Wow, you always have great ideas!!!
Since Kylo fights Rey while the battle of Exegol takes place, what could we possibly do with the Knights of Ren?
Thanks for the kind words, man! I have a lot of ideas, but not a lot to show for them!
Regarding the Knights of Ren, I think we are better off leaving their fate ambiguous. I actually thought it might be better to cut anytime they appear after Pasaana, and imply that Rey actually blew up the transport the Knights of Ren were on (Rey actually killed one of the Knights with lightning in the Trevorrow script). Unfortunately we never see them fight, but to be fair we barely see them fight anyway. We could just leave their fate ambiguous to help imply that there are still bad guys Rey and the Resistance will have to deal with after the movie ends.
I hope you don’t mind me rambling here! I know this may be beyond what you can do, or want to do with your edit. But your project has definitely sparked some inspiration for me. If you feel I should move this convo to another thread just let me know!
That 3-in-1 idea sounds interesting! Although if I did standalone Sequel Trilogy film, I don’t think I would include anything from TROS! Haha.
But yes, restructuring the film this way definitely raises up some issues, but honestly they aren’t as terribly bad as I thought they would be in my head. Sure, the fact that D-O knew how to get to Exegol the whole time sort of makes Rey looking for the other Wayfinder pointless, but that happens in the theatrical film anyway. This edit isn’t guilty of any crimes that TROS isn’t already guilty of. But, it is guilty of one less big crime that TROS is guilty of, which is bringing back Palpatine the way it did.
Regarding the Kylo/Pryde idea, maybe we could reuse the scene where Pryde speaks with Palpatine’s hologram. We could replace Palpatine’s face with helmeted Kylo. It could even be a static image of his helmet, with some added added hologram effects. “General Pryde, wait there on Exegol. I must deal with the scavenger first.” But something like this may not be necessary. I just felt it might be good to show that Rey’s quest did add some sort of benefit to the battle, as it kept Kylo away and at least temporarily halted the fleet from leaving.
I guess one of the other weirder things is the fact Finn and Poe kind of abandon Rey on Kef Bir. But, I think it would be helpful to lean into Rey’s emotional isolation. For example, after she goes on her own to the Death Star, Poe accepts that they can’t help Rey right now. It would be nice to alter Poe and Finn’s interaction to something like:
Finn: You have no idea what she is going through right now.
Poe: And you do?
Instead of another hint at Finn’s force sensitivity, we could see Finn sort of accept that he can’t keep chasing Rey, and she has to continue this journey on her own. Speaking of which, I noticed you recut the celebration to suggest a little bromance between Finn and Poe. Snooker and I discussed this quite a bit (and she even made some great tests), and you could actually change Finn’s force sensitivity subplot to Finn wanting to tell Poe something before they died. Then, right before they’re about to be executed, Poe could ask, “What were you gonna tell me?” At the very least, this could be a good way to keep a little more of the film’s runtime.
Okay, moving on. Perhaps a little earlier in the film, while Poe, 3PO and Chewie are trying to fix the Falcon, we could hear some kind of beeping sound coming from the Falcon’s console, Chewie growls, and 3PO is redubbed to tell Poe that they have received a message from Leia, or the Resistance. Then we cut away before Poe says, “Did we ever find his volume control?”
Then later, when they’re walking back to the Falcon after looking at Rey sailing to the Death Star, there is a good wide shot of Poe and Finn where Poe’s line could be changed. Instead of saying, “We’ll get the Falcon fixed and go after her as fast as we can”, we could get a line similar to what josh have Poe, “We have to go. It’s Leia.”
Even if you can’t get Leia to say something like, “Find Poe”, we could just add the voice of an off-screen Resistance officer say, “We need to contact Poe immediately.”
[A note specifically about your edit. These scene where we have Poe, Finn and Rose reacting to the Exegol data uncovered in D-O, I wonder if you could reuse the insert shot of BB-8 looking up at the crew in order to make that transition a little smoother.]
I think another weird issue you run into with this edit is that Kylo and Rey don’t react to Leia’s death until way after she actually dies. I have one or two ideas for this though. At some point after her death, you could reutilize the brief scene of Kylo in the hallway speaking to Palpatine through the force, but instead, have Leia’s theme play over it, and have Kylo say to himself, “Mother…”, after he senses her death. This could be placed right after she dies.
