Greetings faithful Jedi Council Forum members, and welcome to the seventh edition of How I Would Write & Make, where I or any one of you takes a piece of popular culture (a film, television series, novel, video game or whatever) and imagine an alternate perfect universe in which the piece is still successful and or influential to the culture at large, but you list 26 total differences in which the new version would differ from the original and therefore appeal to you. Today, let us begin our reworking of the Sequel Trilogy by picking up from the previous trilogies and start with the roaring continuation Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens - which is another film I would have workshopped more for the characters before it was released. Where were you in 2015 when this film came out? What about the times you watched every single Star Wars film after the Prequel Trilogy ended in 2005 and while Star Trek began a science fiction rebound in 2009? Me? I was there on opening night to catch The Force Awakens down at the Santikos 19 Silverado Theater in Tomball, Texas. At first, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (20th Century Fox) distributed it, but with the sale of Lucasfilm and all of the future Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies to Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Walt Disney Pictures) in 2012, there was always the tiny feeling that Star Wars was sort of a Disney film waiting to become a Disney film. Lucas himself said Disney might have wanted to make it if Walt Disney himself were still alive, saying that Walt had vision and was not risk averse. In this edition, we are going to take a look at an alternate universe in which Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens has a similar path in terms of development as well as certain author appeal elements that will make it enjoyable and hopefully others are eager to indulge in this and other concepts that would certainly change up the basic story a little drastically. Reflecting how Disney owns Star Wars now yet and how Fox distributed then, this universe would have Disney and Fox both distributing this film on a $155,000,000.00 budget while pushing the limits of PG and PG-13 ratings close to R ratings. Fox would at first retain the North American distribution rights while Disney would have international distribution rights. 1) First off, the film would open with the 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo before fading to black and hearing the 1953 Fox Fanfare with the CinemaScope extension by Alfred Newman over the contemporary Fox logo to see the Lucasfilm logo over the final extension of the fanfare so that it blends almost seamlessly into John Williams' brilliant score. The beginning of the film would play similarly to the version in our universe with the blue on black words "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...." leading into the opening crawl with "Star Wars" and "Episode VII - The Force Awakens" with a new opening crawl that states the galaxy is at peace and the Jedi Knights have returned, but a new faction called the First Order is rising from the ashes of the Galactic Empire to take on the Republic and Luke Skywalker nowhere to be found... 2) It is nighttime on the desert planet of Jakku - site of the final battle between the Rebel Alliance turned New Republic and the Galactic Empire just 29 years ago and about 30 years since the Battle of Endor. In her tent among the villagers of Tuanul of Jakku, defected Imperial Admiral Natasi Daala (Dina Meyer) gives Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Jedi Knight Jacen Solo (Jesse Plemons) a datachip containing part of the map to Luke Skywalker's intended location. She has seen the error of the Empire and knows Luke must come back or else the entire galaxy is doomed. Poe's astromech droid BB-8 alerts them that the First Order has arrived and they need to leave. Jacen and Poe entrust the map to BB-8 as the droid escapes into the desert and they try to fight off the invading First Order attack force landing. 3) Jacen keeps his blue lightsaber at the ready as he dons the helmet of Darth Revan to escape in his TIE/X1 out into space while one Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) comes out of the shuttle along with his Stormtrooper enforcer Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) to take Poe prisoner like in the final film and interrogate both Daala and Lor San Tekka (Max Von Sydow) on the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker before killing them and the rest of the villagers. BB-8 is all alone as Jacen heads back into space on his own while Poe is taken to the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Finalizer for interrogation. In the previous firefight, one Stormtrooper - FN-2187 (John Boyega) realizes the evil of the First Order and resolves to escape. After we see his face, we know that Poe is FN-2187's only hope of escaping the First Order's cruelty and madness. 