After nearly sleepless nights the last few days since the digital release of The Last Jedi, I just finished my first pass on my fan edit, one that I think will probably see more substantial cuts than many other upcoming TLJ projects. I wanted to have a fully fleshed movie but also was very turned off by so much of what Rian Johnson did, both in plotting and in terms of his sense of humor and his taste in dialogue.
So for the WCOYJ cut, there is not a single scene in the movie that I haven’t made edits to. The theatrical runtime of TLJ is 151 minutes. The current finished runtime on my cut is 100 minutes.
I will include a list of the most substantial changes below and will try to update them as I make revisions. Before that, though, I’ll go into the major substantive changes that I wanted to have occur in this version:
-No Canto Bight whatsoever
-No mention of or answers to Rey’s parentage
-No force-Skyping between Rey and Kylo at all
-As significant a reduction as possible in overt diatribes about how ‘the light’ is diminishing or ‘hope’ is diminishing or ‘sparks that will ignite fires blah blah’
-Space Leia would exist, but would not fly
Here are the individual changes:
-Shortened opening push-in shot on Resistance cruiser
-Cut out shot on planet of Resistance escapees discussing things (“Forget the munitions, there’s no time!”)
-We cut straight from opening shot to shot of Star Destroyers arriving in space
-Eliminated Hux saying “Tell Captain to prime his Dreadnaught…” We now cut from Hux saying “This is where we snuff out the Resistance once and for all” straight to the Dreadnaught hyperspace arrival
-Cut from the cannons tilting toward the planet to Poe’s X-Wing dropping in front of the Dreadnaught
-Numerous edits follow. Poe has no discussion with General Hux, that entire gag is cut out. Instead, we show Poe beginning to charge his boosters, and then…
-Cut inside to Hux being alerted to Poe’s X-Wing, then…
-We cut back to the charge filling and “BB-8, punch it!” Poe’s X-Wing rockets toward the Dreadnaught.
-Eliminated Poe’s redundant “Okay, taking out the cannons now.” Instead we cut from Hux’s worried expression to “Tally, start your approach”
- We don’t ever see any of BB-8’s comedy routine trying to fix things in the bowels of the X-Wing. All of those shots are eliminated.
- When the Dreadnaught fires on the planetary base, we eliminate the “Punch it!” shot
- I cut out Poe’s “Yeahhhhhhh!” scream after killing the last surface cannon. It cuts straight to him saying “All clear!”
- Eliminated the “it’s not every day we get a shot at a Dreadnaught” sequence of shots as the bombers approach. I tried in general to minimize people saying ‘Dreadnaught’, as it gets repeated to a nauseating degree in the theatrical cut.
- Cut out Rose’s sister making repeated attempts to kick the remote trigger down to her. Now, she wakes up, kicks it, and it falls.
- Got rid of the redundant “Bomb’s away!” shot
- Shortened the length of Hux’s squeal when Snoke’s hologram throws him to the deck
- Eliminated the shot of Finn clumsily falling out of his hospital bed. Instead, we cut straight from the close-up of Finn coming to under the dome to Poe telling BB-8 “Well done, pal” in the hangar bay.
-When Poe sees Finn walking across the hangar doorway, now instead of saying to BB-8 “Finn, naked, leaking bag? What? You fry a chip?” Poe just notices Finn himself and says “Finn…”
-Rey presents Luke with lightsaber sequence: My current attempt features a combination of cropping and edits. Luke appears to look down at the lightsaber but never actually take it from Rey. Instead, after staring at it for a moment, he brushes past her with the line “Go away” dubbed in as he passes.
This works, but it’s not nearly as elegant as Darth Rush’s solution for the Dark Cut, where we hear the lightsaber fall. I will probably try to replicate that superior approach in my second pass of this scene.
But in any event, the Dumb & Dumber saber toss over the shoulder is gone.
-Instead of having Rey knock at Luke’s door, then leave to find the lightsaber and see the alien nuns, and then come back with Chewie to Luke’s door again, I’ve eliminated that middle scene and combined both ‘Rey trying to get into see Luke’ scenes into one scene. When Rey looks away from the door after saying “Hello?”, I’ve looped in audio of Chewbacca’s growl signaling his arrival. We then cut into the interior of the hut with Luke, and that sequence proceeds as usual with Chewie knocking down the door.
-Cut out Snoke talking to Kylo about Hux being a “rabid cur”. Instead, when Kylo arrives and kneels, Snoke opens with “The mighty Kylo Ren…”
- Cut out Snoke’s extremely melodramatic “A…new…Vaderrrrrr…” delivery. Instead, we now cut straight from “…the potential of your bloodline” to “now, I fear, I was mistaken.”
- Cut the words “to the bone” out of Snoke’s line “The deed split your spirit to the bone.”
