Breaking down The Last Jedi deleted scenes

The Last Jedi is the longest Star Wars film to date, but there’s a lot more that could have been in there too.

The home release of the movie recently brought with it a ton of additional bonus content, including fourteen deleted scenes!  Rian Johnson explains that these scenes were cut primarily because of pacing issues, but we see that some of the scenes seem pretty far along in production (including John Williams score and all).

Whether you agree or disagree with Johnson’s decisions to cut these particular scenes, it’s nonetheless really cool to see them and to get more content that was filmed but that didn’t make the cut into the final product.  Let’s take a look at those deleted scenes, and I’ll give my opinion on whether they should have made it or not.

Alternate Opening

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The first of the deleted scenes is actually an alternate opening, as the camera pans down from the opening crawl to the Resistance fleet and we then see Finn wake up, wandering around looking for Rey.  He looks out the window and sees the evacuation underway, and we see the Raddus taking on transports as Star Destroyers emerge from hyperspace.  The shot “they’ve found us” (from later in the movie) is shown and Poe says, “well, we knew that was coming.”  He contacts Connix, who says that they need more time for the evacuation.  That presumably leads in to Poe’s run at the Dreadnaught as he tries to buy time.

I think this was a good cut.  Opening with Finn waking up seems a bit more out of place and much less exciting than the actual opening.  I very much like the decision to open with the Raddus, the evacuation of D’Qar, and then the Dreadnaught assault all before Finn wakes up, as that allows the viewer to get acclimated to the setting of the film, then meet Finn, and then provides a very good and natural transition to Rey on Ahch-To.  I think the opening that made the final film is far superior to this one.

Paige’s gun jams

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In an extended sequence of the battle over D’Qar, we see Paige firing upon TIE Fighters, taking one out before her gun jams.  She frantically pulls at it as she sees two more TIEs heading for her bomber, and at the last second she gets it to fire and takes out the fighters.

This is a cool little clip that gives us a look at Paige actually firing upon a TIE Fighter and in the midst of the action and I wouldn’t have minded at all if it made the film, but it’s a perfectly fine cut.

Luke has a moment

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After Rey and Chewie enter Luke’s hut and he learns the horrible news about Han Solo’s death, there’s this deleted scene that shows Luke peeking through the door to make sure that the others are gone before sitting down and sitting alone somberly, with a tear running down his cheek.  It then cuts to Leia sitting alone somberly aboard the Raddus, which exits out of hyperspace (like in the film).

I absolutely think this should have made it into the movie.  Star Wars doesn’t always give its heroes a chance to process the loss of a loved one (think Leia in A New Hope), but the loss of Han Solo is the most significant death in the Star Wars universe entering The Last Jedi.  We saw briefly Leia and Chewie mourning his death in The Force Awakens, but this adds a lot of weight to Luke’s character when we first meet him.  Realizing that Han – his best friend and brother-in-law – is dead should rock him (since he didn’t sense it through the force), and Mark Hamill’s performance here is stellar as tears come to his eyes as he mourns Luke.  The cut to Leia mourning and meditating as well is a really nice interplay.  I understand Rian Johnson’s feeling that he didn’t want to cut away back to Leia just yet, but I really feel like this is a scene that should have made it.  In leaving everything behind, Luke didn’t stop caring about his friends; rather, he thought that by leaving them and everything else he was doing the galaxy a favor by letting the Jedi die.  That adds more weight to the Luke we see throughout the rest of the film.

Poe: Not much of a sewer

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After Finn wakes up aboard the Raddus, there’s a deleted scene of him and Poe walking the hallway (with BB-8 trailing close behind) while people walk all around them.  Finn wonders why, after they blew up Starkiller Base, this doesn’t feel like winning.  Poe says that they now have to regroup and get back at it, but Finn makes it clear to Poe that he didn’t join this army.  Poe says that’s fine and that Poe is there now, and he hands his friend the jacket that Finn got from Poe in The Force Awakens.  Poe has sewed up the lightsaber cut on the jacket, and he tells Finn, “I’m not much of a sewer, but you know, I was busy saving the entire fleet.”

I like this scene for a few reasons.  First of all, it’s a scene between Poe and Finn, who have good chemistry and a relationship that was established in TFA.  There really isn’t a true personal interaction between them in the film (besides perhaps the one right after Finn awakes), so this is a good one.  Secondly, it establishes in a much clearer way that Finn isn’t a part of the Resistance and doesn’t have a loyalty to this cause, only to Rey and to those he cares about.  And third, it gives us a great line from Poe (“I was busy saving the entire fleet”) that gives us a look at his cocky mindset following the Dreadnaught assault.  So this is an interaction that I think would have been nice to keep in the final film.

