After watching this a second time I’d like to give my overall thoughts and some input.
I think you are close to achieving your primary goal for this edit - bringing out the films subtext - and specifically for me, the undertones of Rey’s character, her loneliness, vulnerability and longing are very well demonstrated through the various dialogue cuts, reaction shots, sounds and visions.
Rey’s Daydream (version 5)
Man do I love this, its such a striking visual. I assume you cut this for fear of revealing her powers too early in the film, the feeling I got from it was that Rey was imagining far and different places perhaps as a past time, as the film progresses though it slowly unravels that there is something more to it as the same island pops up again and again.
- Integrate Leia’s deleted scene with Kor Sella directly after Finn disembarks from the Falcon.
It felt a little odd cutting from Finn disembarking to leia and korr sela than back to Finn and Poe.
I think it would flow better if it played out with Finn disembarking - He finds Poe - their scene play out than cut to the deleted with leia and kora with finn and poe coming down to speak with her right after.
- Preface interrogation with Rey fitfully dreaming of her recent vision of Luke and R2 as well as visions of the island and the interior of the Jedi tree.
Maybe simplifying to an establishing shot of achto with the jedi texts would suffice.
- The second Snoke scene has Hux sent to prepare the weapon to destroy the Republic with no mention of a reconnaissance ship and no knowledge of the location of the Resistance, and ends with Snoke taunting Ben by calling him ‘Solo’.
I liked how Kylo’s heritage was not revealed in the first Snoke scene and I think throughout the course of the film his heritage reveals itself so for me the Solo taunt kinda takes away from that.
- Leia’s ‘…again. Our system is the next target’ is replaced with Snap asking if Leia has had word from the Republic, to which she answers ‘No’.
Generally I think the stakes need to be emphasised a more concerning the imminent attack on Republic.
- Insert deleted scene of Kylo on the Falcon, altered to include new music and sound effects indicating his happy memories on the ship.
Could probably do better without the over-dramatic head turn, flows better without it.
- 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.
The voices could be lowered just a tad
- Move Leia’s reaction to Han’s death to right after the explosive detonation.
This felt a little off for me, seeing leia’s reaction in the direct aftermath of her husbands death in resonated with me more.
- Remove indications that the planet is collapsing around Rey and Kylo, including all shots showing the cliffhanger. The lines about Rey needing a teacher remain, however, augmented with the final instance of the sinister whispers and echoes of her many traumas. She uses this to tap into the Dark Side and overcome Kylo.
I think the many voices can be a little distracting and its a little hard to make out what they are saying, I think less is more would be the best option in this case .
- After the shot of Chewie mourning for Han, there is an extended sequence of BB-8 returning to a comatose R2 in an effort to awaken him. Rey sees this attempt and the scene cuts to night at the base with R2 hooked up to a computer terminal which is helping search his backup data. As this happens, Rey has a dream/vision of waking up on Luke’s island and finding Luke himself. She holds out the lightsaber. R2 awakens and the map to Luke is revealed.
To be honest I’m really torn on this sequence. On one hand I feel like the original ending with Luke is the perfect payoff for this Isolated adventure yet on the other hand the dream Sequence is better in the context of the Last Jedi.
Would be great if you released two versions to satisfy both sentiments as I’m many would like to watch this back to back with all TLJ edits.
Thank you for the detailed critiques.
Despite how much I like the Reydream sequence it feels too soon for her to have any odd behavior with regards to the Force. Although now with TROS and her heritage, maybe it’s worth reevaluating this.
The Leia deleted scene is definitely in its final form. Several attempts by several editors were made to do just what you suggested, but I think we each came to the conclusion that in practice the linkage between ‘I need your help’ and then going to Leia is too strong to break.
The preinterrogation dream is still a work in progress for sure, and you’re right that less is more.
Would you suggest that the deleted Kylo scene would work better without the last few shots of the scene, or just the head turn? Because it might feel weird to go from his reminiscing to outside the Falcon with no buffer.
The voices in the lightsaber fight is something I was actually planning to change. I agree that less is more, so I might try a version where it’s just the darker music and ambient sounds.
I could definitely release two versions with regard to the ending, you’re right about that.