4 Ways To Enhance “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (spoilers)
VexarDave – 12/22/15
Before I begin, let me just start by saying I am in no way a story writer or a screen writer, and this is in no way about hating on “The Force Awakens”. In fact, I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan since 1977, and I enjoyed “The Force Awakens”. There were just a few areas I either didn’t understand or felt like a little extra could have added more weight to the scene.
The reason I’m writing this is because since opening weekend, writer/director Abrams and original writer Arndt have come out in interviews explaining certain scenes from the movie. If you have to explain your movie after the fact, you didn’t do the job of having the movie explain itself. A viewer shouldn’t have to rely on outside sources to understand the movie they just watched. Unless it’s questions that will be answered in the next movie, it should stand on it’s own.
“The Force Awakens” is already a jam packed fast paced movie, and on first thought, I didn’t think anything could be removed to make room for enhancements. That’s true. I don’t think anything should be removed, but I do think a couple of scenes could be trimmed and more time, maybe 10 to 15 minutes, be added to the movie. I know a little extra time wouldn’t have bothered me or most anybody that viewed the movie. Nobody was ready for it to be over.
The two scenes I would trim are right next to each other. The first one is Rey and Finn escaping Jakuu in the Millennium Falcon. Don’t get me wrong, the scene looks great. I’m sure it looks even better in 3D and Imax. But, yes, it could be trimmed a little.
The second scene I would trim is when Han and Chewbacca are introduced. When the two gangs are after Han and Chewie and the “Men In Black” reject aliens have escaped could stand to be shortened just a little bit.
That time with a little more added at the end could make room for the following:
Leave the opening the same. The text crawl, the Star Destroyer, the drop ships leaving the Star Destroyer, but instead of going straight to the planet surface, switch to an interior shot of the drop ship Finn is on. Pan around the drop ship. All the Stormtroopers are sitting in jump seats with their helmets in their laps. Show their faces, young men of all races, with different emotions. (This serves the purpose of showing that Stormtroopers are humans of multiple races, and shuts up those that don’t understand that the First Order isn’t using clones 50 years after the Clone Wars.) Some are excited. Some are stone cold. We pan around to Finn who is visibly nervous. The Stormtrooper next to him jabs him with his elbow, “What’s wrong, brother? We’re finally on our first mission!”
“Yeah… Roughing up innocent villagers,” replies Finn.
“Innocent?! They’re withholding information to the whereabouts of the war criminal Luke Skywalker! That’s an offense to the First Order!”
But before Finn can respond, a Stormtrooper Commander shouts, “On your feet! Helmets on! Safeties off! Two minutes!”
(You could use Phasma here, but I would save her reveal for later.)
Have the rest of the scene play out like it does in the movie, except when the Stormtrooper that gets shot by Poe, the one that Finn gets blood on his helmet from, have it be his buddy from the drop ship. As cliche as it is, have the friend death scene. Their helmets are off. Finn is repeating, “Stay with me! Stay with me!”
Phasma approaches. Here’s where you have her ask, “Trooper! Who told you you could take your helmet off? On your feet! Back in the fight!”
Knowing the Stormtrooper Finn got blood on him from was his friend adds a little more weight to the scene in my opinion.
2. R2-D2’s “Coma”Nobody knew what the hell was going on with R2-D2 until Abrams and Arndt explained it in an interview. See previous post “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – R2-D2 Explained? (Spoilers).
So, did you read all that?
Have it when BB-8 rolls up to R2 and begins beeping at him, Han asks, “What’s all that about?”
Threepio responds, “BB-8 is asking R2 if he has any Imperial maps that match the piece Commander Dameron was given.”
“Imperial maps? Where did the trash can get Imperial maps?”
“R2 took it upon himself to download several Imperial files while we were waiting for you and Master Luke to rescue Princess, I mean, General Organa.” (Here’s where you can have Threepio mistakenly call Leia “princess”)
“On the Death Star?!” Han asks and looks confusedly at Chewbacca who shrugs ignorance to the subject.
“Yes,” replies Threepio, “In fact, the files contain maps to ancient Jedi temples where Darth Vader thought Jedi that survived the Clone Wars may have went in to hiding. Master Luke used these maps to begin his search for the first Jedi temple.”
“Luke knew?” questions Han while looking at Leia who gives him a “you’re so dumb” look, “And you knew?!”
3. Rey and Chewbacca At the end of “The Force Awakens” we see Rey as the pilot of the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca as her co-pilot. Is this temporary or a permanent partnership? I think a female Jedi with a Wookie sidekick and the Millennium Falcon makes for an imposing image. But…
Han and Chewbacca teamed up because Han was an Imperial pilot who freed Chewbacca from Imperial slavery (At least that used to be the story. It may or may not still be canon). In Wookie culture, they owe a Life Debt to anyone who saves their life. I’m sure Han released Chewbacca from the whole Life Debt thing right away, but Chewie stuck around. And Han never treated Chewie like a slave. They were always friends and partners. Granted, even though Chewie never got a medal, he’s done plenty for the Rebellion and earned the clout to be a part of whatever he chooses to be a part of, and I’m sure he’s pretty lost after the death of Han, so he probably wants to stick close to those he knows best and help out.
Question: Who owns the Millennium Falcon now? It had been stolen from Han and passed through a few hands before he found it with Rey and Finn. Upon Han’s passing, does Chewie, as his bussiness partner, own the Falcon? Han offered Rey a job. Does Rey own the Falcon? Does Leia, as Han’s spouse, own the Falcon?
(Scary how the geek brain works, ain’t it?)
If Rey was Han’s daughter it would make sense for her to inherit the Falcon and Chewie would extend the Life Debt to her. But she doesn’t seem to be Han’s daughter, so I would have liked to have seen just a small quick scene showing Rey and Chewbacca’s new partnership.
Show Rey and Chewbacca at the ramp of the Falcon shaking hands. Leia comes up and says, “I take it you two are partners now?”
Chewie roars in agreement, and Rey smiles and responds, “I figure the big guy needs somebody to keep him out of trouble.”
Leia smiles, hugs Rey and says, “Please bring my brother home.”
Then you cut to the scene with the Falcon lifting off.
4. Luke’s RevealThe Luke Skywalker reveal was great. Mark Hamill looked bad@$$. The only thing I thought would have made it better was, instead of closing with the sweeping aerial shot of Luke and Rey staring at each other, when Rey has her arm outstretched holding Luke’s lightsaber, there should have been a closeup on her hand, then have the lightsaber fly out of her hand into Luke’s hand.
The screen goes black, and you hear the familiar hum of the lightsaber igniting.
In my opinion, that leaves it ambiguous as to Luke’s state of mind. Did Luke go bad? Is he going to attack Rey? It leaves just a little bit of a cliffhanger for Episode VIII.
The above is just my opinion and is in no way meant as hate toward “The Force Awakens”. And keep in mind, I used the word “enhance”. Not change. Just enhance the current movie.
What do you think? Where there any places in “The Force Awakens” that you feel could have been explained a little better?
(Now some of you know what I mean when I said I had to process this movie.)