This project is in Version 4.
Synopsis: It’s the same Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens you fell in love with, only restructured slightly so that Starkiller Base does not fire until close to the end of the film. During the battle over Starkiller Base, the stakes are no longer protecting the Resistance base, but preventing the destruction of the Republic Capitol. Even though they destroy the First Order’s superweapon, they fail to do so in time to save the day.
Intention: To move the destruction of the Hosnian system to the climax of the film, implementing all the little things necessary to facilitate it seamlessly, and address a few other minor things.
How does this restructuring help the film?
• The second act centers around the events of Maz’s castle and remains focused on the characters and their struggle to keep the First Order from finding the map to Luke. The First Order catching up to Han and Rey is sufficient motivation for Finn to decide not to leave, without the Hosnian system being destroyed.
• Starkiller Base firing upon the Hosnian system in the third act links it very closely to Kylo Ren’s resolution toward the dark side as he kills Han. Pairing these events magnifies each.
• Han taking a risk motivated by love for his son which brings about costly failure is a dark mirror of Vader doing the same in Return of the Jedi and ending up helping to save the galaxy.
• It alleviates the plot’s very close parallel with the original Star Wars.
• Starkiller Base is depicted as functioning in an intuitive way: it drains the nearby star (or “the Sun,” as Finn describes it), which covers it in darkness, and then fires on the Republic Capitol. Gone are the awkward questions about why the planet was still in daylight when it fired the first time during the second act, and whether the base is mobile.
• It avoids depicting the Hosnian system clearly visible to the naked eye, very large in the sky, from lightyears away. The official Lucasfilm canon answer is that Starkiller Base created a “space-time disruption,” an obvious bandaid answer to apologize for a wanton move on the filmmakers’ part. One wonders whether such intersystem spectacles are common in this world, because no one who witnessed the destruction had the slightest trouble identifying what was happening.
• It avoids raising the question of why the Resistance did not begin evacuating their base during the third act when they know they are the target. In the original Star Wars, the Death Star was looming overhead; here, there’s no obvious reason why they could not have fled.
This project was born of the emergent idea from all over the Internet after we all saw the film. Numerous people at OriginalTrilogy.com suggested this idea immediately after release.
See also William Gillis’ blog post which explains his rationale for desiring this change: https://humaniterations.net/2016/03/26/how-to-fix-the-force-awakens/
Other sources: Various sound effects from the Star Wars franchise
Subtitles (English and French)
Cuts and Additions (V4 changes denoted with an asterisk*):
As Finn mans the TIE fighter with Poe, trimmed firing upon fellow stormtroopers so soon after planning to escape. Now, he causes peripheral damage to prevent them from firing at him and takes aim at the command center. (Slightly shifted the placement of the film’s trademark Wilhelm scream in order to retain it.)
Removed Kylo Ren identifying Finn’s stormtrooper ID from memory.
*Made it appear that Finn woke from the TIE crash shortly after daybreak, with the dark effect gradually declining as the scene progresses. (Idea from NeverArGreat)
Added the Falcon jumping to hyperspace after leaving Jakku, then being ripped from hyperspace soon after, along with removing a now-out-of-place line from Finn about “get[ting] out of this system.” (FX by NeverarGreat)
*Removed Han’s somewhat kindly, “Come on outta there” to Finn and Rey while leaving the directional nod (thanks to NeverArGreat).
Removed Rey saving Finn from the rathtars, cutting from Finn’s line, “They look like that,” to Han and Chewie arriving at the door to the Falcon.
Removed General Hux from the first scene with Snoke, where he suggests using the weapon to destroy the Republic. (FX by Jackpumpkinhead to remove Hux walking offscreen during first shot)
Removed Finn’s comedic line about almost being killed several times by Chewie while tending to him on the Falcon (Mimicked DigModiFicaTion’s approach).
*Removed Han describing the need for Maz to help them get a ‘clean ship.’ It doesn’t add anything, and their motives are already clear enough. (Idea from NeverArGreat)
*Subtle rendition of the first part of the Emperor’s Theme has been added to the Imperial March as we see Vader’s shattered helmet (thanks to Sir Ridley).
*Added two lines from the Emperor during Rey’s Force vision to very gently hint toward the revelations within Episode IX.
