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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mads Mikkelsen Confirms 'Rogue One' Role

The Rogue One trailer gave us a significant amount of information about the film's main character, Jyn Erso – her name, personality, rap sheet, mission – but the other characters received only a few seconds of footage each (with the slight exception of Forest Whitaker's character, who delivered an ominous voiceover). Mads Mikkelsen, who was sorely missing from the trailer, confirmed a key detail about his role when he spoke to Sky News today: he's playing Jyn's father. 
When asked about how he felt when he was approached by Lucasfilm, Mikkelsen said: 
"I mean I wasn’t really sure whether I was wearing a Stormtrooper outfit or anything like that, at that point. And I wasn’t sure I could fit in to that. I read the script. It was very beautiful. And Felicity is playing this lovely, young, strong woman and I play her father."
This also corroborates previous rumors that Mikkelsen's character – seemingly named Galen – is one of the principal engineers of the Death Star project who realizes the error of his ways and enlists his daughter, Jyn, to help destroy the superweapon by stealing its plans. This doesn't totally make sense, given what the trailer showed us (Jyn's mission appears to come from the Rebel Alliance, not her father), but Mikkelsen's previous statement that his character is "actually not a bad guy" matches with the report that he's an Imperial who defects. 
In the trailer, Mon Mothma mentions that Jyn's been alone since the age of 15. Even if Galen isn't working for the Empire, he still must have abandoned her for some reason, so we can be sure that his relationship with Jyn will be difficult, although hopefully not as twisted as those between Luke and Vader, and Han and Kylo. (Too soon?) 

Are you excited to learn that Mads Mikkelsen will be playing Jyn Erso's father? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Alleged 'Episode VIII' Script Leak Offers Massive Spoilers

Anyone following Star Wars: Episode VIII knows that leaked photos and set details are pretty common (often from Making Star Wars), but it's not too often that we get serious plot spoilers. Last week, a Reddit user claiming to have read the film's script posted a string of plot elements that reveal not only the film's basic storyline, but also the true identity of Rey and the role of new characters played by Benicio Del Toro and Kelly Marie Tran. 
To be clear, there's little evidence that any of this is accurate, but the alleged script details are creative enough that they deserve at least a proper analyzing and debunking. Just in case any of this turns out to be correct, a *SPOILER ALERT* should be assumed. 
"Working title is "Echoes of the Dark Side." It's divided into three equally important plot threads that don't converge until the third act: Rey's, Finn's, and Kylo's. There's not nearly as much action as TFA in the first two acts, but the third act goes full-on crazy."
"Echoes of the Dark Side" is definitely an original title, if not overdramatic. The concept of our heroes splitting up until the final act is reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back, in which Luke goes to Dagobah while Han, Leia, and Chewie visit Cloud City. 
"The broad structure isn't as similar to ESB as TFA was to ANH, but the parallels are still present. Rey is training in the ways of the Force with an old Jedi master (Luke) on a wild planet while Finn and Poe are in a beautiful city that has a shady, sinister underpinning." 
There's certainly reason why the filmmakers would want to copy the basic structure of ESB, and this "beautiful city" would have been filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Leaked set photos showed that the city is quite glamorous on its exterior, but another report suggested that it's also a gambling hub. Where there's gambling, there's gangsters, and ample opportunity for our heroes to get sold out to the First Order. 