- Did some rearranging of the order of the shots when Snoke knocks Kylo back and Snoke’s guards brandish their weapons
- Cut out Snoke’s “As long as it does, hope lives in the galaxy” because it’s way too bad-guyish on-the-nose. Instead, Snoke now just says “The seed of the Jedi Order lives. I thought you would be the one to snuff it out.”
-Instead of Snoke saying “Alas, you’re no Vader”, he now says “Alas, you’re just a child…with a mask…”
-Eliminated the awkward “Prepare my ship!” stagger that Kylo does off of the elevator. Instead, I used one of the times he is slamming the helmet against the elevator wall as a transition back to island, with lightning flashes helping to sell the impact of the cut.
- Cut out Rey saying “Did you hear a word I just said?” to Luke.
- I haven’t done this yet, but I plan to try and find audio of Luke saying “lightsaber” and replace his use of the word ‘lasersword’ in the scene with lightsaber. Lasersword feels way too meta to me.
-Cut out entire sequence of Luke obtaining milk from the island’s wildlife. Instead, Rey just follows him on his fishing execursion.
- Cut out Rey and Luke talking about her being from Jakku. Now, it cuts straight from Luke asking “Who are you?” to Rey saying “Something inside me has always been there…”
- Cut out Luke saying “You need a teacher”. Now he just says “I can’t teach you”.
- Cut out Luke saying “It’s time for the Jedi to end”. Now when he is in the doorway he just says “I will never train another generation of Jedi.” Rey asks “Why?”, Luke hesitates and then walks outs.
-Cut out Poe saying “Woah, wait, we took down a Dreadnaught!”
-Cut out Leia saying “I need you to learn that”.
-Cut out Admiral Ackbar wherever I could. I just wanted to see how the movie would flow if we kept open the possibility that he wasn’t with the Resistance at the moment and might still be alive. Might revert back to having him because some of the edits I had to do to make it work are a little dicey and may not be worth the payoff.
-Cut out Leia saying “And they’ve done it”.
- When the hangar bay is blown up by Kylo’s ship, I edited out the beat where BB-8 splits into two and then comes back together.
- Cut out Leia’s echo of Poe’s “We need to get out of range of those Star Destroyers”
- Reversed and sped up Kylo’s thumb coming off the trigger to where he now presses the trigger and does fire the missiles that hit Leia and the Resistance bridge
- Cut the shot of the bridge explosion early enough so that wesee Leia get hit but don’t see her getting sucked fully out into space. The essential idea was to retain the necessary bare minimum of Space Leia without having to show her Mary Poppin’s flying shots.
- Cut out Hux saying “It’s just a matter of time”.
-Cut out the wide shot of Leia floating in space above the battle
-We see Leia floating, the background a blur. Presumably still in the remnants of the decimated bridge. Her finger moves, her eyes open. Poe and Finn see her through the window and rush to get her. Cut to…
- A rescued Leia being fitted with an oxygen mask
- Luke doesn’t pull down Han’s dice from the cockpit of the Falcon
- R2-D2 doesn’t play the A New Hope hologram. Scene between him and Luke ends with Luke saying “Hey, sacred island, watch the language!”
- Cut out Luke saying “Three lessons”
- Cut out direct mention of Ackbar being dead
- Admiral Holdo’s opening speech is cut down by a lot. All of her lines about “hope” and “sparks” are eliminated. She now just says “Four hundred of us on three ships. We’re the very last of the Resistance, but we’re not alone. May the Force be with us.”
- Cut Poe and Holdo’s initial confrontation
- In the theatrical cut, after Rose stuns Poe, we cut straight to the next scene of her carting him down the corridor. Because this edit eliminates Canto Bight entirely, it was necessary to spread out Rose and Finn’s scene so the movie wouldn’t be unbalanced. So we cut away after her stunning him and will cut back to their later conversations further down the road.
- Cut out the first Rey & Kylo Force skype. We instead cut straight to her first lesson with Luke.
- Cut out Rey inexplicably saying “Master Skywalker, we need you to bring the Jedi back because Kylo Ren is strong with the Force.” Instead, the scene opens with Luke’s question: “What do you know about the Force?”
- Cut out the gag where Luke tickles Rey’s hand with the plant
-When Rey reaches out with her feelings, instead of Rey vocally narrating to us “Life…death…which brings new life…etc” we just see the images as she sees them without her commentary.
- Instead of Rey saying “An energy…a Force…”, she nows just says “An energy”.
- When Luke asks “And inside you?” instead of replying “That same Force”, Rey now replies “That same energy”
- When Rey first sees a vision of the place beneath the island, it’s accompanied by a brief three-frame flash of her family leaving her from TFA.
-Throughout her encounter with the vision of the place beneath the island, she also sees very brief snippets of Luke and Kylo’s encounter at the school that led to Kylo’s rebellion. Not enough to make out exactly what is happening.
