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The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

littlev87 said:

I think you should consider using transitions similar to this video for your dream sequences.

They really give a similar feeling to the “force back” when she first touches the saber.

I will, for sure. Although I’m not a big fan of the style, I can see how it might be effective in certain situations.

RL, I haven’t seen that movie, but it should probably be on the list!

Here’s a more polished version of the scene, with some improved transitions and an edit to the Hux/Snoke dialogue. The rearrangement of the Kylo/Snoke dialogue has been dialed back but still retains the main idea.

Password: fanedit

The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

Okay, so after the failure of the combined Snoke scenes I reverted to something closer to the original with the first scene:

Password: fanedit

It now serves to expand the time our heroes spend together on the Falcon, and keeps Kylo’s lineage obscure. I was torn on whether or not to leave in ‘He means nothing to me’, since that’s the biggest giveaway linking Kylo to Han, but it could also be that he’s referring to Luke, so there’s at least a little ambiguity before the confirmation after the Maz Castle battle.

Also, whereas the original scene implied that the Awakening and Kylo’s conflicted feelings were separate, in this version I wanted to suggest that the awakening sensed by Snoke is purely caused by Kylo learning of his father’s involvement, leading to the awakening of long-suppressed emotion. Or alternately, Rey’s awakening is what Snoke originally senses but Kylo does not, and assumes that Snoke has discovered his weakness. Snoke then senses Kylo’s real issue and presses him on this front.

The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

Indeed, although it’s only the very beginning and very end of the theme which is spliced together in the Takodana attack.

It is bombastic to an extent that it’s difficult to distinguish between what bits are used where, but there is a development of the theme throughout its brief 1:15 duration. I intentionally used just the first half during the interrogation, and relied on the last half for the alarm. With the brief spliced appearance on Takodana, it’s never simply repeated but hopefully serves as a developing motif to signify the First Order’s strength, something that was sadly lacking in the theatrical version.

Rey and Jedi Training

RogueLeader said:

Nev, those are some good points. I especially like how you highlight Luke’s idealism as somewhat of both a flaw and a strength.

I think merely them having more altruistic qualities is something both Luke and Rey have in common. They both do want to help people. Rey wants to help BB-8 and the Resistance. Luke wants to help Obi-Wan and the Princess.

True, but Luke only helps Ben after he literally has nothing left for him on Tatooine, and his motives with regards to Leia are clear. He already hates the Empire, so joining the Rebellion is a no-brainer for him.

And like you said, Rey’s major characterization revolves around her own sense of belonging and identity.
Personally, I think having Rey join Kylo would have been a really big mistake. I don’t think it was a coincidence that this was the same scene that made Rey come face-to-face with her origins and what they mean for her sense of self-worth. Yes, Rey is looking for belonging, but really in that scene she was presented with a choice between belonging with Kylo or belonging with the Resistance.

I think in her mind, she realized that if Kylo is still willing to kill others when he doesn’t have to, then he hasn’t really changed, but he is just more of the same.
And you have to remember that Rey doesn’t know Finn is aboard the Supremacy, and although she has come to understand Ben more during the film, her one main friend is Finn, and for all she knows he is on those transports. Her letting Kylo keep destroying the rest of the transports would have been out-of-character for Rey.

Definitely. There’s no version in which she would forsake Finn. She toys with having split allegiance in this movie, and it would have been interesting to explore how Finn would fit into all this. Kylo could have brought up Finn since he knows it’s on her mind, and she would point out how Finn is more like Kylo than Kylo since he has no allegiance to either the First Order or to the Resistance (as far as she knows anyway). She could paint Finn as the beginning of Kylo’s new vision, one where the a truly new order could rule the galaxy. Then the conflict clearly becomes one between Rey’s vision, where the two sides are saved and peace is restored, and Kylo’s vision where the only way forward is to burn both sides to the ground.

I think I saw this suggested somewhere, but I can really only picture the moving going two other ways:
One, Holdo could have rammed the Supremacy as Rey was reaching out for his hand, as if she was going to join him, but the following explosion snapped her out of it and made her flee. You probably re-edit this and people could just assume the saber somehow got messed up in the explosion.