4) The next day, we meet the scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) like we do in the final film where we see her life is scavenging parts from the Starship Graveyard left by the Battle of Jakku nearly 30 years ago for foodstuff portions provided by junk dealer Unkar Plutt (Simon Pegg) from Niima Outpost. We also see her rescue and take in BB-8 for the time being like in the final film until a major shift in tone with the scene between them and Unkar Plutt. When Unkar offers 60 portions for the droid but Rey steadfastly refuses, he gives her 30 portions anyway for sticking true to a moral code. This makes Unkar Plutt less a complete slave driver and more of a stealth mentor for her. Back aboard the Finalizer, FN-2187 rescues Poe and they steal a TIE fighter to go back to the surface of Jakku to recover BB-8 and escape the Jakku system. 5) Renamed Finn by his new friend Poe, FN-2187 takes the name of Finn and they are shot down to crash in the desert of Jakku where both Poe and Finn escape to Niima Outpost where the First Order has tracked BB-8 and Rey down as they attempt to fight off local thugs and even Stormtroopers. Knowing they need a ship, the band of four heroes (Rey, Finn, Poe and BB-8) are directed by Unkar Plutt to a certain Corellian YT-1300 model freighter that they use to escape the TIE squadrons sent down from the Finalizer. In the chase through the Starship Graveyard, Rey pilots the ship through while Bill Conti's piece "Keep Your Hair On" from the 1981 James Bond outing For Your Eyes Only plays as Finn and Poe man the gunports to destroy the TIE fighters and navigate the downed Rebel cruisers and Imperial star destroyers. 6) Before our heroes left Niima Outpost in the Corellian freighter, Unkar Plutt says to himself "May the Force be with you, Kira Rey ..." yet we do not hear the last part of the sentence to preserve the surprise revelation about Rey's parentage for the end of the film. Aboard the freighter, Rey introduces herself to Finn and Poe who introduce themselves to her as they try to figure out how to work and repair the ship when they are drawn aboard a bigger freighter and are boarded by its captain and his Wookiee copilot - Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). When Han says "Chewie, we're home.", that is when we realize the Corellian freighter has been the Millennium Falcon all along. Finn and Rey are awestruck by this revelation as Poe tells Han they managed to rescue the Falcon from scrapping on Jakku. 7) The scenes with Han and Chewie meeting the others plays similarly to the final film. Poe is soon talking with Han and Chewie as they are old family friends when Han notices something familiar about Rey when rumbling sounds from the freighter they are on echo. It turns out the Guavian Death Gang under Bala-Tik (Brian Vernel), Kanjiklub under Tasu Leech (Yayan Ruhian), the Ohnaka Gang and the Bounty Hunters' Guild are boarding their freighter Eravana to collect loans Han owes them as Han tries to figure out a way to escape by siccing the cargo of Rathtars on the criminal gangs. The gangs scene plays out similar to the final film with Hondo Ohnaka (Hugo Weaving) trying to coax Han into going back to Leia before it really is too late. After many closes shaves and calls, our heroes escape aboard the Falcon into hyperspace. 8) Bala-Tik informs the First Order that the droid they are looking for is aboard the Millennium Falcon and heading who knows where. Kylo, Phasma and their associate General Armitage Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) report to their superior Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) on the location of the droid as Snoke sends Hux and Phasma to prepare their capital planet/superweapon Starkiller Base for an attack to see what the New Republic and its forces are made of. Knowing Skywalker and the Jedi pose a grave threat to the First Order, Snoke tasks Kylo with hunting down those who helped the droid escape their grasp - among them Finn, Poe and the scavenger from Jakku. Kylo leaves for the Finalizer to meet up with Phasma for some down time before he goes off in search of the droid and its guardians now loose among the stars. 9) Han and Rey take the Falcon to the Middle Rim planet of Takodana for servicing and getting both BB-8 and Poe aboard a clean and unmarked transport for the New Republic's Resistance base on D'Qar. Rey is still reluctant to leave Jakku behind for too long as she is supposed to wait for her family to return for her and she has been away for far too long. Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) is their only hope as they approach her mammoth castle and seek her services. While inside the castle cantina, several smugglers and bounty hunters alert both the Resistance and the First Order that the droid they are looking for has been found. Across space on Starkiller Base, Hux denounces the Republic and Resistance as the throngs of forces at their disposal target and charge the weapon for the New Republic capital in the Hosnian system. 