Los Angeles - JJ Abrams regrets that General Leia didn't "hug" Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Force Awakens following the death of Han Solo.
The 49-year-old director has responded to fans' upset over the Rebel Alliance leader's choice to embrace new character Rey (Daisy Ridley) rather than the legendary Wookiee - and her life-long comrade - who was in obvious pain after the shock demise of the space smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon.
Asked why Leia - played by Carrie Fisher in the science fiction franchise - appears to give her furry friend (Peter Mayhew) the cold shoulder during the emotive scene, he explained: "That was probably one of the mistakes I made in that... 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."
With the benefit of hindsight the director admitted the moment could have been treated more sensitively however his plan was for Chewie to concentrate on saving fellow Star Wars newcomer Finn (John Boyega), as the heroic rebel stormtrooper who was being overcome in battle at the time.
He told Slashfilm: "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 on-screen 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."
Meanwhile, Chewbacca and Han Solo - originally played by Harrison Ford - are set to reunite in the upcoming origins movie about the characters.
Not much has been revealed about the Star Wars spin-off film however it is set to be directed by 'The LEGO Movie's Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and the pair confirmed it will be centered on "an origin story about Han Solo and Chewie."
The film is currently untitled but is set to be released on 25 May, 2018.
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