Rise of Skywalker Resurgence by krausfadr
krausfadr and company have triaged the many problems of the RoS and seem to have settled on three major flaws which this cut seeks to address. If these resonate with you, do not hesitate to give this a watch!
First, Rey’s arc as a Palpatine is a hindrance to the simultaneous conclusion of story of the film, the sequel trilogy, and the “Skywalker Saga.” krausfadr’s cut attempts to correct the problematic blood-determinism of Rey’s lineage while retaining Palpatine in the film. Rey’s Palpatine arc is therefore corrected through its excision. While I yearn for a version of this film that is 100% Palpatine-free (not sure what that film would be about, but at least it would be mercifully short!), this cut does the best it can to reduce him to his rightful role of evil-McGuffin, without letting his genealogy stain the message that this film probably ought to have been: that the Force can be democratized, and that not everyone needs to be a Skywalker or a Solo or a Palpatine to matter in this story.
Second, that the film is better served by positioning the Knights of Ren as Kylo’s menacing enforcers, rather than the mere sideshow act they are in the theatrical version. As such, in this version, they are an important obstacle for Ben to overcome. This is much more satisfying way to cash-out their set-up role in TFA. In addition, this is useful in making his final fight with his previous murder-bros companions as an act of atonement for the massacre of billions on the worlds destroyed by Starkiller base, and therefore cast his romantic connection with Rey just an little bit more earned.
Third, this cut seems to reflect the editors impression that TLJ set up the conclusion of the trilogies in a single direction: how Rey’s choices would impact the future of the Jedi. This edit actually delivers on this premise. While this cut does not omit Rey’s hamfisted identification as a Skywalker at the very end, it instead tries to imbue her decision to go by that name with actual meaning beyond an underdeveloped “you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends” kind of moral note the original screenplay attempts to end on. Thanks to changes in the opening crawl, we now know that Ren is trying to snuff out that name. That’s where this story begins. He’s targeting those who dare to use it, and therefore keep hope alive of resisting his war machine. This not only re-imagines the ending of this film as one that actually delivers on the ending of TLJ, but also as ending befitting the so-called Skywalker Saga.
I am pleased to report that this krausfadr’s rehabilitation is very effective in elevating RoS into a something that I can watch without rage-quitting (RIP, Rose). Emancipating Rey from her Palpatine bloodline is surprisingly effective way of dampening the frustration I feel about the original screenplay’s betrayal of the suggested premise that Rey ought to be celebrated precisely because she’s a nobody. While this cut deserve many accolades for the best possible job in the hopeless task of polishing a turd, I want to highlight what I think is the most affecting revision: the ending.
The conclusion of this cut comes close being legitimately emotionally moving and satisfying ending to Star Wars’ nine episodes. Rather than spread the symbolic ashes of her former master in the form of a lightsaber at a place where he was abandoned and left in obscurity to protect him from by an abusive father, instead Rey comes to lay his memory to rest and make a statement of her own about what kind of Jedi she intends to be. With one little snippet of dialogue from Yoda, we get a hint of how Rey might break the ring theory of Star War’s force-wielders by reforming the Jedi order. Not to mention, through some simple and hugely effective editing, Rey now no longer makes this pilgrimage alone. The gang is together, and the cut ends on the happier note with the suggestion that whatever adventure comes next, the characters we’ve grown to care about in TLJ will be together.
Considerations for future editions, from methodologically conservative to the most radical departures:
Moving Palps reveal to the end of the first act is big improvement. Yet the first act is still a little rocky. In this cut, the first act has to do double duty: establish that Palps is off in the Unknown Regions and has offered the his fleet to Kylo, and that Kylo is doubling down on destroying all things Solo. Some of the editing in this new version of the first act left me a bit confused. For example, did I have it right that that Ren’s already made contact with Palps before visiting Exegol? Part of his Mustafar massacre scene could be re-appropriated as visual evidence of his textual targeting of those who continue to use the name Skywalker… some additional scene/dialogue to develop that idea in the opening crawl would be welcome.
Consider cutting the image of Sith fleet rising from the ice. It looks like an action shot suggesting a ship battle, but then nothing of the kind follows. Instead, the shots from afar do enough to establish the threat from afar.
Cut the dagger-matching wreckage scene. Rather than rely on an inexplicable post-facto modern-wreckage-ancient-artifact alignment, Rey’s Force-powers should suffice in unveiling the location to the damn wayfinder. The dagger scene is so distracting!
C390’s memory wipe could be made permanent by cutting the recovery scene. This might give some more meaningful stakes to a screenplay in which Chewie’s and Ben’s deaths serve as little more than cheap fake-outs.
TL;DR – krausfadr’s cut makes RoS a much more tolerable conclusion to the sequel trilogy. With enough smart and common-sense improvements, this cut merits the consignment of the theatrical version to the dustbin of history. (I mean, the theatrical version does that on its own “merits,” but you get the drift). A hearty thank you to krausfadr and company for their work.