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Movie directors tend to be their own biggest critics, often bemoaning how difficult it can be to watch their finished films while their inner perfectionist nitpicks the most minuscule details and wishes they'd made different decisions in the filming and editing processes.
"There's this moment where [Chewbacca] is with Finn, who's been wounded and they're taking him in and he passes Leia," Abrams explained to Yahoo Enteratinment while promoting the Skywalker Saga closer, The Rise of Skywalker, out Friday. Leia (Carrie Fisher) is still in the mourning process, having just lost (spoiler) Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and, as fans pointed out. Han was also Chewie’s long-term co-pilot and best friend. And in that scene, Chewie and Leia, who have known each other for 30-plus years, completely ignore each other: Chewie walks into the base carrying Finn, while Leia rushes to embrace Rey.
"What it looks like is Chewy is walking past Leia and not acknowledging her or giving her [a] moment. Meanwhile, Leia's looking at Rey," Abrams explained. "But in my mind it was Chewie was focusing on Finn and Leia was focusing on Rey, and vice versa. So it seemed like Chewie was just a stranger to Leia in the shadow of this unbearable tragedy. So that was one of those things that was unintended and completely my responsibility."
Fans bemoaned the lost interaction between two of Star Wars’ most iconic characters, with some theorizing why Chewie and Leia failed to embrace each other. Turns out there was no reason: It was a gaffe.
"The truth is there are always going to be things that you, as well intended as one might be, that will miss or not quite see. And I find in most cases the fans are right," Abrams said.
"I felt badly about it. But it was one of those things that I should have been more on top of in that moment. But there are a number of things that you're juggling, it can get pretty overwhelming. But again it was totally my fault."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens Friday; get tickets on Fandango.
Watch J.J. Abrams praise the work of The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson:
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