10) It is here that we learn multiple alien races are under the thrall of the First Order - the Chiss Ascendancy of Csilla, some captured and enslaved Yuuzhan Vong of Yuuzhan'tar, the Killik Hive formerly of the late Alderaan, the Ssi-Ruuk of Lwhekk and the Yevetha League of N'zoth. Even Dark Side cults like the Order of the Sith Lords, Disciples of Ragnos, Prophets/Church of the Dark Side and the new Knights of Ren serve to help fire Starkiller Base's superlaser-like weapon on Hosnian Prime via a sub-Hyperspace rift. The weapon destroys every planet in the Hosnian system along with the primary New Republic Defense Fleet protecting them. But the Republic had been counting on this - and had the courts, senate and chancellor plus their cabinet spread out across space with local planet offices. Decapitating the New Republic turned into a bloody nose. 11) Finn is still hoping to just run from the First Order and hide when the destruction of the Hosnian system is felt and seen across the galaxy by way of the rift across sub-Hyperspace being seen in the atmospheres of every planet that detects light from the system. In another system on an uncharted water planet, a grizzled old man in Jedi robes sees the destruction of the Hosnian system and uses the Force to lift an Incom T-65B X-Wing starfighter out of the water and onto a dry and flat rock outcropping as he fixes it up and boards it to take off from the planet. Like in the film, Rey finds the Skywalker lightsaber in a chest underneath the castle and receives Force visions of the Skywalker bloodline for both good and bad as the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Rey these are her first steps towards becoming a Jedi Knight. 12) One of these is of Kylo Ren and several students slaughtering students of one of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Temples and burning the temple to the ground as they go off to terrorize the galaxy. But a few figures rally around a younger Rey to protect her from Kylo - three boys and a girl who could be her cousins. Maz tells Rey that whomever she is waiting for on Jakku is never coming back - but she knows someone who could. Rey believes it to be Luke and is not sure whether she should take the Skywalker lightsaber seeing that it belonged to him, but Maz convinces her to take it and use the Force to go home while helping others find their way home and out of the way of the First Order. That will have to wait for now as forces of both the Resistance and the First Order descend on Takodana intent on getting the map and BB-8. 13) Rey goes off into the woods to create a distraction for Kylo Ren so Finn, Poe, Han and the others will only need to fight Stormtroopers. Rey uses the landscape and terrain to her advantage, but Kylo uses brute Dark Side strength and telekinesis to disarm her and render her unconscious to take as a captive back to his shuttle up for the Finalizer. Help arrives in the form of a TIE/X1 leading Resistance starfighters to rescue our heroes and landing at the ruins of Maz's castle. Among pilots who led the charge are Jacen, Jaina Solo (Elizabeth Olsen), Anakin Solo (Jake Abel) and Ben Skywalker (Ross Lynch) - who reunite with their father or uncle Han as their mother or aunt General Leia Organa Solo (Carrie Fisher) demolishes First Order forces with her lightsaber. The kids and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) watch as Han and Leia reunite. 14) When Han reveals to Leia that he saw their eldest son a few moments before carrying Rey; Jaina, Jacen and Anakin realize their elder brother has taken their cousin Rey who is Ben Skywalker's sister to Starkiller Base. Poe speaks up for Finn when he tells Leia that he wants to go rescue Rey. Maz tells them all they need to get back to the Resistance's base on D'Qar first to plot their next move on the First Order. On Starkiller Base, Rey wakes up to find herself in a vast auditorium with only Kylo Ren and Phasma as company. As Kylo begins to probe her mind using the Force from a distance, he unlocks Rey's memories and unleashes both of their fears and forgotten pasts. Rey tells Kylo that he is afraid he could never surpass their grandfather Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and calls him by his real name of Ben Solo. 15) Kylo denounces the name until Rey tells him he does not need the mask and that the face she sees is that of a lost and scared child - her eldest cousin. Upon this revelation, Ben Solo deduces that this scavenger is his cousin Kira Rey Skywalker. Unlocked in her new Force potential now that she is regaining her memories, Rey tells both her cousin Ben and Phasma that Snoke is only using them for their power and hatred. When Snoke finally achieves ultimate power, he'll have no more use for the two of them. Poor Ben believes it is too late for him, but Rey beseeches him to come back with her to his family - to their family. Phasma begins to see the point and advantages when Rey notices her and she calls Phasma her cousin Ben's girlfriend. This leaves the poor man lost between the identities of Ben Solo and Kylo Ren. 16) In the persona of Kylo Ren, he tells Snoke that the scavenger from Jakku resisted him by being strong in the Force despite being untrained without letting on her real identity. He promises he can get the map to Skywalker from the girl while Hux begins preparations for charging the weapon to destroy the Resistance's base on D'Qar to prevent them from getting to Skywalker before they do. On D'Qar, BB-8 delivers the rest of the map to R2-D2 who has woken up from a low-power state and Finn lays out the strengths and weaknesses of Starkiller Base. It draws the power of nearby suns similar to the Star Forge from the Sith Empire era under Darth Malak to power a weapon capable of tearing rifts in hyperspace to destroy worlds. This creates wounds in the Force that over time could sever the bonds of their entire galaxy. 