Perhaps you could even intercut her death with that scene, implying that Kylo is sensing it. That way you could still have her death be a more personal moment between her and her son. Maybe you could even use a little bit of Adam Driver’s crying from Marriage Story. 😂
Later, when Kylo confronts Rey on the Death Star. You could have this interaction:
Kylo: You wanted to prove to my mother you were a Jedi, but you proved something else. You can’t go back to her now. Like I can’t.
Cuts to Rey.
Kylo: She’s gone- (taken from scene with Han)
Rey: -Give it to me.
Kylo is visibly shocked by her response.
With this additional line, we might start painting a picture that Rey is so consumed by getting the wayfinder, that maybe her mind is being clouded by the dark side. It may have prevented her from sensing Leia’s death, and she may even believe Kylo is lying. Even Kylo sensed and reacted to his mother’s death, but here we have Rey, totally consumed by her desire. I think if we build off of this, we could have a more believable descent for Rey.
I really like the idea of building off of Rey’s visions in this story. Yes, the wayfinder can show the Resistance how to get to Exegol, but maybe it can also show Rey something she wants to see. Could we possibly extend her visions to show her potential power? This way, we start questioning Rey’s motivation for finding the wayfinder. It almost becomes a One Ring-like object, something with the power to corrupt.
Perhaps Rey’s descent into the Sith Temple could be reused as a part of her dark side vision. Rey never goes to Exegol, but she goes in her vision. Rey could be in the temple alone, or we could actually have Palpatine appear as just a part of her vision that could taunt her. Either way, Rey could see the temple open up and see the Resistance being destroyed. Then she could look back down, and see Dark Rey on the throne. Dark Rey then shoots lightning into the air, and destroys the Sith Fleet.
I think Rey needs to have a good motivation for seeking power. If Rey sees herself on the throne, with the power to summon lightning, destroy her enemies and save her friends, we might actually believe she could turn to the dark side. I feel like the theatrical film doesn’t give her a good reason to turn, besides being tricked by Palpatine and be possessed. This extended vision could also help provide more content to cut back and forth between the B Plot with Poe and Finn.
I also think this edit could use some sort of reveal or twist. Since Palpatine really isn’t in it, you can’t have the reveal be “You kill Palpatine, and take the throne.”
I do like the idea that Kylo reveals that Rey killed her parents. It could tie in with the moment she almost killed Chewie, and that she has this power she doesn’t have control of. Maybe later when she has her dark side vision, vision-Palpatine, or something else, could show her what she could be capable of if she learned how to control her dark side. Again, something like that could help paint a clearer motivation for Rey. This would also allow you to do something similar to what krausfadr did with his edit, where he changed Rey’s line after escaping the Star Destroyer to say, “I killed my mother, and my father.” It would let you be able to keep Finn’s line, “That doesn’t sound like you. Rey, I know you-“ in a natural way. And again, Finn not truly understanding a part of Rey is sort of important for why Finn might accept leaving her on her own later in the film.
Regarding Kylo and Rey’s final duel, since Leia dies before their duel takes place, I know that leads to some issues with how exactly she interrupts Kylo and Rey’s fight. We could go with the angle of Leia reaching out to Ben from the netherworld of the Force, or as a Force ghost. On the other hand, I wonder if this would be a cool opportunity to try something else. Instead of Leia stopping Ben, what if Ben stopped himself from killing Rey on his own?
It is certainly non-traditional for Star Wars, but after he raises his saber then hesitates, we could show brief glimpses of moments between Rey and Ben in TLJ. Ben reminds himself of his bond with Rey. He drops his saber, but Rey picks it up and stabs him. Then Rey comes to her senses and realizes what she has done.
The great thing overall about a Palpatine-less edit is that it gives us so many opportunities to give Rey and Kylo Ren their own agency with their actions. Kylo earns the lost Fleet on his own, he searches for Rey because he wants to, and he could potentially spare Rey through his own self-reflection. Rey could search for the wayfinder not only to find the fleet and stop it, but to potentially understand her relationship with power and her identity.
I do have an idea for how an ending with Ben on Tatooine could be done. I just need time to try and do it. Though my vfx skills my not be good enough to achieve it. I’m definitely on the same page with you though, about implying that Ben is about to go on a long journey of atonement, rather than redeeming himself simply through sacrificing himself. I do think overall, this ending could leave us with a message of “Our mistakes don’t define us. Doing bad things doesn’t make us bad people, and it is never too late to change.” You get this theme in two different ways with Rey and Ben. Rey has to overcome her fear of potentially making mistakes, and Ben has to accept the mistakes he’s made and learn from them.