Hi, I watched your edit. I felt better watching your version than the original, but unfortunately there’s still things that annoyed me. Not the changes you made, but things that are already there in the original movie. I understand if this is the definitive version for you and the only changes that you’ll still make are the ones in the changelist, after all everybody have their own vision of what need to change and what not, but if you are still open to changes, this is the things that I think that could be implemented from your edit:
First, I think the big letdown some people felt about “Rey is nobody” is because TFA left some tips that made the public thought that she is someone, and as “someone” I mean someone who was already a force user who’s known to Luke, Leia, Han, etc, something that was denied by the latter films. For me, some of these tips are still present in your edit. These are the scenes that I felted that:
-Maz Kanata lines: Maz Kanata line “Who’s the girl”, with the skeptical eyes, and the huge time between that line till she encounters Rey with the saber, implying that Han had a long conversation with Maz, made people speculate after the release of the film that Han knew something about Rey. Maz line “Whoever you are waiting in Jakku, they’ll never come back” reaffirms that in some form, even suggesting that Han could be Rey’s father and, for some reason, abandoned her. But we now know that Han doesn’t knew Rey from before and that he knew almost anything about her, so these lines end up frustrating the viewer, inducing him to a comeback that will never happen, and therefore end up being harmful to Rey’s development in the following films. So, for me, these two lines could be completely cut.
-Rey tricking the stormtrooper: For me this scene really doesn’t work because she speaks as if she knew this jedi mind trick, but she never seen a force user doing this trick before and she’s too new to the force to even think about doing something like that. I thought about a way this scene could work, but would require some edit and a Kylo Ren voice impersonator. If Kylo tried to make the same kind of jedi trick to Rey to gather the information about the map (before he takes off his mask), Rey would have known about this jedi mind trick before using it in the stormtrooper, and her line wouldn’t end being some kind of a deus ex machina.
-Rey and Finn vs Kylo: For me, Kylo losing the final fight in the first movie is a big letdown, because the stakes become lower in the upcoming movies (why Rey need to train with Luke if she is totally capable to defeat Kylo on her own, without training?), besides Rey winning against a trained lightsaber fighter it’s a bit strange, since she never trained sword fight. So, I think that these scenes could be trimmed a little bit, in Kylo’s favor. Make Kylo easily outrun Finn and Rey, and make the only hit he takes be Rey cutting his face. This will show that, even injured by the shot fired by Chewbacca, he is still really strong and a menace to to the galaxy, giving Rey a stronger motivation to train with Luke.
Besides that, I think Maz’s line “I good question for another time”, after Han asked her where she got the Luke saber, doesn’t make sense now since this question never was answered. I thought about two solutions for this: cut the line from Han and Maz completely, or find a Maz voice impersonator to just answer “stolen goods” in response to Han’s question, or something like that. The second option would fit the movie better for me, but will be harder to implement.
And about the modifications you implemented, I thought about tweaking a bit one scene in particular:
-New sequence on the bridge where Kylo offers the lightsaber to Han in one final test. Once Han touches the saber, Kylo can access his memories and hears both Leia’s faith in him and Han’s pessimism, and it is this which hardens Kylo’s resolve: If the screen focus on Ben’s face when he hears about Han pessimism, I think that the scene would be more clear on the intent you planned.
And that’s what I remember watching your edit. Even with these appointments, I think it’s a solid edit, some scenes you edited really shine and are better developed than the theatrical version. Thanks for the experience!