It’s kind of weird that you recorded that

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Finn is sitting alone on the Raddus bridge looking at the binary beacon when BB-8 rolls up and does some tricks to try to cheer a somber Finn up.  That doesn’t work, however, so BB-8 then plays a recording of Rey’s goodbye to Finn from the end of The Force Awakens.  That cheers Finn up, and before he leaves he tells the droid, “Alright, that was kind of weird that you recorded, that, but thank you.”

I do like Poe’s line that it’s kind of weird for BB-8 to record that, as it’s an on-screen acknowledgement of the same thing that the audience might be thinking (like when Finn and Rose look at each other skeptically when BB-8 is revealed to be piloting the walker later on).  But this was a good cut, because all the scene really does is remind Finn and the audience of Rey.  It feels unnecessary.

The caretaker sizes up Rey

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A brief new sequence comes right after Rey’s first force connection with Kylo, when she tells Luke that she was cleaning her blaster when it went off.  The caretaker says something to Luke and he responds (which seems to sort of appease the caretaker), but as Rey walks past the caretaker stares her down.

I loved pretty much every bit of the Ahch-To stuff in the movie and so I’d love to have even more, and this scene with the caretaker is one such instance.  It’s relatively short, and it gives more evidence that the caretakers don’t like Rey.  However this scene isn’t really necessary, and therefore it’s a fine cut.

Caretaker village sequence

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In the most elaborate and significant of the deleted scenes, Rey hears sounds and runs out on the cliff to see ships approaching the caretaker village at dusk.  Luke tells her that a neighboring tribe comes once a month to raid and plunder the village.  Rey says that they need to help, but Luke tells her that a true Jedi would do nothing, as if she helps then the following month there will be greater numbers and greater violence.  Luke tells her that the ancient Jedi books tell her to ignore the anger that burns within her, as the Jedi say only to act when you can maintain balance.  Rey isn’t having it with this being a lesson, however, and takes off running for the village as Luke calls after her for her to stop.  Rey races across the island to the village, bursting in as she cuts the door with her lightsaber… only to find a party ongoing.  The caretakers stare at her, so she awkwardly waves her lightsaber above her head, after which the party keeps going.  Chewbacca and R2-D2 are there too, to which Rey says, “seriously?”  As the party goes on, Rey confronts Luke about this.  She asks whether it was a joke, and Luke laughs and says that she just ran so fast.  “I thought they were in danger.  I was trying to do something,” Rey says.  “And that’s what the Resistance needs, not some failed husk of a religion,” Luke responds.  “Do you understand now?”  Rey is pissed, however, and replies, “I understand that across the galaxy our real friends are really dying.  That old legend of Luke Skywalker that you hate so much, I believed in it.  I was wrong.”  She storms off as she leaves Luke looking shocked and seemingly realized that he pushed her too far.

Luke told Rey that he would teach her three lessons, and this was Luke’s third lesson to Rey.  It’s a very elaborate scene with a ton of emotion and great John Williams score too!  The reasoning for cutting this scene seemed to be that it made Luke seem like too much of a jerk, and I get that fear – but nonetheless I think this scene absolutely should have been in the film.  First of all, it’s a lesson from Luke to Rey about the Jedi, and it gives us more insight into why he feels like the Jedi failed… if the Jedi can’t help in that kind of situation, what good are they?  Secondly, it shows us Rey’s desire to help others, and she rushes to the aid of the caretakers.  Third, it gives us a funny moment with Chewie and R2 at the party.  And fourth, it gives us a very emotional and heartfelt confrontation between Rey and Luke (which features a joker-like laugh from Mark Hamill too!) during which Luke come to realize that he went too far.  Rey is totally pissed (understandably so), and she makes it clear to Luke that while he’s here joking around, their actual friends are dying (like Han Solo), and then telling him that she was wrong to believe in this legend.  So yes, on the one hand, it does make Luke look like a bit of a jerk for lying to Rey.  But at the same time, it gives better depth to the relationship between Rey and Luke and better understanding as to why Rey has lost hope in Luke… and it makes the payoff at the end of the film even greater, as Luke has come to believe in the power of the legend of Luke Skywalker once again, he has regained faith in the force, and saves friends from dying.  This is a cool scene that makes sense thematically and is one I would have loved to see in the final cut.

Extended Fathier chase

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It’s basically just what it says: this is an extended edition of the Fathier chase as they race through the streets of Canto Bight – and also infiltrate a bath house.

This was definitely a good cut.  I don’t mind the Fathier chase as much as most (probably due in large part to John Williams), but even I admit that the stuff on Canto Bight seemed to be the part that tended to drag the most.  So I don’t have any problem with cutting down the Fathier sequence to make it shorter and cut more to the point.

