It would be ReaL interesting if someone here were working on an idea like that.
I have been summoned.
Since it has been brought up, I have been playing around with the idea of adding a little more to Finn’s arc. Really, it is the only way I could imagine one could do the “stormtrooper rebellion” idea, and then it might feel rushed, like Burbin said. Also, not all of these ideas would have to be used, but these are all of the places I felt the idea could be implement to make it feel set up as much as possible.
To clarify, I’m not saying this has to be for Ascendant! This is just what I have been cooking up on my own, but I thought I could share in case any of it could be useful for Ascendant.
In the crawl, it could mention that Leia has had her bravest heroes send out messages of hope throughout the galaxy. This includes Finn and Poe. This is to help set up the stormtrooper subplot and the people’s fleet coming to the rescue at the end.
First Finn and Poe Scene
In Finn and Poe’s first scene, when they are attacked by TIE fighters, when we cut to the TIE interior, we could hear that the Falcon is broadcasting one of Finn’s messages on open channels. The TIE pilot says as much and tells the other pilots to turn it off. It is basically Resistance propoganda, Finn sharing testimonial in order to de-radicalize other stormtroopers. Also cut Finn cheering when he destroys TIEs.
When Rey is reading the Jedi text, we hear one of Poe’s broadcasts on the radio that is on the table in front of her. “The First Order wins by making us think we’re alone. But there are more of us.”
First Order Briefing
During the First Order briefing scene, change Pryde’s dialogue and the off screen officers dialogue from this:
Pryde: Such range and power will correct the error of Starkiller Base.
Off screen officer: We need to increase recruitments. Harvest more of the galaxy’s young.
Pryde: Such range and power will correct the error of the Battle of Crait.
Off screen officer: And the stormtrooper program. There have been more defections.
This would be a simple change that could set up other stormtrooper defections besides Jannah’s group.
On Pasaana, when the stormtrooper catches them, we cut most of the trooper dialogue and hear Finn off screen say, “Wait! You don’t have to do this!”. Also cut Finn cheering when he kills/nearly kills stormtroopers during the speeder chase.
This is more related to Poe, but when he speaks with Zorii, make it clear that Zorii is simply repeating Poe’s own words to him.
Poe: How long’s it been like this?
Zorii: Ever since Skywalker. People have been fighting, and dying.
Poe: I can’t walk out on this war. Not until it’s over… Maybe it is…
Zorii: You don’t believe that. Hey. “They win by making you think you’re alone.” I’ve heard your broadcasts. “There’s more of us.”
Star Destroyer Rescue
I think it’d be helpful to this idea if Finn and Poe were stunning all of the trooper on the Destroyer instead of straight up killing them. Maybe you just recolor their blaster shots a light blue, add some kind of stun mask to troopers when they get hit, and an altered stun blast sound, to imply their shots are stun shots, but slightly stronger so they can penetrate armor and keep them down longer.
We could keep the Jannah scene as we currently have it. If you wanted a more conservative approach, you could leave out most of the previous ideas (maybe besides the officer mentioning defections), and maybe Finn doesn’t realize the power his story wields until he meets Jannah, which then encourages him to do what he does on Exegol.
When Poe and Finn are laying out the mission plan, we create a new insert shot of R2 recording the speech their giving. Then, during the prep montage, we reuse the shots of R2 transferring the Palpatine message earlier in the film to make it look like he is transferring Finn and Poe’s message from his memory to the Falcon (for Lando and Chewie to broadcast to the galaxy).
Battle of Exegol
When Finn stops and notices they are resetting their systems and decides he has to do “something”, instead of hacking one of the turrets and shooting the command deck, him and Jannah hack into the navigation signal and use it to send a message to the stormtroopers.
Rose: Finn, where are you? The lander’s leaving. (OS) Finn!
Finn: Go without us. (Cut) We’re taking this entire ship down.
Finn (OS Add): We’re gonna reach out to the stormtroopers.
Rose: What? How?
Finn (OS Cut): We’re gonna hit the command deck.
Finn (OS Add): We’re gonna slice into their nav signal.
Cut the shots of them on the rotating turret.
Add the insert of Jannah plugging the cables together here. And add her saying off screen “You’re in!”
Then, we get a brief montage from inside the Star Destroyer. In this montage, we’d hear Finn’s voice playing over the intercoms.
Some of the shots we could see:
An insert of a computer screen that illustrates their system being “hacked” and now displaying audio waveforms.
A modified shot from earlier in the film where the two stormtroopers look at each other. Mask them out and put them in a different room/hallway. As we hear Finn’s voice, maybe we hear one of the troopers say, “The Finn?”
First Order officers scrambling at their own monitors trying to stop what’s happening.
Empty hallway shots taken from the Vehicle Flythroughs video for the Finalizer as we hear Finn’s voice echo down the halls.
From TFA, a modified shot of two troopers walking around the corner off camera.
A possible version of Finn’s speech:
Stormtroopers! This is FN-2187, now Finn. The First Order only sees us as numbers. But we’re more than that. We had names, families, stories! Now’s the time. To remember! Break free! Resist!
Then, at the end of the battle, you would cut the turret firing on the command deck and Finn and Jannah’s reaction. Instead, we would take shots from TFA from when they blow a hole in the oscillator. I actually have a rough cut of this part already, but basically I’ve cut it to appear that stormtroopers are shooting at each other. We could add new trooper dialogue here to help get the idea across of what is happening. One of the defiant troopers gets shot, but his shot hits a reactor that sets off a chain reaction, causing the entire room to explode. As we follow the explosion traveling upward, we cut to outside the Star Destroyer, where now we see the whole ship exploding, leading to the command deck blowing up. I’ve also timed it to where it doesn’t interfere with the current flow of the scene or score. So it is brief, but lasts just long enough to get an idea of what is happening.
One or two of the shots would need to be adjusted to make it feel more like a generic facility interior and hide the oscillator chasm. But cropping, flipping and color grading can help make these shots feel distinct from their TFA counterparts.
Then, as everyone is flying away, we hear Finn say to Poe. “Stormtroopers are defecting. People are rising up all over the galaxy.”