- Cut Rey saying “But I didn’t see you…nothing from you…” to Luke
- We now cut back to the Rose carting Finn through the corridor scene. They come up with their plan to disable to tracker on Snoke’s ship
- In the scene where Rose and Finn present their plan to Poe, I trimmed down the length of Rose’s hologram explanation, as it seemed a little dubious that she would have wasted the time to actually fully develop one for their hastily hatched plan.
- This scene ends with Poe’s line “Alright, you guys shut down that tracker, I’ll be here to jump us to light speed”. There’s no introduction of there being any difficulties or issues with smuggling aboard Snoke’s ship, thus no need to contact Maz, thus no need to ever go to Canto Bight.
- Cut out second Force-skype between Rey and Kylo
- Trimmed down some of Rey’s more advanced maneuvering in her lightsaber practice. She goes from zero-to-hero in thirty seconds in the theatrical cut.
- Cut out Luke’s meta “Now that they’re extinct, the Jedi are romanticized, deified…” Scene instead opens with “Strip away the myth and look at their deeds, the legacy of the Jedi is failure”.
- Cut out “hypocrisy, hubris” and Rey shouting “That’s not true!”
-Cut out Luke mentioning Darth Sidious
- Rey no longer says “And a Jedi who saved him, yes the most hated man in the galaxy…” She now instead begins her retort with “But you saw there was conflict inside him…”
- After Poe says “Finn…Rose…where are you guys?” we cut to First Order guards playing cards outside of a jail cell. We who have seen the theatrical cut know this scene in the original movie takes place on Canto Bight, but there’s no need for it to. It’s a jail cell and a jail cell corridor…why not be a holding cell on Snoke’s ship?
Overdubbed lines for the First Order guards playing cards:
“Where’d we pick up these news ones?”
“They caught them trying to smuggle aboard…probably smart of them to come here and beg than get blown up with the rest of the scum.”
-The scene inside the holding cell is edited so that instead of negotiating with DJ to break a code, they are negotiating with him to help them get out of the cell and shut down the tracker.
-When Rey walks up to the mirror in the dark place under the island, she no longer sees the endless reflections of herself. Instead, she sees images superimposed on the mirror of Luke attacking a sleeping Kylo as a student. Cut to:
-As Luke walks back into camp from Force-communing with Leia, Rey hits him from behind.
-The third Force-skype, obviously, get’s cut.
-Instead of saying “Did you create Kylo Ren?”, Rey just says “Did you do it? Did you try to murder him?”
-Know-it-all Rey no longer lectures Luke “You failed him by thinking his choice was made…it wasn’t!” Instead, we return from Luke’s telling of the flashback to Rey saying “There’s still conflict in him…”
- Cut out Rey talking about having seen Kylo’s future
- In the Yoda scene, cut out Luke saying “The sacred Jedi texts!” and Yoda sarcastically referring to them as “pageturners”
-Obviously cut out all scenes of Finn, Rose, & DJ in hyperspace on route to the chase, because in this edit they met DJ in the prison cells of Snoke’s ship
- Cut out Poe storming onto bridge and being told that Holdo had banned him from the bridge
-Scene instead opens with Poe saying “We had a fleet, now we’re down to one ship!”
- Cut out Holdo’s story about “Hope is like the sun if you only believe in it…”
-Cut out Poe responding “You’ll never make it through the night.”
-Cut out Holdo saying “Get this man off my bridge”
- Rey arrival on Snoke’s ship is placed here
- Because we cut out hyperspace scenes, we need to find a way for DJ to overhear the details about the transports evacuating so that he can double-cross Rose and Finn later. The way I did it is to have Poe say it through BB-8 as Rose, Finn, and DJ are leaving the uniforms area on Snoke’s ship. Moved Finn’s “Almost there” line to this section as a response to Poe’s radio transmission.
- Cut out trash can BB-8 running into stormtrooper’s leg
-When Rey is on elevator with Kylo, I cut out any reference to their Force-Skypes or Rey seeing his future.
- Cut out Kylo mentioning his awareness of who Rey’s parents are
- Cut from Snoke saying “Welcome” as Rey enters throne room to scene in hangar where Poe tells Holdo the plan and then mutinies.
- Cut to Finn, Rose, and DJ arriving at the door to the tracker room.
-Cut out DJ using Rose’s heirloom to open the panel
- Cut out Leia saying “Too many losses, I can’t take any more” to Holdo and Holdo replying “Sure you can, you taught me how”.
- Cut out Snoke saying “Come closer, child”
-Cut out Snoke talking about “Darkness rises and so does light to meet it”
- Cut out Snoke saying “I said ‘closer’!”
- Cut out Snoke saying “Have you seen something?”
