January Claim About the End of The Force Awakens Given Credence by Empire Article

Back in January, I came across a claim that JJ Abrams originally shot a different ending between Rey and Luke. The claim was Luke originally took the lightsaber from Rey and possibly hugged her from a user by the name of Dent on the awardswatch forums:

Well, there has been scuttlebutt that as originally filmed the way that scene resolved was somewhat more definitive (it involved Luke taking the lightsaber from Rey and possibly a hug as well), but that Johnson requested it be more ambiguous because of where he wanted to take the relationship between Luke and Rey in this film, and so it was reshot.

At the time, it was just another claim on the Internet, but it stuck with me. However, Mark Hamill said something very interesting in this week’s Empire Magazine (courtesy of Sleemo on Tumblr):

Fisher’s death in December last year left a hole in the Star Warsfamily, not to mention narrative issues for Episode IX. But with a different writer and director, even The Last Jedi has had to deal with its share of continuity problems. Hamill recalls his first reading of the script back in 2015 and a panicked call to Rian Johnson over what Hamill insists was a glaring inconsistency.

There was something that happened at the end of The Force Awakens when I’m standing on the cliff,” he says. “I called Rian in a panic because it was all wrong. He said, ‘It’s okay, I spoke to J.J. and he’s taking that scene out.’ It just didn’t match up with what Rian had written.”

That claim just became a whole lot more interesting.

Dec. 1, 2017 Update: Several people have suggested it’s Johnson’s request to swap BB-8 and Artoo, however it sounds like the change was made before the scene was even shot (and neither droid is present in the final scene in any case). From the May EW article:

Johnson already had a to-do list for the Force once it awakened, and he was involved early enough to know exactly where Abrams and co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan were taking things. But when he saw the planned ending — that silent scene of Rey returning an exiled Luke Skywalker’s first lightsaber to him — he had a concern about who was accompanying her on that journey.

His request will end up returning a long-beloved Star Wars figure to the center of the action: R2-D2.

“Yes … The big [favor] was, I asked if R2 could come with Rey, and if BB-8 could stay behind with the Resistance,” Johnson says. “Originally it was BB-8 who went with Rey, which makes sense for the story in a way. But I asked, ‘Can you do me this solid and switch the droids?’”

Dec. 4, 2017 Update: See needs_more_sprinkles’s “We Think We Know What JJ Cut from The Force Awakens

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