"Finn and Poe are betrayed and captured by Kylo Ren who uses them as bait to draw Rey out of hiding so Kylo and Rey can have a duel in an industrial portion of the city."
We all know that Kylo and Rey's re-match is happening eventually, and this sounds like an intriguing spot for a bout – much different from the snowy forest on the crumbling Starkiller Base at the end of The Force Awakens. Both of them will have received significant training by the time of their second duel; Rey will have learned the ways of the Force from Luke, and Kylo will have presumably finished his training and become a full Sith Lord, if Snoke's words at the end of TFA are any indication.
"The backstory to Luke and his Jedi being wiped out is that Snoke seduced Kylo and a few of the other students to the dark side and tasked them with killing everyone. Luke and a few others survived, including a young Rey who was subsequently dumped on Jakku by Luke. Rey's mom died in the attack."
Most of this had already been guessed by fans; Snoke sent his Knights of Ren to destroy Luke's temple, Rey was present and Luke dropped her on Jakku before retiring to Ahch-To, which explains why Kylo recognizes her in TFA. No one had really considered that Rey's mom had been a casualty of the attack (most assumed that we'd meet her later in the trilogy), but this would suggest that her mother was also a Jedi. Having two Force-sensitive parents rather than just one (like Kylo) would justify Rey's impressive power. 
"Rey is pissed at Luke because she guesses that he was her father and is angry at him for abandoning her. Luke turns to her and says "No, you are my father". Yes, really. Rey is the reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker. Luke went to the first Jedi temple to better understand how the process works. He learned that the spirit of the chosen one is reincarnated by the Force every time the universe is thrown out of balance, which apparently happens on a semi-regular basis (Anakin was hardly the first time the chosen one reincarnated)."
Okay...the idea of Rey being the Chosen One is hardly unfamiliar to fans, and her being the reincarnation of Anakin actually matches up with a lot of what we know about her family. To a certain extent, it makes sense, and it would be much more surprising than learning that Luke is her father or even that Obi-Wan is her grandfather. But only in a YouTube parody would Luke ever utter a line as cheesy and eye-roll-worthy as "No, you are my father." 
"This is why she's so crazy powerful with the Force (remember that Anakin blew up the Trade Federation donut ship by himself when he was like 8 years old). Rey was the product of a virgin birth, but midichlorians aren't mentioned (Luke says "you are a child of the Force")."
Yes, it would be controversial to reveal that Rey is basically Jedi Jesus, but the exact same was implied about Anakin in The Phantom Menace, so it's not like this is a new level of Star Wars outrageousness. Though both Rey and the audience would be disappointed to learn that her mother is dead and her father is just a bunch of Force particles. 
"Luke is hesitant to train her because, according to Jedi history, the chosen one always struggles with staying on the light side of the Force because of the chaotic power running through them. He's afraid that she could become Vader 2.0. If he trains her to fight Kylo, and she turns dark, she would do way more damage to the galaxy than Kylo could ever dream of doing. He ultimately trains her anyway and leaves everything up to the Force. He makes this decision in a scene where he confers with the ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda (Ewan MacGregor and Frank Oz come back)."
This actually relates to Luke's expression at the end of The Force Awakens, filled with sorrow, regret, and hesitation. There were rumors that Frank Oz was going to be on the Episode VIII set, and Ewan McGregor proved that he's happy to reprise his character when he contributed to Rey's vision in TFA, so the return of Yoda and Obi-Wan is definitely possible. 
"Rey learns lightsaber skills, Force skills, and has a vision quest thing where she talks with Maz Kanata (unsure if it’s telepathy or just a dream) and Hayden Christenson. The latter tells her that she is him, but different, and there’s a quick scene where we see hundreds of other Force ghosts who are implied to be past chosen ones."
Maz is a great character that deserves some solid screen-time, but a few words of advice during a vision-y cameo still matches up with the wisdom and Force familiarity that she's already demonstrated. As an undeniably wooden actor and one of the most hated things about the Prequel Trilogy, you'd think that the filmmakers would avoid bringing Hayden Christensen back. However, there were reports that he would appear in Episode VIII, so it's not like his return is 100% implausible, even if it'll generate a resounding groan from the audience. 
"Rey feels Finn's distress elsewhere in the galaxy and says she needs to go to him. Luke tells her about the time he felt his friends in distress and Yoda told him to stay and finish his training, and his disobedience led to pain. But then he says he isn't Yoda, and has his own way of doing things, and tags along with her to go help."
This would be a great way to differentiate Luke from Yoda, and allow him to remain at the forefront of the action and hopefully show off some awesome Jedi moves. It would also warm the hearts of many fans to see Luke with the same adventurous energy that he had 30 years ago. 
"Finn wakes up on a Resistance cruiser and is told by Poe that they're already en route to the makeshift Republic homeworld in the wake of the capital planet being blown up by Starkiller Base. Leia wants to lobby them to go to war. The Republic is being led by an interim dictator named Lord Vikram (Benicio Del Toro), who was quickly put into power by the few senators still around to maintain order. Starkiller's destruction of the Republic core worlds caused a galactic communications disruption because everything was routed through those worlds, so Vikram is trying to reestablish contact and ensure the Republic doesn't collapse into anarchy."