- Cut out any talk from Snoke about how he bridged Rey and Kylo’s minds
- Cut out Snoke saying “Then I will kill you with the cruelest stroke”
- Cut out Leia saying that Hold was “more interested in protecting the light”
- Eliminated Holdo’s delivery of “Godspeed rebels”
- Eliminated Hux slapping Finn
- Cut DJ’s stutter in double-cross scene
- Cut Rose’s delivery of “Noooooooo!”
- Cut scene after transports start being destroyed where pilot holograms to Holdo and she shouts at him “Full speed!”
- Cut Snoke saying “After the rebels are gone, we will go to his planet and obliterate the entire island”.
- Cut Snoke saying “such spunk”.
- Instead of Snoke’s protracted step-by-step description of what he thinks is happening in Kylo’s mind as the lightsaber slowly turns, in this edit we don’t see the lightsaber turn. Right as Snoke says “I see his every intent”, Kylo’s fist closes and the lightsaber goes through Snoke.
- Cut out Rose calling DJ a “snake”
-Cut out Finn and DJ talking about the pros and cons of taking a side
- Made various trims to the Kylo/Rey team fight to improve pace and eliminate odd acting in places
- Cut out Kylo saying “I want you to join me”
- Cut out Kylo saying “No, no, you’re still holding on! Let go”
-Cut Kylo telling Rey about her parents
- Cut out hokey shot where stormtroopers ignite their electricity staffs in unison movement
- Edited the hyperspace ram so that it doesn’t show all of the First Order fleet being eliminated by the jump, just Snoke’s ship. Makes the stakes more reasonable and shows why this isn’t an automatically advantageous tactic used everyday in space battle.
- No Phasma fight, no BB-8 piloting a chickenwalker. Rose wakes up Finn, tells him there’s a shuttlecraft, we see the shuttlecraft fly away.
- Cut out close up establishing shot of dead Snoke with tongue drooping out
- Cut out Hux contemplating murdering passed out Kylo
- Eliminated Hux getting indignant with Kylo’s demands and Kylo force choking him. Scene ends with Kylo saying “We know where she’s going”.
-Cut establishing shot of the ‘crystal critters’
- Cut Finn speech talking about “we’ve got allies, they’ll come”. He now just says “Come on…we’ve gotta take out that cannon”.
- Cut out soldier tasting and commenting on the saltiness of the planet surface
- Cut out Rose teaching Finn how to put down the monoglider
- Cut out Poe saying “We’ve got to hold them till they pull up that cannon!”
- Cut Rey saying “I like this!” while gunning on the Falcon
- Cut Rey telling Chewie to fly away to lure away the TIE fighters
- Cut the gag of Hux mimicking Kylo’s orders
- How I dealt with not having Rose purposefully knock Finn off course:
Everyone but Finn turns around when Poe orders it.
Rose radios to Finn “We have to retreat”
Finn takes off his headset
Rose looks back at Finn’s ship
I inserted a shot of the First Order Walker firing
As Rose continues looking back, the screen grows bright red as her ship is hit
Poe looks over and sees her ship exploding.
Rose is down.
-Finn’s ship doesn’t make it to the cannon because the heat melts it to the point of instability and it collapses, sending his cockpit crashing to the ground. He climbs out and starts running back toward the base.
- Placed a few small scenes from inside the base here to provide a logical break in time for Finn to reach Rose’s downed ship
- We are back with Finn as he runs up to Rose’s downed cockpit. Cut any lines of Finn saying “Why’d you do that?” and Rose’s infamous “By saving the ones we love” line. Instead, she comes to, sees him, and they kiss as the cannon fires it shot at the door in the background behind them.
- Instead of saying “No quarter…no prisoners…” Kylo now just says “No prisoners”
- Cut out Leia lamenting about “the galaxy has lost all its hope, the spark is blah blah”
- Cut Luke and Leia joking about Leia’s hairstyle
- Cut out Luke saying “I can’t save him”
- Luke doesn’t hand Leia the dice
- Cut down on the number of shots of Luke walking out to confront the walkers
- Cut out Kylo screaming “More! More!” as the walkers fire on Luke
- Cut Hux saying “Do you think you got him?”
- Cut Luke brushing his shoulder off
- Cut Kylo force throwing a disagreeing Hux
- Cut Kylo saying “Did you come to say you forgive me, to save my soul?” Cut Luke responding “No”.
- Cut Poe talking about “We are the spark that will light flames blah blah”
- Cut Finn’s line “Where did all the crystal critters go?”
- Cut the slow motion inserts during Luke and Kylo’s battle
-Cut out Kylo finding the dice and his final Force-skype with Rey
- Cut out the Jedi texts in the book drawer
- Film ends with Millenium Falcon flying through hyperspace, no children telling tales sequence or kid with broom
Like I said at the top, this was a bit of a marathon editing session. The plan now is to take a few days off away from the edit and then come back and sees what revision or tidying up is still left to do.