Nev, you’re one of my favorite people on these forums and I think you’re super talented. I hate how TROS deflated your enthusiasm a bit, but I totally understand. Take as much time away from Star Wars as you need to, either to move on to other things, or to come back with some fresh ideas. I don’t know how you come up with half the things you do, but I can only begin to imagine what ideas you could come up with for future endeavors.
I’ve felt pretty deflated after TROS as well and if it makes any fixing we do pointless, but honestly I’m regaining a bit of that optimism as time goes by. Once the DVD comes out and we can break down the movie and any deleted scenes we might get, it might give us a better idea on how far we can really push that film. You might not ever be interested in messing with it yourself but I hope you stick around to provide some insight!
Now regarding Starlight.
The BB-8 scene. If you can’t get that to work, I wonder if you could revisit the idea about giving a line to Kylo that could segue right into Finn “rescuing” Poe? Since Kylo’s “I leave that to you” line was removed, maybe Kylo could say something like, “Kill the pilot.” Then we cut directly to a Stormtrooper escorting Poe, presumably to his death, but then it turns out to be Finn.
If you can’t get Rey’s pre-interrogation dream to work, maybe you could use one shot of the island, maybe the one from the original island/desert mirage, then it just hard cuts to Rey waking up. Brief but simple.
EDIT: This might be weird, but what if you just dropped that original ReyDream idea into this moment as the dream sequence?
It cuts to black on Leia, then fades back in on the establishing shot of Rey’s AT-AT home. She’s having a dream that’s back on Jakku (where she wants to go). She’s sitting there wearing the pilot helmet when she starts seeing the island mirage, and then suddenly it hard cuts to Rey waking up in the interrogation. Maybe you could have some VO of Rey saying something like, “Waiting for my family. They’ll be back. One day.”
I do get what people are saying regarding the climax and the Hosnian restructuring. I really like how you’ve done it and I do think you should keep it that way. Back in December I actually showed my dad both versions, and I also think he responded more to the one-two punch of Han’s death and the Hosnian destruction. But I think out of many of the changes you’ve made throughout your edit, this is one I feel really deserves playing around with more.