This is believable if you consider logical galactic politics; the Republic needs some serious reorganization after their capital was blown up, Leia wants to push them to all-out war against the First Order. And it lines up with the old reports that Benicio Del Toro would be playing a villainous character – no one called "Lord" in the Star Wars universe can be a good guy. Both the Republic and the Resistance's relationship with them weren't properly explained in The Force Awakens, so it would be nice to have that fully fleshed out. 
"Leia and Vikram butt heads. Vikram agrees that the Republic has to go to war with the First Order, but wants to wait for communications to come back online so they can muster up a sizable force (all they have right now is a single small fleet). Leia disagrees, and wants to take the war to the First Order now while Snoke is still reeling from Starkiller's destruction. She says both sides are in chaos, which makes this an opportune time to strike. Vikram counters by telling her she's letting her personal emotions over Han's death get in the way, and Leia throws it back at him by telling him he was always a little snake of a politician when they would argue back in her senate days, etc, etc, they have old bad blood or whatever."
Leia didn't have much to do in TFA (pretty much all she did was express varying emotions about Han, Luke, and Kylo), so fans were hoping that she'd get some more action in Episode VIII. Leia's stubbornness and passion for her cause are what define her, and they're what makes her such an important and likable character. Vikram criticizing her of being clouded by her emotions after her soulmate's death would allow the film to appropriately address Han's demise without letting it weigh down the plot. 
"The Republic planet is safe because it's protected by a heavy duty shield that can repel any invasion or bombardment from the First Order. Finn and Poe are tasked by Leia to investigate the city because one of Leia's contacts informed her that the First Order have spies embedded in the Republic. Leia suspects Vikram."
It makes sense that the Republic would finally build a safeguard against superweapons. But anyone who's watched Star Wars knows that there's no such thing as a shield that can't be penetrated or otherwise sabotaged...
"Finn quickly becomes enamored by Leia's contact, Chala (Kelly Marie Tran), who tags along with him and Poe through the underbelly of the city to gather information. Finn and Chala have a flirty romance subplot that involves a nighttime adventure through the rustic old city (this is the second entry in the trilogy after all, and poetry demands it)."
Han and Leia's relationship died the moment he did, so it stands to reason that Episode VIII needs to continue the trend of its predecessors and feature a new romance. The "nighttime adventure through a rustic old city" completely matches up with the below set photo of John Boyega's stunt double riding a strange creature with Kelly Marie Tran in Dubrovnik. 
"Finn, Poe and Chala all corner the culprit: Vikram's aide, who has evidence of contact between Vikram and the First Order. Leia and some Resistance fighters confront Vikram and throw him in jail for treason. He denies everything, and the rest of the Republic officials are horrified because Leia basically just coup-de-etat'd the **** out of their leadership. Leia assumes control of the planet's defenses and absentmindedly puts Finn in charge of the shield codes."
Well, there's a lesson for you: call Leia overly emotional about Han's death and she'll throw you in jail and take over your government. This would finally satisfy anyone waiting for Leia to once again become the strong, fearless leader that we've known and loved since 1977. 
"Finn and Chala have a moment and Finn mentions his confusion about why Vikram didn't just lower the shields for the First Order. They walk into a room and Phasma is standing there and Chala draws a gun on Finn and forcibly takes the codes for disarming the shield from him. She says she planted the evidence, used Finn to get the codes, and basically that she thinks he's a dirty traitor to the First Order. In a moment of pure pottery, Phasma makes Finn lower the shields."
This would definitely make Finn feel stupid, although the "traitor" insult probably wouldn't hurt too much the third time. Ignoring the hilarious, incomprehensible misuse of the word "pottery", Phasma forcing Finn to lower the shields would be quite ironic since he made her do the same in The Force Awakens, and it might just redeem her as the confident, efficient commander that we originally thought she was. However, unlike Phasma, it's doubtful that Finn would endanger his friends when threatened with a laser to the chest, even if Chala had the codes and the shields would be lowered no matter what.
"The First Order fleet jumps out of hyperspace and invades the planet, quickly capturing Finn, Poe and Leia. Kylo starts to torture Finn using the Force, knowing that it will draw Rey out of hiding and into his trap."
We all know that Kylo isn't above some old-fashioned Force torture (Poe can attest to that). This would give the opportunity for Rey to stomp in with her new Jedi powers and save the day, and for Luke to finally reunite with his sister. 
In conclusion, these plot details may not be entirely satisfying, and they conflict with some of the rumors about Episode VIII (including details involving Laura Dern's role and Leia getting injured), but they align with the popular theory that the Sequel Trilogy is copying the structure of the Originals. In the likely event that this turns out to be fake, one can at least discern that whoever wrote this paid sharp attention to what we already know about Episode VIII and tied it together in the fashion of Empire Strikes Back with some serious creativity. Reading "leaks" like this is an entertaining way to pass the time until December 2017, even the information itself probably isn't accurate. 

