I’d like to start right off the bat by saying there will be spoilers in this post. If you haven’t seen ‘The Last Jedi’ yet, feel free to close out of this page. Or, better yet, continue here for more content, including a FREE book! 🙂
For those who remain, let’s get to the event we’ve all been waiting two years for!
There were tons of questions left open by Star Wars Episode VII: ‘The Force Awakens.’ Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? Who is Rey? Why is Luke in exile? What made Kylo Ren turn to the dark side?
Well, as we found out after seeing the eighth chapter, we are still left with questions. This time: Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? Who is Rey? Why is Luke in exile? What made Kylo Ren turn to the dark side? Ok, some of these might have been answered. But they were mostly answered in the least satisfying, character-consistent way possible.
As such, with this post I wanted to re-imagine the story as one I think is more fitting of the series as a whole. This obviously is not Star Wars canon, nor is it a scene-by-scene alternative re-telling. Instead, I focus on the high-level plot-lines of the main characters and how I think they could have been significantly improved.
First, the little things I took issue with and would remove from the film
- The Disney universe – I actually enjoyed the porgs more than BB-8, especially in this movie. However, from the ice dogs, to the horse/hammer-head shark looking things, to the island nuns, there was far too many cute Disney creatures in this movie. I know this kind of thing existed in the old movies too, but there was a much better, less distracting balance of cute and ugly in the Lucas universe.
- The extent of comedy – When you’re rolling your eyes comparing Star Wars to the Avengers, there is a serious problem. I mean, for Christ sake, the movie started off with a prank call. Not to mention eventually seeing Luke milk some random thing, which was more awkward than funny. Not only that, but what was it meant to tell us about his character? Again, Star Wars has always had light-hearted moments. But this movie took it a step further, even trivializing sequences that formed the main plot-line (Hux questioning his ship’s capabilities).
- Rose Tico and Ms. Purple Hair – I didn’t know Roses’ name when I walked out of the theater and I still don’t know Ms. Purple Hair’s. Roses’ storyline is not only pointless to the story, her serving as a love-interest to Finn was horribly forced. By the time she knocked his ship out of the air from the laser I found myself hating Finn too for even reciprocating. As for Purple Hair, why is a character no one knows and who acts in such a bi-polar manner the one who gets the most epic death? Really killed the moment for me as it didn’t exactly feel like a loss for the Resistance.
- Other issues – There are plenty, but these are the three less tied to the major plot. Consider them all trashed.
So how should ‘The Last Jedi’ have went instead?
The movie’s opening is solid as is. Poe’s fight to take down that super-destroyer-thing was very well done, especially character-wise. I loved the conflict in his risk taking and being able to see the immediate impact on his comrades. Great way to set his story.
Once the the bombs are dropped on the destroyer, this is where we start to really shift.
Side note: for your reference, standard font will represent review of the story and italics will represent how I think the story should have went.
Finn and Captain Phasma
What happened in the film
First of all, the fact that this entire movie is based on a slow-speed “chase” is absurd. It’s only made worse when General Hux questions the point of his destroyer if it can’t catch up to and destroy a small ship. This chase extends even further into a lengthy sub-plot with Finn and random fan-girl named Rose, which itself ends up pointless.
What should have happened
I say cut the Disney-universe nonsense out, including the character Rose altogether. Also, make General Hux less of a cranky little bitch who can’t run a decent evil operation.
As for the protagonist, Finn’s feelings for Rey, a more natural connection, will be what puts him in danger. Finn’s desperation to find her will be recognized by Poe Dameron, in a discussion between the two following Finn’s recovery. Un-phased by Poe’s warnings, Finn WILL flee the ship with Leia’s beacon to find Rey. However, his escape pod will be detected and tracked by none other than the entirely-underused Captain Phasma, on orders of Kylo Ren.
Unsure of how to utilize the beacon, Finn will try his hardest to find answers by eventually seeking out . . . a code breaker! Only this time he won’t magically stumble upon one in prison, who can easily break out but waits for no reason at all to do so until some heroes come along (*sigh*). No, after being found on a tip in Finn’s travels, DJ will reveal the location of Ahch-To, only to later sell him out to Captain Phasma. She will capture him just as they are about to fly onto Luke’s island planet.
The conflict between Phasma and Finn will develop both characters in a sort of rivalry. For Phasma, this would mean showing as a more competent, relevant villain. For Finn, we’ll see a longing for what he’s really after since being disowned as a storm trooper: some kind of real connection. When they find Ahch-To, this is where their fight will come to a head as Finn is forced to watch Kylo and his Knights of Ren descend on the planet. More about what comes next in the climax 😉
Kylo and Snoke
What happened in the film
I’ll keep it short for Snoke (probably also what Rian Johnson said when writing the script). He is apparently all-powerful besides when it comes to peripheral vision/hearing. He also has no backstory at all or story-line other than being an insignificant plot-device for Kylo. Out of all the theories people developed for Snoke, Johnson’s was the least interesting or clever.
