A basic outline for what I would have done if I had the chance to revise Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII script. (Will expand later.) Please tell me what you think!
It is mere days after the RESISTANCE dealt a fierce blow to the villainous FIRST ORDER by destroying the dreaded Starkiller Base. The Resistance quickly moves to evacuate their base on D’Qar before the First Order finds them. Meanwhile, the young scavenger Rey is en route to the first Jedi temple, where she hopes to find the legendary LUKE SKYWALKER to help with the fight…
Rey arrives on Ahch-to, as seen in TFA. It is intercut with the Resistance escaping from D’Qar just as the First Order arrives. No dialogue is spoken, and losses are minimal. The Resistance leaves the system just as Rey arrives on the hill where Luke is standing.
Luke asks where Rey got the lightsaber, and who she is. Rey replies by explaining the recent galactic events, and wonders why Luke has been gone all this time. Luke tells that he came to uncover new knowledge about Snoke and the Force and retrain himself in the light side through the original practices of the first Jedi by visiting their temples after his academy was destroyed, to atone for his mistakes.
He had a close bond with Ben Solo and loved him like a son, but on one mission together, they encountered Snoke, who implanted wisps of dark side knowledge and potential for power. Luke sensed this but believed that Ben would not betray his ideals. However, Ben came to believe that his family had abandoned him, due to Snoke’s influence, and betrayed the location of the academy to him.
Rey has much to learn about the philosophy of the Jedi, and is trained by Luke. He sees Rey as a second chance to fulfill his duty to an apprentice after Ben Solo was seduced by Snoke. Rey seeks to become stronger in the Force to find her parents (and to help the Resistance, of course). At the same time, Snoke calls back Kylo Ren in order to finish his training. As his final test, he will find Ahch-to and finish what he started: the destruction of the Jedi.
Meanwhile, Leia sends out a signal to all allies of the Republic, on secure channels, to gather over Crait and formulate a plan to defeat the forces of the First Order. General Hux contacts the slicer DJ on Cantonica to crack the code and allow the First Order to strike the Republic before they are ready to attack. DJ tells the First Order of the Republic fleet’s location but also informs the Republic of the impending attack, for his own profit. (Of course, Hux’s missteps only deepen his rivalry with Kylo Ren).
Because he is still conflicted after he killed Han Solo, Kylo Ren begins to doubt Snoke’s teachings (although he is still OK with using dark side powers). Kylo explores his new Force connection with Rey (opened when he mind-interrogated her in TFA), and reconnecting with the light side after all this time reaffirms his doubts about Snoke. Rey is eventually able to search for her parents but find that they have been dead for years. Shocked at the revelation, she shuts herself off to Luke, someone who is able to help her, and becomes closer with Kylo. Over time, they bond and Rey gives him the location of Ahch-to unbeknownst to Luke.
On his travels, Luke also learned that Snoke had appeared to Palpatine under the name “Darth Plagueis”, instructing him in the dark side arts and being aware firsthand of the power of the Skywalker bloodline. But Snoke was betrayed by Palpatine, who thought him dead, and escaped to the Unknown Regions to recover from his injuries. Many decades later, the Imperial remnant traveled to the Unknown Regions. They came into contact with Snoke, who assumed control of the First Order and helped them build massive production facilities in order to rebuild the Imperial fleet. Snoke believes only beings that have mastered the dark side are worthy to rule, seeing the decline of the Republic under the watch of the Jedi, and believes Luke Skywalker to be a continuation of their legacy.
In the present, Kylo arrives at Ahch-to, agreeing to help Luke and Rey defeat Snoke but Kylo does not fully commit to rejoining the Jedi. Luke reconciles with Rey and Kylo. Luke feels that it is time to return from exile now that Rey’s training has progressed and Kylo has returned.
The finale is a space battle between the Republic and First Order forces over Crait. Leia and Poe lead the attack. Luke, Rey, and Kylo infiltrate the Supremacy during the battle, confronting Snoke and his Praetorian Guards. Luke puts up a good fight but disappears after being hit, leaving only Rey, Snoke, and Kylo left. Kylo kills Snoke, and vows to travel a new path separate from the Jedi and Sith now that Snoke and Luke are both (seemingly) gone, free from both sides. Rey is faced with a choice between fully pledging to be a warrior of Luke’s Order or allying with Kylo. She realizes that she can rely on the guidance of the light-side of the Force and stops letting the shadow of her parents guide her actions. Kylo lets her live, but they are now and forever enemies. Finn, fully committed to the Resistance, sacrifices himself by ramming the Raddus into the Supremacy, splitting it in two.
Kylo crowns himself the new Supreme Leader of the First Order, and he and Hux flee with the remaining ships, although there is still much tension between them. The Republic is restored to power with Leia as its new Chancellor.
The final shot is of Rey returning to Ahch-to to recover Luke’s belongings and the ancient Jedi texts. She finds a greatly weakened but still living Luke, and together they watch the Binary Sunset, ready to rebuild the Jedi Order.