Wanted to challenge myself slightly and “write” additional scenes for The Rise of Skywalker as we got it, and also make a few slight changes to the overall plot. I’ll probably do a major rewrite eventually, but I just wanted to spit out a few small ideas that I think could have improved the film.
I want to start by addressing the general story arcs for some of the main characters, excluding Rey and Ben, who’ll I’ll touch on later.
I think the simplest change would be to add more to Finn and Jannah’s interactions. First of all, if you look at Jannah and her followers, you wouldn’t even know they were former Stormtroopers. I think their costumes could consist of bits and pieces of stormtrooper armor to make that clearer. In Finn and Jannah’s conversation, Jannah could say that her and the other stormtroopers just want to stay and hide, not get involved. But Finn inspires them to join the fight, because it is the right thing to do. Also, when Finn and Poe are on the Star Destroyer, you could give Finn some kind of interaction with one or multiple stormtroopers that sets up something later on in the film.
The film itself brings up a few times that the First Order would begin harvesting more children to man the Sith Fleet, but we never see that have much of an effect on the story, so I would add a subplot of Stormtroopers raiding a village and kidnapping all the children from there as the parents beg for them to not to. Later, we see that the First Order has put Lobot-like implants on them in order to make them totally obedient. The final mission would change from destroying the transmission tower that will allow the Sith Fleet to leave Exegol, to Finn destroying the control tower that controls the children’s implants. So the goal of the final battle goes from “fighting the enemy” to “saving the innocent”. We see various ships rescue the children after the main ship is destroyed. During the final epilogue, we would see Finn and Rose bring all of the children back to their village, and perhaps even stormtroopers. Maybe we could see Jannah and her group interact with a separate group of stormtroopers as they all remove their helmets, realizing that they are finally free.
You could even get that brief sequence with Finn instead, and not have the children subplot, but the harvesting children subplot is mentioned in the film a few times, so I figured I would incorporate it. But since Finn’s journey started with destroying a village, I think it would be nice for his journey to end by helping a village.
I definitely felt like Poe’s journey didn’t grow much from the last film, so I wanted to highlight some ideas that I think could help demonstrate Poe becoming a leader. First of all, I would remove the crap about Poe being a former spice-runner. Instead, I think it would be more fitting if Zorri was a former New Republic pilot that Poe flew with that became a criminal after the First Order took over. She could be mad at Poe for leaving the New Republic to join the Resistance, or failing to stop Starkiller from destroying Hosnian Prime. She has lost hope of the Republic ever returning, and has given up basically. But Poe tells her why he still thinks there is hope (maybe even repeats Holdo’s “hope is like the sun” line), and Zorri comments on how Poe has changed from that hothead pilot she knew so long ago. Making Zorri a former Republic pilot also better sets up why we see her flying an Y-Wing at the climax of the film.
After Leia dies and Poe becomes the de-facto general, the Resistance comes to the conclusion that they have to send a message to their allies to join them at Exegol. They comment that without Leia to send that message, it’s unlikely that anyone will have any hope of victory, but Poe says that Leia’s legacy still lives on through them. And with that, we get a new sequence where Poe dons a white cape and records a rallying speech that gets sent out to their allies across the galaxy. Lando says he’ll wait at the rendezvous for anyone who shows up to escort them to Exegol, and then Poe stands on the bridge of the Tantive IV and leads the Resistance to the last battle. So when the big fleet shows up at the last minute, it is because of POE.
In the epilogue, we’d see Poe on Coruscant, meeting with representatives from various worlds and shaking hands with them, signifying the return of democracy in the galaxy.
I think Chewie’s character needed a bit more resolution than what we got in the film, so I wanted to add three brief scenes to sort of round out his story in this last chapter of the saga. First, I think it would be nice to get a brief conversation between Maz and Chewie in the first act of the film, where Maz asks Chewie about being relieved of his life debt to Han and how his family must miss him. Chewie growls and Maz replies in a way that implies that he’s staying to help Leia complete her mission, because that is what Han would have wanted.
