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TFA: A Gentle Restructure

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Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens: Restructured

The following information and more can be found at FanEdit.org, home of the fan edits.

Running time is about 136 minutes.

Tagline: It’s another Death Star…
 
Synopsis: It’s the same Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens you fell in love with, only restructured slightly so that Starkiller Base does not fire until close to the end of the film.
During the battle over Starkiller Base, the stakes are no longer protecting the Resistance base, but preventing the destruction of the Republic Capitol. Even though they destroy the First Order’s superweapon, they fail to do so in time to save the day.
 
Intention: Simply to move the destruction of the Hosnian system to the climax of the film, and and implement all the little things necessary to facilitate it seamlessly.
 
How does this restructuring help the film?
 
• The second act centers around the events of Maz’s castle and remains focused on the characters and their struggle to keep the First Order from finding the map to Luke. The First Order catching up to Han and Rey is sufficient motivation for Finn to decide not to leave, without the Hosnian system being destroyed.
• Starkiller Base firing upon the Hosnian system in the third act links it very closely to Kylo Ren’s resolution toward the dark side as he kills Han. Pairing these events magnifies each.
• Han taking a risk motivated by love for his son which brings about costly failure is a dark mirror of Vader doing the same in Return of the Jedi and ending up helping to save the galaxy.
• It alleviates the plot’s very close parallel with the original Star Wars.
• Starkiller Base is depicted as functioning in an intuitive way: it drains the nearby star (or “the Sun,” as Finn describes it), which covers it in darkness, and then fires on the Republic Capitol. Gone are the awkward questions about why the planet was still in daylight when it fired the first time during the second act, and whether the base is mobile.
• It avoids depicting the Hosnian system clearly visible to the naked eye, very large in the sky, from lightyears away. The official Lucasfilm canon answer is that Starkiller Base created a “space-time disruption,” an obvious bandaid answer to apologize for a wanton move on the filmmakers’ part. One wonders whether such intersystem spectacles are common in this world, because no one who witnessed the destruction had the slightest trouble identifying what was happening.
• It avoids raising the question of why the Resistance did not begin evacuating their base during the third act when they know they are the target. In the original Star Wars, the Death Star was looming overhead; here, there’s no obvious reason why they could not have fled.
 
This project was born of the emergent idea from all over the Internet after we all saw the film. Numerous people atOriginalTrilogy.com suggested this idea immediately after release.
See also William Gillis’ blog post which explains his rationale for desiring this change: https://humaniterations.net/2016/03/26/how-to-fix-the-force-awakens/
 
Other sources: TIE sound effects, stills of TIEs and transport ships

Special Thanks:
Everyone at OriginalTrilogy.com who contributed, including:
Jackpumpkinhead (Three visual effects shots)
Octorox
Smithers
Chris Solo
Ben_danger
That_OT_Ruler
RogueLeader
Kexikus
Bingowings
Darthrush
ImperialFighter
Yuri_Kenobi
Littlev87
Tomo
NeverarGreat
Cheebo
DominicCobb
TK251
SkywalkerFan01
Rpvee
MalàStrana
Scott109

Noodle_Finger (fan editor behind a prior TFA edit)
 
William Gillis for his blog post summarizing the rationale for the idea
 
Covert artwork by OT.com user Sherman

Special features:
Subtitles (English and French) (Thanks to MalàStrana)
Chapter stops

Cuts and Additions:

Removed General Hux from the first scene with Snoke, where he suggests using the weapon to destroy the Republic. (FX by Jackpumpkinhead to paint out Hux walking offscreen during first shot)
 
After Rey flees Maz’s castle after her Force vision, replaced the Hosnian system being destroyed in the sky with a Star Destroyer and approaching TIE fighters. Finn and Han now gaze up to see that the First Order has caught up with them, as they feared. (FX by Jackpumpkinhead)
 
When Finn is introduced to Leia, removed mention of the Hosnian system’s destruction.
 
Removed Threepio’s line, “It is very doubtful that Artoo would have the rest of the map in his backup data.” (This is the sole deviation from the stated goal of restructuring the film to move Starkiller Base firing to the third act.)
 