Two, Rey could have told Kylo that she would join him if he stopped firing on the transports. He could have said fine, but we are still capturing them. They go down to Crait, Rey would be standing alongside Kylo, seeing him slowly lose his cool. And when Luke shows up, they both go out to meet him, and Luke apologizes to both Rey and Kylo, and he convinces Rey to go run back to the Resistance and help them escape, while he has his confrontation with Kylo Ren.

This would have been an interesting way to go, but maybe better would have been to have Rey escape the way she does in the original, so simply cutting the battle over the lightsaber.

But, even though I might write up these alternatives, I don’t necessarily agree with them. I still think Rey’s decision to not join Kylo was belonging-driven, but in that moment she realized that Finn and the Resistance could be her belonging rather than Kylo. But I think that choice comes from a healthy place, like, Rey at that moment realized that it didn’t matter if she was nothing, that she could create her own identity, and in that moment she chose that is not what she wanted to be.

That sounds great for the end of her character arc, but maybe not so great when there’s still an entire movie to go. Maybe that’s why so many people feel like there’s not much more to explore with this story.

Rey and Jedi Training

poppasketti said:

In any case, when confronted with the choice to turn to the dark side, Rey makes the same choice as Luke. That’s because they are both essentially good people.
When Luke was tempted by Vader and Palpatine, he rejected the offer. It wasn’t Luke’s training, it wasn’t something he learned along the way, he just was a good person. That’s why we like him. The same goes for Rey. One thing we’ve known about Rey from the beginning, when she takes in and protects BB-8, is that she’s good. Ultimately, it came down to a moral choice.

I don’t think people give the writers the proper credit for Rey’s character. People simply focus on how good she is at using a lightsaber, when training is not about ability, but about character. I also think that sometimes people mistake flaws in the storytelling with political agendas, and that’s really unfortunate. I wish there was something better to do, but I though I could at least write about it.

I think that boiling Luke and Rey down to ‘Good People’ ignores a lot of what makes these characters unique. Let’s just start with the example you gave:

Rey, a scavenger who scrapes by each day with barely enough to eat, nevertheless refuses to take ownership of BB-8 or sell it for what must be weeks of food. In contrast, Luke has no qualms with the buying and selling of droids and will even hunt down R2-D2 while strongly suspecting that he really belongs to old Ben. Luke’s interest in the droids, at least in the beginning, is contained to their involvement in the Rebellion. The reason we as an audience believe that Luke truly cares for them is because he treats them as human servants rather than unfeeling machines, but that doesn’t make Luke nearly the selfless person Rey is when we meet her.

Luke has a core of idealism, which goes hand in hand with its inherent flaws - naivete and delusion. These flaws drive his story toward its natural conclusion in the Original Trilogy. It is this idealism which I think people mistake for inherent goodness in his character, but goodness has no flaws. If Luke were an inherently good person he would have immediately returned R2 to Ben and gone on to campaign for droid rights instead of killing thousands of people in the name of a terrorist organization.

A good person would have treated Yoda as an equal from the outset, would have heeded him during his training, and would have stayed and kept his promise instead of naively running off with the expectation that he could save his friends. It was not goodness which made him seek out the light in Vader, but idealism of the Jedi ways and of his mental image of his father which made him believe that a Jedi could never be truly evil. This is why Luke’s final confrontation with Vader is so great - he is vindicated through the very flaws of naivete and blindness, without which he would never have underestimated the ability of the Emperor to destroy him.

What I’m trying to say with all of this is that being a good person doesn’t make for compelling drama. If Rey were simply a good person, her story would be as dry as Tatooine in a drought. Luckily there’s more to Rey than that, but I argue that her driving characterization is one of goodness, which is inherently boring. If instead she were truly searching for belonging and personal mentors, her flaws would be defining aspects of her character and lead to great drama. In such a world, Rey would have taken Kylo’s hand because she has no other mentor, but instead her primary motivator in this scene is her essential, boring goodness and the movie suffers for it.

The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

Thanks for the critique, I do appreciate it even if it’s critical. That’s why I post these mockups in the first place, it’s easy to lose objectivity when working on an idea.