On the other hand, Kylo was the only character I came away from the movie somewhat liking. The idea he wants to end the Jedi AND Sith is one that fits his personality and I find to be an interesting twist.
The connection between him and Rey is ok, until we find out it was “created” by Snoke-the-pitiful. Also, the emotional side of him is overdone just a hair. I still have a lot of respect for Adam Driver as an actor (see the movie Paterson). But the teen angst could have been toned down a notch since he’s already made his full turn to the dark side after killing his father.
What should have happened
In the scene where Kylo goes to attack Leia’s rebel ship, he still doesn’t shoot. However, his trailing TIE fighters don’t either. This way, we can avoid the ridiculous scene of Leia fake dying before floating through space. This failure to shoot will also set up the conflict with Snoke, who is angered Kylo didn’t act.
A confrontational scene between the two will see Kylo face-to-face with Snoke and his Imperial Guards. Snoke questions Kylo on his weakness and he defends himself, claiming he didn’t have a clear shot. With a sideways grin, Snoke claims to be aware of his plan to find Luke, but also of his history with the powerful Rey. After he failed to defeat Rey in their previous clash and now failing to kill Leia, he is given one more chance for redemption with an order to deliver Rey to Snoke.
This would make evident Snoke’s sinister interest in Rey’s abilities. It would further be incentive for Kylo to find a way to eliminate Snoke, knowing the ways of the Sith to betray their apprentices out of jealousy. The tension here is the beginning of Kylo’s desire to kill the past ways of the Jedi and Sith.
Rey and Luke
What happened in the film
Another thing I loved about ‘The Last Jedi’ was Luke’s minuscule flashes of Yoda-like qualities. Tossing the light-saber away as soon as she handed it to him was one highlight.
On the other hand, his pessimism and strange behavior was as obnoxious as it was out of character. I mean, based on EVERYTHING in Star Wars canon, Luke’s behavior in this movie was textbook dark side. Especially the part of almost killing Kylo at the temple. Even if he didn’t kill him, the impure thought of doubt and fear is what constitutes falling to the dark side within a force user.
Because of this, it didn’t really seem like he taught Rey much of anything. Actually, she seemed to be the one who taught him, which makes no sense considering where she is in her development at this point.
Also, WHY WHY WHY was the search for Rey’s parents even a point of discussion if they were no one important? I’ve been told “because the new message is you don’t need to come from royalty to be a Jedi.” Ok, well did Yoda, Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, or any other Jedi in any Star Wars movie come from royalty we were made aware of? The only familial bond was Luke, Anakin, Leia, and Padme for obvious reasons. If Rey’s origin is irrelevant, don’t waste scenes on it just to deliver anti-climax.
By the time the Jedi texts are burned, everything we knew of the Star Wars universe is questioned/ignored. This might be an intentional departure, but it has only one impact on Star Wars as a whole: it trivializes all previous episodes before it. THAT is the biggest issue with this movie, which is (in name alone) a part of a series.
What should have happened
The initial relationship in my story would have been more Yoda-like, with Luke not being reluctant or depressed whatsoever. A sprinkle of silly and senile in his age, maybe. But only a sprinkle. He would also have a clear purpose in having come to Ahch-To: for the person he had sensed will turn the tide on the First Order (in this case, Rey) to find him in a place not easily detected.
We maintain a somewhat comic mentor/mentee air to provide contrast of the two and thus, strengthen Rey’s transformation. This will include more training on the force and no silly pit with a 1,000 way mirror but zero answers. It won’t include jedi texts either. The most important aspect of Rey’s training will be Luke’s driving her toward remembering who she really is. Our story’s twists begin when we learn it is an identity he is aware of . . .
As her training continues, Rey grows frustrated he will not simply tell her. It leads to tension and struggles in her training which will actually contribute to growth in her character. In one heated session, the two connect and she is brought to a memory from Luke’s temple–she was there.
Not only was she there though, Rey realizes she approached the temple as one of Kylo’s Knights of Ren.
Finally, Rey’s ‘origin’
This initial realization freaks Rey out and she runs off from Luke in a panic. After a tense solitary scene of internal conflict, Rey recalls the rest of her story.
Rey was from Jakku originally. She grew up there and dreamed of a bigger life, only slightly aware of the abilities she was beginning to exhibit. One day, Kylo Ren, along with a group of young jedi came to Jakku and sought her out. Sensing her power, Kylo offered her a place among his Knights, a group of force sensitive youth who sought camaraderie and others to hone their skills with. As this was exactly what Rey felt she needed in her life, she followed.
Little did she know, Kylo and some of the others were still apprentices at a temple led by Luke Skywalker . . .
As time passed being involved with the Knights, Kylo became more of a cult leader. He started talking of traitors as he claimed to want the Knights to serve as a council who would uphold a new ‘peace’ in the universe. The first mission aligned with this purpose was one Rey wouldn’t be ready for.
