Version 3.0 changes:
To preface the major changes from the last release… Initially, I had thought the solution to fixing the narrative of Episode 9 was delaying all of the Palpatine reveal and diminishing his presence as much as possible until the middle of the film. Alas, I have found that to be the exact opposite of what I needed to do. Palpatine needs to be a focus. If you’ve seen the end of my Episode 8, you will know that I openly announced his return and have been hinting at his existence much more throughout the whole trilogy. As Fate of the Jedi ended with his return and my Episode 9 trailer gave him the spotlight, I have attempted to recreate the narrative of Episode 9 to build him up as this obvious galactic threat as much as possible. In Legends, we know that Palpatine’s spirit survived RotJ and his cloning techniques and Sith sorcery preserved his life, and it is assumed he did the same techniques in my Sequel Trilogy, just using Snoke’s body as a puppet for his spirit. Many lines in the movie are changed to reflect this.
Since this changelog is going to be huge, here’s a TLDR of Palpatine’s full plan throughout the trilogy:
- After Palpatine’s RotJ body dies, his spirit survives just like Legends. A disembodied presence that is looking to regain physical life through his cloning and sith rituals.
- Like in the comics, Palpatine genetically created Snoke to be nothing more than a vessel for his spirit. Palpatine then embodies the flawed Snoke body and manipulates Kylo into falling to the Dark Side and destroying Luke’s academy. A very natural plan as he already considers himself a master at manipulating Skywalkers from Anakin. Palpatine’s goal is still purely the destruction of the Jedi, hence the attack on Luke. He succeeds in destroying most of the new Jedi but Luke alone survives, leading into the hunt for him in 7.
- As we see Snoke learn about Rey in 7 for the first time from Kylo, this is TRULY the first time Palpatine learns of her. He only knows what Kylo has told him, that Rey is a force user looking for Luke, and so Palpatine simply wants to get to her before Luke does, hence his line “Bring her to me.”
- In 8, Palpatine is growing frustrated at Kylo’s inability to find and kill Luke after failing to do so the first time around at the Jedi temple. Rey is only another tool to finding and killing Luke. When he bridges her mind with Kylo, it is simply another manipulation to get her to come before him, and as he succeeds and tortures her he says, “You will give me Skywalker and then I will kill you with the cruelest stroke.” It’s consistent, as every move he makes is 100% about destroying the last of the Jedi.
- After Palpatine rips Luke’s location from her mind, he tells Rey “You have the spirit of a true Jedi, and because of that you must die.” The theatrical trilogy is insanely inconsistent when it comes to what Snoke/Palpatine wanted from Rey. Now I’ve made it a master plan across all 3 movies.
- As Kylo betrays Palpatine in 8, the Dark Lord realizes he must take a different strategy. A classic, masterful Sidious manipulation. As his spirit passes onto his next clone (the Palpatine-like body we see in 9), he now speaks to Kylo at the end of 8 as the voice of Palpatine instead of Snoke, letting Kylo believe that he killed Snoke for good. As he tells Kylo at the end of 8, “My boy, it will be yours if you do as I ask,” as Kylo looks at Rey. Palpatine’s mistake as Snoke was not realizing how much Kylo cared for Rey, but now he is taking the opposite approach, promising to Kylo Rey herself as a reward.
- Early in 9, our first view of Palpatine is his hologram commanding General Pryde to burn a world and that the Final Order begins.
- As Palpatine invades the galaxy with his Sith cultists, Kylo quickly realizes that Palpatine is no better than Snoke was, as his true goal is still nothing more than wanting Rey and the Jedi dead. This is why we see Kylo betray Palpatine and go to kill him midway through 9. However, upon learning of Palpatine’s true power, and that he WAS Snoke, Kylo understands that he is no match for this power by himself.
