Coulda Woulda Shoulda: If YOU Had Control of the Sequel Trilogy

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Coulda Woulda Shoulda: If YOU Had Control of the Sequel Trilogy

The Saxman

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Post by The Saxman » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:15 pm

Here's a fun thought exercise I had yesterday after a discussion on Facebook. If you were the one in charge of plotting the direction of the Sequel Trilogy, what would you have done differently? What would you have kept the same? What sort of story beats would you have followed?

I think I might have started with a status quo similar to NJO. The New Republic and Empire are now at peace, with the Jedi reestablished under the direction of Luke Skywalker. Leia, now growing older, has largely retired from politics to raise her family with Han. Luke could be assisted in running the Jedi with a nucanon version of Mara Jade, having determined the whole "Jedi don't have families" nonsense as just as stupid as it was in the Prequels. Most importantly, THE TRIO ARE TOGETHER because that's what fans wanted to see in the FIRST place. Poe Dameron is a squadron leader in the New Republic fleet. There is NO Resistance, just the Republic.

The Empire has been reduced to a fragment of its former self, and plagued by infighting. A few hardliners argue against normalizing relations with the New Republic, with some more progressives pushing for closer ties. Most of the leadership is somewhere in the middle. The remainder of the Imperial Starfleet is lead by a Nucanon version of Grand Admiral Pellaeon, a pragmatist who supports the Imperial progressives, recognizing that a normal diplomatic relationship with the Republic is vital to the Empire's survival.

The First Order would fulfill a similar role as the Vong did in NJO. They would be band of renegade extremists that withdrew into the far reaches of the Galaxy after the Battle of Jakku ended the Civil War, and quietly began establishing themselves at the edge of the Outer Rim under Snoke's leadership. They would be very clearly distinct from the Empire (basically, the Empire is mostly made up of the decent people who genuinely tried to do right, and weren't aware of just how bad the Emperor really was. The First Order got the likes of Tarkin). The Knights of Ren — a sect of fallen Jedi, corrupted students from Luke's school, and other Dark Side users either left over from the days of the Empire/Old Republic or recruited by Snoke — would be a direct presence and a primary threat.

The basic plot is the First Order invading the Republic, the Republic fighting back, and the Empire forced to decide whether to ally with the Republic or First Order, or to wait on the sidelines to see what happened. The Knights of Ren would be the prominent antagonists driving the conflict, rather than background characters with Kylo Ren as the token representative. I'd drop the plot points over-relying on nostalgia; IE Starkiller Base, the orphan hero(ine) from a desert planet, etc. I'd probably even have the Republic fly something OTHER fighter as their primary, ideally the E-wing (using my design, obviously).

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Post by DTM » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:21 pm

My version would have been very different from what we saw. I would have looked for new ways ...

After ROTJ the empire crumbled quickly. The Committee for the reconstruction of the Republic found the support of the officers of the former imperial navy, who became officers of the New Republic. The heroic actions of Luke and Leia were sacrificed in the name of a new democratic order: as sons of Darth Vader, the new political leaders obtained the exile of the twins, who for years disappeared in the unknown regions. The Jedi Order was founded again, but not by Luke. The new Order was politically controlled and classified as the "Guard of the Senate" . They were no longer the Guardians of Peace and Justice. They were a military Order, Guardians of the Republic.

After twenty years the Republic had become a false democracy, protected by the Order of the "Gray Jedi". The Chancellor was revered as a benefactor by the rich peoples of the central territories, but the Outer Rim regions were exploited and oppressed. Few people realized that the New Republic was the Heir of the Empire.
This "Resistance" was a humanitarian organization, officially tolerated by the Senate. In reality, the Gray Jedi were ordered to hunt down the resistance leaders, who remained secret.

Something happens at the beginning of the movie, and the resistance becomes officially the enemy of the New Republic. During a space battle, the Gray Jedi destroy the resistance fleet and their headquarter, killing many civilians.
A small group of survivers (the new protagonists, who somehow met during the battle) go in search of the mysterious leaders of the resistance, who, faced with the precipitate of events, are forced to fight in the first person. Guess who are the leaders of the Resistance ...
A clash begins between the Chancellor with the Gray Jedi and our heroes, old and new ones, who in the time of exile had secretly founded the true Order of the Jedi.

