Welcome back to Star Wars Reconstructed. Last week, I reconstructed The Force Awakens, as a movie set 200 years after ROTJ, about a young force user discovering her abilities, and fighting a cult of gatekeeping fanboys. It was good, check it out. We now turn our attention to The Last Jedi. This should be fun.
The Last Jedi: What we got
This movie is when the sequel trilogy begins to really split the fandom. Arguably, this is one of the worst Star Wars movies. And others say its the best one. It is very divisive, and I feel that Rian Johnson got a lot of unwarranted hate.
What we did get was an original plot, at the very least. It certainly wasn’t derivative of The Empire Strikes Back. You certainly didn’t have our young hero meet with a wise old sage of the force. There was no low point for our heroes. And we never lost one of our main characters. It was completely original.
Snarky humour aside, there were some excellent moments in the movie. Seeing Luke Skywalker as a shell of his former self, some excellent space battles, and Rey coming into her own as a heroine.
However, there were some colossal failings of the movie that really hampered it. Firstly, killing off two of the most interesting characters: Captain Phasma, and Supreme Leader Snoke. You set them up in the last movie as these big bads, and they both die. Leaving us with Kylo Ren and the underdeveloped Hux. Why set up Snoke to die? Rose and Finn had no real impact, and neither did Poe. They were afterthoughts. I did not feel the impact of losing those characters.
And I can do it better.
What I’d Keep
This is a tough one. The big space battle, and the Battle of Crait should stay. Rey’s big dream sequence was good, and trippy. I also feel it best that she does stay on Ahch-To. The narrative that the Jedi has to end must also stay, because I feel it is a good message to send to fans.
I like that Kylo Ren and Rey can speak to each other through the force, and I’d set up that they are a dyad, in this movie. That is a good idea, so let’s flesh it out. Snoke still dies, and Ren takes over from him, leading the Cult of Ren, instead of The First Order.
You notice that this section is actually quite short, compared to TFA’s. That’s because this film actually does require a few more changes than that one
The Last Jedi: What I’d Change
The Opening Crawl
IT’S BEEN SIX MONTHS SINCE THE DEFEAT OF THE CULT OF REN BY THE GALACTIC COMMONWEALTH. FORMER STORMTROOPER, FINN, HAS BEEN PLACED IN CHARGE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S INTELLIGENCE NETWORK, ALONG WITH COMMONWEALTH SPY POE DAMERON.
MEANWHILE, ON THE EDGE OF THE COMMONWEALTH, THE KNIGHTS OF REN HAVE CONVENED ON THE PLANET OF CARAJAM, CONVENED BY SUPREME KNIGHT OF THE CULT, SNOKE.
The Last Jedi: Plot Synopsis
Just as Captain Phasma was the main antagonist (along with Kylo Ren) in the previous film, Supreme Leader Snoke is the main antagonist of TLJ. Let’s pay off the build up he gets in The Force Awakens. He is the head Knight of Ren, and he lambasts Captain Phasma, Hux, and Kylo Ren. They failed to invade Coruscant, so Snoke has to take over. We also see Kylo Ren distracted, he’s still hearing those voices in his head, and they are quite the mind mess.
Snoke’s plan is simple: Forget forming our own Jedi Order, we should show the might of the force, and use it to teach a lesson to the Galactic Commonwealth. He doesn’t care about forming a new order. As far as Snoke is concerned, his motto is: Let the past die, kill it if you have to. Snoke should represent chaotic evil, in contrast to the more lawful Hux, and neutral Phasma. Snoke grooms Kylo Ren into being a villain, which I feel makes more sense, and shows us how bad Snoke is. Kylo Ren being easily led should be the main point of his character arc.
In my head, Snoke should be seen guiding Kylo Ren to embrace The Dark Side. Snoke should be the one hammering in that throughout this movie, for the pay off in this film, and the next one.
As they plan their assault, Finn, Poe, Maz, and Rose (if you want) are the ones spying on The Cult of Ren. Having them all together is good for their character development, and lets us flesh them out. They can use the Millennium Falcon in this film too, if they want
Rey spends most of the movie on Ahch To, and she learns the ways of the force from…Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, and Master Yoda. All of them are Force Ghosts, and all of them watch her. This is where the fan service should come in, because we have gotten the characters set up, and they can speak for themselves. This is where she has all of her visions. This causes Rey to leave Ahch To, and search for her friends, who she senses are in danger.
The point of that is that we see both Kylo and Rey feeling the same way, reinforcing that connection I talked about. Fear of expectation should be their main link, even though they are both young, and gifted people. They take the roles of Jedi and Sith, but do they commit to that?
The big battles at the end are a massive dog fight in space, based on the intel from Finn and Co. The spies do escape, however. Rey confronts Snoke and Kylo Ren, and she gets battered by him. Ren kills Snoke, as in the original film, but not because he wants to rule the galaxy, but because he has seemingly fallen to the dark side. We find out at the end that there was a voice in his head that told him to kill Snoke, and 3-4 other Knights of Ren.
Rey and co escape, the commonwealth gets obliterated, and a mass extermination takes place of a lot of planets. Both the big space battles and the resistance escape take place as they do here, with one of the side characters sacrificing themselves, and Luke Skywalker providing the distraction. The biggest twist, however, is that Finn was planted by the Cult as an (unwilling) double agent. He attacks everyone, nearly kills Rose, and shoots off Poe’s leg, which ruins his pilot career. They all escape, but worse for wear.
In my ending, the last shot of the movie is Rey and Kylo Ren staring from their ship’s windows into each other’s eyes, sensing that they are connected by the force. It is also at the end that Hux says that they are going to a planet, where they have found a NEW sith relic…
In this version of The Last Jedi, it is meant to be the official handing off of the franchise to this new cast, and they all get moments to shine. The problem with The Last Jedi was that it didn’t do that. Character potential was wasted. Therefore, we need to let them shine, and do their bit.
Snoke is a big baddie, and in my version, he gets backstory, he gets moments, and you fear him. He wants to get his message across by genocide: and he will go down to a planet, and he will slaughter people. Having Kylo Ren be his lackey is meant to be an opportunity. When Ren snaps and kills Snoke, you get the emotional resonance.
That is what this reconstructed pitch does: it creates RESONANCE. You see the characters suffer, and it resonates, because you learn about them. If you don’t learn about them, then you feel nothing. My pitch is original, its clear, its concise, and builds on the foundations set by the last film, and gives us stuff to look forward to.
In the last post, I will reconstruct The Rise of Skywalker. Let’s see what we can do to make that one better, the next time around. And, for fun, let’s release that on Christmas Eve.