- As Leia gives her life to heal Kylo of his wound from Rey, Palpatine senses that Kylo does not die. When he talks to General Pryde he says that “The Princess of Alderaan has disrupted my plans.” This demonstrates how Palpatine never planned for Kylo to survive anyways and was anticipating his death, a tool as Vader was a tool.
- As Rey lands on Exegol and faces the Emperor, he immediately offers her the throne if she kills him. This is exactly as he did with Luke in RotJ, he tried to kill Luke throughout the trilogy, but Vader refused. Then at the final showdown he asked Luke to lash out in anger. In my Sequels, he tries to kill Rey throughout the trilogy, but Kylo refuses. And at the final showdown he asks Rey to lash out in anger. That’s poetry.
- When Kylo shows up and stops Rey from falling, the Emperor no longer surprisingly learns about the Force Dyad. There’s no mention of it at all, he simply submits Kylo and Rey and says, “And now the power of two restores the one true Emperor.” None of his ridiculous shock and awe, it’s just him knowingly adjusting to a better plan now that he can siphon both of their powers at once and restore his own body instead of giving the throne away.
- As all of the Jedi force ghosts show up to take him on, he knows he is in trouble. In one last desperate attempt he tries to kill Rey but the combined power of all the sith = all the Jedi and they even out, killing everyone involved. Balance at last.
- Re-wrote the crawl:
LEGACY OF THE FORCE
All who dare to speak against
the Sith are silent, terrorized by
merciless fleets. The Final
Order, resurrected by the spirit
of EMPEROR PALPATINE,
crushes any planet that rebels.
General Leia Organa holds the
galaxy together by a thread,
sending her brave agents across
the stars to unite the disparate
worlds in the name of
Rey, the final heir of the
teachings of LUKE SKYWALKER,
is relentlessly pursued by Kylo
Ren as their conflict threatens
all life in the galaxy…
This is rewritten to address the fact that we now enter Episode 9 in the midst of Palpatine’s invasion on the galaxy, no longer right before he is being revealed. He has been providing ships to the First Order and announcing his presence through terror attacks akin to his Operation: Cinder post RotJ. At the end of my TLJ edit we saw him enter the picture so this new invasion is consistent with the state of the galaxy. It’s early enough that the Resistance is still trying to figure out what is going on and if this truly is Palpatine or some imposter. Theatrical TRoS doesn’t attempt to hide Sidious’ sudden appearance at all, and I’m running with the idea that we are entering the timeline early in the invasion. Disney has been saying that they planned for Palpatine all along (press X) so I am actually enacting that plan into the vision of my trilogy. Very slight hints and easter eggs in TFA, more direct hints throughout TLJ, then straight into the reveal at the conclusion. Now we have arrived in 9, anticipation for Palpatine is in the air (see Episode 9 trailer) and the full vision of his return has come to realization.
- Re-added Rey’s lines “Be with me” during her meditation, but instead cut the end of her line “…to hear the voices of those who came before.” The first part communicates that idea so much more naturally than the forced exposition line that follows.
- Added [skenera] establishing shot of Ajan Kloss rebel corvette to help slow the pacing of the intro.
- New scene placement! This is a major change, but right after Rey hands the saber back to Leia and says, “Yes, master,” we now cut to Palpatine commanding General Pryde to burn “a world they know” and that the Final Order is imminent. A Star Destroyer jumps into orbit of a planet. Using audio from [krausfadr], the Sith officers now command an attack on Corellia. The Star Destroyer fires its laser into a city (this is the Kijimi shots) but it isn’t a planet killing weapon, it’s simply a regular orbital bombardment tool. I only show the shots of the one city being destroyed on the planet. This is important to set up the presence Palpatine’s fleet already has upon the galaxy, and further expounds upon my opening crawl that these fleets terrorize any planet that rebels. Corellia is a nice piece of lore as the homeworld of Han so it makes sense to be “a world they know” as Han Solo was just killed. It also is a massive taunting slap to Kylo which is the most Sidious thing ever.
