Here are some of the cuts I would make, not knowing what deleted material we have to work with:
1.) Try using a mixture of cuts and alternate Kylo Ren dialogue (perhaps from the video games?) to remove the “Rey Palpatine” reveal from the film. Ideally, I’d also like to remove any implication that Rey’s parents were trying to hide her or protect her from Palpatine. To me, this twist cheapens the the reveal at the end of The Last Jedi: that Rey is ‘no one’ and needs to forge her own path forward. It’s as if, after The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi came around and said “no, actually Darth Vader was lying, Obi-Wan was your father”. I found it supremely unsatisfying.
I think it would be enough just to imply that Palpatine senses Rey’s growing power and wants Kylo to nip it in the bud by killing her. However, when he notices Rey straying toward the dark path and Kylo coming to the light, he changes his plan and encourages Rey to strike him down and take his place, the same tactic he tried with Luke and Anakin before him. Stuff like the force lightning reveal and Dark Rey could still work in this context imo, as could the idea of the “Force dyad”.
I don’t even mind the ‘Rey Skywalker’ moment at the end in this context, as it makes sense to me for Rey to adopt the legacy of the people who helped her find her place in the world, although I’d trim the old woman specifically asking for her surname, so it’s just “Rey… looks at force ghosts of Luke and Leia Rey Skywalker”
2.)I’m okay with Luke catching the saber, it feels like a nice reversal of that controversial moment in the Last The Jedi and further cements the arc that Luke went through in that film. However, I really dislike the line he says about “treating a Jedi weapon with more respect”. Imo it feels like a pointed dig at The Last Jedi rather than a natural evolution of Luke’s character. I think that line could be safely excised from the movie.
3.) I’d remove the throwaway line about the Holdo maneuver. Again, it feels like unnecessary lampshading of a moment in The Last Jedi and ripped me out of the movie.
4.) I’d remove Finn trying to tell Rey something and not getting a chance throughout the film. I know the implication is that Finn is trying to tell her he’s Force sensitive, but I don’t think this is clearly communicated or paid off satisfactorily in the film.
5.) I’d remove that last conversation between Lando and Jannah. This moment confused me in the film and felt like a vestige of a cut plotline. I saw it as a sort of fatherly interaction but other people I’ve spoken to thought Lando was hitting on her…so I think it’s safe to say that this scene didn’t land for a lot of people.
6.) I’d remove the sequence of the Star Destroyer blowing up Kijimi. I think the massive size of the fleet creates enough stakes on its own. Do we really have to go back to the superweapon well and make each one a Death Star?
7.) This one is more debatable, but I’d consider removing the implication of a romantic history between Poe and Zorri, as well as Poe’s attempts to get her to kiss him. I like that the two of them have a history but the romance angle feels unnecessary and, in my opinion, isn’t given nearly enough time to feel properly developed.
8.) There’s a lot of fanservice in this film, And i’d have to give it more thought as to which fanservice moments worked for me and which didn’t. Off the top of my head, the one only that seems like a no-brainer to remove is Chewie getting his medal. in hindsight this felt super out of left-field.
9.) Can scenes be shuffled around so there’s more time between Chewie’s “death” and his re-emergence as a First Order prisoner? We barely have a chance to let that sink in before it’s unceremoniously reversed. I also wonder if it’s possible to remove the restoration of C3PO’s memory by R2. Perhaps even have R2 try to restore his memory and fail, creating a sad moment between the two friends. It just feels like there’s too many fake-out deaths in this one movie.