After Rey resists Kylo Ren’s mind probe, added the portion of the Snoke scene from earlier where General Hux suggests using the weapon to destroy the Republic. (FX by Jackpumpkinhead to overlay Kylo Ren’s face over where his mask was for one shot)
 
Moved General Hux’s impassioned speech to after Kylo Ren overreacts to Rey’s escape from her cell.
 
After the speech, the nearby Sun beings to be drained, as Hux and the troops gaze upon the stream being sucked into the planet. (Recolored to yellow-orange, and reversed so as to appear to be going down into the ground)
 
During the briefing scene at the Resistance base, removed Leia identifying their base as the Starkiller’s next target, Threepio lamenting the prior loss of the Republic fleet, and well as mention that the First Order is charging the weapon “again.”
 
During a brief cutaway to the Resistance base as Han and Chewie infiltrate the oscillator, removed Threepio’s line, “It would take a miracle to save us now.”
 
Immediately after Kylo Ren kills Han, the Starkiller fires and destroys the Hosnian system, as Leia senses it through the Force.
 
As Finn and Rey start to head outside the oscillator, cut to the battle in space where the fighters notice that the oscillator has been damaged. Cut back to Rey and Finn at this point, before the X-wings begin their descend toward the trench.
 
As Kylo Ren and Rey duel, cut to the X-wings descending toward the trench, skipping over the portion of the sequence used earlier.
 
As the Falcon flies away from the imploding planet, removed shots in which the fighter pilots appeared more joyful than the galaxy’s fresh loss would lead one to expect.

Here’s a link to the uncompressed PCM audio output, for those who would like to mux it in themselves:
https://mega.nz/#!99QSjQZC!gW376LaKX_EpTOJxkyKA94FDAg26TMIdkfAK5mm9_oU

ORIGINAL FIRST POST

Okay, guys, you dragged it out of me: a dedicated thread to the emergent idea of a fan edit that restructures the Starkiller Base subplot of TFA. At this point it is just an idea, with mockups being produced. This is not a Hal9000 endeavor, per se, but a collaboration on a core editing idea that could be an edit all on its own, and be incorporated into others’ more extensive TFA fan edits.

The idea is simply to move the destruction of Hosnian Prime to after Han’s death, and all the little things that need to be done in order to make that work. This carries several benefits to the plot, including making SKB less of a direct 1:1 mirror of ANH. As it stands, both films feature the villians destroying an innocent planetary system, and having the underdog team try to destroy it in turn before it blows up their secret base. With this restructure in place, the mirror is still present but is now flipped on its head: the Resistance makes a pre-emptive strike on SKB, and fails to destroy it in time to prevent Hosnian’s destruction.
This restructure also makes SKB’s operations more intuitive. No longer would Han and Finn see the destruction of a far distant planetary system in the sky, but would see TIEs coming in to attack Maz’s castle. (The canon explanation is literally that SKB created a “space-time disruption,” an obvious bandaid answer to a wanton move on the filmmakers’ part.) The SKB would only be shown or implied to consume one star, an event which marks the base going from being lit to cast into darkness. Presumably, the consumption of “the Sun” (as Finn describes it) is sufficient to destroy all that SKB is meant to destroy. (It would be ambiguous whether it was created as a one-shot weapon to take out the Republic capital, or that one star is good for >1 discharges. If going for the former approach, one could trim Hux’s exposition to remove suggesting “The Republic” to Snoke as a specific target.)

Well, that’s the idea in a nutshell. Maybe a great edit can be done to subtly massage the plot of TFA in such a way that someone who only saw the movie when it came out wouldn’t even notice. I firmly believe TFA would have been better if they had done it this way from the beginning, and hopefully we can pull it off in fan edit form. So far I have the broad strokes of an outline in a timeline. Currently needed are a few FX shots, including de-masking Kylo Ren in a few shots of the merged Snoke scene, and replacing the red beam over Maz’s planet with incoming TIEs. (Xxtelecine 7xx has been working on these.) I will return to this post later and post links to proof of concepts clips and things from the old thread, unless someone beats me to it.