What do you think of these plot details? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

JJ Abrams Reveals Major Hint About Rey's Parentage

The question "Who are Rey's parents?" isn't expected to be answered until Star Wars: Episode VIII at the earliest (Daisy Ridley recently denied rumors that Rogue One's Jyn Erso is her mother), but we now have a new and potentially game-changing clue from a somewhat unexpected source: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams. 
Although Abrams is no longer directly involved in the Star Wars saga, and he'll certainly be keeping mum about any insider knowledge he has about Episode VIII, he appeared to seriously narrow down the list of Rey's potential parents while at an audience Q&A and the Tribeca Film Festival today. 
"Rey's parents are not in Episode VII. So I can't possibly in this moment tell you who they are. This is all I will say: it is something Rey thinks about, too."
Assuming that Abrams was being honest and not just intentionally misleading the Star Wars fanbase (or desperate to ward off curious fans), this would suggest that neither Leia and Han nor Luke and another woman are Rey's parents. However, one could interpret his statement as meaning that her parents aren't both in The Force Awakens, meaning that Luke could still be her father and a yet-unknown woman could be her mother. 
Either way, this doesn't necessarily invalidate every previous theory about Rey's parentage. Abrams could easily not count Obi-Wan Kenobi's Force ghost-y cameo (during Rey's vision) as being truly "in" the film, in which case if Obi-Wan were her father, the director's statement could still be deemed accurate. 

It should be noted that after the Q&A, EW caught up with Abrams and he clarified his comments: "What I meant was that she doesn’t discover them in Episode VII. Not that they may not already be in her world." Since the film literally ends with Rey discovering Luke, this seems to further confirm that he's not her father. And Obi-Wan's whispered words of "These are you first steps" during her vision signify that he's "in her world" in the sense that Abrams is applying. Let's hope that Episode VIII director Rian Johnson can forgive Abrams for dropping these hints about Rey's parentage, if not unintentionally spoiling it entirely. 
What do you make of Abrams' hints? Who do do you think Rey's parents are? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Trailer Breakdown

