Hey and Welcome to R.J.’s Rewrites.
As this is a new thing I’m trying out, I don’t have a set formula or way to do this, but I do feel like I should start with a disclaimer:
*I ENJOY THIS MOVIE. IN SPITE OF HOW I MAY FEEL, I, IN GOOD FAITH, CANNOT SAY A FILM IS BAD IF I SPENT MY OWN MONEY TO OWN A COPY OF IT*
As no film is perfect, I feel just a few minor tweaks could make it work just a little bit smoother. There’s nothing about this film, (well, okay ONE thing) I truthfully can’t accept and I am in no way saying I could’ve done better as I’m looking at it from a place of hindsight of over 3 years. Everything works and works well enough for its trilogy, and in turn the galaxy’s newer direction/canon, to grow from.
Also, I won’t be going over everything in the film, just the things I would change. Assume everything else works just the way it is.
That said… Let’s get into it!
- PHASMA SHOOTS
During the opening battle, we see the First Order Stormtroopers lay waste to the village. It’s pretty graphic and solid and getting the point across that the First Order isn’t to be trifled with. It’s in this scene we see Finn, or FN-2187 as he’s initially called, refuse to shoot.
In my rewrite, I’d have the scene continue as usual, but when Kylo turns to stop Poe’s blaster bolt, in his moment of distraction, have other people from the village rise up and try to take out Kylo at his flank.
FN-2187 is closest so he’d be the one to shoot, but he hesitates, but Captain Phasma picks up the slack and headshots them all before anyone has a chance to react – this would lead into her having suspicions of him and also gives us a chance to see Phasma’s skills and why she’s the ranking officer.
- REY + FIN + MAP
Their meetup would be largely the same, however when Finn reveals he’s “with the Resistance”, she mentions BB-8 having a map to Luke Skywalker. Originally, she says, “Luke Skywalker… I thought he was a myth.”
In my version, she would say “I thought he was just a Legend”. Just a nice little nod to the canon that came before this newer version and also works better into how the veteran characters (Luke, Han, Leia, etc…) will be seen from the characters/audience’s eyes.
- HAN SOLO & CHEWIE = 0 RATHTARS
Like most, I had a grin on my face seeing Han again. It was only undercut a bit when Rey said, “This is the Millenium Falcon? You’re Han Solo?” It only confuses me a little because she knows (of) Luke Skywalker, but not Han? But she follows it up by saying he was a smuggler.
Okay, well, you know of his stories but not he himself?
I suppose it could happen. Not too big of a deal there, just roll with it.
The biggest eye-opener is when he says “I used to be”. Going, again, in line with being a Legend, Han shunning away from the bright lights of fame that comes with being a war hero could’ve made this scene just a tiny bit smoother.
When Finn says “You knew him”, referring to Luke and Han says “Yeah, I knew him”, the pace of the scene is immediately cut by the rathtars that do nothing for this film in any regard. I know it’s good Star Wars fun…but it really has no point.
Yes, we have that funny dialogue moment where Han talks his way out of Kanjiklub and they send a message to the First Order on the whereabouts of the BB unit, but why couldn’t/wouldn’t Unkar Plutt do that?
They just left Jakku, in a high-speed chase from the First Order in “HIS” ship. He seemed to already have an interest in BB-8 so, again, why…rathtars?
If you take it out, the narrative beats are all the same and you lose nothing but a few, roughly five, minutes of screen time that can be dedicated to Han with better character moments.
They can ask him what he’s been doing, how life’s been for him and he could confess…
“Things were fine for a while. Settled down…had a wife…a son…” You can tell how his speech slowed that he’s trudging on sensitive topics.
“You had a kid?” Rey asked, kind of filling in holes where she feels she herself could fit.
“Oh, yeah,” Han would say scoffing at old memories. “Chewie knew him, too. Used to always get into trouble. I could never bring myself to discipline the kid; the wife was the stricter one, but not me. Hell, even got Chewie in on it, too. I was blind to it, but Chewie could always tell when he was up to no good…”
“What happened to him?” Finn would ask. Chewie would look away. Han’s smile fades. And he says…
“I lost him…a long time ago…”
- VISIONS IN THE FORCE
So, we get to Takodana, Rey goes a-walking and she eventually finds Luke’s lightsaber. Now, we’ve come to the part where I ONE thing I can’t accept – Luke’s lightsaber should be his second, the one he constructed in Return of the Jedi.
