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The Rise of Skywalker: Ascendant (Released) — Page 358

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Hal 9000 said:

I also would not want to remove “As a Jedi?” because it colors the following sentiment: she cannot end the Sith as a Jedi because of her aggression.

That’s fine. I was mostly suggesting it because some people have a hard time understanding why she wasn’t possessed when killing Palpatine with his own lightning.

And also because the Jedi code says, “There is no emotion. There is peace.” Essentially meaning, “Yeah, you can kill bad guys to create peace, but don’t bring your emotions into it.”

Tragedy of Vader - A Novelization of The Rise of Skywalker

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 (Edited)

“Fridge logic” is a good way of putting it. Do you think it’s worth trying to streamline Palpy’s plotting then, or best to just leave it be?

Edit: The other benefit of changing it from “Strike me down and I’ll possess you” to “Can Rey bring herself to kill someone?” is that it goes from an external conflict (blackmail) to an internal conflict of the soul. I find that more compelling, myself.

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I’ll watch the whole movie and see. But I expect not.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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Hal 9000 said:

I’m not sure it’d be worthwhile to try to tone down the noble attitude of Rey’s parents because it’ll still be implicit.

The nobility would still be implicit unfortunately, but by drawing less attention to it I think it could help de-emphasize the parents’ overall role in the story and their value in Rey’s eyes, particular with the Palpatine showdown. Even if her parents still seem noble on Kijimi, by cutting their reference on Exogol we at least aren’t still thinking about that nobility so late in the story.

As it is in the theatrical, the “my parents were strong” scene both muddies Rey’s arc (she spent the last two movies learning to not rely on her parents for self-worth) and undercuts the tension in the scene (Palpatine wants Rey to kill him in hate, but she basically says “my rage is already righteous and justified by love and the audience knows it”).

But without that line, Rey’s parents, noble or no, basically just act as plot points, as they should: their bloodline means Rey’s a Palpatine, and their death is used by Rey as an excuse for her hate, but the story’s not about them and they aren’t talked about as empathetic characters Rey truly cares about after Kijimi. The only source of hope and light that Rey takes into the final battle with her, and that she is actually saved by and rewarded for believing in, is that of the Jedi and the Skywalker legacy.

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I don’t feel good about undercutting her parents’ “nobility” unless we’re going all the way with it.

One thing that would be nice to drive home more effectively is that the ‘Final Order’ fleet is a set of modified Empire-era Star Destroyers that were stashed. In the boardroom scene, an officer says that the Sith cult “conjured” them. And of course the underbelly cannons are highlighted as a vulnerable weakness but never seem to justify their existence in this cut. I will still take this over the original, but it remains imperfect.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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Hmmm, the only thing I can think of right now for highlighting the cannons is to reintegrate the attack on Kijimi, but cut before we see the planet erupting. Palpatine says to “let it [a world they know] burn,” and we see this new cannon is strong enough to crack mountains and raze a city, but by dramatically cutting away to a different scene after the close-up I don’t think a new viewer would necessarily assume the planet exploded.

Downsides:

  • The “conjuring” line is still there, so adding back the laser, a viewer might think even more that these are all new ships
  • Without cutting to a reaction by the heroes, there might not be enough closure and the audience might spend the rest of the movie waiting for us to go back to Kijimj. But of course we can’t have the theatrical reaction as is, because it’s the most attrocious series of forced exposition in the movie which also specifically states that they blew up the world. It would have to be either a very heavily edited version. Maybe… during the last few seconds of the destruction visual, the audio transitions to Poe’s voice mentioning the planet was attacked in a vaguer sense, and then when the visual cuts we’re at the scene with Poe and Leia, as if he’s talking to himself to her.
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Hal 9000 said:

I don’t plan to remove the blue smoke from poppasketti in any event, no.

Another thing is that Palpatine wanting Rey dead at the start of TROS is consistent with Snoke/Palpatine sincerely ordering her execution. His change of mind is still baffling in any event.

I suspect that Palpatine believes that putting Ben and Rey against each other will lead to a hunger games like “survival of the fittest” competition between Skywalkers and Palpatines, and whomever survives is the “winner” for his new body.

The thing about Palpatine is that he’s the master of playing both sides against one another and ensuring that no matter who loses, he wins.