17) Han, Chewie and Finn volunteer for a mission to bring down Starkiller Base's shields and rescue Rey while Poe will accompany the X-Wing, Y-Wing, A-Wing and B-Wing squadrons under Jacen, Leia, Anakin, Jaina and Ben to destroy Starkiller Base with 3PO riding as Leia's gunner again. Before they prepare for the battle, Han talks with his family about how Ben Solo - Han and Leia's eldest son - fell to the Dark Side and whether he can still be saved. Jaina wonders if her eldest brother had too much of when their grandfather Anakin Skywalker was Darth Vader in him, but Leia has already forgiven her birth father by saying it was Snoke who seduced her son Ben to the Dark Side and that she should not have abandoned him. As they try to figure things out, Han does not let on that he is terminally ill with a rare genetic cancer. 18) The only one who knows about his illness is Chewbacca, and they put it out of mind to start the mission. Han, Chewie and Finn bring the Falcon out of lightspeed behind Starkiller Base's shields in time to pull up and make an adequate landing on the base's surface. In the meantime, Rey tricks Stormtrooper FN-1824/JB-007 (Daniel Craig) into letting her go and telling him to escape while he still can as she tries to find a way out. Like the film, Finn worked in sanitation and knows his way around Starkiller Base in order to find Phasma and get her to lower the shields. Phasma actually wishes to defect to the Resistance and offers her help to Han and Finn in exchange for saving her beloved Kylo from doing something he could not live with. Han is surprised to meet the girlfriend of his eldest son trying to help them. 19) Lowering the shields of Starkiller Base and ditching her armor, Phasma knocks a smarmy officer out and puts her armor on him to send them both down a trash compactor to throw surveillance off the scent. As they work their way to finding Rey when Rey finds them, the Resistance fighter squadrons launch to commence the attack on Starkiller Base and bring it down before it can destroy D'Qar. Reunited with Han, Chewie, Finn and Phasma; Rey joins them in journeying to the thermal oscillator to plant the explosives and open up a pathway to destroy the base as Kylo goes hunting for his prey having escaped. As they finish planting the explosives, Han notices Kylo on a bridge overlooking the shaft of the oscillator and calls out to him by his real name of Ben. Already unsure of himself, Ben meets his father halfway. 20) Like in the final film, Han tries to get his son to come back to his family and throws in the fact that he is eager to get to know his son's new girlfriend. Ben tells his father he's being torn apart and wants to be free of his pain, but then senses the cancer in his father that only Chewie knows about. He wants to end his father's pain, so Ben commits Jedi/Sith-assisted euthanasia on his father with his lightsaber much to Finn and Rey's horror who think Kylo is murdering Han. Their final exchange is Ben saying "I love you, Dad." and Han saying "I know, Son. I know." before the younger Solo carries his father's body over to the side and drops him in to give a warrior's funeral drop into the shaft. Unable to help that last piece of anger, Chewie fires his bowcaster at essentially his godson's abdomen side and detonates the explosives. 21) From D'Qar, Admiral Gial Ackbar (Erik Bauersfield) senses changes in the Force felt by 3PO, Leia, Jacen, Poe, Anakin, Jaina and Ben Skywalker as they feel Han's death and the torment inside Ben Solo who wishes to embrace the identity of Kylo Ren. Chewbacca and Phasma rush back to the Falcon to get it to Finn and Rey when Kylo confronts them. Up above, Poe leads the fighter attack to fly inside and destroy the thermal oscillator and begin the collapse of Starkiller Base just as it was finishing up charging and preparing to fire its weapon. Everyone aboard the base rushes to escape as Hux informs Snoke of the planet's imminent collapse when Snoke tells him to evacuate and bring Kylo Ren to their true capital on Mustafar to complete the training. In the snow forest, Rey pleads with Kylo to fight Snoke's control over him. 22) There is a rearrangement of lines between Finn and Kylo as the dialogue goes "'That lightsaber. It belongs to me!' 'Come get it!' 