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Post by Trevor » Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:20 pm

I like both these stories and yet they are polar opposites.

I think I relate more toward the first one but that's probably because of old EU (particularly Rogue Squadron)

what both stories have that Canon doesn't is believability.

In Canon BOTH exist in a state that doesn't make any sense.
-Why would the peacfull republic have a Resistance, and why would the republic not see the First order as a major threat?

By removing either of these makes the rest fall into place.

alos the use of "starkiller base" ruined it for me. (well, OK, it didn't totally ruin it, I still watched them and will still watch them)


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Post by The Saxman » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:37 pm

Incidentally, this is my rough draft for my spin on The Force Awakens:

The movie begins with the Republic and Empire at relative peace, the latter having largely withdrawn into isolation. Though both sides maintain a tense watch on their borders, there have been no noteworthy incidents, but also only minimal interchange between the two powers. The Republic maintains most of its defense fleet along the Imperial border, with only token defense forces elsewhere.

Rey is an orphan, growing up on a backwater world at the edge of the Republic. Once the site of a major battle between the Republic and Imperial Remnant, most of what is left is the wreckage dotting the grasslands and forests. Notably, this is NOT a desert world, though the areas around where some of the larger ships crashed is devastated and only slowly being reclaimed. There's a token military presence of a single fighter wing under the command of Commander Poe Dameron, a talented pilot, but a bit of a hothead who is too invaluable to let go, but too insubordinate to give an important posting, so was more or less exiled by General Wedge Antilles, head of New Republic Starfighter Command. They're equipped with late-model T-65Js (considering F-15s are still the backbone of the USAF after 30 years of service, there's no reason why the T-65 wouldn't still be in service).

While the Republic has grown complacent, deep in the outermost fringes of the galaxy a new power has been growing over the decades following the end of the Galactic Civil War. The First Order, founded by hardline Imperialists who refused to accept the peace treaty and broke away from the Imperial Remnant, has been secretly marshaling its forces in the depths of the Outer Rim. Supreme Leader Snoke, from his flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Supremacy, (I'd use the Eclipse-class from the old EU as the inspiration) has determined the time is right to reclaim the Empire for themselves, and dispatches General Hux to begin a long-planned assault on the Republic. Their first target is the defense post where Poe's fighter wing is stationed. Choosing not to release their full strength immediately, Hux commits a small force of two Star Destroyers with their consorts and drop ships.

A furious dogfight breaks out as Poe's vastly outnumbered fighters scramble to repel the assault. They put up stiff resistance and manage to inflict heavy losses on the First Order fighters and maul one of the Star Destroyers, but are ultimately wiped out. Poe himself is shot down in a desperate effort to draw swarms of TIE fighters off the rest of his people in hopes some can escape to warn the Republic. His fighter is crippled, but he manages to down all of his pursusers. Unfortunately, the effort is wasted; his fighter wing is annihilated, and Poe crash-lands on Rey's home world. With the Republic military presence in the system destroyed, Hux begins landing his troops. The Stormtroopers, under command of the brutally efficient Phasma, overwhelm the meager militia forces that make up the planet's surface defenders, though one trooper, FN-2187, panics under fire.

Rey, having witnessed the dogfight in the air above, and hearing the surface battle, emerges from hiding after the chaos dies down. By chance she stumbles across a downed Republic X-wing, whose wounded pilot is alive, but unconscious. It's Poe Dameron. She manages to drag him out of the fighter before its fuel tanks explode, and hides him in her home. His astromech, BB-8, follows her. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren, leader of the Knights of Ren, disembarks his shuttle to take command of the situation on the ground. Phasma confirms that none of the local defenders managed to send an alert to the Republic. However the commander of the First Order fighter attack acknowledges when confronted that one Republic starfighter is unaccounted for; it broke away during the engagement, and the fighters which followed have not checked in, and are presumed destroyed. Kylo Ren orders a search be made of the surface nearby for evidence of the fighter's fate.