Later, while Chewie is a prisoner aboard the Star Destroyer, him and Kylo/Ben (along with some of the Knights of Ren) have a brief interaction. Kylo orders him to give up the location of the Resistance, but Chewie remains silent. Kylo tries to search Chewie’s mind, but when he does, Chewie only forces him to relive happy memories from his childhood with him, Han and Leia. This overwhelms Kylo, and when one of the Knights asks if they can kill Chewie, he snaps and says no, then quickly adds that he could still be useful.
After the final battle has been won, we get a brief epilogue sequence of Chewie finally returning home to his family on Kashyyyk.
I don’t necessarily think Rose needs some kind of major character arc. I think simply seeing her go from a lowly mechanic in TLJ to an important member of the Resistance in IX would be plenty for her character. But I think there were plenty of ways Rose could’ve gotten plenty of more screen time. First of all, Rose EASILY could have been on the first mission with Finn, Poe and Chewie on the Falcon. Instead of Klaud, who literally has NO HANDS, be the mechanic on the Falcon, this easily could have been Rose.
Another easy fix would have been to get rid of Dominic Monaghan’s character and give some of that extra dialogue to either Rose and/or Billie Lourd’s character. I think there could have been a nice scene between Rose and Rey as they repair the Falcon together. Rose could have had a brief conversation with Finn regarding his desire to save the kidnapped children and/or the other stormtroopers. If Rose stayed back at the base, I think it would be nice for her to communicate back and forth with the gang a bit more often. Or maybe we could cut back to Rose once or twice to see her working on the device Poe will use to broadcast his message to the galaxy.
Honestly, though I think Rose could have easily gone with the gang on their mission. Rose could’ve stayed with the Falcon on Pasana and gotten captured, then later she could be rescued alongside Chewie. On Kef Bir, she could have helped try to repair the Falcon while Rey went ahead to the Death Star ruins. Having Rose tag along wouldn’t have really overcrowded the main plot, or taken away from the “trio” that Abrams and Terrio were desperately trying to focus on.
I wasn’t sure what to do about Hux when I started writing this, but the ideas started formulating as I went along. I think the first scene we could get of Hux is him ordering the execution of a would-be Stormtrooper deserter in one of the Star Destroyer hangars. Or perhaps this trooper was the spy that helped the Resistance. Without Phasma to control the troops, Hux’s methods of control have become more desperate. Despite the Stormtroopers all wearing masks, we get the feeling the soldiers seem uncomfortable during this execution. The spy/deserter’s last words could be something like, “FN-218–”
Regarding Hux’s relationship to Pryde, I actually think the roles should be reversed. Pryde should be rather skeptical of trusting this Sith cult, whereas Hux would gladly accept a new armada, and he also revels in the fact the Kylo Ren might have to answer to a new master.
When Finn and Poe are about to be killed aboard the Star Destroyer, instead of Hux being the one to save them, Finn starts trying to talk to the stormtroopers, and it is one of the stormtroopers that has a change of heart then saves them/lets them go. Maybe Finn and this trooper could share a few words before they part ways. After Kylo turns, instead of seeing Pryde kill Hux, Hux kills Pryde and begins taking control of the First Order. We see Hux contact the Emperor and pledges allegiance to him in return to become the new Supreme Leader of his forces.
Hux is on the bridge of the main Star Destroyer during the final battle, and during this battle we see the stormtrooper that Finn spoke to watch from view screens as Finn, Jannah, and the other rogue stormtroopers fight and die to stop the First Order. Seeing that they are losing, the stormtrooper decides to rally the other stormtroopers and storm the bridge of the Star Destroyer. Just as Finn and Jannah as are about to die, the rebelling stormtroopers finally board the bridge and kill Hux, then deactivate the transmitter. Since the stormtroopers are Hux’s army, I think it is appropriate that it is his army that is his downfall. And this might be another nice way to tie up Finn’s arc as well.
Okay, that’s all I got for now. I’ll touch on Rey, Kylo/Ben, Luke, Leia and the Emperor in another post.