The first official trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped this morning on Good Morning America, and it's even more of a #ThrowbackThursday to the styles of the Original Trilogy than the trailers for The Force Awakens (which didn't even seem possible). 
For every familiar face and technology the trailer shows us, there's about a dozen that we're seeing for the first time. Here's a breakdown of the trailer to glean the most information possible about one of the most anticipated movies of the year:
  1. "State your name for the record," an authoritative voice asks. "Jyn Erso," Felicity Jones' character replies, as we see her escorted by Rebel soldiers into a large room. Interestingly, this mirrors the first moments of The Force Awakens' trailer, in which similarly British-accented heroine Rey is asked "Who are you?", and she replies, "I'm no one." The Rebel helmets are instantly recognizable from the first scenes of A New Hope, aboard the Tantive IV. 
  2. "Forgery of Imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, resisting arrest," the same voice says as Jyn is led through a bustling Rebel hangar. This appears to be Jyn's introduction to the Rebel Alliance, although the voiceover seems to be an Imperial interrogating her and reading her impressive rap sheet. The architecture of the hangar identifies it as the headquarters on Yavin 4.
  3. "On your own from the age of 15. Reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined," Mon Mothma tells Jyn in the Rebels' strategy room. Mothma is a somewhat surprising but welcome presence; despite having had only a handful of scenes throughout the Star Wars canon and a single memorable line ("Many Bothans died to bring us this information"), she's one of the highest ranking Rebel leaders. She's played by Genevieve O'Reilly, who reprises her role from Revenge of the Sith (in a silent cameo and a deleted scene). 
  4. Diego Luna's character gives Jyn a look. According to Making Star Wars, his name is Cassein Willix (unconfirmed). He will serve as Jyn's partner-in-crime against the Empire, and if Rogue One follows the tropes of most other films (which is unlikely, given Rey and Finn's platonic friendship), he'll also be her love interest.
  5. A hooded Jyn is followed by Alan Tudyk's motion-captured droid. We see her beating up several stormtroopers, and then she and Cassein are knocked down by an explosion. The architecture here is very reminiscent of Mos Eisley, Tatooine. This pretty much confirms to us that yes, Jyn is a total badass. 
  6. "This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel," she replies to Mothma, who looks barely amused. One can easily compare Jyn to Rey, based on their physical appearances, three-letter names, and roles as the central character in their respective films, but while Rey is hopeful and naive, Jyn appears to be a constantly-defiant punk. Chances are, her grudge against the Empire has something to do with the absence of her parents, which Mothma previously mentioned. 
  7. Jyn looks out the window of a vehicle. "We have a mission for you. A major weapons test is imminent, and we need to know what it is and how to destroy it," Mothma says as we see the superlaser focus lens placed on the Death Star. Well, that pretty much sums up the premise of the film, for the large demographic that had no idea. This tells us that the Rebels don't even know what the Death Star is when they decide to steal its plans. It'll probably be dramatic when the heroes see it for the first time, and hopefully there'll even be a callback to Obi-Wan's classic "That's no moon" line. 
  8. "Is that clear?" another Rebel leader asks Jyn. "Yes sir," she sarcastically replies. This hints that Jyn's relationship with the Rebel Alliance won't exactly be a smooth one. 
  9. We hear a siren blare as Jyn and Cassein walk purposefully among Rebel pilots in the Yavin temple. This siren can't be from the Rebel base – if the Empire were attacking, it would be wiped out by the time of A New Hope. It's difficult to pin the sound down, but it's definitely been heard before in the Star Wars universe. Whether it's from the Rebels or the Empire, it can only mean one thing: danger. 
  10. Ben Mendelsohn's character stands dramatically in front of a Death Star hologram. His white attire identifies him as a Grand Admiral of the Empire, and it looks like he'll be in charge of the Death Star construction and the primary villain of the film. Rumors of the true identity of this character include Grand Moff Tarkin (which is quite possible, given Tarkin's connections to the Death Star project) and even Supreme Leader Snoke.
  11. Stormtroopers and a hovertank march past a masked civilian. This is the same environment as Jyn's previously-seen stormtrooper beatdown and ensuing explosion; the masked man could be a member of their team, waiting to ambush an Imperial convoy. The tank is definitely something we haven't seen before, and on top of it, you can see the first (and far from last) new type of stormtrooper that this trailer shows us. 