If Snoke has no force connection to Palpatine (though I clearly believe he does, even if the exact nature of it isn’t explicitly made clear), then Snoke’s attempt to turn Ben can be seen as the initial goal, which was then altered when Ben chose to kill Snoke instead.

In that sense, it mirrors the way Sheev continually pushed against Anakin’s weaknesses and insecurities as he uncovered more of them, some which he knew of more in advance than others. He is also a master of finding weaknesses to exploit, and quickly using those new discoveries to his advantage.

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The problem is, the way the story is structured, Palpatine can’t use the Death Star Ships at all before the final battle, otherwise it raises the question of “Why isn’t he sending them all out right now??” I think the way it’s set up in V1 is fine. Lose the Kijimi attack, and the audience can just assume that the cannons are a weak spot on the ships (like the exhaust port on the Death Star).

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I’m with Neerb on Rey’s parents. I think cutting away the retcon that they were actually good people gives us a nice compromise between Rey Nobody and the theatrical, and brings things a little more in line with TLJ.

It lets you have your cake and eat it, to some extent: her parents were selfish drunks who sold her for drinking money… and her father just also happened to be the (sTrAnDcAsT cLoNe) son of Palpatine. Maybe that traumatic childhood was what led him to drink in the first place. As a young girl, Rey probably wouldn’t have known about her father’s lineage, so her saying “they were nobody” would be true - from her certain point of view.

Plus, it removes the little niggle in the original movie where Rey seems to worry that her lineage dooms her to being evil, even though her father, a literal clone of Palpatine, was apparently a decent guy who made a noble self-sacrifice. Obviously you can argue that the difference is he wasn’t Force-sensitive, so it’s not a pLoT hOlE or anything, but I think having Rey be the first real hero in her family strengthens her arc of coming from nothing and finding her place a little bit.

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I think that hits the nail on the head, Sade.

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Hmm, I still think it’d be better for this project to leave it as it is. You make good points though. Her father being noble doesn’t undercut Rey’s anxiety because she has immediate experience of her own darkness to dovetail with her lineage, not just knowing about her lineage alone.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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 (Edited)

I’m convinced the only reason JJ made Rey’s parents noble is because he needed a reason for her to WANT to kill Palpatine in an angry or vengeful way.

Thing is, arguably he has done a lot more than that to mess up her life (corrupting Ben, indirectly killing two of her father figures, calling for her execution, etc.) So it isn’t exactly necessary, per se.

Still, I would prefer it to remain intact, at least in this version of the film we’re making. That way, when Palpatine says she is taking her revenge on him in the ceremony some casuals in the audience don’t think, “For what? She should be glad he killed her parents!”

Tragedy of Vader - A Novelization of The Rise of Skywalker

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Yes, well said; I was thinking of saying the same.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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I’ve been tinkering with the ending to address a few different issues. As Hal pointed out, it’s very disconcerting (to some of us) that Palpatine tells Kylo to “Kill the girl,” but then hinges his entire plan on getting “his granddaughter” to Exegol alive. In my edit, Palpy doesn’t claim to have wanted this all along; rather, he uses the opportunity to try and tempt Rey into killing him, thereby causing her to fall to the Dark Side. (Like how he told Luke to “Take your Jedi weapon. Strike me down.”) This has, in my opinion, a number of additional benefits, aside from cleaning up the primary storytelling inconsistencies:

  • It helps to tie elements from across the Sequels together - namely some instances in the previous films where it felt like Rey was being tempted by the Dark Side. In this film, she literally tells Darth Sidious himself “You want me to hate but I won’t.” Cool. Where exactly is the conflict? The character buildup? And what does J.J.'s idea of “Rey being literally possessed by Palpatine’s soul” have to do with the rest of the saga?
  • It means that Palpatine isn’t just “an evil thing to beat.” He’s instead used as a reflection of Rey’s own inner darkness. This helps to make the stakes more personal, and therefore more uncertain for first time viewers - it feels like she may honestly turn. Additionally, this means the scene is entirely about Rey now, and not about whatever possession plot Palpy came up with while he was snoozing for the past 30 years.
  • Palpy no longer babbles over the entire scene. It’s now more focused on Rey. (You know, the “protagonist.”)
  • I removed the sections where Palpy tells her, “Absorb my spirit to save your friends.” I think this should be an internal conflict, a battle for Rey’s very soul; not some arbitrary blackmail thingy coming in at the eleventh hour. Plus, not only is it a boring retread of something that just happened in the previous movie, but it’s also very thematically muddled. (For example, Palpy convinces Rey that she’s responsible for his own troops killing her friends? I get that he’s trying to manipulate her, but the whole thing just doesn’t land for me, personally. To me, the movie itself frames it like, “Huh, Palpatine actually has a point there.” What is any of this supposed to say thematically? It’s like the entire thing is set up to make Rey not have a choice; which is stupid, because A) That gets rid of her agency as a character, and B) That means a complete lack of dramatic tension.)
  • Rey’s darkest thoughts begin to take over; and it’s only when she sees that Ben has reformed and has come to her aid that she is able to calm her emotions. Thus, he helps her emotionally complete her journey as a Jedi. He’s not just there for his physical presence.

