The Force Awakens jumped to Blu-Ray, and the success the film enjoyed in its theatrical run has already transferred to the home media market. That feat becomes all the more impressive when considering that the Blu-Ray transfer actually leaked on the internet over a week before release, and had a whopping 250,000 downloads within the first few hours.
Yet, for all the hype and anticipation for the seventh Star Wars outing coming home, and despite a fine documentary on the making-of, The Force Awakens Blu-Ray is missing some very key features. Besides the whitewashing of the documentary (nothing on Lucas’s original concept for a sequel trilogy which he sold to Disney, no appearances from writer Michael Arndt), the disc set comes up short on several obvious fronts. Most notably, a reported 20 minutes of footage was cut, only about four of which appear on the disc.
10. Unkar Plutt loses an Arm
A combination of Watto and Jabba the Hutt, Unkar Plutt embodies slime on a desert planet as Rey’s taskmaster in The Force Awakens. We still don’t know who left Rey on Jakku as a child, or why someone would choose to leave her with a sadist like Plutt. What The Force Awakens left out, even on Blu-Ray, was Rey’s vindication toward Plutt.
As described in the novelization of the film, Plutt arrives on Takodana, home of Maz Kanata seeking the stolen Millennium Falcon. He attacks Rey, which runs him afoul with Chewbacca. Chewie reacts as Wookies do, by tearing Plutt’s arm off! The scene likely saw the scissors because of excess violence and character assassination. It’s one thing to hear about a cuddly giant like Chewie getting aggressive; it’s another to see him dismember someone.
9. Maz Kanata Uses The Force
Sophia Petrillo doppelganger Maz Kanata adds a hint of mystery to the film. As played by Lupita Nyong’o, the 1,000 year old Maz tries to inspire Rey and Finn to follow the paths of their destinies, and in particular, pushes Rey to learn about the Force.
A deleted scene showed Maz knew what she was talking about! A portion of it does appear on the Blu-Ray, when Maz and Han confront a team of stormtroopers in the bowels of her castle. The scene originally ended with Maz using the Force to fight the troopers, going so far as to have the ceiling collapse on them. That poses major significance in Star Wars canon, since Maz would have been the first non-Jedi good character (Asoka Tano doesn’t count…she studied Jedi training) to use the Force in battle. The omission also comes following reports of Nyong’o and J.J. Abrams struggling to use the motion capture effects properly, thus significantly reducing Maz’s role. Abrams originally wanted Maz embodied by a puppet until the VFX team convinced him the limitations on the technology would have hurt the character.
8. Snoke Tells the Story of Darth Vader
Supreme Leader Snoke takes over the role of big-bad from Emperor Palpatine, manipulating Ben Solo/Kylo Ren into becoming something of an Emo villain. Originally some of Snoke’s dialogue make Kylo Ren come off even more Emo-sulky-crazy!
One scene on the Blu-Ray originally featured a voice over from Snoke, warning Kylo Ren to “not get sentimental.” That’s the payoff to a cut bit from earlier in the film, where Ren and Snoke discuss the failure of Darth Vader to kill Luke. A portion of the audio appears in the first trailer: “have you felt it? The Dark Side, and the Light…” Originally Snoke told Ren that Vader failed because he got sentimental. Given the clunkiness of the dialogue, maybe cutting the scene was for the best.
7. Commentary, 3-D Options And Other Blu-Ray Standards
Ok, so just to begin with the obvious: Disney marketed the film heavily in IMAX 3-D, and even filmed the movie for the format. So then, why do none of the copious numbers of DVD, Blu-Ray or digital download options feature a 3-D version of the film? Likewise, director J.J. Abrams, writers Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan, and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy don’t offer anything in the way of commentary tracks for the film. Take that as an obvious hint from Disney: another version of the Blu-Ray is on the way, possibly to coincide with the release of Rogue One this Christmas, or to build anticipation for next year’s Episode VIII. The same could probably be said for any of the items on this list.
Delightful how the studios withholding features becomes fuel for fans coughing up more money to buy multiple discs over time, isn’t it? They just can’t bleed fans enough!
6. Maz Visits The Resistance Base
As scripted, following the battle on Takodana, Maz would have accompanied Finn, Han, Chewie and Leia to the Resistance base on D’Qar. A portion of the scene appears in the trailer, when Maz hands Luke’s lightsaber to Leia.
Because of the same problems with Maz’s VFX, and because Maz didn’t really serve a function at the base, her scenes there ended up on the cutting room floor. Given that she did little but sit around, that might be for the best.
5. Korr Sella
The casting of Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Resistance envoy to the Republic, Korr Sella picked up a good deal of media attention in 2014, in part by design. The Force Awakens had come under fire for a lack of female characters in the plot (the same outcry was what prompted the gender change and casting of Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma). Korr Sella was said to have a pivotal role in the film.
So where is she? In the final cut, we only glimpse at her just before the destruction of the Senate on Hosnian Prime. Richardson-Sellers’ role was originally much larger, and she had several pivotal scenes, including one that actually explained the role of the Resistance in relation to the Republic, and Leia’s role in both.
4. Kylo in the Woods
Perhaps the most iconic and talked about shot in the entire first trailer showed Kylo Ren igniting his janky crossguard lightsaber in the snowy woods outside Starkiller Base. Said shot does not appear in the final film.
Abrams has given vague answers as to why the scene ended up cut. Maybe that’s because it was filmed for the trailer more than the movie?
3. The Journey of the Lightsaber
Early drafts of The Force Awakens did not feature BB-8 holding a map to Luke. Instead, BB-8 actually had his lost lightsaber–the same one Rey now finds in Maz’s castle–hidden inside. This changed before filming, in part to diminish the question of how BB-8 ended up with the saber at all.
But how did Maz get it? Though she punts the question in the film, Rey’s flashback, as detailed in the script, provided an explanation. A scavenger on the surface of Bespin recovered it, sold it, and eventually it ended up in Maz’s hands. Here’s hoping there’s a better explanation than that in a future movie!
2. Constable Zuvio
He gets an action figure, he appears in promotional materials, and he’s not even in the movie!
Constable Zuvio featured in some brief scenes on Jakku, as a sort of local sheriff. Aliens originally tried to steal BB-8 from Rey, and Zuvio broke up the fight. His scenes probably got cut to improve the pace of the film, since Rey’s adventure doesn’t really begin until she gets off Jakku with Finn. That, and Zuvio kind of looked like a guy in a rubber suit rather than an alien.
1. A Conversation between Luke & Rey
Debate rages on as to Rey’s true identity, and if, in fact, she’s Luke Skywalker’s daughter. Did The Force Awakens originally answer that question?
Plot leaks as late as the week the film opened claimed that the movie originally had a much longer ending. To some extent, the crew has confirmed as much, though in vague terms. As initially envisioned, Rey would have found Luke atop the cliffs of Ach-To, and handed him the lightsaber. As she did, she would have asked “are you my father?”
Luke would solemnly tell her: “yes.”
The two would then have a longer fight about why he abandoned her on Jakku, which Luke would tell her was for her own protection from Kylo Ren. Rey would then go sit on the edge of the cliff, and look out over the sea.
If true, it’s possible that Abrams omitted this scene because it was too big a reveal for the very end of the film. That, and Star Wars films have a history of ending with scenes that have no dialogue, so it’s possible he wanted to follow the trend. Disney has also confirmed that plot choices in The Force Awakens demanded a quick rewrite on Episode VIII, and that in a most peculiar move, the next film will open with the final scene of The Force Awakens.