Using J. J. Abrams's original Star Wars: The Force Awakens storyboards, a fan has created an alternate opening sequence for the film. In 2015, it fell to Abrams to relaunch the Star Wars franchise. The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars movie to hit the big screen since George Lucas's The Clone Wars in 2008. It was the beginning of the Disney era of Star Wars, and proved to be a tremendous success as the film grossed over $2 billion in the global box office.
But it could all have been very different. Abrams originally toyed with a very different opening sequence, even creating a storyboard for it. Now, one Star Wars fan has adapted the storyboards into an alternate opening.
Created by YouTube user Tim Gray, the above sequence is fascinating, not least because it teases a very different version of the planet Jakku. In the official Star Wars canon, Jakku has become the site of the final battle between the Empire and the New Republic. The Empire made their last stand over the skies of Jakku; the arid desert world is littered with the wrecks of Imperial Star Destroyer and Republic capital ships. The citizens of Jakku have capitalized on the wrecks for trade, pillaging the husks for anything of value.
In contrast, Abrams's original vision of Jakku was literally as a cosmic junkyard. Presumably sparsely inhabited, Jakku was treated as a dumping ground for vessels that were beyond repair. It makes sense as most of the great space battles were fought in inhabited star-systems. Wreckage from these battles would become a major navigational hazard. Vessels as massive in size as an Imperial Star Destroyer could be caught in a planet's gravitational pull, and come crashing down as meteors. Rather than leave these systems in such a vulnerable state, the New Republic seems to have decided to dump the ruined ships on the planet Jakku.
There's actually still a hint of this original concept in The Force Awakens. When Han is told that Rey found the Falcon at Jakku, he calls the planet a junkyard. Fans have long wondered just how the Falcon wound up on the planet. Ironically, this original opening sequence neatly explains this. After all, even in the days of A New Hope the Falcon was often mistaken for a "hunk of junk." In the original scenario, the Falcon was simply taken to a sort of galactic junkyard.
There's likely a good reason this opening sequence was ditched, though. Not only does it lack the drama of the actual opening sequence, it conveys a very different message about the film. This sequence opens with the message that the Empire has been destroyed, that their once-menacing capital ships are being dumped on the trash heap. In contrast, the final version of The Force Awakens began with a sequence demonstrating that the threat of the Empire has been reborn. It's a much more effective scene, and a far more powerful one.
Source: Tim Gray
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019