While the First Order conducts its search, Rey tends to the badly wounded Poe. He's half-conscious and delirious, but is able to communicate the urgency of getting a message to the Republic about the assault. Rey warns him the best thing for him is to hide until he's stronger, and that the planet doesn't have a transmitter strong enough to reach the Core Worlds, anyway. For the next several days Rey continues hiding Poe and tending his injuries, while First Order troops swarm the local area, interrogating the residents. FN-2187 is a member of one such squad, and grows increasingly disillusioned at the ruthless tactics. Eventually the wreckage of Poe's X-wing is discovered, and FN-2187's squad is sent to Rey's home nearby. When the troopers arrive she hides Poe and BB-8 as best she can, and denies anyone is there. When the troops try to force entry she picks up her staff to fend them off, but they're too many and she's forced to the ground. One of the troopers is about to shoot her, when FN-2187 makes a decision, and fires on his own comrades first. FN offers to get them to a ship, if they promise to take him with them. Rey is bewildered and unwilling to trust him, but Poe, recovered enough to get back onto his feet, is willing to take FN-2187's mutiny at face value and agrees. Rey, however, is reluctant to leave her home.

Unfortunately, they don't have long to debate. The blaster fire has drawn the attention of other troopers, who are now swarming towards Rey's home. FN, redubbed Finn after Poe's distaste with his serial number, is given a change of clothes so he can ditch his armor, and he leads them in a cat-and-mouse chase through Rey's hometown, pursued by more Stormtroopers. However Finn takes advantage of his knowledge of First Order tactics to guide them safely through the patrols to the local spaceport, little more than an open landing pad in the middle of a field. However they're spotted when they are forced to break from cover, and a firefight breaks out as the three scramble for the first ship they can find. Rey leads them to an old, broken-down YT-1300 owned by her boss, Unkar Plett. Poe hops in the pilot's seat while Rey, who is familiar with Plett's modifications, having assisted him with working on the ship in her free time, joins him in the copilot's station. Together they get the old freighter moving, and blast away from the landing pad. However the unauthorized launch grabs the attention of the First Order, and TIE fighters are dispatched to force them back down. Rey directs Poe to a large swatch of wasteland where a large number of wrecked ships crashed, while Finn mans the top turret (seriously, it's stupid Finn would take the BOTTOM turret when Rey was hugging the deck). The escape from this point is similar to the original film, only with Poe at the pilot's station while Ray assists (the two could bicker about who flies the ship, with Rey noting she is trained as a pilot herself).

Working together, the trio manage to escape, and Poe evades the First Order blockade, jumps to hyperspace against Rey's objections. She repeats her insistence on going home, but Poe warns her it would be suicide. Finn, arriving from the turret, concurs. Poe presses him on what's going on, and Finn begins to tell him about the First Order. However their stolen freighter shudders suddenly, and an alarm sounds as it drops out of hyperspace, and power fails throughout the ship. Rey angrily swears about Unkar Plett installing a faulty hyperdrive compressor, and that she warned him about it but he refused to listen. The trio scrambles to get main power restored, when the ship is caught in a tractor beam.

The next scene plays out more or less like the original film, as it's a good way to bring Han and Chewie into the film. The main difference now is Poe's presence ("General Solo!" "I'm RETIRED!") and rather than the map to Luke Skywalker, the race is to warn the Republic about the First Order's assault before they can strike again. Additionally, rather than pirates, it's a First Order scout that boards Han's ship. Also, no rathtars (seriously, I'm getting tired of the gratuitous CGI monsters ever since they decided to "update" the sarlaac). And well, I LOVED the moment of the Falcon jumping to hyperspace inside the hangar of Han's ship. Upon escaping from the First Order patrol, Han sets course for the smuggler outpost at Takodana; there's a communications post there that could reach the main sector fleet base in the Hosnian System (the Falcon's comm system lacks the range) and with the First Order in pursuit Han doubts the Falcon could reach it in time.

