January 8, 2016 – If you left the first viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens wondering if your mind had played Jedi-mind tricks on you, because certain scenes you swore were in the trailers were somehow missing from the movie, you are not alone.
If you went back for a second or third viewing, now you know the truth: Yup, certain favorite video and audio excerpts from the trailers (which fans had watched over and over again), have indeed been deleted from the final cut.
One of our favorite trailer clips showed a small hand (right bottom corner) handing Luke’s recovered lightsaber to someone with larger, elegant fingers. We had long assumed, and were proven right, that the recipient’s hand belonged to General Leia Organa.
We first saw this brief scene in the second official teaser for the movie, wherein we hear Luke’s voice-over:
“The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power, too.”
The lightsaber-handoff scene was supposed to occur shortly after the First Order attacks Maz Kanata’s palace. According to the script, Maz was supposed to go to the Resistance base with Han, Chewie, and Finn and hand over Luke’s lightsaber to the missing owner’s sister, Leia.
In fact, this scene was filmed. According to director J.J. Abrams, “That was a scene actually filmed, but we took out.” Abrams told Entertainment Weekly, “At one point, Maz used to continue along with the characters back to the Resistance base, but we realized that she really had nothing to do there of value, except to have her sitting around.”
“Lupita [Nyong’o, who played the role of Maz] did film scenes on set for that sequence, but it felt like going right just to go left, and it was unnecessary. So we ended up leaving those things out,” he continued.
The scene was included in the April 2015 trailer because at that time, it was still planned to be in the movie. “The moment was nice and the people who cut the trailer didn’t give a sh**,” he joked to Entertainment Weekly.
We appreciated this scene because, at first glance, it appears to be a symbolic transfer of power. Before The Force Awakens premiered, we had speculated that an original cast member (such as Leia) might hand over the lightsaber to a newcomer (such as Rey), symbolizing a transfer of the Star Wars storyline to the next generation.
We were also intrigued by Luke’s last line: “You have that power, too.” Who is Luke speaking to? Who is the “you”? Could it be Rey, and if so, does that mean she is his daughter? Perhaps that line, and confirmation, will come in Episode VIII.
A good number of other scenes were cut as well, according to slashfilm.com:
- Leia originally gave a speech to the Resistance in the war room after the destruction of Starkiller Base.
- C-3PO’s appearance in the war room was cut slightly.
- The moment when Kylo Ren ignites his lightsaber in the first teaser.
- Missing dialogue which we heard in the trailers, including Maz’s: “Who are you?” Rey: “I’m no one.”
- More missing bits of dialogue from Maz: “Just let it in.”
- Finn’s one-liner: “I’ve got nothing to fight for.”
- Finn gives Rey his jacket as they approach the Main Oscillator building in the third act, but the jacket switches from one character to another with no explanation (an editing inconsistency).
- The reaction shot of Rey from the trailer was from a larger moment which was in many of the evolutions of the story — Rey is cleaning the parts she scavenged from the Star Destroyer piece while looking at the old wrinkly woman. She looks over at a mother next to her daughter, both dressed in fancy clothes. They are about to board a spaceship. And that is where the smile reaction shot came from.
Other major scenes, never shown in any trailer, ended up on the cutting-room floor as well. For example, one of the biggest action sequences – a snowspeeder chase outside Starkiller Base – was deleted. Finn and Rey were filmed in a stolen snowspeeder to escape First Order stormtroopers. So this is where the image of an unmasked Kylo Ren, with snowtroopers behind him, came from – but never made it into the movie.
Will We See a Director’s Cut with Deleted Scenes?
J.J. Abrams has said, “I’m not a huge fan of directors’ cuts and modifications to a movie. I feel the movie that comes out is the movie that should be the intended final product.”
On the other hand, Abrams has been known to want to please fans, and Disney has final say. Don’t be surprised if 15-20 minutes of deleted scenes are included in a future home video release.