Those are really fantastic thoughts, Burbin! It definitely felt like Rian noticed the narrative repetition when he read the TFA script, so he carried that repetition further, to an extent, in order to get it out of the way and allow the final film to go in a new, fresh direction. But then, TROS repeated a lot of the same story beats as Return of the Jedi anyway.
For fan editing’s sake, I think it is interesting to think about possible alternative to TROS’ ending.
One option is to have both Rey and Ben live. I can see how this would be an issue for some, because it might not feel right if Ben could literally resurrect Rey without sacrificing his own life. If things were to play out the same way up to this point, I kinda of agree with the sentiment.
If you went for a Palpatine-less edit, you could have two options. One, after Rey stabs Kylo, she could leave him to die, and his conversation with Han could be him atoning at death’s door, or in the afterlife.
Or, Rey does heal him and he abandons the dark path. Then, maybe they could meet at the end, with the hint that they may forge a new kind of future together. I actually think Acbagel’s ending is rather interesting, where Rey gives her life to stop Palpatine, and Ben/Kylo’s future is left ambiguous. The Jedi/Sith feud ends on Exegol, and Ben, who is neither, is left to roam the galaxy.
There are several things you could do with the Rey/Ben story, but I feel like the Resistance/First Order subplot can’t really play out much different. Maybe the people’s fleet could recontextualized as the Republic fleet. Or, we could see the First Order actually turn on the Final Order, but I’m not sure how you would be able to get that across. I think it would be interesting if you could imply in TFA and TLJ that other Imperial Remnants exist that the First Order also conquered, and maybe we could see Star Destroyers from these Remnants help defeat the Final Order. These additions might just complicate things though.
I think one of the most inevitable things to me, after watching TFA and TLJ, was Finn leading a stormtrooper rebellion. We barely get this with Jannah, but their impact seems very limited. I wish that idea could be expanded somehow in a fan edit, but I don’t see how.