Meanwhile, Snoke berates Kylo Ren over the escape of the Falcon. Hux takes advantage to ingratiate himself with Snoke to announce the fleet is ready for a full assault, and proposes attacking the fleet anchorage in the Hosnian System to knock out a substantial part of the Republic's fleet before they can be mobilized. Snoke agrees to his plan, and dispatches Kylo Ren to continue the pursuit of the Falcon, as he's intrigued by the girl, Rey, who throughout the film thus far has demonstrated subtle hints of Force-sensitivity (particularly moments where she seems to sense things before they happen. IE perhaps Rey feels the arrival of the First Order scout before it actually docks with Han's new ship).

En route to Takodana, Han, Chewie, and his four passengers relax. Rey helps tend to Poe's injuries, which were exacerbated by the flight from Rey's home, and the fight with the First Order troops aboard Han's freighter. Finn tells Han as much as he can about the First Order, and especially the enigmatic Kylo Ren. This leads to a conversation similar to Han and Rey's discussion about the Force in the film itself, with Han beginning to recognize from his experiences with Luke, Obi-Wan, and later Leia, that Rey may be Force-sensitive herself. Han remarks that as time passed he saw less and less of Luke, who began to focus most of his time on training the new generation of Jedi. He makes allusions to dissatisfaction from some of the students, who began to experiment with forbidden teachings from the Dark Side. Eventually this led a number of them to depart Luke's academy at the rebuilt Jedi Temple on Coruscant never to be seen again (unlike the original version, the Academy itself is NOT destroyed).

The Falcon arrives at Maz's castle on Takodana. Much of this scene will play out as before; Now that Finn has told Han everything he can about the First Order he's looking to slip away on a clean ship to escape the fight that's coming, while Rey has her encounter with Maz and Luke's lightsaber, before rushing out. Poe makes his way for the communications post, (in place of the random Resistance agents) where he is able to raise Hosnian Prime and relay a warning to the fleet anchored there, which is then passed on to Fleet Command. Unfortunately, it arrives too late for the Hosnian System itself: Hux's entire fleet drops out of hyperspace and attacks in a devastating, Pearl Harbor-esque raid. The anchored fleet if virtually annihilated. Poe is on the line with the Hosnian communications station when the attack begins, and he rushes to warn Han...just in time for a small task force led by Kylo Ren to arrive. Poe and Maz arrange to send a distress call to the closest Republic outpost, while Han and Finn head after Rey.

The Battle of Takodana largely plays out in the same way as in the original film, with Rey captured by Kylo Ren and Finn and Han unable to stop it. It's New Republic forces, the legendary Rogue Squadron flying sleek new E-wings, that arrive to drive out the First Order incursion. After the battle, Poe, Finn, Han, and Chewie are escorted to Coruscant, where Han has his tense reunion with Leia. Unlike the original version, he then asks for Luke to join them. We get our much-desired reunion of the Trio, as Han reveals he saw his and Leia's son, Ben, lead the First Order troops. We're also introduced to the Nucanon version of Mara Jade Skywalker, and we get a little exposition about how Luke's new Jedi Order differs from the Old Republic.

Finn also returns Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, to Luke's astonishment, but he tells Finn to hold onto it for him. Everyone is brought before a gathering of the entire Republic High Command — aging Admiral Ackbar, Wedge Antilles, and many other familiar faces who now hold senior leadership positions in the Republic — for a briefing on the First Order, while news of the destruction of the Hosnian Sector Fleet is relayed to the astonished officers. Finn suggests the First Order is likely to fortify the remnants of the Hosnian System as a forward base of operations, giving the Republic a brief window of opportunity to strike back before they can consolidate. Unfortunately, the Republic fleet is concentrated at the Imperial Border, and it may take weeks to muster the entire Starfleet for a concerted attack. Finn suggests that knocking out Hux's flagship may be sufficient to slow the Order's assault down, buying time for the rest of the Republic's forces to regroup. Finn also suspects Rey would most likely be taken there, and insists on rescuing her.

A plan is put into place: Han, accompanied by Chewie, Luke, and Finn will lead a commando strike on the Hosnian System to rescue Rey, and shut down Hux's flagship's defenses. Luke also intends to confront his nephew. Once they're down, Republic fighter squadrons based on Coruscant , along with a handful of cruisers, including the venerable old Home One, which has remained in service as something of an honor guard for the Coruscant System, will launch an all-out attack against the flagship. Poe is placed in command of Rogue Squadron and given overall command of the fighter attack. As everyone loads up, Leia approaches Luke and Han, and asks them to bring Ben home. Luke and Han both express doubts, but Leia suggests Han might reach him as his father, where Luke failed as his uncle and teacher.