When they arrived at the temple, the carnage began. Rey couldn’t believe her eyes. At first she froze, but once she spotted Kylo squaring off with Luke, she resisted. In the end, she saved Luke’s life. However, in the process, she was knocked unconscious. When she came to, Luke was gone and she was left without memory of her time before leaving Jakku. After being treated, she returned to the only place she’d known.
During this final recollection, Luke approaches her for the movie’s big heart-to-heart. As he explains to her that her involvement in the Knights doesn’t need to define her, the sounds of ships approach.
The Battle of Ahch-To: Poe, Finn, and Phasma
As Phasma forces Finn to watch, the First Order surrounds Ahch-To. Kylo zooms past them and descends on the planet. Phasma berates Finn the whole way, claiming it is his fault his friends are about to die. The ship they are on is rocked as Resistance fighters pour into airspace. They are led by Poe Dameron, who arrives with a re-grouped fleet after placing a tracker on Finn before he deserted. An intense struggle between Phasma and Finn sees Poe sweep in to save the former storm trooper and assists Finn in dispatching of Phasma. Following the fight, Finn and Poe swoop down to Ahch-To.
On Ahch-To, Finn pilots the Millenium Falcon with Chewbacca, rescuing Rey from an overwhelming fight. Once Finn and Poe return to the battle above, the Resistance is becoming overwhelmed, with General Hux’s massive First Order Star Destroyer maintaining the advantage. It is important we finally see how ferocious and evil Hux really is here. A now-more-accountable Poe orders the fleet to retreat, but Leia knows it will not escape with the Destroyer on its tail. So instead of random purple hair lady, here is where Leia promotes Poe to a Commander role before she hyper-speed kamikazes the Destroyer. We see Hux barely escapes the demolished ship, but pretty much everyone else in that MF’er is dead (unlike the movie), because well . . . hyper-speed. This allows the Resistance to escape with the First Order forced to regroup.
After the battle, Finn and Rey finally have a chance to talk, with Rey urging him to understand he has an important role and family in the Resistance. As for Poe, following a successful counter-offensive which saw the fall of Captain Phasma and rescue of Rey, his promotion would represent growth from his reckless actions in the beginning.
The Battle of Ahch-To: Luke, Kylo, and Rey
Prior to Finn’s retrieval of Rey, Kylo lands on Luke’s island flanked by the Knights of Ren. Luke tosses Rey a green lightsaber. The ensuing battle between them unfolds before the backdrop of the fight above. It is a particularly emotional one for Rey, facing off against who she now knows to be her former Knights. As the Knights start to fall in a battle of sabers and force abilities, she recalls their faces, along with a message from Luke’s training to control her feelings. However, fatigue due to those feelings has already started to setting in.
With Kylo and Rey separated in their own saber battle, Kylo makes her an offer as he gains an edge: her life and the lives of all Resistance fighters will be spared, if she works with him to end both the Sith and Jedi. When he fails to mention Luke’s fate, she knows he intends for him to die as well, so she refuses. An angered Kylo goes to strike her down when Finn (with Chewbacca) and Poe blast him from their ships. Luke orders her to escape as the fate of the Resistance would depend on it. Kylo evaded the shots and joins the remaining Knights to surround Luke as Rey (reluctantly), Finn, Chewbacca, and Poe fly off. Luke is happily left to finish the fight.
The Battle of Ahch-To: Conclusion
Back down on Ahch-To, Luke and Kylo continue to spar when the final Knight falls and Luke evades to the mysterious base of the island (it isn’t stupidly equivalent to the dark side here). As Kylo nervously searches and pains over his mother’s sensed death, Luke’s voice calls to him. It says it’s not to late to make his fallen parents proud. Kylo rejects this idea, questioning Luke about the morality of killing his Knights. Since they were force users too, he ridicules the hypocrisy of the Jedi code. Though Luke tries to explain further he must defend those in need from the dark side and those who turn to it, he is only met with a blind rage. This however, transforms into a drained, emotional moment for Kylo, who asks why then he wasn’t defended. Out of the shadows, Luke appears before him.
What is revealed next as Kylo hurts are the details of his apprenticeship at the temple. Conversations between Luke, Leia, and Han reveal Luke’s uncertainty in the emotional Kylo’s training. As for the parents, Han outright suggests Kylo be removed from training (consistent with his character). Leia believes training should be tempered (consistent with his being less inclined to kill her than his father). He admits to Luke he sensed this and was crushed by it even further. It crushed him to see other less-powerful apprentices advancing quicker than he was. There is pity in Luke, who approaches, trying to encourage him. The effort fails as Kylo darts forward and slashes his saber through his uncle’s pelvis. Luke makes no effort to resist, accepting the blade with grace.
Rey encounters Luke. He reaffirms his belief that she is the one who would save the Resistance.When she acknowledges her meager upbringing, he reminds her of his own. It is urgent, he claims, that she let the past be the past. However short their time together, he says it was crucial to give her the training needed to serve as the galaxy’s last hope–the last Jedi. When the weight of it hits her, Luke’s force ghost fades away.
Wow, this was a fun one to write! 🙂