*Repurposed excised footage from the rathtar sequence to depict Rey separated from Finn in her Force vision. (Thanks to NeverArGreat)
After Rey flees Maz’s castle after her Force vision, replaced the Hosnian system being destroyed in the sky with a Star Destroyer. Finn and Han now gaze up to see that the First Order has caught up with them, as they feared. Finn’s line to Han about the First Order has been changed, including a brief visual modification to his mouth. (FX by Sir Ridley and NeverarGreat)
*Reinstated Han shooting a stormtrooper while facing the other way, which had been removed in V3, due to its reference in Episode IX.
Throughout the battle at Maz’s castle, applied a slight sunset color correction to harmonize the sunset lighting present before and afterward.
*Audio from the trailer was used to add a sound effect to a TIE being shot down (turned out to be barely noticeable, but I did it anyway).
New deleted scene included of Leia discussing the Republic. The scene was originally intended for earlier in the film, and Leia’s prominent braid has been removed to match her scenes immediately prior and after. Audio has been redesigned to accompany a finished film, and the sequence retimed to accommodate it. (FX by Sir Ridley and NeverarGreat)
When Finn is introduced to Leia, removed mention of the Hosnian system’s destruction, though retained mention that Finn had worked on the base (thanks to FX work by NeverarGreat).
R2 now has a blinking light to indicate that he has begun searching for the map. (FX by NeverarGreat)
After Rey resists Kylo Ren’s mind probe, added the portion of the Snoke scene from earlier where General Hux suggests using the weapon to destroy the Republic. Kylo Ren’s face has been overlaid where his mask was for one shot, and a few shots from behind have had the back of his head replace his hood. (FX by Jackpumpkinhead and krlozdac)
*Fixed two continuity errors introduced by the restructuring: Snoke is now seen rising from his seat in a new context rather than suddenly appearing upright, and his mouth no longer moves in a shot in which he is silent. (Thanks to NeverArGreat for the former.)
Moved General Hux’s impassioned speech to after Kylo Ren overreacts to Rey’s escape from her cell.
After the speech, the nearby Sun beings to be drained, as Hux and the troops gaze upon the stream being sucked into the planet. (Recolored to yellow-orange, and reversed so as to appear to be going down into the ground)
During the briefing scene at the Resistance base, removed Leia identifying their base as the Starkiller’s next target, Threepio lamenting the prior loss of the Republic fleet, and well as mention that the First Order is charging the weapon “again.”
Cleaned up the smoke and debris around the Starkiller weapon exhaust when the X-Wings approach. (FX by NeverarGreat)
During a brief cutaway to the Resistance base as Han and Chewie infiltrate the oscillator, removed Threepio’s line, “It would take a miracle to save us now.”
Removed Finn’s comedic moment of misunderstanding Han’s head nod while searching for Rey (Mimicked DigModiFicaTion’s approach).
Immediately after Kylo Ren kills Han, the Starkiller fires and destroys the Hosnian system, as Leia senses it through the Force. (Some FX by Sir Ridley and NeverarGreat)
As Finn and Rey start to head outside the oscillator, cut to Snoke and Hux planning to destroy the Resistance. (FX by Sir Ridley)
First Order technician redubbed to state the weapon will be fully “re”-charged in 30 seconds. (Voice from AbramPT)
Chewie has been cropped out of a shot of him walking past Leia. (Crop and image enhancement by Sir Ridley)
Extended the shot of R2 waking up, to allow him to finish searching his backup data. (FX by NeverarGreat)
Color corrected Ach-to to bring it a little closer to the corresponding scene’s lighting and weather conditions in The Last Jedi.
*Added a few subtle porg sounds to the background, replacing two native bird sounds.
The final shot of the film has been stabilized. (FX by NeverarGreat)
Everyone at OriginalTrilogy.com who contributed, including:
NeverarGreat (Visual and audio effects)
Sir Ridley (Visual and audio effects)
Jackpumpkinhead (Visual effects)
Sherman (Cover artwork)
MalàStrana (English and French subtitles)
Jack of All Trades
Edezio Enk’or Valorum
William Gillis (Blogger who voiced the core idea for this project which appeared shortly after the film’s release)
Noodle_Finger (fan editor behind a prior TFA edit)
Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.