- As the city is destroyed, we hear Poe say “How?” and then the rebels explain it to him. We can see right from the start he is exhausted, looking overwhelmed at the new enemy. I removed the lines about the “planet killing weapons” so now the entire conversation appears to be about how it is possible to stop the Emperor. Also, when Rose says to Poe, “Leia made you acting General, what now?” we now take this line in an entirely new meaning. In theatrical it was because she died… In mine she has given Poe this title presumably because she is busy training Rey. We saw Leia defer to Poe at the end of episode 8 on Crait and this development to his promotion is a great story continuation. Also, it helps explain why Poe is so antagonistic to Rey with all of the new responsibility.
- As Rose says, “What now?” to Poe, we cut into the scene of the Falcon jumping to meet the First Order spy who passes them info on the Emperor. Yes, you read that right. This alien IS the only spy in the movie now. It’s laughable how easy this is to make work.
- I have moved the scene of Poe and Finn playing chess with Chewie. It no longer fits the tone of what Poe experienced earlier with the Star Destroyer bombing. We last saw Poe stressed out trying to brainstorm a plan and now we cut to him doing something reckless. It’s still a great scene so don’t worry, it’s going to come up later!
- Removed the Mark Hamill alien’s lines about a spy in the First Order, because in my edit this alien IS the First Order spy. Now the whole mission appears solely as some dangerous plan into enemy territory to gain new information on the Emperor. Finn just says, “You got something for us?” and it’s “Transfer the message!”
- When Finn, Rey, and Poe talk about the spy, we now pick up that the alien was the spy. Finn says “There’s a mole in the first order who sent us the message.” That’s it, that’s the end. We just saw that alien send the message and I cut the alien’s line of ANOTHER spy, so now he’s the only spy.
- In the briefing when Poe mentions the spy the viewer should still make the connection that the alien they just visited IS the spy.
- Re-added all of the lines about the Emperor into the briefing again. In this version, the more talk about the Emperor, the better as I’m trying to beef up his threat. Also re-added Rey’s line about finding the Emperor when she talks to Leia. Not only does this give him another name drop, it also indicates that Luke sensed that Palpatine was not truly gone and perhaps that’s more of the reason we saw him so intensely meditating on Ach-To in my Episode 8.
- Cut Rey’s line to Leia, “It’s what you would have done,” and Leia’s understanding facial reaction. In this movie we see Rey really struggle with her temptations to the Dark Side, and it’s a better clue that she is not balanced when we see her openly defy Leia as she previously defied Luke in 8. Rey is headstrong, never really evolving past where we saw Luke in Episode 5. This is fine, she doesn’t have to be another Luke, she can just be Rey. Her story is so much more interesting when it’s not a copy paste of Luke’s OT journey on steroids.
- Moved the Kylo mask rebuilding scene back to where it was in theatrical. It works better to tie up the spy storyline which I completely end in the board meeting.
- Cut Kylo’s lines about trying to learn who the spy is in the board meeting. Now he tosses the alien’s head and says, “We have a spy in our ranks who just sent a message to the Resistance.” That’s it, the end. That is the last we ever hear about a spy. It was the alien.
- Cut Kylo singling out Hux, now it ends on “I sense unease about my appearance,” and the doubting Officer says, “Forgive me sir, but…” It’s such a smooth transition and takes out the awkward joke about Kylo’s mask. By “unease about his appearance”, Kylo is now talking about his sudden appearance arriving on the ship, not his mask.
- Re-added the line from the doubting officer, “What is he asking for in return?” since I am no longer attempting to hide Palpatine’s presence.
- After Kylo completes his rampage on Mustafar, and we hear Palpatine’s “Gooood” in his head, we see him hesitantly turn around, but I have removed the scene of him finding the wayfinder. In my version, he doesn’t have to find Palpatine on his own as Palpatine has purposely revealed himself to Kylo already.