The final battle of the film plays out similarly to the original. Han uses a smuggler's trick to approach Hux's flagship through the wreckage of the Hosnian system, with Finn helping him land in an auxiliary docking bay that isn't closely monitored. Luke and Finn head to rescue Rey, with Han and Chewie sabotaging the flagship's power systems. Luke uses the Force to bluff their way past the ship's complement of Stormtroopers and to the brig, where Rey is freed and is awestruck to find herself in the presence of the Jedi Master. They head to regroup with Han and Chewie, arriving just in time to watch Han's fatal confrontation with his son. Luke is unable to prevent Ben from killing his own father in cold blood, and a firefight breaks out when the rest of the group is discovered. Chewie flies into a rage at Han's death, and triggers the explosives planted throughout the flagship's power core, rocking the vessel. Detecting the flagship's shields going down, the Republic fighters drop out of hyperspace. E-wings escort bombers like a modernized version of the Y-wing, which unleash a massive volley of proton torpedoes that hammer Hux's flagship. The flagship itself is BIG, perhaps half the length of Executor, and heavily armed. She's also surrounded by her consorts, which all begin flooding space with TIE fighters. Poe's fighters engage the fighter defenses while the bombers continue to hammer away.

During the chaos, Rey and Finn get separated from Luke as the internal structure of Hux's ship collapses under the assault, and end up running directly into Kylo Ren. Much like the original version, Rey is incapacitated, and Finn attacks Kylo Ren with Anakin's lightsaber in a rage. He doesn't last long, however, and is soon badly wounded. Rey then manages to get hold of the lightsaber herself, and though she acquits herself better and even manages to wound Kylo, she, too, is disarmed. However before Kylo can finish her off Luke intercedes, igniting his green lightsaber, and trying one last time to reach his nephew. Kylo, however, is too far gone and attacks him in a rage. Luke retains his calm, and in spite of his age quickly proves to be more than a match for his nephew even when he is clearly holding back.

The space battle continues to rage outside. Although flailing and with main power down, Hux's ship remains more than a match for the hastily-assembled Republic fleet, and losses mount. With time running out, Ackbar makes a desperate attempt to knock out the flagship; he orders his crew to abandon ship, and turns Home One on a collision course. Once all of the escape ships are clear, he activates the hyperdrive, smashing his aging flagship through Hux's ship (yes, I'm using this. And I'm doing it to give Ackbar the heroes end he deserved).

On the flagship, Luke and Kylo's duel is interrupted as Home One rams through at lightspeed, separating the two combatants as debris clogs the corridors. He helps Rey carry the stricken Finn away, as they retrace their path through the ruined interior of the flagship, undisturbed by the crew fleeing for their own lives, and meet Chewie at the Falcon. They get aboard just in time as the flagship begins to come apart at the seams, and manage to punch clear. Outside, Poe and the remains of his fighter squadrons hammer the flagship with every torpedo they have left. The crippled ship careens out of control, and slams into the remains of the dockyard. The ensuing fireball helps cover the Republic forces as they retreat.

The victorious Republic forces return to Coruscant, however the heavy losses incurred in the battle, particularly the deaths of the legendary Han Solo and Admiral Ackbar, dampens the celebration. Leia, Luke, and Chewie reunite, while Finn is taken to a medical station to recuperate. At the very end, Rey offers Luke back Anakin's lightsaber, but he closes her hand around it, wordlessly insisting she keep it to begin her training.


As I said, this is a rough draft and there's a number of things I'm not completely happy with that I'd probably tweak on subsequent revisions.

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Post by Trevor » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:02 pm

Yup, I like it. Its not too dis-similar to the film, but fixes the plot holes and makes sense.

And, instead of starkiller base (Death Star 3), and the desert planet being the "link" to the old movies, the T65 is, which again, makes perfect sense since as you say, the F15, the Tornado etc have all been in service more than 30 years

I like how Poe takes over RS from Wedge.