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I love the movie as is, but I’m potentially interested in this. It does sound like an improvement.

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This was the only aspect that really bothered me. There were other little things but as soon as I saw TFA, as much as I enjoyed it, I started thinking that I hoped someone would make a fan edit that does exactly what you are describing. I agree the movie would have been so much better. They succeed in destroying SKB but not before The First Order destroy Hosnian Prime. I’m looking forward to following this project.

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Yeah, my biggest complaint about the movie was the whole Starkiller Base thing. That’s what made me make the connection to A New Hope 2.0. But moving the destruction to after Han’s death is actually a really smart idea that would improve the movie by a ton. I’m thinking of putting it in my edit.

~The original trilogy is my life… kind of~

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Not that this really needs to be said, because we all know it: This was not my idea! I just want to see an edit that pretty much does this and leaves the rest of the film as is. (And to work together to perfect the approach so it’ll be available to others.)

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here is my newly updated version of the tie approach based on input from users here. let me know what you all think

https://youtu.be/y9ORxVHXeVg

“You can’t polish a turd. But you can shape it to look like candy.”

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From the other thread, here’s what I have so far for the scene. The line is, “It’s the First Order, they’ve done it.” I scoured the film and couldn’t find anything to replace the second part of the line, but it doesn’t sound that odd. He just sounds a little weird, like, “Now they’ve really done it!”
https://vimeo.com/165767941

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Good, because that’s exactly what I was picturing!

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That test looks great Jack! I think that is definitely usable. I think they could be smaller/closer to the Star Destroyer, but I think it is good the way it is too. Any closer would be too close, but I like it now too!

Also Hal, about the “they’ve done it” line. I think it works that way, it’ll definitely do. I think we could still look for alternatives though just in case someone finds something better.

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Maybe there’s a line or two from the upcoming Lego Star Wars Force Awakens game. I know Boyega recorded dialog specifically for the game.

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Really looks great now! I would have placed them even further away but it’ good as it is too. I think there should be more TIEs though, the fleet in your shots seems quite small compared to what we see later in the Rey scene. And I would maybe try and make them a little brighter. I don’t know if that makes any sense but I feel like it could look better.

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Nice work! Now we just need Finn to say something different. The only thing I don’t like is their reactions a little over dramatic, in my opinion. But hey, the magic of editing can fix that.

~The original trilogy is my life… kind of~

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They do face death or imprisonment and the possible destruction of an outpost hundreds of years old. I think the reaction is fine.
Imagine the reaction the people of the Spanish mainland would have is someone dropped a small nuke on Gibraltar.

When the student is ready, the Master speaks?

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And Finn and Han know that Luke is in danger if they come for the map.
I think this works well for that hypothetical audience who hasn’t seen the film and doesn’t suspect anything.

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This could be fantastic! And as long as you’ve got something to do with it, Hal, I know it’s gonna be top quality! Good luck! 😃

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Kexikus said:

Really looks great now! I would have placed them even further away but it’ good as it is too. I think there should be more TIEs though, the fleet in your shots seems quite small compared to what we see later in the Rey scene. And I would maybe try and make them a little brighter. I don’t know if that makes any sense but I feel like it could look better.

it seems as though everyone wants to see them further away, which i may try, idk. as far as there not being enough in the fleet, i think you are wrong. if you re-examine the shot where rey sees the fleet, we really dont see that many ties. besides, why would you send a huge fleet of ties to take our one little castle of seemingly unknowing and off guard bar patrons, and the same applies to the trooper transports. at least thats the way i see it. i will try making them “brighter”. i did try to give them a bit of a sky color tint so as to seem like they are in the distance somewhat.

“You can’t polish a turd. But you can shape it to look like candy.”

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okay, so i have played around with this slightly and this is what the clips look like currently. if you all think that this looks good enough to be the final version then i will upload a video version. but for now pix are all you get 😉

Finn’s View:
alt text

Han’s View:
alt text

“You can’t polish a turd. But you can shape it to look like candy.”

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