We know that early versions of The Force Awakens looked very different to the finished product, but now, ahead of the film’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release, director J.J. Abrams is giving us a look at what could have been. Snippets of Abrams’ audio commentary for the movie have been released online, detailing the processes he and his crew went through filming the movie, and explaining why he cut footage that more explicitly tied nascent Force user Rey to Luke Skywalker.
Abrams references the painful visions Rey sees when she touches the lightsaber in Maz Kanata’s bar. The action triggers what the director calls a “Forceback,” in which she sees her own separation from her family. “There were many iterations of this,” Abrams says, describing another version that pictured Rey in the Empire Strikes Back‘s Cloud City, watching Vader fighting Luke. That version was cut, as the director explains. “We wanted it to be a more personal story, something that she couldn’t comprehend, that was overwhelming to her, frightening to her, that was taking her through all of these elemental experiences, of fire, of rain, snow, wind. But also that she was being confronted with truths about the Force, about the past.”
Rey was originally going to see Luke’s fight with Vader in Cloud City
The direct visual reference to Luke’s Cloud City fight might have been cut, but the version of the “Forceback” that made it to screens did keep a nod to the previous trilogy — Abrams notes that the voice she hears calling her name at the end of the segment is Obi-wan Kenobi’s. Abrams isn’t ready yet to give away the truth about Rey’s real parentage, although another commentary clip released earlier this week involves another famous Star Wars family. The director talks over footage of (huge spoilers) Han Solo’s death at the hand of his son, explaining how it was screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan’s son, Jon Kasdan, who was instrumental in finding the right emotional tone for the scene.
The fact that the younger Kasdan knows so much about wanting to kill his dad could be worrying for long-time Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, but we can probably assume that Jon Kasdan instead drew on his own filmmaking experience — he’s going to be writing the Han Solo spinoff movie along with his father. In the meantime, for more Abrams revelations, the Force Awakens Collector’s Edition Blu-ray that features the audio commentary is out on November 15th.