Just saw the movie, I’m planning on seeing it tomorrow. So please take my comments with a grain of salt, because I don’t think my initial takes will reflect my thoughts about these films long-term.
When the early reviews described the film as “a lot”, I think that is absolutely accurate. You can tell they shot a lot more material than we saw, but Abrams felt this film needed to move as quickly as possible. The movie just moves WAY too fast, in my opinion.
I think the crawl does not need to mention Palpatine by name at all. Because it makes the reveal not surprising whatsoever. I think it could go something like this:
After Luke’s heroic stand against the First Order, hope began returning to the galaxy and the First Order has expended a lot of resources trying to maintain fear and quell the growing resistance.
Something something about the Resistance.
As the First Order becomes desperate to find a solution to their growing problem, Kylo Ren uses one of Snoke’s old artifacts to find the source of his mysterious power.
I think a crawl in the vein of this could help justify where all of those ships came from at the end.
The movie should then cut the scene of Kylo killing the natives (unless they include the Oracle deleted scene on the dvd) and start with the red nebula and Kylo jumping out of hyperspace. This opening should be quieter and mysterious. I think this scene should feel more reminiscent to the teaser clip of this scene.
Another idea for Palpatine, I think it would be interesting if the scenes where we see his body, we could add the blue smoke/energy we saw when he died, emanating from his nose and mouth. The idea being that this is Palpatine’s spirit, and it is just attached to his corpse that the acolytes retrieved from the Death Star wreckage.
I may have mentioned this somewhere else, but even though I would have rather had no Palpatine in this film, I think more hints to the Sith and Palpatine should be added into TFA, TLJ, and even other films if possible at all.
Someone suggested cutting the light skipping thing and I don’t think this would be a bad idea.
To help slow the film down a little, I think it would be interesting to add establishing shots of the helmet construction scene to show that they’re on Mustafar.
The scene of Rey and Kylo fighting over the transport on Pasana, I think the wide shot needs to be altered to make them feel farther apart. The way this scene is paced makes it feel weird as to why Kylo doesn’t pursue them, or why Finn doesn’t try to shoot Kylo.
Speaking of Pasana, a few other ideas:
Does Lando really need to be here? I felt the scene of Kylo commanding local troops to get there, and then a Stormtrooper being right there in the next shot felt so weird! I really think you could cut straight to Rey telling them Kylo knows they’re there, and then stealing the speeders.
This might seem unnecessary, but I think it would be interesting to regrade Pasana to make it Jedha. I know it may seem unnecessary, but both planets were filmed at Wadi Rum, Jordan, and if Ochi hunted Jedi relics, it makes sense for him to go to a Jedi planet like Jedha. You could create a new shot of the planet with a big chunk blown out of it, maybe with a ring around it. Having a ring or debri field would make sense since the crew hides in an asteroid field immediately after leaving the planet. Maybe they hid in the asteroid field hoping the First Order would leave. It would help explain how the Knights of Ren knew where they were as well. Again, it may feel unnecessary but I think it would make the planet more interesting and give the location more history.
After they wipe 3PO’s memory and they’re about to board the Star Destroyer, 3PO says something like, “Whoever this Chewie is were saving, this is madness!” This line feels lazy to me. I think it would be funnier if 3PO could have a line that played well off of the gang just rushing off the ship and blasting everyone in their path. Something that makes you think they’re gonna be sneaky or something, and then BLAST BLAST! I also think 3PO should not have his memory restored.
I have no idea how to alter it at this point, but I think the whole Goonies-style “lining the dagger up with the Death Star ruins” feels so strange! Why would Sith loyalists make a brand new dagger with the coordinates of the wayfinder’s location in wreckage that could easily collapse an no longer match the outline of the dagger?
Maybe 3PO’s deep voice could be redubbed to say something more general. Something about the way finder being at the site of Sidious’ death, or something like that.
When Han and Ben have their conversation, I think it would be interesting to overlap Han saying “Ben” with Leia saying “Ben”, to imply Leia is speaking to her son through Han.
For the climax of the film, I was hoping that we would end up actually seeing some Force ghosts, rather than just heading them (at least we heard them I guess). When Rey says, “And I am all the Jedi”, I think it would be interesting if we created some kind of effect that made it appear as if the Force ghosts were literally using her as a vessel. We could see her glow like a Force ghost, and when we see the close up of her face in between the sabers, we could superimpose faces of Luke, Leia, and finally Anakin.
I may change my mind on this, but just for curiosity’s sake, I think I will make an edit (or would like to see an edit) where Rey is NOT a Palpatine, and where Ben Solo lives.
In my opinion, there is just not enough context to explain how or why Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter. Palpatine had a son? It just feels super convoluted to me. If removing this idea altogether would be infeasible, I think Rey being created by Palpatine would make much more sense. Anakin was implied to have made by the Force as a reaction to Plagueis and Sidious’ growing power. Sidious said Plagueis had the power to create life. If this was true, and if all the Rule of Two Sith have been in fact one Sith, then Sidious would know this too. Maybe Rey was made by Palpatine to be the perfect vessel. She was supposed to be what Anakin failed to be.
But I still think keeping Rey as a nobody and leaning onto that dyad idea will help make the trilogy more cohesive. If you cut Rey Palpatine, you could also cut the shot of Ochi’s ship from TFA.
Again, I would prefer sticking with Rey being nobody, but I do understand that you might have to cut a lot to achieve that. At the very least, I would like to make Rey not Palpatine’s biological granddaughter, but instead Palpatine’s anti-Chosen One.
Here is my idea for “saving” Ben.
I would like to like to add some Force ghost voice over from one of the other Skywalker that implies they are helping Ben bring Rey back to life.
After Ben resurrects Rey, you simply cut away after Rey and Ben’s kiss and they’re smiling. Rey meets back up with the Resistance and we wonder what happened with Ben.
When Rey goes to the Lars Homestead, instead of her burying Luke and Leia’s sabers, we could create a new insert shot that would replace the shots of the sabers in the cloth. Instead of all of that, she unfolds the cloth and we see a whole bunch of lightsaber parts. We don’t even need to see the construction really. The next shot we see is her lifting up the new saber she just built.
I have two different ideas for the last few shots.
First idea: You could keep the whole Rey Skywalker thing, but in the end, when she is looking at the twin suns, we see a silhouette walking toward her in the distance. The last shot is of Rey and BB-8 watching as Ben walks toward them.
Second idea: You could remove the old lady coming up to talk to Rey. Instead, when Rey looks up, you could add a new shot of a TIE fighter landing. Maybe a close up shot of Ben’s feet touching the ground. Rey looks over at Leia and Luke smiling. The last shot is of Rey, BB-8 and Ben looking at the sunset together. (I also think it would be interesting to imply that this could be a sunrise instead).
If you think about it, her going to Lars’ homestead makes so much more sense if she is meeting someone there. In my opinion there is really no point in burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers there, or even going there if all of her friends are back on Generic Jungle Planet? Obviously Ben might not be ready to show his face to the galaxy, but in time he might be ready to help right the wrongs he created in the galaxy.
I have a lot more thoughts but I’ll stop here for now. I’m sure there will be a lot of people saying “this movie is a mess”, “it can’t be saved!”
But despite my problems with the film, I think there is hope in the fact that now we have the whole picture, all nine films. Pessimism isn’t in the spirit of fan editing, because we find ways to turn problems into solutions. If the long-term consensus of this film turns out to be rather poor, I do believe we can turn this film, and the whole saga, into a really spectacular series of fan edits. I’m really hopeful about the future of these films!