Which character, you ask? I’d tell you, but I don’t want to leave anything spoilery above the click-through fold. So you have to put up with a full three fluff sentences before getting to this quick thought.
Plenty of digital ink has been spilled griping about Luke Skywalker not appearing on-screen as a heroic godling wielding a laser sword against the entire First Order. The film explicitly saw it coming.
But I’ve got feelings too … maybe not anger, but sadness. Because I think we had a serious missed opportunity.
Chewbacca should have mourned Han.
Frankly, that statement should stand on its own. But let’s parse it anyway. Chewbacca owes Han a Wookie life debt — about the most serious cultural acknowledgment on all Kashyyk (the Wookie planet). And a full four films have shown us that this duty-bound connection has deepened into a real love and friendship between the two.
Chewbacca lost this man after decades of traveling together, surviving terrible scrapes, and participating in the greater events of the galaxy. The Wookie who howled out his grief when Han was frozen in carbonite is shown in The Last Jedi … self-conscious about eating roast porg.
Chewie isn’t much of the focus here; he’s in a handful of scenes apart from the porg sight-gag. And he certainly seems to be set at a simmer. He’s frustrated while piloting the Falcon, and kicks in the door to Luke’s home in a rage. Maybe there’s a shot or two of him sitting in quiet grief. But I wish we’d seen the impact on this proud and faithful companion.
Add to that the events that conclude The Force Awakens: Chewie shot Ben Solo, using no less than his signature bowcaster … which that film makes clear early on is a very powerful rifle. Ben is the son of two of Chewbacca’s closest human friends, Han and Leia. We don’t know the full story of Han and Leia’s separation, but we can certainly imagine that Chewie watched this boy grow up, and perhaps even proudly observed Ben Solo head off to train with Luke Skywalker, his third close human friend.
The good news? Disney has been pretty liberal in allowing novels, tv shows, and comics to fill in some of the gaps. I’d read a 30 page comic that is nothing more than Chewbacca isolating himself to mourn in his own way. But this still feels like a missed opportunity for a pretty critical development in the life of a beloved (and onscreen) character.