Okay, so, it’s been a whole day and now I need to cave in to my writer’s nature and offer how I would have written Episode VII, which no one asked for and no one wants to see. If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens, then you might want to skip this because it contains vague spoilers for the movie.
- Rey is a gas miner on Bespin, using her latent Force powers to find the best gas and survive in her crappy/cool ship, the Rustbucket. One day, her instincts lead her to find the Skywalker lightsaber (right where it was lost!). Needing money, she puts up a bulletin that the saber is for sale (eBespin? BespinList?).
- General Leia sees the bulletin and sends Poe Dameron to get the saber. General Hux sees the bulletin and sends Captain Phasma’s strike force to get it. And psycho loner Kylo Ren sees it and comes too, in his badass ship Vivisector with his evil droid sidekick, DV8. They all converge on Cloud City (Lando cameo!), where Phasma captures Poe, and Finn helps him to escape (same as the film). Kylo confronts Rey in a creepy way, but Finn and Poe help her escape. Poe convinces Finn and Rey to help him find Luke for Leia, so they use Rey’s Force visions to guide them to the New Jedi temple!
- Our heroes fly the Rustbucket to the New Jedi temple and learn that this is where Luke’s students were all killed by Kylo Ren. They see a strangely devastated temple, and learn a few details from elderly Maz Kanata, who saw Luke himself leaving the planet on a Mandalorian pirate ship. Rey has more visions, including the scene of Kylo betraying Luke. Kylo Ren lurks in the shadows, following them. When Phasma tries to interrupt them, Kylo sends her running. Villain fight!
- Our heroes fly the Rustbucket to the derelict Devastator, an old Star Destroyer that is the home base for the Mandalorian pirates. They sneak on board and BB-8 plugs into the mainframe to see if there’s any information about Luke, and BB discovers the long-lost R2D2! Our heroes rescue R2 from the pirates, but before they can escape, the pirates destroy the Rustbucket . Finn and Poe face off against Phasma and the pirates, while Rey uses her growing powers to fend off Kylo. R2 sends a distress signal, and Han and Chewie show up in the Millennium Falcon (because it’s more reasonable for a specific person to show up if you call them on purpose!). They all hop on the Falcon for a thrilling space battle with Phasma, Kylo, and the Mandalorians (including Boba Fett’s ship! Is Fett on board? Who knows?!). Lots of pirates die, Han blows up Fett’s ship, Phasma is sent hurling off into space, and only Kylo manages to follow the Falcon into hyperspace, as R2D2 guides them to Luke’s retreat.
- Our heroes arrive at Luke’s World, where Han confronts Kylo, and is mortally wounded. Sensing his friend’s pain, Luke emerges from hiding, his Force powers wildly out of control. Whole forests are torn up, mountains split open, and the sea boils up into the sky. Kylo panics and flees, Luke collapses by his friend, and Han dies in Luke’s arms. The forests, mountains, and seas all fall back down as Luke grieves, and Rey hands him his lightsaber, saying “It’s time to come home” and he says, “I know.”
Boom. That’s it. No Starkiller Base, no Leader Snoke, minimal Leia and C3PO, less Han, more Poe, a little Lando, a Boba Fett nod, and no leaps in logic. A simple linear story focused on Rey that reveals more about why Luke went away so we care more about bringing him back, that also builds up Phasma more as a villain for Finn in parallel to Kylo as a villain for Rey.
How about you? How would you do Episode 7 differently?