  12. We see Forest Whitaker's character walking with a cane, in what looks like some kind of cantina. Once again, we don't know who the Oscar winner is playing (Jyn and Riz Ahmed's Bodhi Rook are the only ones that have been confirmed), but his armor suggests that he's some kind of wise, experienced bounty hunter. 
  13. A black-colored stormtrooper turns his head, and in the background we see similar soldiers, a moisture vaporator, and a billow of smoke. These awesome-looking guys are reportedly Shadow Troopers of the Death Squad. Shockingly, the Death Squad doesn't help deliver Girl Scout cookies; they'll probably be a serious opposition to our heroes. The moisture vaporator is very reminiscent of Tatooine, but you can also spot some vegetation, so this is most likely a different planet. 
  14. "What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you?!" Whitaker's character says. We see handcuffed Rebel pilots escorted by stormtroopers through a marketplace. Clearly, this guy's not too optimistic about Jyn's chances of success. This marketplace shot might just explain the Mos Eisley-like shots in the trailer; the Rebels attack a force of stormtroopers to free several pilots. 
  15. Jyn, Cassein, and Alan Tudyk's character run down a corridor. This is our best look yet at Tudyk's sleek droid. Jyn's holding something in her right hand, which might just be the coveted Death Star plans in flashdrive-like form. These scenes were reportedly shot in the London Underground, so perhaps our heroes are making a quick getaway via hovertrain. 
  16. Stormtroopers rush after them. And here we have the third and final new trooper type that this trailer shows us: the tan colored Sandtrooper. Making Star Wars refers to them as Scarab Troopers, but that doesn't make a ton of sense, considering that Egyptian scarabs don't exist in the Star Wars universe. (It's even worse than starfighters named after an alphabet that they don't use.) 
  17. Donnie Yen's character is surrounded by stormtroopers in the same urban environment with a crashed X-wing in the background. He expertly whacks one with his staff. Yen is a martial artist and has starred in many Chinese martial arts films, including the Ip Man trilogy. As the first photo from the film suggested, his character is blind, which explains why the stormtroopers have their weapons lowered. This is one of the classic "underestimated blind guy is secretly a badass" situations, à la Daredevil.
  18. The Death Squad opens fire. A large transport explodes, and a Rebel with a long rifle ducks. Here we have another major location this trailer shows us: a beachy planet with palm trees. The transport is another new vehicle, and the gray coloring and folding wings (like the classic Lambda-class shuttle and even Kylo Ren's command shuttle) identify it as an Imperial vessel. 
  19. The Grand Admiral walks up the beach with dead stormtroopers and flaming wreckage all around. Long, flowing cape? This guy has a very villain-y sense of style. However, we can see that he's not afraid to step into the heat of the action and dirty his white suit. 
  20. A hooded figure kneels in front of a smoky, illuminated cylinder. This is perhaps the most intriguing shot of this trailer. The red-cloaked Imperial Royal Guards definitely suggest that the Emperor is involved in this scene, but why would the dictator of the galaxy kneel to anyone? The hooded guy doesn't resemble Darth Vader's armored figure, either. Could the cylinder be a big bacta tank for someone?
  21. Jiang Wen's character avoids an explosion. Jyn, Cassein, and more Rebels are fired at by AT-AT's as they run towards them on the beach. Wen's character is apparently the weapons enthusiast of the group, and everyone else looks armed to the teeth, suggesting that they're planning to hijack the walkers rather than escape them. These AT-AT's are slightly different than the ones seen in The Empire Strikes Back, but it's still an obvious throwback. 
  22. "If you continue to fight, what will you become?" Whitaker's character concludes. A series of lights illuminate Jyn in a TIE fighter pilot suit. This line suggests that Jyn's fate is uncertain, although she's most likely just wearing that suit as a disguise. If you listen closely, you can hear Darth Vader's breathing during Whitaker's voiceover, and along with the subsequent Imperial March theme, this is a subtle confirmation that the iconic villain will appear in the film.
Overall, this trailer excelled in explaining the time period and basic plot details Rogue One. We saw a lot of callbacks to A New Hope (the stormtroopers, the Star Destroyer, the Death Star, etc.), but only one familiar character (Mon Mothma) was explicitly shown, and many viewers may not even recognize her. Just like with The Force Awakens, this trailer tells us that Rogue One will have all the beloved themes of Star Wars, but with an extremely diverse group of new characters and tons of never-before-seen technologies and concepts. 
What did you think of the trailer? How excited are you for Rogue One? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