Here’s an updated version of the alarm scene, with a really rough concept I threw together in about ten minutes showing what might be TIE fighters starting up in the background of the Hangar. It still needs audio and better tracking and more detail and…

Password: fanedit

The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

RogueLeader said:

Yeah, I think this could work!

It is a lot to play with though, isn’t it? Watching it I realized all the different ways you could rearrange the scenes. I’ll just mention a few things.

The cut to the interrogation seemed weird at first, but I think with music it won’t feel as weird, so that’s just a rough cut thing probably. I’m guessing you put it there instead of after Han and Leia’s conversation so the transition would make feel like enough time has passed for Snap to recon Starkiller and come back, right? Or maybe one reason.

That’s one reason, but what was mostly bothering me was how it feels like Leia was so unconcerned with Finn’s information that she forgot all about it when viewing the incomplete map in the next scene. It’s just two scenes that don’t work all that well together now that between them the Resistance has had their first concrete intel about this devastating weapon.

I kinda liked how in your old versions how you reversed the shot of the Stormtrooper so he would just turn back around after he called Rey “scavenger scum”. Do you feel that didn’t work really well?

That’s one scene that is still under construction for the official version - I’ve always intended to go back and redo the mockups with the official Blu-ray in 5.1 audio, which is what is happening now.

One interesting thing that happens by this restructure is that you fix a continuity error with Kylo Ren. When he is marching back to Rey’s interrogation room, he doesn’t have his hood. And then when he enters the room, he has it draped over him. But now, it makes it seem like he put it on when he went outside, and then just left it on when he came back in. Not a big deal but kinda neat.

I hadn’t consciously edited the scene that way, but now that you notice it, of course it was intentional 😉

I kinda think having Kylo put his helmet back on during the Snoke conversation doesn’t work, but maybe if you could somehow have those “putting helmet back on” sounds happen over shots where we don’t see Kylo at all, it could. So either crop the shot that it’s on, or do it over close ups of Hux and/or Snoke.

The Snoke scenes are what I feel to be the most up in the air right now. He’s one of the weakest parts of the movie in my opinion and I’m just not sure how to make it better so it’s a matter of throwing ideas at the wall until one sticks.

I’m also not sure if I’m 100% into the way the two scenes are put together in this version, but I do think it could work. I understand why it is this way, though. In your edit, we don’t have an earlier scene with Snoke, right? Because basically the first half of the movie Kylo and Hux are just after BB-8, they don’t go back to Starkiller. I mean that makes more sense to me, so I’m good with trying to make that work.

Actually, the idea is to have a scene with just Hux and Snoke where Hux first floats the idea of destroying the Republic, but it might be too small a scene to work. It might be better to have Kylo there as well with the only dialogue with Snoke being about the awakening.

One thing that seems kinda weird is splitting the “Kylo Searches the Falcon” deleted scene. I wonder if you could push back to after Rey escapes. And also, possibly pushing back the “Han Solo” turn Kylo does to a little later, like maybe after they get back with Rey, or make it the scene after Han deciding to use the explosives to blow a whole in the Oscillator. If that wouldn’t work, maybe just cut the shot of Kylo in the Falcon cockpit turning around dramatically, and just start with the shot of him walking away from the Falcon. As it is now, it feels like Kylo has just been standing there the whole time. By cutting that shot, we could imagine he could’ve been exploring the Falcon some more off-camera.

The new preview addresses this, and you’re absolutely right. Kylo no longer just waits around the Falcon for the attack, though the scene is still bifurcated.

RogueLeader said:

Hmm, that is pretty interesting!

Is it necessary to slow down that one shot of Kylo turning?

The only reason for the slowdown is because the turn is so quick it feels abrupt, like most of the deleted material. But it would probably be acceptable at normal speed.

Also, I would definitely suggest toning down the music and klaxons a little. It’s kind of hard to hear what Phasma is saying.

I’m working late at night so I can’t get a good read of the music levels - it will be fixed!

The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

Since the official version of this edit is underway, I decided to dive right into the act 2 restructuring idea and do as much as possible today. Here’s a work in progress:

Password: fanedit

So lots of rough ideas, the phasma alarm scene doesn’t even have an alarm, the interrogation has yet to be touched, etc, but it shows the basic ideas.