Smaller tweaks:

  • Changed Rey’s line from “I haven’t come to rule the Sith; I’ve come to end them.” to “I’ve come to end you.”
  • Changed Palpy’s line from “The time has come” to “So, the time has come.”
  • Changed Rey’s line from “But I won’t [hate you, Grandpa!].” to “No…I won’t [murder you in cold blood.]”
  • Removed Rey nodding to the Emperor, like “Okay, I’ll do your bidding. Just help me save Padmé.” Lets keep the suspense going instead. What is she going to decide? Will she kill him? Will she fall??
  • Moved Palpy’s newest “Do it” meme to earlier in the sequence.
  • Added Palpatine ordering his guards to kill Rey when he realizes that she won’t fall to the Dark Side after all.

In short, stronger character drama, more consistent storytelling, and better payoff from previous films.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1E-g834NDnJeoItEVfSyjDvvw9INy4SmY/view?usp=sharing

Some of the edits may have to be cleaned up more, especially in stabilizing the musical score (bear in mind that some of these harsh cuts are just because I removed the spaceship/spacehorse battle for the demo here), but what do you think as a rough concept?

Also, while I was cutting the footage, I removed the Rey Palpatine angle from the scene. This was mainly as a proof-of-concept for the Rey Nobody version, but it would be pretty easy to slot back in some lines such as “The only family you have here is me.” “It is in your blood. Our blood.”

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With so much cut, I’m not sure there’s enough time left for any feelings to really set in, or for the audience to understand what exactly is happening. It goes by so fast, like

“You’ll kill me”
“Yes”
“You’ll take the throne”
“No”
And then Ben arrives and Rey senses him, at which point we know Rey is no longer feeling tempted.

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That was a concern of mine as well. So much of the dialogue is just meandering nonsense though. Given the breakneck pace of the rest of the film, maybe the pacing here won’t feel too different? lol

Maybe some more stuff could be added back in? I was playing around with “You want me to hate…but I won’t.” But that felt even more whiplash-y given that she came to Exegol to kill the guy. Granted, that was the case in the J.J. cut too, so…

EDIT: Also, keep in mind that the full version wouldn’t feel as rushed and disjointed, as it would be padded out by the space battle sequences.

The hopefully implied sentiment is that “She won’t,” as Palpatine says, “Kill him with her hatred, and thereby ascend [to the Dark Side].” She wants to stop him as a Jedi, not as a Sith.

Hopefully being the key word here.

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Here’s my attempt (again, I’m sorry about the flashing lights, idk why it’s breaking like that)

https://vimeo.com/514582031/30fc504bd0

cut lines:

  • “for my grandchild to come home”
  • “i never wanted you dead. I wanted you here, with me”
  • “palpatine”

moved lines:

  • “long have i waited” is swapped with the musical sting that originally immediately followed it; this allows for less silence before the next line of dialog, and as a bonus Rey now “senses” Palpatine before hearing/seeing him
  • “you will take the throne” is now in place of “i wanted you here, with me” (attempting to sync “you will” with Palp’s “with me” lip movement)

Even with the throne stuff and the scene after this playing out as usual, this change at least makes it so that Palpatine isn’t saying “psych!” directly to the camera right out the gate. Makes him a bit more menacing too maybe, not that I totally disliked the Evil Gramps stuff. Oh, and cutting “Palpatine” is just pre-emptive for Rey Nobody.

Another idea to potentially go along with this, although maybe it’s too distractingly on-the-nose: what if, the first time Rey sees the throne in person, there’s a very brief flash of her previous Dark Rey visions? Perhaps this would help cement how Rey fears the throne not just as a temptation, but as a prophecized inevitability. An audience member might even infer, in the spirit of Labyrinth of Evil, that it must have been Palpatine himself planting the vision in the first place, selling that this is [somehow] proceeding exactly as he has foreseen.

