I always say that if I don’t like something, I should have something I think is better in mind. Obviously, there are other little details to fill in, such as the roles of Hux, C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8, but with that said, here’s my story of how I think Star Wars: The Last Jedi should’ve gone. I hope you enjoy. 🙂
When Luke receives the lightsaber from Rey, he closes his eyes and hears Obi-Wan say, “She will be trained.” This is to echo Obi-Wan saying the same of Anakin in The Phantom Menace (and we all know how that turned out). Obi-Wan then says, “She must know the truth,” to which Luke responds by opening his eyes, and after a flash of Luke in Return of the Jedi throwing away his lightsaber, Luke does the same with Anakin’s lightsaber. Shocked, Rey asks, “Why did you do that?” With a soft stare displaying the layers of wisdom in his soul, Luke replies, “You must forge your own path, find your own way. You will never see your way forward if you are always looking behind, to the past.” Walking ahead of her, Luke whispers, “Ben, she will not be a Jedi… like her… grandfather before her.” This is a subtle hint to the darkness Luke senses in Rey, her anger toward… he’s not sure. The Dark Side clouds everything. All he can see is that she is hiding a shadow of anger that could be used to draw her to the Dark Side, similar to how Kylo Ren was drawn to the Dark Side, away from Luke.
Yes, Rey is a Kenobi, and Luke doesn’t want her to know. In fact, he refuses to train Rey when she asks, making the classic excuse that she’s too old. Instead, he takes her up on her offer to return with her to join Leia, whose fleet is under attack (no slow bombers, though; I promise). Leading the attack is Kylo, who Snoke has ordered to kill his mother. Only then will Kylo have the strength to complete his training. With Snoke’s massive ship in the background providing weapons fire on other ships in the Resistance, Kylo’s ship speeds near his mother’s ship and from his cheek drops a single tear as he wrestles with himself. Teeth gritting, he shuts his eyes, lets out a breath, and massages the trigger just enough to launch the assault that delivers the final blow to the ship Leia is on, the explosion reflected in his drenched eyes. From hyperspace, the Millennium Falcon and a single X-Wing enter space to find they are too late, a grieving howl from Chewbacca echoing the pain in Luke’s heart. “This is Luke Skywalker. I am taking command of the fleet,” is Luke’s message broadcast to all ships before he orders a full retreat to a set of coordinates he sends to the Resistance ships. Snoke has won the day, and all Luke can do is run away.
That’s the set-up for the rest of the film, in which key questions raised in The Force Awakens are answered, such as who Snoke is and where he came from, how Snoke lured Ben Solo to the Dark Side (I’m thinking Ben was underperforming in his training, leading to thoughts of failure and jealously toward Luke and his own parents for how celebrated they all are as warriors who defeated the mighty Empire). Essentially, the film would then continue on with Snoke training Kylo, giving us a look at Dark Side training, making Kylo much stronger and an even greater threat than before. Spliced with this is Rey begging Luke to train her. “I want to help you, to help the Resistance. You can’t beat both Snoke and Kylo by yourself. They’re too strong. It will take the both of us together. Please, Luke, you have to train me.” But Luke is filled with doubt. “I can’t take the chance of Snoke turning you as well. If that were to happen, then all hope will truly be lost.” Eventually, Rey convinces Luke to show her how to make a new lightsaber, so she could at least stand a chance at defending herself against Kylo were they to meet again. Knowing Rey is already good with a staff, Luke instructs her in building a double-bladed lightsaber. “You got lucky against Kylo the first time,” Luke says. “You need a weapon you have complete familiarity with.”
After practicing with the double-bladed lightsaber (’cause, you know, that would be cool to see in the movie), Rey sneaks away to go after Kylo herself, believing the Force will empower her again, if need be. Once Finn and Poe realize she’s gone (Let’s say Luke didn’t sense her action because he was distracted by the grief he’s still feeling for Leia and Han.) and tell Luke she’s missing, Luke takes a part of the fleet to meet Snoke’s ship in battle, with Admiral Ackbar in command and Poe leading a squadron of X-Wings with Chewbacca and Lando (He’s back!) in the Millennium Falcon offering support. “Didn’t think I’d ever see the day I’d be flying this old bird again,” Lando comments. Luke and Finn sneak aboard Snoke’s ship, Finn showing off his anti-Stormtrooper aim while Luke thrashes through anyone stupid enough to put themselves anywhere near his lightsaber. In Snoke’s throne room, Snoke attempts to convince Rey to join him, and he reveals that he was using the Force through her during the events of The Force Awakens. He wanted to show her how powerful she could be if only she submitted to his training. He promises her the power to find her parents and to take revenge on all those who hurt and terrorized her while she grew up on Jakku (Rey had a tough life, yo, and now we see why she has a great potential for bursting out in anger.). Without him, Snoke reveals, Rey is powerless.
As Snoke motions for Kylo to attack Rey, she ignites her double-bladed lightsaber, and round two is on. But this time is different. Rey can only struggle to match the strength of Kylo’s strikes. And Kylo uses the Force to push her around, all while Snoke taunts her, asking her if she’s yet ready to join him, to no longer be weak. Realizing that she has nothing left, that she can’t win, Rey turns off one blade of her double-bladed lightsaber and holds the other blade near her, like Obi-Wan Kenobi did when he allowed Darth Vader to cut him down. But just as Kylo is about to deliver the death blow, a shadowy figure Force runs in from the background, and a green lightsaber halts Kylo’s strike before his red blade can make contact with Rey. “That won’t happen again,” Luke says, remembering how Rey’s grandfather had died the same way. As Rey falls out of the way, Finn sprinting up behind and dropping to offer her care, Luke and Kylo battle hard, Kylo’s hate now apparent to Luke as Snoke laughs at the sight of what he has accomplished. Though Kylo is far more powerful than when he left Luke, he still has trouble matching Luke’s skill. Valuing his apprentice, for now, Snoke uses his Force power to disrupt Luke, causing Luke to stumble or pushing Kylo into a dodge of Luke’s lightsaber. Eventually, Kylo is able to gain the upper hand, until an explosion rocks Snoke’s ship. The battle with the Resistance ships is still taking place outside, and the Millennium Falcon along with Poe’s X-Wings have managed to deliver a critical strike to Snoke’s ship. In the confusion, Finn opens fire on Snoke, distracting him enough to allow Luke to Force push Kylo, grab Rey and Finn, and get the hell outta there!
So, then we have Luke, Rey, and Finn escaping Snoke’s ship on a shuttle just before the ship jumps away, the Resistance having dealt a blow to Snoke’s ego. But all isn’t well as Snoke has proven that he and Kylo can overpower Luke, that Luke cannot be the only hope for defeating the First Order. As Rey trembles in his arms, tears flowing for her almost deadly mistake, for her trust in a power she now knows only came through her by Snoke, Luke assures Rey that next time will be different, that next time she will not face Kylo Ren in fear. “When next we encounter them,” Luke says, stirring Rey’s teary-eyed confidence, “you will be a Jedi.”
Roll credits. 🙂
With a soft stare displaying the layers of wisdom in his soul, Luke replies, “You must forge your own path, find your own way. You will never see your way forward if you are always looking behind, to the past.”