Rey & Kylo Ren's Relationship

RogueLeader said:

I don’t know exactly how they will portray Ben’s redemption, but I definitely see it happening, and I think Rey will play a part of it. It was romantic love in the prequels that tore the galaxy apart. And I think it will be romantic love that puts the galaxy back together.

Maybe if they released it today, but for late December my money’s on The True Meaning of Christmas.

A simple change to make Revenge Of The Sith better.

You might also be able to change some dialogue to make Anakin a more active participant in the betrayal of the remaining Jedi. Cut all of Sidious’s mentions of Mustafar, with him saying only that the remaining Jedi will be dealt with. After Anakin returns from the Temple to Padme, he tells her that the remaining Jedi have gathered on Mustafar, and he’s going there to end the war.

The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

RogueLeader said:

I think he meant that instead of showing flashes of the First Order and Starkiller Base, Kylo Ren shows flashes of himself being intimidating. I’m guessing stuff like him killing Lor San Tekka, showing off his saber/force abilities, etc.

That makes sense, though I quickly abandoned the idea of re-using already-seen footage such as Tekka’s death so it would need some altered or deleted footage of Kylo.

Huh, that is a new idea! So even though Finn and Han don’t rescue Rey directly, they still help by buying her more time.

I had thought about cutting Rey’s escape to where she says the mind trick the final time, the trooper just stands there for a beat, and then it cuts to Kylo Ren walking in and she is gone. So we know she did it but don’t actually see her do it (so the first time we really see her “use the Force” is with the lightsaber pull.

I believe I tried that at one point and found it wasn’t as successful in practice, but maybe I’m misremembering.

But, if you base it off the theatrical version, it really doesn’t matter too much the time between Rey escaping and Kylo discovering it, because we see Rey do the mind trick successfully before Kylo comes in, so we know she’ll be gone. So just extending it like in your version doesn’t really change that.

There were a few things I was initially iffy about, I thing it still works logically. Like Han and Finn still being detected even though they stayed low so they wouldn’t, but you could argue they just saw a weird “blip”, and if they had gone higher they definitely would’ve known it was a ship.

Yeah, I figured that there would have been a blip when they first exited hyperspace and were definitely higher than any trees. It makes the FO security more robust in this instance.

Then you wonder, why did they send Kylo to check it out and not some scouts? But honestly I don’t think this is a big deal. I mean, he is not really in a hurry to get back, as far as he knows Rey’s know going anywhere.

I bet there is a line of dialogue from the Lego game or something I could use such as ‘Show me’ that he could say in response to the trooper. From what we’ve seen, Kylo really likes to arrive soon after his troops to any engagement, so this would be no different.

Also, Kylo not sending Han until he is closer makes a lot of sense too.

And you’re also suggesting to generate some Stormtrooper comm chatter of some Base disturbances, which is what encourages Rey to try the mind trick again, right? I think that would connect the scenes together as well. The cut back to her becomes more motivated.

I guess the only question would be if it all would work pacing-wise, but I think we’ll just have to see a rough cut to really get a feel for it. One thing that might seem weird back to back is Kylo discovering Rey’s escaped, then immediately being informed she hasn’t been found in the hangar. But I think it could work. I would really like to see this concept.

This is kind of unrelated, but I had an aesthetic thought regarding Starkiller. I was wondering how effective it would be if in the space establishing shots of Starkiller Base, that nebulae were added into the space around it. Basically the idea being that it would make the area of space Starkiller Base is in feel more exotic. Since we have never really seen nebulae in the Star Wars movies before, it could be used to establish a sort of visual aesthetic for uncharted space, and the Unknown Regions more specifically. If it gave the feeling that Starkiller was almost shrouded in these space clouds, it would help give the feeling of Starkiller being “hidden” from the Republic, maybe.

You could also do this with Ach-To as well, since it is also apparently in the Unknown Regions.

That’s a really neat idea. Coupled with the concept that it orbits a White Dwarf with a planetary nebula, it would go a long way towards making it aesthetically different and making the relative size of the planet to the star a bit less absurd.