Mega Destroyer incursion

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As Finn, Rose, DJ, and BB-8 make their way through the Supremacy, they get on an elevator and other stormtroopers enter too.  The trio are nervous, especially Finn as one of the stormtroopers seems to take a particular interest in him.  As the tension builds, the trooper says that he knows who Finn is, and we see Finn about to draw his blaster (but DJ cautions him not to), as the trooper then says that he never thought of FN-2187 as captain material but congratulates him.

This is a really fun and funny scene that is made even better by knowing who the stormtroopers are (cameos by Tom Hardy, Prince Harry, and Prince William).  It’s a fun bit that really plays off of the tension of the moment but also reveals something significant: the news of Finn’s defection has not become widespread within the First Order.  In some ways the humorous moment may break with the feel of the moment (and I don’t love DJ reaching across in an obvious move to keep Finn from drawing his blaster), but it would have been cool to see this one make the cut.

Rose bites the hand that taunts her

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While Finn and Rose are being held captive by the First Order, Rose drops her medallion and General Hux picks it up, remarking on the system she is from and then saying, “You vermin may draw a little blood with a bite now and then, but we always win.”  As Hux puts a finger to Rose’s chin, however, she bites it and won’t let go.  Hux demands that Phasma execute them both and storms off.

This one was a great cut that should have been an easy decision.  I have no problem whatsoever with The Last Jedi taking a bit of a comedic approach to General Hux, but this was way over the top and silly.  It’s a good cut.

Phasma squealed like a whoop hog

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This is the scene that we previously got a look at, an extended version of Finn’s fight with Phasma with an alternate ending.  Surrounded by stormtroopers, Finn takes the opportunity to expose Phasma’s traitorous deeds on Starkiller Base as she “squealed like a whoop hog.”  Clearly shaken, Phasma responds, “who would believe a story like that?” but the stormtroopers hesitate and look nervously at each other.  Phasma wastes no time, pulling her blaster and killing all of the troopers.  As she does so, Finn charges her and cuts off her hand, but she retaliates by knocking him down.  She says, “you were always scum,” to which Finn responds, “Rebel scum” and pulls out a blaster cannon and blasts Phasma, sending her flying to her death.

Thematically, I really like this version better than the one that made the final cut.  Those who have read the Phasma novel know that she will do absolutely anything to survive, which gives understanding to her actions on Starkiller Base.  But additionally, it means that she’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure that nobody finds out about it (as the comics show that she hunts down the only person that could incriminate her).  So when Finn reveals it, Phasma guns down the troopers.  And even when she loses her hand, she still manages to fight back against Finn.  This gives Phasma a more epic sequence leading up to her death, and it adds a lot more weight to what should be a huge confrontation between Finn had Phasma.  I will say, however, that it doesn’t seem to be John Boyega’s best work at conveying that emotion, but I still think this may have been a better inclusion than the actual version.  In other words: I’m ok spending a bit more time on that scene in order to feel the weight of the confrontation and give Phasma an epic moment before her death.

Rose and Finn go to where they belong

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In this brief clip, as Rose and Finn pilot the stolen First Order shuttle, Rose asks, “So, where are we going?”  Finn responds, “Where we belong,” as they head toward Crait.

This is a totally fine cut.  It would have been fine had it been left in the movie, but at the same time it’s totally fine that it’s not in the movie.  Basically, this scene makes more explicit Finn’s character development, as he realizes that the place he belongs is with the Resistance.  That’s a powerful moment, but it’s a theme that the adept viewer picks up on in the final version of the film anyway.

Rey and Chewie in the Falcon

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As the First Order walkers fire on Luke Skywalker, the Millennium Falcon flies into the picture and as Rey and Chewie see what’s happening, Rey says, “let’s go around back” as they peel off.

This is a great cut; in fact, it’s the deleted scene I’m most happy got cut.  There’s no reason to have this included in the film, as it totally takes away from the weight of what’s happening to have Rey make a one-liner and the Falcon peel off.  The First Order is firing upon Luke Skywalker, and we don’t need to be distracted by this short cut-away.  Rian Johnson made the right decision to leave the focus on Luke.

The costumes and creatures of Canto Bight

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This deleted scene is all about continuing to set the atmosphere at Canto Bight, showing off a ton of different and unique creatures.

It’s really cool to see all the costumes and creatures on Canto Bight, and it reflects the hard work put in by Neal Scanlan and the creature department did for these scenes.  But like I wrote earlier, I think it was a good decision to cut down the Canto Bight stuff.  We got the feel for the casino and the creatures there anyway in the final cut, so these various additional shots aren’t necessary.

So, in summary, I would have liked to see five of these deleted scenes make the final cut of the movie: Luke mourning Han’s death, Poe’s interaction with Finn and giving him the jacket, the caretaker village sequence, the Supremacy elevator scene, and the alternate Phasma death sequence.  I absolutely love The Last Jedi and think that Rian Johnson did a fantastic job with the film, but in my opinion these deleted scenes could have added rather than detracted.

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