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You did a good job syncing the “You will” line, I thought! I like it. It still kind of has the same issue as before, where the central conflict seems to be about Palpatine wanting her to take over for/as him - so the finale of the trilogy still becomes about Palpy rather than about Rey - and the possession stuff that’s inevitably coming still clashes with the previous “Kill Rey” scenes; but I think you’ve done a good job of toning it all down and making it less offensive.

Yours is good in a “How can we dull the blow” kind of way, whereas mine is more of a “Let’s completely redo the sequence and see if it can be made better.” I still admittedly think mine works better for the story and the larger themes ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ); but mine would definitely be a tougher nut to crack.

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Okay, okay… I’m spitballing here, it might sound crazy… but what if we’re approaching this backwards? What if the most straightforward way to sell Palpatine’s plan is to actually take him at his word at the end, and instead remove all traces of him wanting Rey dead?

Opening on Exogol: Palpatine offers the fleet “if you do as I ask.” Kylo, after a moment considering it, silently lowers his saber in agreement. Palpatine smiles menacingly to end the scene: a deal has been struck, but we the audience don’t know what. We can still guess, however, that it could be Rey-related, because Hal’s edit transitions right into Rey meditating.

Board room meeting now has a new context to it. When an officer asks Kylo what the Emperor wants, Kylo silences him immediately. We the audience don’t know what Kylo and the Emperor’s deal was, so we don’t know that Kylo’s outburst is unreasonable; on the contrary, we’re now more intrigued that Kylo is keeping this so secretive.

When Palpatine chastises Kylo after Pasaana, remove references to killing Rey. Full remaining dialog:
“Perhaps you have betrayed me. Do not make me turn my fleet against you.”
“I know where she’s going. She will never be a Jedi.”
“Make sure of it.”
We now know for certain, though we already suspected, that Kylo’s agreement involves Rey somehow. The threat, however, is still vague.

From here out, Kylo mentions twice aboard his ship on Kijimi that Palpatine tried to kill Rey as a kid, reveals that she’s a Palpatine, and suggests that they should team up instead. We think we get it now: not only is this the big reveal that Rey is a Palpatine, but it’s the big reveal of Kylo’s mission to kill her and finish the job.

After Endor, Palpatine says that Leia has ruined his plans. We assume this is because Kylo couldn’t kill her. But we’re still assuming wrong.

Finally, on Exegol, in a genuine third act twist, we learn the truth from Palpatine himself, unedited: he never wanted her dead, he wanted her here with him. The audience can now infer that bringing Rey to Exogol was Kylo’s true mission all along, and Kylo had lied to Rey about Palpatine trying to kill her as part of his attempt to manipulate her to his own ends, planning to betray Palpatine from the beginning. Even the times it seemed Kylo was genuinely trying to kill Rey, he was spiting the Emperor rather than serving him. And since Kylo must have actually known Palpatine’s true goal all along, as Ben he is now rushing back to Exogol because he knows Rey is playing into Palpatine’s hands.

Thoughts?

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I was actually just thinking about that, Neerb! The way you’ve laid it out, with slowly learning more and more about Palpatine’s and Kylo’s deal throughout the film - that would actually be a great mysterious through line that would help to keep the audience engaged throughout the scavenger hunt. Slowly drip-feeding information and clues to them. I’m trying to think…are there other details that would prevent that idea from working?

There are some great double-meanings there. “She will never be a Jedi” - not because she’ll die, but actually because she’ll fall to the dark side. Maybe it would even be possible to add a line urging Ben to go to Exegol to help Rey? “You know what he’ll do. You have to help her.”

The one thing though, is that we would absolutely have to nix the “Every voice you have ever heard inside your head” line. Not to drag that debate back up from a few days ago, but Snoke was fully prepared to kill Rey. Palpatine wants her alive. They cannot be working towards the same goal, let alone be functionally the same person.

This is more subjective, but I would still like to try toning down Palpy’s monologue about “She ignites her blade, she prepares to swing…” blah blah blah. Sort of how I did it in my edit, focus more on Rey’s past Dark Side leanings. It pivots the moment away from Palpy and back onto our protagonist, it connects to the previous films in an “It was all leading to this” sort of way, it adds more nuance and uncertainty to the moment, and it also avoids copying The Last Jedi yet again?? Seriously J.J.! Stop it!

