Star Wars: The Last Jedi is packed with crazy, original ideas, from the mirror cave to the Force connection between Rey and Kylo Ren. But for every insane concept on screen, there are a dozen more ideas that were thought up during development and ultimately not used — some of which are downright bonkers.
A few of these ideas never made it past the concept art phase, while others were actually filmed but removed at the last minute. Let’s take a look at some of those unused concepts that would have made for a dramatically different film had they been included, as revealed in the book The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
1. There was almost a Sith ghost who appeared to Luke Skywalker
In the Star Wars movies, we’ve only ever seen Jedi return as Force ghosts. It appears that those who use the dark side of the Force are not able to appear after death. However, this nearly changed in The Last Jedi. Early concept art for the film shows a red Sith ghost haunting Luke.
ILM Senior Art Director Christian Alzmann says in The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi:
We’ve seen dead Jedi come back as blue ghosts. Maybe Sith can come back. And maybe there’s some all-powerful mastermind Sith that’s controlling whatever the dark side is. We did talk a lot about how the final battle frontier for Jedi might be in the spirit realm. So you have to have a bad-guy ghost.
Now that Luke has ascended into the spirit realm, this idea could pop back up in Episode IX.
2. There was originally a third lesson for Rey
Luke promises to teach Rey three lessons in The Last Jedi. But he only ends up teaching her two. The reason for this discrepancy is that there’s a whole deleted sequence that depicts the third lesson.
According to Slashfilm, there was originally a scene in which Rey sees a boat arriving at Ahch-To, with a big fire coming from where the boat lands. Luke explains that bandits regularly come and kill the caretakers, those adorable aliens who look after the island. Rey wants to save them; however, Luke tells her that she must not interfere because if she does, the bandits will only come back stronger. He also says that a Jedi should only act to maintain balance, and they must, therefore, let the caretakers die.
Rey doesn’t buy this bizarre logic, so she runs over to save the caretakers anyway. However, she finds that Luke was lying. The fire is actually coming from a giant party; there were never any bandits. Afterward, Luke explains himself, saying he was trying to teach Rey a lesson that the Resistance needs her, not him, as evidenced by the fact that she ran in to save the caretakers.
This scene was evidently deleted from the film because Lucasfilm felt it didn’t fit the Jedi code and made Luke look like too much of a jerk.
3. A porg was almost killed by Luke’s lightsaber
There’s a brief moment near the beginning of The Last Jedi in which a group of porgs plays with Luke’s lightsaber. We tense up, worrying that one of them will accidentally ignite the weapon, but it doesn’t happen.
That wasn’t always the case, though. Concept art for the film shows four porgs playing with the lightsaber, with the saber slicing right through one of them. It couldn’t possibly be any more brutal, as the saber is going right into its mouth and through the other side of its head.
This shockingly violent moment probably would have been traumatizing for younger viewers, so cutting it was wise.
4. The Master Codebreaker was originally after an insect warlord
When Finn and Rose travel to Canto Bight, they’re on a mission to find the Master Codebreaker. They soon find him but before they can attempt to recruit him, police take them away. So the two ultimately end up making use of the skills of a totally different codebreaker. Justin Theroux plays the Master Codebreaker in what’s essentially a cameo.
However, this character was once envisioned to have a more significant role. According to The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, originally, the Master Codebreaker was to chat with Finn and Rose.
He would reveal that he’s spent a year casing an insectoid warlord known as the Butcher of Brix. The Master Codebreaker intended to steal the “blood jewels that finance his murderous regime.” The Butcher of Brix would have been a crazy, fully animatronic alien who has slime dripping from his mouth constantly, which one of his two female companions would always catch in a glass.
Ultimately, Rian Johnson removed this whole subplot. He also changed the Master Codebreaker’s introduction. Originally, he was going to be playing the keyboard in a cabaret room as an alien woman sings. In the final film, he’s gambling the first time we see him.
5. Kylo Ren almost went fully bald
When Johnson began writing The Last Jedi, he decided to alter Kylo Ren’s look in a major way. For this movie, Kylo wouldn’t wear his mask at all, destroying it early on in the film.
But Lucasfilm considered an even more dramatic change to the look of the bad guy. Early concept art shows Kylo with a completely shaved head. The book, The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, doesn’t explain why Johnson didn’t go with this look, although costume designer Michael Kaplan notes that they didn’t want Kylo to “look like a new character.”
Considering one of Kylo’s motivations in the film is killing the past, it probably would have been a bad idea for him to become more like Darth Vader by shaving his head.
6. There was almost a joke involving stormtrooper suits being dry-cleaned
One of the funniest scenes in The Last Jedi comes when there’s a shot of what appears to be a ship making its landing, only for Johnson to reveal that this was just a close-up of an iron. But the movie almost included another similar gag.
The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi includes the storyboard for a scene in which Finn and Rose turn a corner and suddenly come across a row of First Order stormtroopers, mirroring the scene in A New Hope in which Han Solo runs down the hallway and is surprised by a large group of stormtroopers. But the gag would be that Finn and Rose quickly realize that they’re only looking at a bunch of empty stormtrooper suits that are hung from dry-cleaning racks.
There were probably never going to be two clothing-related jokes in The Last Jedi, so presumably, this stormtrooper gag became the iron gag that’s in the final cut.
7. Finn and Rose almost crashed into an alien sauna on Canto Bight
Johnson removed quite a bit from the Canto Bight sequence of the movie, including another gag that would have taken place during the Fathiers chase. As Finn and Rose are tearing through Canto Bight, they were originally going to crash into an alien sauna. We would see a bunch of aliens relaxing in the sauna and would even run into an alien masseur.
This idea got so far along in the process that Lexo Sooger, the masseur at Zord’s Spa and Bathhouse, is a character in the tie-in book Canto Bight. According to Slashfilm, this whole sequence was actually filmed but was cut out of the movie. There was to be a moment during this scene where an alien goes flying into the air and his bath towel comes off.
8. The movie almost opened on a pan down to Finn
So far, every single Star Wars movie has started off with the opening crawl, after which the camera pans up or down to reveal either a planet or a ship. However, The Last Jedi almost broke that tradition with an interesting variation on the format.
In The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, early storyboards depict an opening shot in which the camera pans down from the crawl onto what at first appears to be a planet, only for us to realize that we’re looking at the medical console that Finn is lying unconscious in. The opening action sequence would then unfold from there.
However, in a subsequent rewrite of the script, Johnson decided to remove Finn from the opening action sequence. This meant he had to alter the first shot of the film.
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