Entertainment Weekly has revealed new details about five of the fourteen deleted scenes from the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blu-ray/DVD. Anthony Breznican spoke with director Rian Johnson who talked about these scenes and why they ultimately decided to cut them from the film.
The passion and love for this project is evident with Rian Johnson, and it almost sounds like he was choosing between a favorite child when it came to having to say goodbye to some of these scenes. As it has been previously reported, these deleted scenes are not raw film footage, these are fully developed/produced and edited scenes, and it was clearly a tough choice for the director:
“I love each one of the scenes individually. I mean, every single one of them was not cut because it didn’t work. It was cut because the movie as a whole was better without it.”
We had previously broke the titles of these delete scenes to you here, so we have lined up their titles from that piece.
It’s Kind of Weird That You Recorded That
It appears R2-D2 wasn’t the only droid using images of memories to motivate a character in The Last Jedi, as it turns out BB-8 had a similar moment with Finn, showing him what Rey said to him before she left for Ahch-To, as he laid unconscious. Johnson realized the scene wasn’t needed to help sell the narrative so it was cut, though the director appears to really have a soft spot for this scene and Boyega’s performance:
“I thought it was a really sweet little scene. I loved John Boyega’s performance in it. Ultimately it was meant to explain his motivation for going [to find Rey and quit the Resistance], but we realized that you understood his motivation, because he tells it to Rose. Once we realized we could get away without it, it was something that just naturally fell away.”
“Little sneak,” Johnson says. “You’ve got to watch what you’re saying around BB-8. It’s all on the record.”
The scene would have worked well as a “last time on Star Wars” recap about Rey and Finn’s relationship, as many TV shows often do, but ultimately it wasn’t needed.
Caretaker Village Sequence
This next scene might be the most talked about deleted scene out of the whole set, for a multitude of reasons. First off, because Rey running along the coast intensely with the lightsaber lit appears in the trailer, so flashes of it existed in the promotion for the film. Secondly, this was a scene that led to early reported rumors that the Knights of Ren were on Ahch-To, which as we know turned out being inaccurate, as this ended up just being your old fashion Caretaker keg party.
After Rey initially sees the village, Skywalker appears to take this as an opportunity to test her. Knowing full well what it is, Luke tells a white-lie (from a certain point of view), telling Rey that it is a warrior tribe primed to attack the village. Luke proceeds to tell her that if she attacks, they will only come back stronger, with an intensified level of vengeance, and that a Jedi would never interfere because of this. Rey ignores Luke’s advice and storms towards the fire, only to find a Caretaker party.
While Johnson clarifies this was not the missing third lesson we have been waiting to discover, it was definitely a test, and one that Rey failed. Johnson explains Rey’s mentality and reasons behind her actions:
“Originally it was just a breaking point for her. Okay, he’s gone too far,” Johnson says. “This is the point where she finally says, ‘Okay, if you’re not gonna help, then I’ve wasted too much time here.”
Keeping this scene would have changed the context of Rey’s final Force connection with Kylo Ren in the hut, as it would have made Luke less surprised had this scene of her distancing herself from him took place in the film. Instead, as Johnson explains, they go from a positive moment, to him coming across her and Kylo touching hands in the hut:
“It’s much more of a crushing reversal when Luke finds her in the hut [talking to Kylo,]” Johnson says. “You get the sense that she and Luke were actually making progress, as opposed to, oh, things were screwed up.”
And that third lesson? Don’t hold your breath. Breznican points out that Luke’s third and final lesson for Rey may be left for interpretation by the audience, or perhaps it’s something that J. J. Abrams can introduce in Episode IX, since it has technically been left open. Breznican joked that it is his problem now, and Rian Johnson responded with the most Jedi response ever:
“Not problem, but possibility,” Johnson clarifies. “There are no problems, there’s only potential.”
Luke Has a Moment
One scene that many fans may end up wishing remained in the film, is Luke and Leia, connected through the Force, grieving together over Han Solo’s death. After Luke finds out about Han’s passing, he reconnects with the Force, immediately bonding to his sister:
“It’s both of them having the connection, and that also then led you to think that Leia was thinking about Han’s death,” Johnson says. “It was a really lovely moment.”