JEDIT: Concerning White Dwarfs - they can be as small as the Earth while being as dense as the Earth’s sun. Since they are the remnants of a star, there has been more than enough time for planets to have formed, and for those planets to have cooled. I imagine that Starkiller could have been a dead planet hollowed out for its metal. Furthermore, in a White Dwarf nuclear fusion has ceased and the body of the star consists primarily of inert carbon and oxygen which is still extremely hot and luminous. It is surrounded by an atmosphere of helium about 1/100 the mass of the star which is the only thing preventing the core from rapid cooling and darkening.

The upshot of all of this is that the Starkiller could very well function in a logical way by siphoning off the helium surrounding the White Dwarf. When all of the helium is absorbed by the Starkiller, the Dwarf rapidly cools and darkens. I assume this would still take thousands of years but artistic license, whatever. But this means that the mass of the star remains for the base to orbit, it merely ceases to be a bright point of light in the sky. Finally, the mass absorbed by the Starkiller may easily be contained within the planet as seen in the planet’s eventual destruction.

I realize that’s about 10 times more thought than JJ and co put into it, but it’s fun to think it through. Goodnight!

The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

I’m not sure of the suggestion in the Kylo vision - are you suggesting that I try and highlight the difference between the two characters’ ideologies?

For the drawings, I think it would be easier and more effective to simply have the island with no figures. After all, Luke has closed himself off from the Force in a way where Rey admits later that she can’t sense him, so I’ve come around to the idea that she really should only see the island and the texts.

In other news, I’ve had an idea about restructuring the Starkiller infiltration. It’s lengthy, but it involves much of the movie:

Resistance base until Leia says ‘tell me all you know’.
Rey and Kylo interrogation, Snoke demands Rey.
Leia realizes her part of the map is useless.
Chewie and the doctor.
Han and Leia talk.
Starkiller charging (with shot establishing Kylo watching)
Resistance planning session and Han and Leia’s goodbyes.
Rey struggles with escape, fails. Kylo approaches.
Falcon Lands.
Trooper informs Kylo that sensors were triggered in sector 718, Kylo goes to investigate.
Not how the Force works.
Hux update.
Kylo searches the Falcon (Apparently in sector 718).
Base Infiltration, Phasma captured.
Rey hears Stormtrooper chatter of base disturbances, finally escapes.
Han and Finn threaten Phasma.
Rey goes onto the wall.
Phasma triggers alarm.
Rey goes into hiding.
Fighters sent in.
Kylo sees fighters from the Falcon.
Fighters make first pass.
Kylo returns to Rey’s cell.
Kylo informed that Rey not found in the hangar, says that Rey is dangerous, Senses Han.
Han and Finn plan prison break, find Rey.

This version does a lot of things that previous version have attempted, such as establishing Finn’s rescue attempt before Rey escapes, allowing space for Kylo to brood, Phasma being useful, etc. However, this version would go further in that Finn’s rescue attempt is what delays Kylo long enough for Rey to discover her power and escape. In essence, both characters are instrumental in the escape. Even better, Kylo is now in very close proximity to Han when he senses him, making this ability more realistic and heightening the tension going into the Oscillator.

The Sequel Radical Redux Ideas Thread (Radical Ideas Welcome).

Anakin Starkiller said:

Can something be done to totally overhaul Han’s death? In the movie, he just walks into it when it’s bloody obvious he’s gonna die, and Kylo has no reason to kill him beyond being the villain and Han being a mentor figure.

I disagree with the last part completely. Kylo has every reason to kill him, from needing to earn Snoke’s trust, to ‘completing his training’, and even his hatred of living in the shadow of a man whom he knows to be far more flawed than the rest of the galaxy believes.

But there is something wrong with the scene as you said, in that we know Han is going to die. I think it would have made for a much stronger scene if Kylo was so genuinely torn apart that he couldn’t kill Han when the moment came, but for some other event or agent to cause Han’s death in that scene.

Imagine if we knew in advance that Ben was more light side than dark, but kept up the charade to kill Snoke and unite the Republic and First Order in peace. Snoke would suspect that his student was false, and would demand proof of his devotion - the killing of someone he loved. Ben would be forced to choose between his vision of a unified galaxy and his own father, and in the moment he chooses his father. But at that moment the Starkiller fires and destroys the Republic capitol, killing many people whom he knew and secretly admired. The disturbance is so great that he ignites the saber without realizing it, killing his father and assuring him the trust of the Supreme Leader.

