by that I mean that you could totally revise the entire scene on the 30th Anniversary Special Edition Ultimate Collection with better CGI and other pointless cosmetic changes just so we can watch the movie the way you intended it in the first place.
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8:44PM on 03/08/2016
I know they where blowing the base up but you would have thought that Chewie who can loose his shit over a game or holo chess would have totally lost his shit at the sight of his best friends death. Even if he got the kids out you would have thought he would have dove the Falcon into Kylo once he got back in it.
I know they where blowing the base up but you would have thought that Chewie who can loose his shit over a game or holo chess would have totally lost his shit at the sight of his best friends death. Even if he got the kids out you would have thought he would have dove the Falcon into Kylo once he got back in it.
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8:32PM on 03/08/2016
This bothered me a bit, but I kind of felt that after Han's death, the ending seemed a bit rushed. Wouldn't have minded if Leia had hugged Chewie and perhaps made an inspiring speech or eulogy for Han to still provide hope for this new generation of characters.
This bothered me a bit, but I kind of felt that after Han's death, the ending seemed a bit rushed. Wouldn't have minded if Leia had hugged Chewie and perhaps made an inspiring speech or eulogy for Han to still provide hope for this new generation of characters.
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7:37PM on 03/09/2016
I feel Ep8 and 9 will exceed JJ's one in terms of story and dialogue. Rian is a far better film maker I believe.
I feel Ep8 and 9 will exceed JJ's one in terms of story and dialogue. Rian is a far better film maker I believe.
+2
7:07PM on 03/08/2016

That did bother me.

That was the one thing that bugged me about aftermath of Han's death. They kill off a major character and there's no memorial service / funeral / or wake scene? We see Leia and Rey hug and then cut to Chewie, who's Han's longtime partner in crime, just weep for like a moment and then move on. I didn't buy it for a second.

IMO I thought they should've killed off Chewbacca too. If one goes, then so should the other.
That was the one thing that bugged me about aftermath of Han's death. They kill off a major character and there's no memorial service / funeral / or wake scene? We see Leia and Rey hug and then cut to Chewie, who's Han's longtime partner in crime, just weep for like a moment and then move on. I didn't buy it for a second.

IMO I thought they should've killed off Chewbacca too. If one goes, then so should the other.
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8:29PM on 03/08/2016
I'm going to assume in that the beginning of Episode Eight, there will be a funeral/memorial service for Han. Abrams maybe didn't include it in episode seven because perhaps it would have made the movie seems too long.
I'm going to assume in that the beginning of Episode Eight, there will be a funeral/memorial service for Han. Abrams maybe didn't include it in episode seven because perhaps it would have made the movie seems too long.
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