A not so gentle restructure.
I just can’t think of anything essential in the Resistance base evacuation and resulting scenes that can’t be more effectively implied through the passage of time.
Also, I think opening the movie on Canto Bight would give it an entirely different feel - there are many movies which open on some scene that doesn’t end up being very consequential, but the point of the scene would merely be to re-establish these characters and their new roles. The expositional nature of the scenes would also function as further set up for the story and the universe instead of a distraction from our main characters.
I really want to play with the idea of moving the scene of the kids playing with the Luke doll, maybe as a way to segue back to our heroes in prison. So after ending the first scenes on Canto Bight with Finn and Rose’s imprisonment and then introducing Luke’s unexpected nihilism, to then cut back to these kids imagining Luke as a hero might be a really effective juxtaposition.
Only III-VI don’t really look alike… so is IX going to be quite different as well ? I certainly hope so.
This is also my hope.