‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: 3 Deleted Scenes From the Movie
Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
The latest Star Wars saga film, The Force Awakens, hit theaters in December 2015. Recently, director J.J. Abrams has dropped hints about the film’s rough cut, telling Collider that it was originally close to two hours and 40 minutes.
In the same interview, Abrams told Collider that the deleted portion of the film — which didn’t make theaters — is about 12 full scenes (requiring a few shots). Some of these scenes, Abrams acknowledged, will assuredly reach the Blu-Ray version of the Star Wars film when it is released. In total, Collider wrote, it is about 10-20 minutes worth of footage.
So what, you ask, were these 12 scenes? Well, if we’re being frank, one of the scenes involved the already-compelling character of Maz Kanata (voiced by Lupita Nyong’o) destroying the roof above the passageway they were in with her powers. And that hit the cutting room floor? Suffice to say it did not match the larger narrative mission of characterizing Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega). [Update, 2/25/16: Film editors Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon told The Independent that ‘The Force Awakens’ DVD may include “seven or eight” deleted scenes.]
Regardless, the Cheat Sheet now takes a look of some of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens scenes that fell to the cutting room floor. (Luckily, we have 21st century Blu-Ray technology!)
What follows are three scenes that were filmed and deliberated over before being taken out by Abrams and company.
1. Maz Kanata demolition scene
First and foremost: Maz Kanata. This figure runs a cantina on the forest planet of Takodana. She has lived over 1,000 years and professes that Chewbacca is her boyfriend. (She “like[s] that Wookiee.”) Apparently, Abrams and company shot a scene where Maz dismantled a ceiling.
Collider spoke with Neal Scanlon (CFX and SMUFX creative supervisor), Chris Corbould (SFX supervisor), Roger Guyett (VFX supervisor ILM), and Patrick Tubach (VFX supervisor ILM) about The Force Awakens’s deleted scenes, and Corbould told the site:
…they go underneath the castle and they’re going into the underground passageways, and stormtroopers are coming down the stairs and Maz uses her powers to collapse the ceiling. From my point of view, [that] worked absolutely brilliantly because you had all the main actors running up and then Maz does her bit and then the whole ceiling collapses in front of them, but that never made it. That was a shot I was quite proud of, actually, it worked really, really well.
Kanata, a newcomer to the Star Wars universe, is perhaps one of the film’s most surprising and intriguing figures. She is enigmatic but affable. There is a larger mythology surrounding her character that directors Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow, the respective filmmakers taking Abrams’s torch, will have to explore: Is she one with the force? How familiar is Maz with the Jedis and the Council?
2. Snowspeeder chase
Guyett told Collider that there was a scene involving a “snowspeeder chase.” He claimed that there were some exposition-based fighter scenes (in the X-wing fighter planes) that were cut.
Most prominently, however, was a scene involving the speeders. Guyett said, “Yeah, that was probably the one significant thing that I really remember getting cut out of the movie.”
While the film contains a satisfying amount of battle scenes — especially with Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) and the resistance fighters under General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) — it’s interesting to see what could have been. Or how this specific battle scene could have extended viewers’ understanding of the Resistance.
The final deleted scene that the visual effects crew hinted at in their interview with Collider is one involving the Rathtars. The scene comes at a pivotal moment in the film where viewers have just encountered Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) for the first time, in effect, since Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983). It is a poignant moment, framed around the old clunker, the Millennium Falcon, and the youthful new crew who inhabits it (Rey and Finn).
Still, Abrams allots a perfect amount of time to Solo and his Wookiee friend — sufficient enough for viewers to reacquaint themselves with the original characters. So what did the creative minds behind The Force Awakens have planned for this scene? (Han Solo was smuggling a group of highly lethal Rathtars when he encounters Rey and Finn.) Turbach told Collider:
There was a little bit more with the Rathtars going on, just a little bit more of that chase moment going through the hallways and everything. There were some cool stunts and some cool individual shots in there that just didn’t make it for one reason or another, and I think it all had to do with the pacing. I totally understand why it’s not there anymore, but you have to feel that out.
So, enough said? While the extra scenes would have been most welcome, they’re also just too ephemeral. What we see in The Force Awakens is what we get, and it’s a rewarding experience. But don’t be afraid to check for deleted scenes when the film comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD.
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