After recent conversations and a little brainstorming, I had some thoughts to share about recontextualizing the political situation in the Sequel Trilogy as a whole, as well as specific thoughts regarding the ending for TROS.
First of all, these ideas could be used for separate edits, but I think they would work best within the context of a collection of edits for the entire saga. Before getting into the Sequel Trilogy, I want to briefly touch on ROTJ’s ending.
For an ROTJ edit that works well within a saga edit, I think two changes could be made that could help set up the ST. First, after/when the Death Star is destroyed, I think it would be great if a shot could be created of Star Destroyers jumping to hyperspace in various directions, fleeing the battle. This seeds the idea that the entire Empire just wasn’t destroyed at the Battle of Endor, but fled to lick their wounds. Secondly, I think it would be better if the film didn’t end with the celebration montage. The montage makes it seems like the Empire has immediately collapsed across the galaxy, but then when we see a new Imperial faction in the opening shot of the next film, it makes the two movies feels somewhat contradictory. So instead, the ending could revert to the original version of the ending, which is a plus, imo, or something like BedeHistory’s mock-up:
This is my attempt to redo ROTJ’s ending with a non-diegetic piece from the 1983 soundtrack (namely, “Luke and Leia”). A bunch of other fanedits have done this (e.g., the Dan Edit), but I wanted to demonstrate it with the 1983 cut of the ending. I sped up the music a little, for better sync.
Here’s the vimeo link.
This also would help keep the ending of ROTJ more personal, focused on Luke and our other heroes on Endor.
With that in mind, I think it would be better to rethink the Battle of Endor as when the Rebellion became the New Republic, and after the events of the movie, will take back entire swathes of the galaxy, but not all of it. So this would be much more similar to the way Legends depicted the post-ROTJ era. And practically speaking, this result makes more sense than what we got in canon. The entirety of the Rebel fleet was apparently at Endor, but we know the Empire had resources and personnel all across the galaxy. They wouldn’t have been able to retake the entire galaxy in just a year. The remnants of the Empire would persist on the edges of the galaxy, but the Rebellion would retake control of major portions of the galaxy. So when we’re introduced to the First Order in TFA, they shouldn’t be described as a mysterious force emerging from the shadows.
Since TROS introduces a hidden Imperial remnant out in the Unknown Regions, I think it would be better if the First Order was clearly differentiated from the “Final Order” or Sith Fleet. In TFA, the crawl could describe how the galaxy is divided between the New Republic and the First Order, which could be the result of the remaining Imperial remnants uniting together after Luke’s disappearance. These two factions have a very fragile peace, or maybe they’re in a cold war, but despite that political tension Leia operates her Resistance within First Order space because she refuses to end the fight until the entire galaxy is liberated from tyranny.
This might not be a popular idea, but when we get to the ending of TROS, I think it would make the ending more effective to combine the Victory Celebration montage from ROTJ with the victory montage from TROS to create one extended victory montage. The fleet of “just people” at the climax of the film plays into the idea of this war being a people’s revolution, so I think seeing the people actually celebrate across the galaxy would play really well with that theme. This is how I’m picturing it:
- Wide shot of Star Destroyer falling past Cloud City.
- Pan of people celebrating on Cloud City (or vice versa)
- Pan of people celebrating on Coruscant, but insert the Star Destroyer, the one crashing on Jakku, into the background of this shot near the Jedi Temple. (or create a separate Coruscant shot and have them side-by-side like the Bespin shots).
- Take the shot of the Star Destroyer split in half over Endor, and create a new shot of Broom Boy looking at the kamikaze in the skies over Canto Bight.
- Including Naboo and Tatooine is optional, but if you made the Resistance base planet Naboo, then the Naboo celebration shot would be a good way to segue to the Resistance celebrating back at their base.
To justify some of these choices, I swapped out Jakku and Endor with Coruscant and Canto Bight for two reasons. One, I think it makes more sense to see these Star Destroyers be brought down above populated worlds, rather than planets that are relatively insignificant outside of our nostalgia. This montage is meant to depict the people revolting against the First Order, so it makes more sense for this to happen at planets where there are actually people. (Also showing Canto Bight/Broom Boy again is a small, but I think nice, pay off to the Canto Bight subplot and the TLJ ending scene with Broom Boy, implying that justice/freedom is coming to those people).
Second, snooker has created new/and alternate shots related to Coruscant and Endor. We’ve had this idea of having the First Order briefing scene take place on a Star Destroyer above Coruscant, so the Star Destroyer crashing near the Jedi Temple could be this same Destroyer. This is the shot Snooker created as a proof of concept for that idea.
We’ve also talked about using those Endor shots to make it seem like the Death Star ruins are on Endor rather than Kef Bir, so snooker created this shot to imply that.
If we are going to treat TROS as the ending of a nine part saga, then it makes more sense to make the ending feel like an ultimate victory, with people celebrating all over the galaxy as the last vestiges of the Empire finally collapse. If you watch a Star Wars marathon in the future, the current TROS victory montage will feel like a cheap knock-off in comparison to ROTJ’s victory celebration, so it would be better to just combine them into one big victory montage at the end of this very long story.