Are we still putting up spoiler warnings for The Force Awakens? I don’t think we should have to, but out of an abundance of caution, let me say this: There are spoilers for that film below this paragraph. Click at your own risk.
At the end of The Force Awakens, the Millennium Falcon lands on D’Qar, with Finn needing a lot of medical help and everyone despondent over Han Solo’s death at the hands of his son, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. What happens then is that Leia embraces Rey, someone she hasn’t even met before — and leaves Chewbacca, her friend and Han’s, kind of hanging.
At least, that’s what it looks like. Speaking with /Film, Abrams says that it was purely his mistake that led to that interpretation:
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’ intention was that Chewie was busy trying to get Finn help, while Rey and Leia had a “connection in the Force” moment:
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 [meanwhile to] 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.
I’m still not sure that, even knowing that Chewie was preoccupied, you really get the “Force” thing. But at least it’s not just that Leia’s ignoring Chewbacca in favour of a near-stranger.