Shooting a film like Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is undoubtedly a herculean task, as LucasFilm’s new president Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams were charged with revitalizing a beloved franchise and relaunching the Star Wars universe on the big screen. Between finalizing the script and editing down the final cut, Abrams collected innumerable hours of footage, all of which was compiled into roughly two and a quarter hours of run time.
Naturally, dozens of scenes, many of which Abrams originally intended for the film, wound up on the cutting room floor – either deemed unnecessary to the plot or inappropriate for the movie's tone at a particular moment. According to Episode VII editors Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon, there were two supporting characters of note who saw their roles reduced before the final cut.
THR crossed paths with Force Awakens splicers Markey and Brandon during its Nominees Night celebration - where questions arose regarding exactly which characters had larger roles before the final chop. The editors noted that Chewbacca and the heavily hyped Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie of Game of Thrones) wound up with somewhat less screen time than their fans desired.
To be exact, Markey revealed that Captain Phasma had a key additional scene that didn't make the final cut in Force Awakens:
“There was actually a fun thing with Captain Phasma ordering all of the ships into the air, but they didn’t realize that Han and Finn had just thrown her down a garbage chute.”
And Captain Phasma’s trashy (and likely infuriated) command wasn’t the only curious sequence cut from the film. Co-editor Brandon also mentioned that beloved copilot and resident fuzzball Chewbacca shared a wickedly entertaining scene with Simon Pegg’s scrapyard scumbag Unkar Plutt. In the film, Plutt tracks down Rey to Maz Kanata’s fortress, and as Brandon reveals:
“There is a scene in the cantina, or our version of it, the Maz castle, where Rey, once she separates from Finn and wanders off, and Unkar Plutt is there, because he’s been tracking her because she stole the Falcon from him. And they have a confrontation and Chewie comes in and rips his arm off.”
The scene was left out, according to Brandon, because the farewell to arms (pun!) didn’t mesh with the more somber tone of the scene. And as amazing as it would have been to finally watch Chewie follow through on his once-threatened feat of strength, it’s understandable why the limb-rendering shot never made it into the film. The bulk of Force Awakens' “cantina” sequence dealt with far more serious issues – from Rey discovering Luke’s lightsaber to the encroaching battle which likely razed much of Takodana. Similarly, Phasma’s scene, while humorous, doesn’t make much sense. A wise ex-rebellion leader, Han wouldn’t have left any communications devices on Phasma, or she would’ve signaled her forces the moment the rebel duo were out of earshot.
And even though we weren’t treated to these scenes, through the magic of home entertainment, all things will likely be restored. Disney/Lucasfilm may choose to include these and other deleted scenes (like those which make R2-D2’s awakening and the rebel arrival on Takodana seem less impromptu) as part of The Force Awakens' DVD/Blu-ray release later this year. Indeed, most of the movie's interesting excised moments should at least get visual lip service on the deleted scenes menu.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 will hit theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.