This is official concept art created for the earlier version that would have been directed by Colin Trevorrow. Images have leaked online via https://twitter.com/DRMovieNews1/, which provides the following descriptions:
Force Ghost Luke blocking Kylo Ren’s saber with his hand
C3PO comforting a damaged R2
Rey being trained by Luke
Kylo Ren fighting Vader
Rey (with double bladed saber) fighting Kylo Ren
Rey taking out Stormtroopers
Hux commits suicide with a lightsaber after Coruscant falls to the Resistance
Leia delivering a message to BB-8 (callback to A New Hope)
C3PO & R2 exploring the Coruscant ruins
The Falcon lands on a new planet
The First Order resuming control over Coruscant (pre-defeat)
Finn yelling “REY!” during a battle scene
The Final Battle on Coruscant
The script itself was leaked and discussed by Robert Meyer Burnett in the following video:
Trevorrow was fired by Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy, who also was behind the director change for the Solo movie for similar reasons of “different vision.”
Spoilers below the fold. My thoughts on the movie to follow later, and it’s not a spoiler to say I personally loved it. Also, the image on this post has nothing to do with the contents. It’s just bad-ass, so I’m including it.
On June 5th I had the chance to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. First on my list was a stop at Savi’s Workshop.
Who is Savi, you ask? Savi is a friend of Lor San Tekka and is a fellow member of the Church of the Force. I think. What do you mean who’s Lor San Tekka? That old guy Kylo Ren killed at the beginning of The Force Awakens? The Three-Eyed Raven? Yeah, that guy. It doesn’t matter. You don’t see him anyways. You do, however, interact with his followers, the mysterious Gatherers who will guide you in the ancient ritual of lightsaber building.
I walked swiftly asking directions towards “scrap metal”. Don’t say “lightsaber,” for the First Order is in town and such talk is frowned upon. The Gatherers take this very seriously. Everyone in the land is in character. And so you wait in line in an amazingly decorated scrapyard to pay for your scrap metal.
While in line to pay, some of the gatherers will show you cards with examples of four basic styles of lightsaber.
Peace and Justice: Visually these are the most like the sabers carried by many of the stereotypical Jedi during the era of the Republic in the prequel Trilogy. Obi-Wan and Anakin have similarly styled weapons.
Power and Control: This style evokes the blades carried by the bad guys. The aggressive styling and the red accents are reminiscent of Darth Vader and Darth Sidious.
Elemental Nature: Made from natural materials like aged leather, intricately carved bone, wood paneling, and even a rancor tooth. The materials symbolize the Force’s connection with nature.
Protection and defense: My personal favorite and the style I elected to construct. These are ancient unearthed pieces from the time of the Old Republic. The components are almost ceremonial in nature, some of the segments even containing writing from the Sacred Jedi Texts.
After you pay your $199.99 plus tax you must choose one of the four styles of lightsabers. You are given a card, a cloisonné pin, and a return time. You are instructed to wear your pin in a visible location (the design is different based on what style you chose) and to act dumb if the First Order asks you about it.
As I was close to the front of the line for my particular reservation period, I had about 20 minutes to wander the land. When I returned at the appointed time, I was led to a waiting area.
All the while you are warned that the First Order could show up at any time. And they do. It wasn’t long before Kylo Ren and some First Order Troopers swung by on “routine patrol” for some casual interrogation.
After assuring them that we were simple scrap traders they moved on to other victims. Following the short interrogation by troopers we were ushered into the actual workshop. This is where the experience went from fun roleplay to absolutely magical.
Austin Habershaw does the unthinkable: posits that Star Trek and Star Wars are part of the same universe. Along with Warhammer 40K. Lest you fail to click, reader, I will only cite one line, the worst line, the best line:
Humanity did it – it conquered the stars – only to discover that the stars are a terrible, cold place where war in unending and death assured.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. Cue the half-finished gas-giant-based super weapon with an orbiting planet full of cute aliens, a huge space battle and a climactic light saber battle where Rey defeats Kylo WHO IS HER BROTHER OMFG and then Kylo embraces the light and throws Snoke down a well.
Then again, JJ is coming in late so hopefully the script will have been fixed by the story group and not be as vulnerable to JJ’s flights of fancy, or lens flares.
If it sucks, we can always say it was an alternate universe and go back to Extended Universe for our head canon.
Looking at Carrie Fisher’s other books that feature her in her Leia persona on the cover, namely Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic – I am struck by the fact that she always portrayed herself as Episode IV Leia. (Both are out of stock right now, too). Obviously, she wasn’t a fan of Slave Leia, but General Leia didn’t seem to be as iconic in her own mind.
In a recent Facebook convo about Leia’s image, a female friend of mine expressed that she thought General Leia in Ep VII finally redeemed Leia from the “degraded mess” the character had become in Return of the Jedi, presumably because of that bikini. Alyssa Rosenberg in the Washington Post writes a pretty comprehensive defense of Leia on that score. I largely agree that focusing on what Leia was wearing misses the point – Leia was kidnapped by a space slug, forced to wear something obscene, and then killed him with her bare hands in revenge. The bikini was a literal symbol of how women are oppressed, and it’s her resistance and revenge over the victimization by Jabba, not the actual victimization itself, that define Leia. Fisher herself colored outside the feminist lines – she once joked about not remembering who she slept with to land the Leia role, but hoped it was Lucas himself! That’s not exactly a female-positive sense of humor. Likewise, what Leia wore in one scene of one movie shouldn’t really degrade the character or define it. Leia was complicated, reflecting how Fisher was complicated.