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Post by keiranhalcyon7 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:17 am

That's not half bad. If I may offer some suggestions:
The Saxman wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:37 pm
Han doubts the Falcon could reach it in time.
Insert Han angrily challenging Rey: "She's supposed to make .5 past light speed! What did you do to my ship?" "It's not my fault!"
Han uses a smuggler's trick to approach Hux's flagship through the wreckage of the Hosnian system, with Finn helping him land in an auxiliary docking bay that isn't closely monitored.
I'd go back to the landing on the star destroyer's hull trick from ESB, with the strike team space walking a short way to an airlock - or perhaps simply docking at an airlock, using one of the Falcon's side airlocks that were never used in the original trilogy. Better chance of going unnoticed than a docking bay, imo. (also other reasons, below)
The flagship itself is BIG, perhaps half the length of Executor, and heavily armed. She's also surrounded by her consorts, which all begin flooding space with TIE fighters.
This would be around the time Chewie makes it back to the Falcon, perhaps with Han's body. He quickly realizes that the TIEs have spotted the Falcon, and climbs into a turret to fend them off.

Also, escorts, not consorts.
However before Kylo can finish her off Luke intercedes, igniting his green lightsaber, and trying one last time to reach his nephew. Kylo, however, is too far gone and attacks him in a rage. Luke retains his calm, and in spite of his age quickly proves to be more than a match for his nephew even when he is clearly holding back.
This is a prime opportunity to demonstrate Luke's mastery of the Force. He could remotely pull Rey out from under Ren's killing blow, or block the blow by remotely controlling Anakin's saber, or remotely pull Ren towards himself and close a blast door to lock the two in a room together (for some aggressive negotiation, heh), telling Rey to get Finn back to the Falcon as the doors close.
On the flagship, Luke and Kylo's duel is interrupted as Home One rams through at lightspeed, separating the two combatants as debris clogs the corridors.
The shock also throws the Falcon away from the Star Destroyer (which is more believable at an airlock than in a docking bay) just after Rey and Finn get back aboard. Rey and Chewie argue about how Luke will get out as Rey takes the conn.

Luke finds himself trapped, with no obvious way back to the airlock, where the Falcon is no longer docked anyway. He watches the battle out a window for a moment, and reaches out to Rey with the Force. She objects to his suggestion at first, but he reassures her, and she changes course (over Chewie's continued complaints). Luke steels himself, runs at the window, force-blasts it open and jumps out, to be scooped up by Rey in the Falcon's airlock as she flies by. (This would be a more believable version of Leia's ep. 8 stunt, since Luke would be doing it intentionally, with a moment's preparation, and for a much shorter duration. It's also a reference, in reverse, to the original plan for Vader's entry into the Tantive IV.)

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Post by Darksaber » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:46 am

Sax, next time can you do an Audio Book version Please lol :D
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Post by The Saxman » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:46 pm

keiranhalcyon7 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:17 am
Also, escorts, not consorts.
See #4. Both terms are accurate.

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Post by squarehead93 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:36 am

Saxman! That was brilliant! You follow most of the major beats of TFA while fixing just about every plot hole and stupid bit. Hell, I thought the Han and Chewie reunion scene was done poorly but you made me want to see your version, if only to hear Harrison Ford bellow "I'm RETIRED!"

I like that you cut out Starkiller base in favor of the Supremacy being the First Order's base of operations. I had a far less detailed rewrite of TFA in my head that also had a "Pearl Harbor-esque" attack on the Republic fleet. Thought it is a nice callback to the WWII inspirations of Star Wars and would be a lot cooler than a third Death Star. Not to mention it would be more realistic for the First Order to focus on just building capital ships instead of superweapons, kind of how Thrawn largely shunned superweapons as leader of the Imperial Remnant in favor of efficient tactics and proven military hardware. And it would be so cool to see a fleet finally base delta zero a planet on film.

The Luke handing off the lightsaber scene is perfect.

I like that you also like TFA enough to feel it deserves some tweaking instead of being thrown out completely. I thought it was flawed but fun and raised a lot of cool ideas. Now I'm just bummed because your version sounds better than the one Disney spent millions (billions?) to give us.
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