- We cut from Kylo on Mustafar to the protagonists arriving on Pasaana.
- Re-added Finn’s line about “so few Wayfinders”, upon further review it was an unnecessary cut.
- Added the incredible Luke Skywalker puppet creation. Wow… Truly amazing work by the OT community!
- Re-added the entirety of the first Rey-Kylo call. With my new structure around Palpatine’s return, we immediately see that Kylo has other plans for his relationship with him which is very important to a future story note. It’s our first hint that Kylo does not intend to serve Palpatine loyally and is only attempting to use him for his power. Kylo tells Rey that Palpatine wants him to kill her and we learn that Kylo doesn’t really plan on this. We know from the other movies that he is completely infatuated with her and is dead set on ruling with her. This defiance of Palpatine is important and we see a lot of Kylo’s confidence here as he is really opening up himself and his plans to Rey. He killed his first master, and he thinks he is strong enough to do it to Palpatine too… for now.
- Cut Rey looking at the dagger and hearing the memories of the “horrible things”. She has no relation to the blade in my edit so it’s unnecessary.
- Removed Rey’s explanation about healing the serpent to BB-8, just another unnecessary artifact since that doesn’t happen in my edit.
- Added a brief establishing shot of Kylo in his TIE.
- Added Rey’s yellow lightning effect from [skenera]. In Star Wars Legends you cannot simply shoot sith lightning because you are frustrated. As I’ve had to say in every changelog, “That’s not how the force works.” I get JJ tried to use lightning to tie her to Palpatine but WOW does that demonstrate a lack of understanding on his part… Writing that specific force powers are passed down genetically and can be naturally wielded without even knowing what they are is painful. The yellow lightning is a variation of an energy blast we have seen wielded in legends by other figures such as Plo Koon and Momin. I would have preferred Rey to have just crushed the starship with telekinetics, but yellow makes more sense according to Star Wars lore than blue lightning at least
- Added some visual representations to the vision Rey talks about with Finn.
- Cut Rey’s line “and” when she talks about who was on the throne. This now indicates it was solely Rey taking the throne in her vision.
- Another big scene reorder! I have completely moved the scene of Palpatine speaking back and forth with Kylo, and his subsequent first trip to Exegol to even later in the film now. I need to build up the storyline of Kylo planning on betraying the Emperor more before this scene will really hit home. So instead after Rey’s vision explanation, we cut to a scene of the empty Falcon being towed into the Star Destroyer to give our protagonists space until the next scene.
- We now cut from the Knights of Ren following the Ochi ship to BB-8 finding cone droid.
- Cut cone droid “Sad,” joke as 3P0’s memory is wiped.Yes, it IS sad, and it’s not the time to make a joke to the audience.
- More of an indirect change, but now on the Star Destroyer above Kijimi when Hux suggests to “destroy the city” in a mocking way you will immediately think back to the beginning of the film when the sith Star Destroyer blew up the Correllian city which is perfect!
- Removed 3P0’s comment about there being another way to save his memory… Another way the sacrifice is ruined…
- Cut the remainder of Rey’s mind trick. It serves no purpose for the plot and really slows down the pace. In theatrical the entire thing as written as a joke scene, so every facial expression is so weird it’s just out of place.
- Cut the Doom-esque run and gun hallway scene of Chewie/Poe/Finn annihilating dozens of stormtroopers like it’s nothing. It’s much more intense when this escape is shortened and Poe gets shot quicker.
- Removed Kylo’s line, “It was Palpatine who was looking for you.” Just a disjointed line that has no purpose or explanation in my edit. Palpatine has no knowledge of Rey aside from what Kylo has told Snoke in the past couple movies.
- Now with the whole spy plot completely wrapped up, Hux’s betrayal is a total unrelated surprise with completely new motivation. It’s clear that he has had disagreements with Kylo the entire trilogy, and there’s especially been tension with Palpatine. So now it’s not as though Hux suddenly grew a conscience, but that he just is making a power play to overthrow Kylo. I also re-added his one line about his motivation for Kylo to lose.