Johnson never said this, but from a fan perspective this must have been the toughest scene to delete from the film. It carries so much weight, and besides the dice moment at the end of the film, this would represent the final time the “big three” are connected to one another, with Luke and Leia wrapping their heavy hearts around Han’s memory through the Force.
“I was very sorry to lose it. I think it’s a beautiful performance from Mark Hamill,” Johnson says. “But I think that we get a similar beat with him, later when he’s in the Falcon with R2.”
Mega Destroyer Incursion – Extended Version
In this scene Finn and Rose are in an elevator after having stolen First Order office uniforms, when Finn is recognized by a former colleague, a stormtrooper, one Breznican describes as garrulous, earning serious Scrabble points.
This scene would have added a bit of levity to the intensity of their mission, and Johnson points out that for Star Wars tropes, they don’t get much better than old fashion sneaking around the bad guys’ turf:
“Sneaking through the mega-destroyer, there’s some really fun stuff in there. It just made me laugh every time I saw it. But you can see very obviously when you watch the movie as a whole, there’s no way you would want to slow down at that part of the film to play that whole section.”
Probably the most interesting element to this deleted scene with Finn’s chatty former-colleague, is that the First Order (aside from the higher-ups) are unaware of Finn’s defection and impact in the Resistance against the First Order! Breznican explains:
After this Stormtrooper ultimately recognizes him, Finn realizes that the First Order has covered up his defection and role in helping the Resistance destroy Starkiller Base. Rather than sound the alarm, the good ‘ol boy trooper just has a hardy laugh that his old troopmate FN-2187 was promoted to officer status ahead of him.
It makes sense why this scene was cut, but it will be fun to watch and take in its feeling of light-hearted danger, with old fashion caper movie overtones.
Phasma Squealed Like a Whoop Hog
And finally, the scene in The Last Jedi with more action movie one-liners than a Die Hard sequel, Finn’s ultimate showdown with Phasma, and as Breznican reveals, Rian Johnson refers to Phasma as the “Kenny from South Park of Star Wars”, in that she keeps coming back. Now all joking aside, Phasma’s alternate death scene sounds way better than what ended up in movie, but decide for yourself:
Rather than Finn finally gaining the upper hand on Phasma, she has him beaten — and surrounded by other Stormtroopers. That’s when they begin talking. Finn unspools the story of her cowardice in The Force Awakens, turning over the shield codes to Starkiller Base to save her own life. The other Stormtroopers shuffle uneasily. They’re not sure it’s healthy to know any of this.
Phasma is showing something through the gash in her half-destroyed mask: fear.
Before the other Stormtroopers can react, she does a quick-draw on each of them, blowing away her fellow soldiers. Then as she and Finn clash again, she is hit with a blast herself, hurled into the inferno of the crumbling hangar bay.
Johnson changed this scene solely for the sake of the film’s pacing. Ultimately Phasma’s fate is the same, but in a much different way. Instead of a dramatic mutiny, it is Finn rising up, saying “Hey” and hitting her across the face. As Breznican points out the original version sounds like it definitively seals Phasma’s fate more than the final cut. Does this mean the door is left open for her return once more? Breznican ends his piece with that thought:
Now, we don’t quite know. As Luke tells Leia, “No one is ever really gone.”
This will be a change fans will likely have a gripe about, as it sounds like the initial sequence was much more dramatic and impactful for both characters, and a more fitting end to their arc.
Those are just five of the fourteen deleted scenes that will appear on The Last Jedi home video release. Between these completed sequences and the other features listed, we will have a lot more content than we were given with The Force Awakens‘ initial release.
Some of these scenes truly carry a lot of weight to them, this isn’t Chewbacca ripping off Unkar Plutt’s arm (although that is very cool). These choices were no doubt difficult ones for Rian Johnson to make, and you can clearly tell how much they still mean to him and his appreciation of the performances. In the end the fact that they are fully produced and available to us is a treat, as we can go back and view them any time we want!
Source: Entertainment Weekly
“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”