When he fought Vader in Empire, he got his hand amputated and, with it, went that lightsaber. For it to turn up in this film with the explanation on how it got there, the answer, “A good question, for another time…” just means “I don’t know, don’t ask questions! STAR WARS!”
Luke himself didn’t know where that lightsaber was, hence him making another. What’s so special about this lightsaber that it calls out to Rey, but not Luke himself? What’s worse is that the lightsaber being in this film does nothing for the plot.
Yeah, it’s nostalgic and iconic, even, but what purpose would that serve rather than having the green one? Nothing. Maz Kanata mentioned it being Anakin’s before Luke’s, so, if you’re going for a lineage/passed down angle, again, it falls flat because Anakin/Vader himself didn’t have sentimental ties to the blade.
It just doesn’t work.
And, admittedly this part is the benefit of hindsight but, Luke doesn’t even use his lightsaber, either of them, in The Last Jedi. Why bring it back just for him to not use it? Why not have him have his green lightsaber so that he couldn’t use it?
I don’t know…
Make the lightsaber green!
- FIRST ORDER INVADES TAKODANA
Again, most things about this scene work really well, but the major difference will be when Finn activates the lightsaber, it will be GREEN and, yeah, be a little bit clumsy with it at first.
His line, “I NEED A WEAPON!” shows he doesn’t even know what a lightsaber is, much less how to use it.
There’s some speculation as to how he was able to use it as effortlessly as he did and as well as he did, so, to show growth, he stumbles through a couple of fights, but by the time he gets challenged by that one stormtrooper, he feels he can hold his own.
And that random stormtrooper will be none other than CAPTAIN PHASMA herself. Again, the scene was fine, but it would’ve been a perfect opportunity for us to see what made her so special – AND, with the conflict from the beginning of the film, she would see him as a traitor and a mark on herself as he defected under her platoon. The fight would matter so much more if she were involved and even got the better of him during.
How does the fight end, you say? That’s where Poe and the Resistance would come in, just like the original film. Her armor may reflect blaster bolts, but…from an X-Wing?
Not so much.
- REY & KYLO REN
So, Rey gets kidnapped and taken aboard Starkiller base, but isn’t a damsel in distress because she winds up breaking out. In truth, I’m cool with most things that happen in this scene between them; yes, even the Jedi Mind Trick part.
At first, I wasn’t, thinking she needed training to pull that off, but then Cosmonaut on YouTube so eloquently pointed out it’s a much more common trick than I originally thought.
The video is over 20 minutes long and, while I’d recommend watching it entirely, I understand not everyone has that free time so, to jump to the point I’m referring to, it starts at: 18:44 ( https://youtu.be/36lEg63hpL0 ).
I won’t talk about if she’s a Mary Sue or not. It’s been debated to death. My point to rewrite the smaller details of the scene would be when they’re using the Force against one another in a battle of Whills (ha!).
I still believe Kylo should have a leg up over her considering, yes, he was trained by Luke. Rey does show to have an affinity for the Force and the history of the Galaxy upon meeting Han Solo, so she’s not completely lost in the dark, but it’s natural talent vs. trained skill at that point.
So, Kylo probes her mind, she pushes back. He can’t get in, but she can’t either. No talks of his fears, or Darth Vader parallels. We got that from his moment with Vader’s helmet. We know his fears and when he goes up against Rey, those would be reinforced without her having to know because, yeah, he’s ALREADY INSECURE.
So, Kylo can’t get in, but neither can she. He leaves all salty, but as soon as he leaves, Rey relaxes in her…stretcher (for lack of a better term) and loses consciousness.
Yeah, she fought to meet Kylo…but she’s exhausted from it.
THAT makes things fair, to me. Rey still has her talent, but Kylo is in another league at this point.
Anyway, she eventually comes to, in shock from what took place before, but recalls what she and Kylo did and then tries to push her limits, see what she can do. Maybe sees a small object and tries to push it forward. Doesn’t work, but it does budge a little bit which makes her want to try the Jedi Mind Trick.
Again, tiny little things (probably nit-picking) but it would help.
So, this is getting pretty lengthy and, unfortunately, I’m gonna have to stop here and pick it back up next time!
What comes of Captain Phasma? Does Han Solo die? What about Luke?
You’ll have to tune in and find out!
So, what do you think? Would you change anything? Love it? Hate it? Give your honest opinions and more in the comment section or on my twitter @RJFAQS