Director J.J. Abrams spent months putting the finishing touches on his Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, a film with the unenviable task of relaunching the galaxy far, far away on film and ushering in a new era for the franchise as a whole. This was arguably the most pressure-packed film production of all-time, since the consequences of the project failing would have been disastrous to say the least.
Fortunately, when The Force Awakens finally arrived in theaters in December 2015, everyone involved got to breathe a sigh of relief. The general consensus is that Star Wars 7 is a rousing return to form for the series (read our review) and establishes an exciting future full of endless possibilities. Abrams' handling of the material received much praise, with many enjoying the film's quick pace as it told its story. Going through hours of footage, the filmmaker had a good eye for what was necessary and what wasn't, leaving some things on the cutting room floor. Here are 10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens deleted scenes. Who knows? Maybe some of these will turn up on the Blu-ray release.
A Lightsaber in Space
For a while, it was rumored that Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from The Empire Strikes Back would be the MacGuffin of the film, with Luke's cut-off hand clutching the weapon serving as the film's first image. The shot of a disembodied hand tumbling through space was actually in the script and meant to be shown in the movie following the opening text crawl, before it shifted to the Jakku village sequence. However, it was eliminated from the film late in the movie's development.
One likely reason why that happened is because the lightsaber eventually ends up on Takodana with Maz Kanata, and is never shown on Jakku. So in essence, it was unrelated to the Force Awakens' first act. Star Wars movies are known for thrusting the audience right into the middle of all the action (see: the original film's opening moments), so something that's so disassociated could have come across as confusing or unnecessary. If we had seen the lightsaber and then it has no role to play on Jakku, fans would be upset before the film really began.
Like all the Star Wars films before it, The Force Awakens introduces viewers to a collection of new characters who live in the universe. Obviously, some are more important than others, but Lucasfilm always makes sure even the minor ones get their moment in the sun. Constable Zuvio, an inhabitant of Jakku, was someone featured in marketing and even scored his own action figure. But when the film was released, many noticed he was absent from the picture. That's because his one scene was removed.
Originally, Zuvio was meant to come to Rey's aid when Unkar Plutt's thugs try to attack her and acquire BB-8. As sort of a peace keeper on the planet, Zuvio was going to "break up the tussle" and settle the issue with the young scavenger before sending her on her way. Perhaps in an effort to keep the story moving, the final film has Finn be the one who tries to intervene before he, Rey, and BB-8 fly the Millennium Falcon off to safety.
Maz Kanata Uses the Force
The elderly Maz Kanata shares some similarities with Jedi Master Yoda; the two characters are old, wise beings who provide words of encouragement to the protagonist and help them along their journey. Based on the dialogue Maz has in the trailers and TV spots, fans assumed that she would be proficient in the Force, but she never uses it in the film. Instead, she's merely knowledgable about its workings, but there was a scene where she displayed some Jedi powers.
When the First Order arrives on Takodana to attack her castle, Maz was initially going to use the Force to make portions of the ceiling collapse on a group of stormtroopers. This bit would have seen Han Solo get involved, with the smuggler stalling the soldiers so Maz could concentrate on what she was doing. It would have been a fun little moment to see, but The Force Awakens is full of memorable scenes that this wasn't a terrible loss. Once again, pacing was most likely the issue, as this scene doesn't really serve the narrative and would just be a visual gag.
Unkar Plutt on Takodana
The First Order wasn't meant to be the only opposing force our heroes face while on Takodana. Unkar Plutt, who is revealed to be the new "owner" of the Millennium Falcon after several people stole it from each other, tracks down the ship and threatens Rey and BB-8 in Maz's castle. Chewbacca comes to defend Rey, and after Plutt makes an off-handed remark about Chewie's arm injury he suffered earlier in the film, Plutt learns what happens when you upset a Wookie.
In a callback to the 1977 original, Chewbacca literally rips Plutt's arm out of its socket and tosses it aside, recalling the "friendly" word of advice Han gave C-3PO years ago when playing space chess on the Falcon. Star Wars is no stranger to removing limbs from characters, but this may have been too graphic even with the PG-13 rating in tow. Also, having Plutt randomly pop up in the second act (he was such a secondary character) may have been jarring for some audiences and slowed the movie down.
Maz at the Resistance Base
It was one of the scenes showcased in the second teaser trailer for The Force Awakens: Maz Kanata hands over Luke's old lightsaber to Leia Organa while at the Resistance base. However, it was one of the more noticeable shots absent from the final film. It was obviously filmed and included in the movie's marketing, but Abrams eventually decided to cut the sequence altogether. His reasoning was that once the gang left Takodana, Maz served no real purpose in the story.
Instead, the script was retooled so Finn took the lightsaber with him off planet and used it throughout the remainder of the film, before Rey takes the sword with her to Luke. Maz was an entertaining addition to the saga and fun to watch, but Abrams was justified in minimizing her role. It would have been weird if she was just standing around with nothing to do during the third act as the Resistance attacked Starkiller base while Rey and Finn tracked down Kylo Ren. Since it's unknown if Lupita Nyong'o is on board for Rian Johnson's Episode VIII, we may have seen the last of her.