'The Force Awakens' Deleted Scenes Guide

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD. The box set comes with a slew of behind-the-scenes footage, but the most anticipated feature was the seven deleted scenes. Here's your guide to each of the scenes and their overall value to the film:
(Note: all image credits go to Lucasfilm.) 

Finn And The Villager 
Length: 30 seconds
Summary: During the attack on the Jakku village, FN-2187 finds a female villager hiding behind one of the huts. He trains his blaster on her, but eventually lowers it and she wordlessly flees.
Value: We already saw Finn reluctantly refuse to shoot the villagers and demonstrate his goodheartedness so this scene would have been a little redundant. Plus, with all the stormtroopers patrolling around, it seems likely that the innocent woman would have been slaughtered anyway. 

Jakku Message
Length: 47 seconds
Summary: At the Resistance base, a technician receives an encoded transmission. He rushes to inform General Leia that the Jakku village was wiped out, Poe's X-Wing was destroyed, and BB-8 and the map to Luke are nowhere to be found. She replies that he should never underestimate a droid, and tells C-3PO to find BB-8 immediately. 
Value: This gives Leia an earlier – although less dramatic – re-introduction, and it provides a little background onto the Resistance's later entrance on Takodana. It also gives Greg Grunberg (successful television actor and JJ Abrams' friend since kindergarten) more screentime as pilot Snap Wexley. 

X-Wings Prepare For Lightspeed
Length: 20 seconds
Summary: X-Wing fighters depart the Resistance base for the Starkiller. Poe and BB-8 lead the squad, and the rest of the pilots check in before they jump to hyperspace. 
Value: Once again, we get a little more of Wexley and the Resistance, but this scene is ultimately unnecessary; it's not like there was any real doubt about how the X-Wings got to Starkiller Base, and the fighters get a healthy amount of screentime later in the film. 

Kylo Searches The Falcon
Length: 49 seconds
Summary: On the surface of Starkiller Base, Snowtroopers look through the Millennium Falcon and report to Kylo Ren that the ship is clear. He enters the ship and inspects the cockpit, muttering his father's name and appearing to be quite emotional underneath his helmet. He abruptly turns around and leaves, as if he's sensed a disturbance, sees Poe's X-Wing squadrons arrive. 
Value: This was definitely a nice moment that further developed Kylo's character, but since there were multiple other scenes that expressed his inner conflict (talking to Vader's helmet, his fateful encounter with Han), you could imagine why this was deleted from the final cut. However, this is (arguably) the most important and valuable of all the deleted scenes. 

Snow Speeder Chase
Length: 48 seconds
Summary: On the Starkiller's snowy tundra, Rey and Finn ride a snowspeeder and are blasted by snowtroopers in a identical vehicle. They switch positions so that Rey can pilot while Finn returns fire. He soon hits their pursuers, and the enemy speeder crashes and explodes.
Value: The CGI in the deleted scene is pretty bad and clearly unfinished, so one can only imagine how exciting this scene would have been in theaters. This mainly helps to strengthen Rey and Finn's friendship and mirror their escape from Jakku (she pilots while he shoots), and it explains why they made those snowspeeder toys. 

Finn Will Be Fine
Length: 23 seconds
Summary: At the Resistance base, several physicians tend to Finn following his wounds at the hands of Kylo. Dr. Kalonia (who we saw tending to Chewie earlier) assures Rey that Finn will be "just fine," and she looks relieved. 
Value: Mostly, this just tells the audience the severity of Finn's injuries; we never really saw how badly Kylo had slashed him, and there was some question as to whether he was just sleeping or in an irreversible coma when Rey said goodbye to his unconscious body. 

Tunnel Standoff
Length: 58 seconds
Summary: In the basement of Maz Kanata's castle, Han, Chewie, Finn, and Maz are confronted by a squad of stormtroopers. They say that they're being arrested by order of Supreme Leader Snoke, and Han pretends to not know who he is. The commander demands that they drop their weapons, and Han continues to stall as he reveals that he first identified Finn as an ex-stormtrooper from his boots. 
Value: The full extent of this scene would almost definitely show Maz dispatching the stormtroopers with her Force powers (explaining how these guys end up on the battlefield outside), but that part must have been cut permanently because the filmmakers opted out of identifying her as Force-sensitive. Still, it shows some more truly funny Han Solo moments, which is a real treasure given his later demise. 

Which scene(s) do you wish made it into the theatrical release? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all.