Master Lawdog said:
So, Neverar. I know this is your thread for The Force Awakens, but what are your plans/goals for your edit of The Last Jedi?
The plans are ever-evolving, but right now the biggest situation to resolve is how to begin the film. While focusing purely on TFA, I’d planned to have two versions with two endings, but in beginning TLJ this is awkward since it would require two versions as well.
The situation is complicated by my gradually warming to the ending of TFA as it stands in the standard edit because it has become important to the thesis of the film. In the original, I disliked how it essentially ended on a cliffhanger devoid of much meaning. Rey had already decided to find Luke when she left the Resistance base, concluding her arc of embracing the good light of the Force and her new destiny, and this seemed in the theatrical version like the thematic end of the story. The journey to Luke seemed a purposeless extension of the narrative in order to technically get Luke into the film. The final moments between the characters are of Rey silently asking, then demanding that Luke take up his saber and be the legend the galaxy needs. It is a passing of responsibility, not just for Rey but for the film itself as if it can’t be bothered to decide its own message after all.
However, in Starlight Rey’s journey is more clearly about her quick acceptance of the Dark Side to survive, implying that she must find a mentor in the Force if she is to avoid this dark fate. Her meeting with Luke retains its former meaning, but now gains a new one in that Rey is revealing her deep spiritual and emotional need for guidance. She is not a centered, self-sufficient character as she was portrayed in the theatrical version, but a hurt, wounded character who has survived only by giving in to vengeance. With this new context the final moments seem to me to be a fitting culmination of Rey’s journey given the assumption that Luke takes the saber and becomes the mentor she needs. In this way the film ends on the perfect moment, for any rejection by Luke would throw her into deeper temptation as TLJ reveals.
(There’s also the in-person revelation of the island to consider, which is the payoff of the two-part setup earlier in the edit.)
All this is to say that I now actually favor the Standard ending of the edit over the more radical Visions version. I will probably still render out that version for anyone who wants it, but I’ve made peace with TLJ opening on the island despite the issues of the passage of time. That is not to say that there will be no passage of time between films, for I am planning on describing some event in the crawl of TLJ that occurs between films, but that is for the TLJ thread. Removing the ticking clock of the First Order knowing the location of the base helps tremendously.
JEDIT: One thing that would make the standard ending ideal would be to figure out a lengthened sequence of traveling from the base to Luke’s island. That would probably be the biggest change for a V2 of this edit.