The Force Awakens’ original opening involved a weird scene with Luke’s lightsaber

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)..Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)..Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. /

Movies are known to undergo major overhauls and changes when it comes to their scripts. And this is especially true when it comes to movies like Star Wars, where the team really tries to create the most captivating stories they can tell.

Of course, the definition of a “captivating story” is different for everyone. And when it came to the Star Wars sequels, the three movies certainly caused a lot of polarity among fans. That starts with the first movie to come out after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, 2015’s The Force Awakens.

Right from the get-go, Disney and Lucasfilm had a large task on their hands. Continuing the Star Wars story after things had so peacefully ended in Episode VI was a tall order, and you had to find a new way to make the events in a galaxy far, far away exciting again. So how do you bridge the gap between Episodes VI and VII? The original opening for The Force Awakens planned on using Luke to do that. Or, rather, his lightsaber and hand.

Mark Hamill has gone on record previously, sharing what that opening scene was. And one of those moments occurred recently, where the actor explained what the opening scene had entailed during a segment on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Hamill explained the scene, saying:

"It was a severed hand holding a lightsaber, flying through space. And when it hit the stratosphere, the flesh and the bone burned off. And they followed the lightsaber as it went into the ground… And I read the whole script and I thought, “Well there’s great symmetry here because I’m in the first shot, and I’m in the last shot.”"

Why was The Force Awakens’ opening scene changed?

This opening is not really talked about amongst the Star Wars creators, as are most details that never make it into a Star Wars film. But one can only guess that the subject matter at hand (no pun intended) didn’t quite fit the story they wanted to tell.

According to the old rumor about the Episode VII opening from Birth.Movies.Death. (via /Film), the movie was going to involve Rey and Finn finding the lightsaber and tracking down whose it was. This could be the “they” who Hamill says picks up the lightsaber in his description. Though, in 2016, he also talked about an alien (possibly Maz Kanata) reaching down to retrieve it too. So perhaps there were two versions of this opening.

If it were the former scenario, that would have apparently led them on an adventure to find Han Solo and Chewbacca (who hadn’t heard from Luke in quite a long time) all while the First Order worked on building their new evil Starkiller weapon.

The choice to use Luke’s lightsaber was an interesting one, but the story ultimately pivoted from being about finding Luke Skywalker to putting more emphasis on Rey as the protagonist. That choice, as it was, allowed both Rey, Finn and Poe to become the new stars of the sequels compared to making Luke the star again. And that choice changed the course of the sequel trilogy as we knew it.

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Would you have preferred the original concept for The Force Awakens, or do you like how the final version of the movie came out? Let us know in the comments.