That would be the movie I’d like to see.

Force Awakens Redux Cut

22Popcorn86 said:

Has anyone watched this REDUX CUT of Force Awakens yet?

I have watched it, and wanted to let it settle a bit before giving my thoughts, so here they are:

  • The Crawl

Nice summation of the state of the galaxy, it does a better job than TFA in setting the stage. It is a bit wordy however, and the absence of any mention of Luke is strange considering that he is the Macguffin of the movie.

  • The Starkiller

This scene works exceptionally well, far better than I would have guessed. I would quibble with including Kylo in the proceedings since at this point I would expect him to still be with Luke.

  • Rey

It’s nice to see this scene relatively intact. The transition from the Starkiller devastation to Rey is powerful, and though the 3 year subtitle is necessary it feels un-Star Warsy to me.

  • Lor San Tekka

This scene feels so much like an opening scene that I don’t think it works that well anywhere else. It also seems to come out of nowhere after Rey’s introduction. I’ve tried a similar cut in my version, with similar results unfortunately.

  • Resistance Deleted Scene

It’s nice to see this back in the movie, but it destroys Leia’s wonderful reveal later on.

  • Rey finds BB-8

A bit of an odd transition into the scene, but otherwise good.

  • Poe’s Escape

Some cuts to Finn’s dialogue are unfortunately noticeable. I appreciate the direction of making Finn a less goofy everyman, but in so doing the movie loses a bit of character.

  • The Falcon Flies Again

The restructuring of the first 30 minutes is quite similar to one I’m using in my version, and think it works well. As far as the musical additions throughout the movie, they often feel unnecessary except in certain scenes such as the first Starkiller Scene and in the Rey/Unkar Plutt scene here. For a moment the movie feels like something out of the Hollywood Golden Age, and I absolutely love it.

  • The Rathtars

Cutting all of the Rathtar action is a bit extreme. A lighter touch would have kept some character in the scene while reducing the silly CGI monsters.

  • Snoke and Kylo

The decision to keep Kylo’s identity a secret has a serious cost - he’s now little more than a basic villain until the end of the movie. What makes this so strange is that this scene heavily implies that he is the son of Han Solo, so the attempt at mystery will probably fail with most.

  • Maz’s Castle

Another excellent musical choice in the 2001 soundtrack, though I think this track would make anything vastly more sinister. The Vader cameo is not needed.

  • The Castle Attack

It’s interesting to see another take on this scene without the Hosnian destruction. It works better than I thought to simply cut out the sky-gazing. Saving Poe’s reveal is also interesting, but could go either way.

  • Rey’s Escape

Using a telekinesis to escape doesn’t strike me as so different from a mind trick to warrant a change.

  • Phasma Sounds the Alarm

I find it fascinating that two faneditors came to apply this same edit. It’s destiny.

  • The Dogfight

I just wanted to note the classic X-wing display. It’s fun.

  • The Forest Battle

The Vader cameo, again, is not necessary, and takes the focus away from Rey.

  • The Ending

That’s…different. I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to see for themselves, but it definitely changes the entire tone of the movie and makes it feel more like an old-timey serial.

  • In Summary

There are a ton of great ideas in this edit, and a few inspired musical choices. Most of the restructuring is in the right direction, and it definitely transforms the movie into something worthy of the watch. Even if it’s a bit unpolished, I enjoyed it 😃

The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project

I agree that it should be subtle, more than the daydream even as you said, which is why I thought the drawings would be a nice addition. It would also solve the issue of having the Plutt lines without any visual context, and give some concrete examples of her backstory. The goal would be for the island to be merely a mental escape for Rey in this scene, so if the Force whispers happen, they would need to be quite subtle so as not to make it too mysterious or magical.

As for generating a new shot, I think without any dynamic moving camera the shots will feel too static for an Abrams scene, so the drawings were a way to fix that. I don’t think it would actually be all that much more work than the drawings on the static metal since the images would have to be generated anyway, and the type of shot I’m imagining is something I’ve filmed before. A darkened corner with some bits and bobs and the drawings would be quite doable.