It’s been a few days since I watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi and after thinking about it some more I’ve concluded that Disney just does not respect the franchise.
Anyway, I’ll stop bashing as it’ll just set me off on another rant. For those of you that loved it, good for you but this post isn’t for you.
In this post, I’m going to do something a bit different. I’m going to write an overview of how I, personally would have written the Last Jedi. Some aspects will be similar from the film we got but others are totally different. I wrote this bearing in mind the issues I and many of the Star Wars community has with it, namely not answering any of the questions raised in the Force Awakens and will aim to address this. So here goes… here’s how I would have written Star Wars: The Last Jedi…
Change the beginning
So, first things first. I’d completely change the beginning of the movie. So, in the movie, the opening crawl suggests that the First Order has somehow managed to conquer the entire galaxy (bear in mind this movie is set literally a few hours after Force Awakens so the First Order has blitzkrieged the galaxy in record time!).
In my version the movie opens several months after Force Awakens and opens with a shot of Coruscant (remember this world, you know the capital of the Old Republic and Empire but for some reason not the New Republic?) a huge space battle is underway as the surviving New Republic fleets battle to prevent The First Order from invading the planet and new capital of the Republic. The Resistance led by Leia arrives on the scene and cue exciting space battle with Po and Resistance fighters engaging the enemy.
This scene would give fans their long-awaited space battle scene where massive ships slog it out. It’s also in this scene where I would kill off Leia’s character. The scene where Kylo hesitates to attack her ship would stay the same save for the death of Leia. Cue emotional impact and adding more depth to his character and the conflict he’s struggling with.
After Leia gets spaced we then go to Ak-To. As in my version, its four months later after the end scene of the Force Awakens so Rey is deep into her Jedi training. Luke isn’t the sad old recluse in the movie, instead, he’s the Jedi we all know and love. Of course, some bad stuff has happened to him but remember he’s the guy who faced two Sith Lords all by himself and redeemed his father Anakin from the Dark side. He’s on Ak-To for a reason and he made the map from episode 7 so that he could be found if the Resistance needed him. (In the movie the whole map thing is completely ignored and disregarded even though it’s the central plot point of Force Awakens.) The reason he’s on that specific planet? Jedi artefacts and knowledge that he hopes will shine some light on why Ben fell to the Darkside and for some answers about Snoke. Just like all of us, Snoke is something of a mystery to Luke and the others.
We see Luke training Rey and during it the two talk about Han and his passing. A poignant moment adding to the feels. Also, as Rey uses a staff in the Force Awakens she builds herself a double-bladed lightsabre like the one Darth Maul wielded albeit blue of course. Anakin’s old sabre is returned to Luke.
The scene where Rey senses the dark cave would still be in it but instead of it being some stupid and downright waste of time ala the movie in my version this is where we really see what happened at Luke’s Jedi Temple (which in my version would be on Yavin 4 like in the EU books). We learn that Snoke was, in fact, one of Luke’s pupils. As Luke was seeking Force-sensitives to train, age wasn’t an issue, and anyone could be trained ala Kevin J Anderson’s excellent Jedi Academy series of books.
Hell, I’d even use some aspects from those books too such as Snoke was turned to the Darkside by the spirit of the ancient Sith Lord Exar Kun or one of the others mentioned in the Expanded Universe. Like Palpatine in the prequels, he learns how to disguise his Darkness in the Force. Ben and Snoke were at the academy together and without Luke’s knowledge, Snoke began to poison Ben and a few other Jedi students against their master. By the time Luke discovers what is happening Snoke has grown incredibly powerful in the Darkside. The two battles and just as Luke is about to gain the advantage, Ben and the other fallen students (Knights of Ren) join the fray. Their combined strength proves too much for Luke and the Academy is destroyed and the other trainees are slaughtered.
Wow, I just killed two of the most hotly debated questions from the Force Awakens in one go! I’m not done yet. We also learn that Rey was there too as a student of Luke’s. The vision fades, and she confronts Luke who tells her the truth. She is, in fact, Ben’s sister and Han and Leia’s daughter. (Although now she’s an orphan, sad times). If any of you have played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the lead character has their memories wiped by the Jedi, only in this story, Luke does the same trick on all who knew her too.