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sherlockpotter said:

To be clear, Palpy’s plan for Rey is:

  • Order Kylo to kill Rey.
  • Anticipate him both trying to mow her down with his ship. But actually not want to kill her after all.
  • Secretly lure Rey to him by means of…Ochi’s Dagger?
  • Convince her to kill him by telling her it’s what he wants?
  • Send his guards to try and kill Rey in the throne room as she’s about to kill him anyway
  • Try to kill Rey anyway once the guards fail to do so
  • Resurrect himself…some other way, I guess?
  • Rule over a galaxy that he’s completely destroyed.

All of this convoluted nonsense could be avoided if his plan can be retooled to “Kill Rey because she is the last great threat to his return.”

I would say Palpatine is consistent over 3 trilogies at elaborating incredibly complex plots 😄

« Sie sind das Essen… wir sind die Jäger! »

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Kylo was already lying about Palpatine wanting her dead as a child in the theatrical cut, right? Doesn’t Finn learn from D-O that Ochi’s job was always to take Rey to Exegol? At least I think that happened, and I think it was supposed to be a twist. That ‘reveal’ also makes more sense if the audience doesn’t already know Palpatine has actually been trying to kill her.

My only concern is the effect this change has on Kylo. It’s not a big thing, but the only reason I’ve been able to guess for why it is the way it is in the theatrical is because JJ/Terrio wanted it to be very obvious that Kylo is disobeying Palaptine, because he needs to be ripe in the audience’s eyes for his second act redemption, and I wouldn’t want to do any significant damage to that. We only explicitly learn in the hangar scene that his actual plan is to have Rey join him so they can use the power of the dyad to usurp Palaptine, so with this change it’s more of a mystery before that whether Kylo is or isn’t actually going along with Palpatine’s orders. Maybe that’s a positive though - it helps prevent the audience asking questions like “if Kylo wasn’t really going to kill Rey, and instead wanted her to help him kill Palpatine and take the throne, why didn’t he just go through with stabbing Palpatine in the face at the start of the movie when he had the chance?” or whatever.

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I think it’d be more consistent across the ST to go the other route and imply that Palpatine did want her dead throughout her life until Ben Solo is redeemed at which point he goes ahead and tries to corrupt her.

I think removing two lines would help make this clearer: Finn’s line after mining from D-O, “He wanted her alive,” and Palpatine’s, “I never wanted you dead, I wanted you here.”

And, sherlockpotter, I think that could’ve easily been a good way to go if they’d had that approach when filming or possibly when editing, but I’m afraid it feels to muddled to go with.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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Hal 9000 said:

I think it’d be more consistent across the ST to go the other route and imply that Palpatine did want her dead throughout her life until Ben Solo is redeemed at which point he goes ahead and tries to corrupt her.

I think removing two lines would help make this clearer: Finn’s line after mining from D-O, “He wanted her alive,” and Palpatine’s, “I never wanted you dead, I wanted you here.”

And, sherlockpotter, I think that could’ve easily been a good way to go if they’d had that approach when filming or possibly when editing, but I’m afraid it feels to muddled to go with.

Oh wow I completely forgot about Finn’s line about that. Haven’t seen the movie in a while myself. That should definitely be adjusted.

As for the “I never wanted you dead, I wanted you here” line, Palpatine lies all the time. I don’t think that one is exactly necessary to remove as a result.

EDIT: Realized that if Rey is under the impression that Palpy has wanted her dead her whole life then she is much more tempted to kill him. So maybe that final line should in fact go.

Tragedy of Vader - A Novelization of The Rise of Skywalker

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Just to play Snoke’s advocate for a second regarding the consistency in plans: could we potentially assume that Palpatine just didn’t know Rey was his granddaughter in the last two movies? Her first public appearance and the Battle of Crait are only like a week apart, after all. It could have been in the time gap that followed, after she’s shown her strength and Snoke has died, that Palpatine realized who Rey really is, not unlike Palpatine and Vader learning who Luke is between IV and V. Sure, Snoke probed her mind in the throne scene, but he was preoccupied with Luke’s location and died very soon after, and it’s not like her memory was a steel trap considering Kylo mind-linked with her and came away assuming her parents were random drunks.