Let’s break down what didn’t make it into Episode 8.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi became available on Digital HD on March 13th, with its bonus content including 14 deleted scenes (also available with audio commentary).
We went through and watched all 14 to pull out what we consider the four best scenes that were cut — as well as the one that really was a chore to get through. Here’s a recap of what they are, as well as director Rian Johnson’s stated reasons for axing them.
Luke Has a Moment:
In the chronology of the Ahch-To plotline, this scene takes place after Luke has learned the answer to his question “Where’s Han?” The theatrical version ends with Luke telling Rey, who is there to recruit him back into the cause, “You don’t need Luke Skywalker.” In this deleted scene, Luke then enters his hut, where some of his belongings are laid out on a table, and allows himself a quiet but emotional moment. Given that Luke just learned of Han’s death moments before, this serves as a chance to show Luke grieving the loss of his brother-in-law and friend.
It’s also noteworthy that this deleted scene ends by cutting from Luke to Leia deep in thought, implying that she too is mourning Han. In the theatrical version, however, the cut to Leia suggests she’s fretting about the Resistance and the immediate peril they’re in.
“We ended up doing a lot less big interconnecting between the storylines as we cut the movie. We realized we wanted to put sequences together and stay in the same place for longer,” director Rian Johnson explained in his commentary. “At some point we realized we just wanted to keep going with this story and it made sense to lose this so we could straight into their day on the island. But the collateral damage of that was losing this beautiful performance from Mark, which is not only gorgeous where he gets a moment alone but was then originally designed to cut with this shot of Carrie, the matching cut showing these two just having a moment alone mourning.”
Caretaker Village Sequence:
“This was probably the biggest scene that we cut out,” Johnson explained. “We went back and forth on whether to actually do it for awhile for a lot of reasons. … Taken on its own I love everything in here, but first of all pacing-wise there was always something about it that kind of stuck.” Johnson felt that the scene helped motivate both Rey being more open to Kylo later on and Luke’s reconnection to the Force, but that by cutting after Rey tells Luke she won’t betray him like Kylo did “worked just as well — in a different way.”
The most notable deleted scene between Luke and Rey takes place following his recollection of how Ben Solo turned on him. They see boats arriving on the shores, which Luke says belongs to a neighboring tribe that raids the Caretaker Village every month looking for supplies. Rey wants to intervene but Luke says that it’s not the Jedi way, as the old tomes in the tree library would confirm. Rey doesn’t heed him and bolts across the hillside and the rock-laden water, lit lightsaber in hand. She literally slashes her way into the Caretaker Village only to discover that it’s not a raiding party at all but just … a party.
The villagers are essentially having the Star Wars version of a ceilidh, a Scottish or Irish social event full of music and dancing. (There’s even a version of bagpipe music playing.) Chewbacca and R2-D2 are also there. Needless to say, the partygoers are stunned by Rey’s violent entrance and the festivities don’t resume until she pumps her lightsaber in the air.
Rey then confronts Luke when he arrives. He can’t help but laugh at having a joke at her expense but she’s livid. Luke tells her that her instinct to charge into battle is what the Resistance needs and not “a failed old husk of a religion.” Rey berates him, saying that real friends of theirs are dying. She ends with telling him that the legend of Luke Skywalker was something she believed in but now admits, “I was wrong.” This visibly moves Luke. Perhaps he realizes that while the Jedi may not be needed by the Resistance perhaps the guy who blew up the Death Star is.
Mega Destroyer Incursion Extended:
“It’s a section of the movie where we just had to move things along and the instant we lifted it out — even though it felt like a knife going in my heart to take it out — it was immediately apparent the whole movie moved better without it,” director Rian Johnson said in the commentary.
Johnson said this was one of his favorite sequences in the movie but that it was necessary to cut for pacing purposes. Johnson said Rick Heinrichs’s set drew inspiration from Jack Lemmon’s workplace in the classic film The Apartment, and revealed this is where the First Order “bean counters” toil away aboard Snoke’s mega destroyer. Dressed as First Order personnel, Finn, Rose, BB-8, and DJ make their way to the elevator, narrowly missing getting busted by Ralph Ineson’s senior officer. As it turns out that’s where our heroes’ problems really begin.
The second part of this extended sequence sees the elevator stop and a whole team of stormtroopers get on, lining up behind our heroes. One stormtrooper — who speaks with a good ol’ boy drawl — recognizes Finn as FN-2187. In the tense, drawn out interaction that follows, it looks like Finn and Co. are in real danger. Rose even slowly reaches for her blaster before DJ stops her. That’s when it turns out this stormtrooper isn’t busting Finn — he’s breaking protocol by speaking to an officer. He’s wowed by his former fellow stormtrooper making it to that rank despite never striking him as “captain material.”
And who is this stormtrooper? His designation is 926 and he’s played by none other than Tom Hardy. 926 knew FN-2187 from Induct Camp where they both hailed from Batch Eight. “Batch Eight! Heigh-Ho!” 926 even gives Finn an athlete-like slap on the butt at the end. And even with his face entirely covered by a mask, Tom Hardy still proves an intimidating screen presence. Hardy wasn’t the only notable person to cameo as a stormtrooper in this scene. British Princes William and Harry also reportedly appear.
Phasma Squealed Like a Whoop Hog:
“I love that we’re calling out that Phamsa flipped like a wooden nickel in The Force Awakens and that that’s coming back to roost,” Johnson chuckled during his commentary. Cut by Johnson due to length and pacing issues, this scene features the original version of Finn’s showdown with Captain Phasma and her onscreen death. Many fans find this scene — which first came to light via The Star Wars Show — superior to the final Finn vs. Phasma scene that ended up in the theatrical version, which Rian Johnson said in the commentary here was done as a pickup shot.
Not only is this scene longer than the theatrical version but it also shows the lengths Phasma will go to cover her ass. After Finn outs her as the traitor who lowered Starkiller Base’s shields for the Resistance in The Force Awakens, she quick-draws her blaster and kills her own stormtroopers to cover it up. But her victory proves short-lived.
Finn charges her, managing to sever Phasma’s gun hand and ultimately blasts her over the edge. Unlike in the theatrical version where she falls into a fiery abyss, this version leaves Phasma’s ultimate fate more open-ended.
WORST DELETED SCENE: Extended Fathier Chase
“There’s a lot of good stuff that you cut out because it kind of hits the point of diminishing returns,” said Johnson. “You kind of have to pick your battles and figure out what belongs there.”
If you thought you wanted even more of that fathier chase scene through Canto Bight — much, much more — then you’re in luck. The worst deleted scene included in The Last Jedi home release is the first cut version of the chase, which runs a near-untenable six minutes and twenty-five seconds. No, seriously, this version is way, way too long despite offering fans even more looks at Canto Bight’s many costumes and creatures (albeit with many of the latter still in unfinished visual effect: form).
For more on the Last Jedi deleted scenes, here’s a full recap of each one on the home video release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Johnson’s reasons for cutting them.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will become available on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and On-Demand on March 27.
For more on The Last Jedi and Star Wars, check out our comparison of Luke and Rey’s cave visions and the different options Johnson considered for Rey’s parents.