Luke used the Force to wipe all knowledge of her and took her to Jakku to hide Rey to protect her from Snoke and Ben. Boom! there’s the question of who her parents are answered, and it maintains that these films are a saga about the Skywalkers.
After the shocking reveal we flashback to Coruscant where Po is leading a desperate fighting retreat from the First Order. Finn finally wakes up from the Bacta tank only to find that the situation is dire. The ship he’s on is boarded by Kylo and he along with the crew is captured. Kylo still desperate to find Luke uses his powers on Fin and rips the map from his mind. Now Snoke and Kylo know where Luke is! Kylo and Snoke then take Snoke’s flagship and jump away to Ak-To.
The First Order fleet under the command of General Hux defeats the New Republic fleet forcing the survivors to abandon Coruscant to its fate. As they flee, Po learns that Finn was captured by Kylo and petitions to Admiral Ackbar (yes, he lives in my version) to go after him. As it was Kylo who took Finn, Po knows exactly what he was after and so the Resistance and surviving New Republic forces jump to Ak-To.
Back with Luke and Rey. As they are continuing Rey’s training Luke discovers the Jedi texts he’s been looking for. As he suggests they leave and join the fight, Snoke’s ship appears in orbit. They hurry to Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon and as they try to take off the ship is gripped by the Force and unable to fly. Kylo lands with his knights of Ren (Luke’s former pupils) and challenges Luke. Cue epic lightsabre fight where Luke and Rey battle side by side against the Knights of Ren. Rey is wounded in the fight, but Luke has Ren under his sabre but cannot bring himself to kill him. Jedi don’t kill prisoners after all. He pleads with his nephew to turn back to the light, but Ben refuses. Luke and Rey escape on the Falcon.
In orbit, the Resistance arrives and engages Snoke’s ship. As the battle rages in space, Po leads a team to board the ship in an attempt to rescue Finn. The fleet knocks out the shields of Snoke’s ship allowing them to gain entry and they fight their way through stormtroopers and bust Finn out of the brig. As they’re escaping General Hux and a large First Order Fleet arrives and promptly obliterate most of the Resistance fleet forcing them to retreat. The Falcon rendezvous with the fleet and together they escape.
Now, this is where I’d use some of the Crait scenes from the movie. The battered Resistance forces are forced to seek shelter on Crait and as in the movie, the First Order launches a ground assault against their base. Po calls for help (in the movie Leia does this) and receives no reply. Outside the base, the Falcon, Finn and the others are desperately fighting the AT-ATs but getting beat up.
A voice crackles over the radio, it’s Admiral Lando Calrissian of the New Republic saying that help is on the way only if they can hold out. With the battle going poorly Luke decides to intervene and leaps from the Falcon. A similar scene to the one in the movie where he confronts the First Order ensues but instead of just being a projection he’s there. The AT-ATs blast him and as in the movie, he emerges unscathed. In the EU of books and games, there is a Force ability that allows a Jedi to absorb huge amounts of energy and unleash it. (The Jedi in this trailer for the Old Republic game uses it)
This is what Luke does. Distraught over the death of Leia he edges closer to the Dark Side and unleashes a blast that destroys several of the AT-ATs forcing the First Order to send in the troops. An epic scene of Luke literally taking on an army follows lightsabre flashing and Force powers on display. The scene ends as its obscured by smoke.
Lando’s fleet arrives just in time and Rey guides the survivors from the base. They escape but no one knows what’s happened to Luke. As they escape into space we see Luke’s lightsabre lying in the dirt. Of Luke’s fate, we don’t yet know. (Even he exhausted himself using so much of his power and was eventually overwhelmed by the First Order forces.)
So, in conclusion, Luke gets captured by the First Order during his heroic stand. Leia is dead. The galaxy is on the verge of conquest, but some New Republic and Resistance forces remain to continue the fight. Rey is on her own but has come into her powers and now knows the truth. She will come to terms with the deaths of her parents and is more determined than ever to save Luke and redeem her brother Ben. Po learns what it takes to be a military leader and Finn is just glad to have Rey back.