Despite being the longest film in the franchise, there were a lot of scenes in Star Wars: The Last Jedi left on the cutting room floor.
Ahead of the film's release on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD later this month, writer and director Rian Johnson is revealing more information about what scenes were cut from the theatrical release, as well as his reasons why.
While discussing the deleted scenes with EW, he offers some insight into his filmmaking process and reveals even though he loved the acting in certain scenes, they didn't help move along the overall story.
"I love each one of the scenes individually. I mean, every single one of them was not cut because it didn’t work. It was cut because the movie as a whole was better without it," said Johnson. "So with each one of them, it’s that strange combination where it feels awful to cut it, but it feels good to cut it, because suddenly the pacing of a section of the movie feels much better, or suddenly the film is cleaner, or clearer, in many different ways."
Read on to learn more about the deleted scenes from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
There was a scene early on in the film when Finn is debating whether or not to abandon the Resistance. He is interrupted by BB-8, who shows him a hologram of Rey's farewell to the unconscious Finn before departing for Ahch-To.
I was looking for any opportunity I could to emotionally connect those two," Johnson said. "I thought it was a really sweet little scene. I loved John Boyega’s performance in it. Ultimately it was meant to explain his motivation for going [to find Rey and quit the Resistance], but we realized that you understood his motivation, because he tells it to Rose. Once we realized we could get away without it, it was something that just naturally fell away."
Johnson warned that people have to "watch what you’re saying around BB-8. It’s all on the record," and lamented a great joke being left out.
"I miss John [Boyega]’s line, ‘That’s kind of creepy you recorded that,'" Johnson added.
After one of Luke Skywalker's lessons, she sees a group in the seas making their way to the fishing village of the Caretakers further down the coast. The exiled Jedi warns her that these are raiders who regularly come to plunder, and warns her of getting involved.
Though Rey seems eager to defend the Caretakers, Luke explains that fending them off would only be temporary; they'd return later on with more numbers and a thirst for vengeance, and Rey would be unlikely to be there to protect them.
He tells her the Jedi would not get involved in fear of making things worse, and if she wants to help, is she really wanting to be a Jedi?
Rey takes off for the village in a scene that was featured in the trailer, ignoring Luke as he calls out to her, and coming to the realization that she cannot trust him.
Fans have wondered about Luke's final lesson to Rey, which was not included in the film, and some speculate this scene would be that reveal. But Johnson says not necessarily, and that aspect was supposed to be up to people's interpretation.
"Originally it was just a breaking point for her. Okay, he’s gone too far," Johnson said. "This is the point where she finally says, 'Okay, if you’re not gonna help, then I’ve wasted too much time here.'"
The scene was originally meant to build the connection between Rey and Kylo Ren, leading to their final "Force Skype" session and the fight with Luke.
"In her next-to-last Force connection she has with Kylo, which is the very intense one, the context for that was her coming off this rejection and angry moment with Luke," Johnson said. "When we take that segment out, suddenly she’s coming into that Force connection after leaving things in a hopeful place with Luke, at the end of the temple lesson.
"It’s much more of a crushing reversal when Luke finds her in the hut [talking to Kylo,]" Johnson said. "You get the sense that she and Luke were actually making progress, as opposed to, oh, things were screwed up."
Johnson teased that although Luke's third lesson could be picked up by J.J. Abrams in Episode IX, if the director chooses to build on that plot.
Since he's closed himself off from the Force, he didn't sense Han Solo's demise like Leia Organa did. But one of the deleted scenes shows Luke going to his stone hut and having an emotional moment alone. The scene cuts to show Leia on the Raddus, in a similar moment of grief.
"We realized just for pacing in that section we had to stick with Rey and Luke, and we wanted just to go straight from him slamming the door of the hut into the day-in-the-life montage, of him going around the island. Taking that bit out suddenly propelled us forward into that segment in a way that just felt much better for the film."
Fans likely won't be happy this scene was cut, but the director defends the omission was important for the film's pacing.
"I was very sorry to lose it. I think it’s a beautiful performance from Mark Hamill," Johnson said. "But I think that we get a similar beat with him, later when he’s in the Falcon with R2."
While there is a quick scene of Finn, Rose, and DJ stealing First Order officer uniforms after making it on board Supreme Leader Snoke's ship, there was more of this sequence cut from the finished film.
"Sneaking through the mega-destroyer, there’s some really fun stuff in there," Johnson said. "It just made me laugh every time I saw it. But you can see very obviously when you watch the movie as a whole, there’s no way you would want to slow down at that part of the film to play that whole section."
This scene did reveal that the First Order would rather cover up their mistakes than own to them, as Finn is recognized by a Stormtrooper who refers to him by his callsign FN-2187. But he doesn't recognize him as the "traitor" others seem to know him as, instead laughing that his old ally got a promotion to officer status before he did.
"The implication from the exchange is that this was obviously an embarrassment that this happened with Finn, and that First Order didn’t let the info get out, as much as they could," Johnson said. "The tension is broken by the fact that he doesn’t really know the story of what happened with Finn."
The epic showdown between Phasma and Finn was almost way different, harkening back to a key moment from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Johnson made a South Park reference and called Phasma "the Kenny" of Star Wars.
Instead of Finn getting the upper hand on Phasma and having her fall into an explosion, the other version of the scene had Phasma down Finn and surround him with Stormtroopers. Finn then recounts her cowardice and tells her allies that she saved herself and powered down the shields of the Starkiller base.
Phasma then shoots the others Stormtroopers rather than let them know of her treachery, which gives Finn an opening to resume their battle before she fell into the blaze.
Johnson said that decision was the result of pacing.0comments
"I really like the little moment of Phasma being caught and getting called out by [Finn], and that little game of chess that they have," Johnson said. "But we needed a much more condensed version of that scene, where essentially it’s the same outcome."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits digital HD on March 13th, followed by Blu-ray and DVD on March 27th.