With the upcoming home release of The Last Jedi, we will be getting plenty of bonus material – including a lot of deleted scenes.
Director Rian Johnson has said publicly that the reasoning for cutting these scenes was mainly due to pacing, not because of something wrong with the scenes themselves, and it sounds like a number of the scenes are going to be well-received by fans. The Star Wars Show yesterday gave us a look at one of those deleted scenes, an alternate death scene for Captain Phasma that is more drawn out – but which makes it better.
You can check out the clip in the video below (the clip starts at the 1:37 mark):
As you can see, the scene shows Finn confronting Phasma near the tail end of their fight. It appears that perhaps Phasma was the one to fall into the chasm in this version (it was Finn in the film), and we see Phasma climb up out of it. She yells at the former stormtrooper, “Disobedient! Disrespectful! Traitor!” Finn takes the opportunity to lecture Phasma, however, revealing that she betrayed the First Order on Starkiller Base in order to save her own life. Phasma is clearly shaken by Finn’s public statement of this closely-guarded secret, and says that nobody would believe him. But as the surrounding stormtroopers hesitate, Phasma wastes no time in pulling her blaster on them and killing each of them within seconds. She can’t let word get out that she betrayed the First Order. Finn charges her, and as Phasma prepares to fire on Finn he cuts her hand off. She manages to knock him down, but as she moves in for the kill Finn pulls out a blaster and fires at her, sending her flying to her death.
While the deleted scene is admittedly longer, I think it’s a better scene than is in the movie because it gives slightly more development to Phasma while presenting her as a more lethal threat. She’ll do whatever it takes to survive, including killing her own troopers without thinking twice about it. And even as her hand gets cut clean off, she still manages to fight back.
It’s accepted that Phasma doesn’t exactly get a ton of character development in the sequel trilogy and therefore it’s not like she was cheated in the way she died in the movie, but at the same time it seems that it could have been made better by this deleted scene. Plus, this scene adds an emotional weight to the confrontation between Finn and Phasma that is only present in the final cut of the movie because fans know the backstory between them.
I would have been fine slowing things down for another minute or so in order to add this scene in there, but ultimately it seems Rian Johnson felt that the pacing just wasn’t right to have this drawn out dialogue in the midst of a battle sequence with everything else going on in the film at the time. That’s fair and totally fine (because it works well as is too), but this is a cool scene nonetheless.