- Removed Pryde’s line about finding the spy. At last, the most pointless plotline of all time has been covered up and it did not change the outcome of a single event… Amazing. From beginning to end I altered every mention of it and nothing changed except I kept the focus on the actual story.
- As promised, the Chewie and crew chess game is placed right after Pryde kills Hux and we see the Falcon in hyperspace. I don’t know why, but it seems like the most Chewbacca thing ever to want to play that game right after the stress of being captured and it shows the others really being appreciative of his return in a fun way. Now when we hear the alarm go off in the chess scene we cut right to Rey and Finn starting to fix something while Chewie tells Poe that the landing gear is busted. It also makes sense that Rey was not playing earlier because of the intense experience with Kylo as she learned she killed her own parents. So Finn goes to her and learns why she wasn’t in the mood.
- Now is when I have placed the scene of Kylo going to find Palpatine, and here’s why… At this point in the film we have seen Kylo hesitantly accept Palpatine’s gifts. We have also heard him mention to Rey on multiple occasions that he has no intention of actually serving Palpatine, and plans to betray him and rule with her instead. There is now a much more established reason for Palpatine to suspect Kylo’s betrayal when we hear him talk to Kylo’s mind again and threaten to turn his fleets against him. Palpatine is sick of Kylo’s lack of conviction to kill Rey. In a classic Sidious move, he taunts Kylo past his limits as Kylo decides to face the Emperor himself to rid himself of this annoyance once and for all. So Kylo knowingly heads to Exegol where Palpatine has baited him, wanting to show Kylo the full extent of his power and how foolish it would be to stand up to him. Since Snoke and Palpatine ARE the same person in my trilogy (my dialogue even says so), we know that Sidious has never considered Kylo as anything more than a tool. All he wants is for the Jedi to end one way or the other, whether through killing Rey or turning her.
- Removed Palpatine’s scenes of offering Kylo “a new empire”. The footage will be utilized in the later space battle, but it doesn’t make sense for the Emperor to offer this to Kylo here. At this point in my edit it’s clear that Palpatine is controlling Kylo against his will as he realizes he isn’t strong enough to kill Sidious like he did Snoke. Kylo begrudgingly lowers his saber knowing that he needs Rey at his side to stand against him.
- Re-added the line of Palpatine commanding Kylo to kill Rey as I have now unified Palpatine’s plan throughout all 3 movies (see the TLDR above)
- Cut the ridiculous jump cut to black that theatrical had after Palpatine’s scene. Do you EVER remember seeing a transition like that in any of the other 8 movies? Come on, JJ, do better. We now cut from here to the protagonists flying to Endor.
- Trimmed some of Jannah’s lines about how she was taken to help the First Order feel more villainous.
- Cut everything to do with Finn going to watch Rey fight Kylo… He literally does nothing except scream her name. And it should not have been possible for Jannah and him to get there in the first place. The last we see is him looking through the binos out to Rey, still concerned for her.
- Took the amazing idea from [Fixing Disney Star Wars] to remove a frame from every lightsaber clash in the Rey v Kylo Death Star duel. Wow! It’s crazy how much it makes the battle feel more intense. It was excruciatingly slow in theatrical.
- Adjusted the duel soundtrack timing
- Cut Rey saying, “…Ben’s hand.” Man, this scene hits so much harder when it’s just left at, “I did want to take your hand.” The viewer is left racking their brains about the implications, and it shows that Rey was this close to falling to the Dark Side at any moment in the trilogy. Her implication of saying she only wanted Ben’s hand was that she never struggled with the Dark, only with liking the good part of Ben which is a far less interesting dynamic.
- Moved around some scenes/audio on Kylo’s wound.