Kylo Ren on the Millennium Falcon
Since Kylo Ren is actually Ben Solo, son of Han and Leia, it's safe to assume that he made a few fond childhood memories aboard the Millennium Falcon. That theory is supported by a deleted scene from the film. When Kylo senses his father nearby on Starkiller base, he investigates and finds the Falcon crashed in the snow (images of an unmasked Kylo flanked by snowtroopers may have been from this sequence). He boards the ship, sits in the cockpit, and quietly says, "Han Solo."
Ben feeling conflicted between the two sides of the Force is one of the primary arcs of the film, so the case can be made that this would have been a haunting, beautiful moment illustrating the character at his most vulnerable. Upon learning this was cut, many fans will probably hope to see it resurrected on home media. There's no denying that it would have been an interesting inclusion for the final product, but it arguably makes Kylo too sympathetic in the moments just before he manipulates Han and murders him in cold blood. That, and it slowed down the rapid fire pace, though having a minute to breathe wouldn't have been the worst thing.
General Leia's Intro
In the finished film, the first time fans see Leia is when she has a touching reunion with Han and Chewie on Takodana when the Resistance arrives to retrieve BB-8, but she originally was going to show up much earlier. In a cut sequence, Leia had a conversation with a new character named Korr Sella, who Leia sends to the Galactic Senate in the Hosnian system to ask for aid in the Resistance's fight against the First Order. According to the Force Awakens tie-in books, the Republic and Resistance have a somewhat strenuous relationship, with the Resistance operating as an offshoot military group instead of an official arm of the Republic (who had signed a treaty with the First Order).
Many fans would probably wish something like this remained in the movie. One of the common criticisms of The Force Awakens was that it did a somewhat poor job of establishing the political landscape of the galaxy in the post-Return of the Jedi world. This information would certainly have been beneficial in providing a clearer picture of what was going on, particularly when the Starkiller base destroys the five planets of the Hosnian system. Perhaps the sequels will delve on this point, but it would have been nice for Force Awakens to expand upon it.
Rey's Extended Force Vision
When Rey discovers Luke's old lightsaber in the basement of Maz's castle, she has a disorientating Force vision where she sees things that have happened and things still to pass. It's a sequence that packs so much into it, multiple viewings are a necessity to take it all in. Originally, this scene was going to run a little bit longer. Initially, a look at Luke and Vader's duel on Cloud City was included, with things coming so far in the developmental stages that Hasbro actually produced action figures of the two original trilogy characters for their Force Awakens product line.
Perhaps most intriguing, the extended Force vision was going to tell the complete story of Luke's lightsaber, showing how it was discovered and ended up at Maz's castle on Takodana. The final film teases audiences that the question of how the weapon was acquired is one better saved for another day (one meta line of dialogue), and fans can only hope the answers will be coming in the next couple of films. Lucasfilm obviously had some ideas, so it'd be a shame if they didn't reveal them.
Star Wars 7 has no shortage of action sequences, but it could have had one more. In a part that appears in the novelization, Rey and Finn have a snowspeeder chase with some First Order soldiers while on Starkiller base. For a while, it seemed like this was going to be included in the film as well. Fans may recall that there were a number of toy vehicles produced that seemed to be made specifically for this intended set piece, but in the end, the movie went on without one.
There's no denying that with Abrams behind the camera, this scene would have been exciting to watch unfold, but it's difficult to see where in the final product it could have fit in. The Force Awakens flows very well and features a thrilling buildup in the third act. Having a speeder chase that doesn't really serve the story (and mainly acts as spectacle) might have been the wrong way to go, as viewers were completely invested in the characters and how the narrative was going to come to a close. And besides, there's always a chance that some kind of speeder chase pops up in a later installment. Better to hold back now and save stuff for later.
Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke are fleshed out a little further with some extra dialogue to explain their motivations. Kylo, of course, idolizes his grandfather, Darth Vader, but given his family connections, many fans were confused by Ben Solo's loyalty to the Dark Lord of the Sith. After all, Vader redeemed himself and killed the Emperor during Return of the Jedi, and surely he must have heard about that story. As it turns out, both Kylo and Snoke are aware of what Anakin Skywalker did in his life's final moments and actually look down upon him for it.
Snoke blames Vader for the Empire's fall, saying that Vader saving Luke was a "momentary lapse" in judgment by an otherwise noble man. The sentiment Vader had for his son was seen as a shortcoming, and Snoke makes a point to teach Kylo how to let go of his emotional connections. In the film, Ren's greatest test is to come face-to-face with Han Solo and kill him, essentially the inverse of what Vader did with Luke. The script reveals that this action may not have had the intended result, and Kylo still has some training to complete. How far Snoke goes with his concepts remains to be seen.
Those are some of our favorite deleted scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Are there any we missed? Which scenes do you wish stayed in the film? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to our channel for more fun videos!