'TRAITOR!'" followed by raging incoherent screaming from Kylo as he draws on the Dark Side to try and kill Finn for his part in betraying and defeating the First Order. After Finn is critically injured, Rey would wake up and use the Force to summon the Skywalker lightsaber to her side as she duels her own cousin. Kylo pours his wrath on against his own cousin believing her power to be a wound in the Force threatening them when a green lightsaber ignites to come to Rey's defense. It is her father - Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), having returned at last. Luke apologizes for not having come back for his daughter sooner, but Rey is just too relieved that her father would ever come back for her at all. 23) Just as Rey gets her second wind thanks to Luke's arrival and is able to push Kylo Ren back and injure him, the voices of Sith and Dark Side wielders past beckon Rey to kill her own cousin Ben Solo. Luke pleads with Rey that she is stronger than the Dark Side and she must fight being consumed by it - which she does by turning her lightsaber off and going back for Finn as Luke and Rey are separated from their opponent. Luke rushes back to his X-Wing and guides the Falcon to it as Chewie helps Rey carry Finn aboard and close the hatch door in time. With the Resistance's job done, Leia and 3PO lead the others in launching back for D'Qar as Hux's shuttle rescues Kylo to bring to the Finalizer. Both fleets escape in time as Starkiller Base implodes on itself to become a bright glowing yellow star that it once drew matter from. 24) At D'Qar, the surviving Resistance/Jedi Order/Republic fleets as well as former Imperial fleets that joined the Republic/Resistance/Jedi against the First Order welcome the return of Luke Skywalker as he reunites with his sister Leia. He and Rey apologize for not being able to save Han and Ben Solo, but they have a new ally in Phasma who was hoping to save Ben turned Kylo from Snoke's influence. Luke takes Rey to meet her elder brother Ben Skywalker and her cousins Jaina, Jacen and Anakin Solo. In dueling scenes, Finn is put in a flexpoly bacta suit aboard the medical frigate Redemption to recover from injuries he sustained in his battle with Kylo Ren while Kylo himself is placed in a bacta tank aboard the Finalizer en route for Snoke's castle on Moraband. The revelation that Luke has returned means something big. 25) It will take some time for the First Order to regroup and rebuild their forces to launch an offensive across the galaxy to destroy their enemies, but they must hurry to find a new secret base before the First Order arrives at D'Qar. But Luke may have found the perfect sanctuary - the planet Ahch-To, home of the first Jedi Temple ever built. He went there seeking answers and managed to find them there. They can make it there and hunker down to rebuild and regroup there while a few smaller Resistance fleets could throw the First Order fleets off the scent. Knowing Rey's Jedi training is incomplete; Jacen, Jaina, Anakin and Ben Skywalker offer to help Luke and Leia train her on Ahch-To to gain better insight and find a new fortress away from Snoke's influence. With that, our heroes begin the evacuation of planet D'Qar. 26) Luke's X-Wing, Leia's Y-Wing and the Millennium Falcon lead the main Republic/Resistance/Jedi fleet through hyperspace to the water world of Ahch-To from before where the X-Wing took off from after seeing across space the destruction of the Hosnian system. The Force grows strong in everyone as people start unloading cargo onto various rock islands of Ahch-To and Rey joins Jaina, Jacen, Anakin and her brother Ben at the Jedi Temple with Luke and Leia. When asked why she would risk her life to escape Jakku and help those in need by wanting to train as a Jedi, Rey states "Something that's always been inside me has awoken. I need someone to show me my place in all of this...". In response, Luke smiles nervously and asks "Where do we start, my daughter?" as they look towards an Ahch-To sunrise. Roll credits. And that's another edition of How I Would Write & Make for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015). It strays a good deal from the original version, and yet gives just enough to make it feel fresher and more innovative in my opinion. As much as I adore Rey and believe she works as a hero for the next generation of Star Wars fans, I also understand where those who cannot completely get behind her and call her a "Mary Sue" are coming from as they appreciate a hero who struggles and loses so that their victories mean more. That is why I am making her the daughter of Luke and Mara Jade and the younger sister of Ben Skywalker from the Legends continuity. More familial revelations will come and we will see many more Force abilities in the HIWWAM entries for Episodes VIII and IX which delve into the Force more. I also take some contention with Luke's character in The Last Jedi, so let this be a blueprint for how I would have done things. A major flaw of the original Empire is its rampant xenophobia, racism and misogyny. So I added to the First Order more alien races from the Legends continuity like the Yuuzhan Vong, the Chiss, the Killiks, the Ssi-Ruuk and Yevetha to give off a Dominion vibe echoing Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as an alliance of evil aligned against our heroes. This is just an Alternate Universe that I have proposed which is fun to imagine if things turned out differently. But as TV Tropes gleefully points out, Your Mileage May Vary on this - so fellow Jedi Councilors, let me know what your opinions on this idea would be and feel free to offer your ideas on how you would change this film if you wanted to or politely point out what you don't like about my ideas for the saga starting with this film.