- Moved the first scene of Finn talking to coneface to right after Poe and Lando talk. I cut his ending line of “So what’s your name?” and now it ends on, “I miss her too,” and we transition into Rey on the island. Much improved thematically.
- Adjusted some cuts/audio in Rey and Luke’s island talk
- Cut out Leia sensing Kylo’s death if she continued training. Nonsensical detail that made zero sense in the original plot, and it’s pointless here too. Now Luke just says that Leia sensed the end of her own Jedi training.
- After Rey finds the wayfinder, we cut to R2 and 3P0 shenanigans about his missing memory. Then we cut to Finn telling Poe about coneface and Ochi, except I have edited the lines to remove the mention of Ochi trying to bring baby Rey to Palpatine. The line now goes, “He was going with Ochi of Bastoon,” ”Why was Ochi going there?” and we cut straight to them plugging in coneface and starting to look at readings on Exegol. Then we cut back to Rey waking up the next morning on the island to leave on Luke’s X-wing. Then back to R2 getting a signal from Luke’s X-wing, THEN back to C3P0 interrupting Poe and Finn with news.
- Moved footage from when Palpatine shows Kylo the fleet to right as the rebels arrive. Works really well to preface Poe’s, “Look at that fleet…”
- Cut Jannah’s line, “Never been readier.” Bad, awful line.
- Moved Palpatine’s initial line to Kylo “You will rule the galaxy as the new Emperor,” to when Rey meets him for consistency of his plan. Now it’s very similar to what he did to Luke, tried to kill him until he arrives before him and then tempts him to lash out in anger so his fall would be complete.
- Removed Palpatine’s lines about his spirit passing into Rey if she kills him… That just… Why? Why would you say that? That makes it a thousand times less tempting for Rey if she knows she gets possessed if she kills him. Now it’s simply the same deal he offered Luke, strike me down in aner and the galaxy is yours. Maybe he does legitimately have the power to possess her, but why would you ever tell her that?
- Removed Kylo’s Marvel reaction shot exhale after he does a cool lightsaber move fighting the Knights of Ren
- Removed all of Palpatine’s surprise about learning of the force dyad. It’s not mentioned at all anymore. He pulls Kylo and Rey to him and says, “And now the power of two restores the one true Emperor.” No foolishness from him looking like an imbecile not realizing what’s going on, just purely him adjusting to a BETTER plan now that Kylo is also broken before him.
- RED LIGHTNING. I have painstakingly applied [skenera’s] LUT to the entirety of Palpatine’s lightning attacks in a way that is also integrated with the force ghosts. Not only does this change drastically improve the visual representation of the final confrontation, it is also heavily supported by Star Wars lore. Red lightning is the purest representation of pure dark side energy which makes sense when Palpatine says “I am all the Sith.” (where I have used additional audio to beef up that line too!) It looks really great for breaking up the monotony of Exegol’s dull blue, and it’s cool to see the planet go from blue to red to blue depending on where the battle is at.
- Readjusted some shots around Rey’s death
- Completely re-worked the whole ending sequence. No more broom boy ending anymore. I like it in theory, but it’s too subtle. I didn’t even notice the boy used the force on the broom in theaters, and it’s overall disconnected from the saga. I’ve done FAR too much to write it all out so I’ll summarize in a sequence of events:
- Palpatine dies
- Rebel reinforcements show up and win the space battle
- Rey dies, Kylo mourns, Leia’s body fades away
- Remaining rebel ships fly off Exegol & straight back to base
- Celebration begins, hugs, Chewie’s medal etc.
- After Poe and Finn hug, cut to Star Destroyers falling throughout the galaxy
- Falcon arriving on Tatooine with Kylo (reorganized some scenes here)
- Kylo flies away
- C3P0 memory restoration with saga recap
- Luke force ghost watches over everything in the World between Worlds… Credits.
I need a couple people to help demo this before I start sending out the links to everyone, so shoot me a DM if you want a first look to help find any bugs.