Very excited to watch this and HttF, and really intrigued to see how you fix TRoS’ mess of new material and badly done Legends references.
Excited to see how my cuts change the experience for you, for better or for worse!
One of the reasons I’m taking a bit of a break before starting TRoS is one, to rest after putting nearly 100 hours of work into TFA and TLJ, and two, to take time to watch other Ep. 9 edits and gather my own ideas. I think TRoS has less potential for Legends fixes than TLJ did, so while I have some big picture ideas for my next edit, I still have a lot of research and planning ahead before I even open my editing software.
In TLJ I was able to flip character motivations and arcs, but in TRoS it’s going to be more about managing the saga/lore destroying themes… I have plans for Leia, Kylo and Rey, but there’s still a lot I need to process. Ep. 9 is my least watched Star Wars film at only 3 completions, so I need to get a better grip on JJ’s story before trying to transform it into my own.
I suggest watching at least Resurgence and the No Palps edit for TRoS, just for two very different approaches to making changes. There are a few things in TRoS that draw on Legends plot points, like the hidden fleet, force clones, a revived Palps, even Rey’s parentage, but just pulling random pieces of lore and smooshing them together doesn’t make for good callbacks and doesn’t make up for the lack of showing Rey’s victory as a balancing of the light and dark.
I haven’t watched HotF or FotJ yet, but I havee skipped around to look at some of the big changes.
Luke constantly saving Leia is excellent, it establishes him as a character who cares deeply but has succeeded in basically every way that his father failed. He was able to hold his attachments lightly enough to do what needed to be done to maintain balance, but not so lightly he forgot to care. And the way you implement these changes is really strong.
When Rey arrives I would trim the lingering shots on her face and hand as she’s holding the saber to Luke. We already saw those in the vision in the last film, so I think this sequence would be helped by having her walk up and hand it to him sooner.
I appreciate what you’ve done to remove the movie’s ridiculous attempt to have the entire plot fallout in like 3 days. A huge part of TLJ’s (and TRoS) problem was the pacing and it’s helped quite a bit here.
I wonder if it is necessary to keep Luke’s line “I will not be the last Jedi.” Him saying it at all goes against both his and Kylo’s insistence that what came before has to be surpassed, and in TLJ was certainly used to show that he had decided he was wrong about the Jedi. Though I am intrigued by his saying while showing Kylo a shot of Jedi Leia.
Finn and Rose’s plot is much helped by trimming Canto Bight and using some of their deleted material.
Keeping Kylo as the big bad is a good idea and well executed. It helps with this feeling less like an irreverent rehash of ESB and RotJ and more like it’s own solid Star Wars film.
When Luke is fighting Kylo and we get the shot of him in the WbtWs, I think their needs to be a shot where we see him meditating on the island and then it melts away to reveal the WbtW and he gets the blue tint of the Force Ghost. This way there’s some intro for people unfamiliar with Rebels and the WbtWs, it could be assumed he’s ascending, that he’s become one with the force without dying simply because he’s so powerful. And the blue tint provides visual continuity with his appearances in the next film. And we’ve already seen him helping out, so as you said above there is no big reveal that he can. So this final one needs some more oomph on his end.
Anyway, those are a bunch of my thoughts. I’ll be more thorough once I’ve been able to watch both films back to back.
Thanks for your hard work!