EXT. MORNING, MONDAY JANUARY 18th, 2016, LUCASFILM HEADQUARTERS, LETTERMAN DIGITAL ARTS CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO.
INT. THE BOARDROOM. A circular room with an equally circular grey table. Carved into the table is an off-center recessed black circle. The table is populated by executives from both Disney and Lucasfilm. Standing opposite the entrance, across the room director RIAN JOHNSON who is pacing.
RIAN: Thank you all for coming on such short notice. I realize we locked the script two weeks ago, but I want to make sure that you all have read or have heard the major plot points otherwise this meeting might spoil some things for you. Show of hands. Who isn’t up to date on the final script?
RIAN: Great. Let’s proceed.
RIAN: I woke up last night at 3 am in one of those “I have made a horrible mistake” sweats. We have a massive problem at the end of The Last Jedi. We have no villain.
RIAN: I know what I said at the final pitch meeting. We had to mix things up, and we had a pave the way for the next generation of the Jedi, but at the end of this movie, there is just no one to hate. Snoke is dead, Hux is borderline comic relief, and the audience is practically rooting for Kylo – shirt on or off.
EXECUTIVES: (louder. unintelligible)
RIAN: Rey made him good. His relationship with Rey makes him human. Their Force connection shows us that Kylo’s soul is still in play and, oh yeah, you know Adam Driver seethes with charisma. He’s the most interesting character on the screen and he’s not becoming eviler, he’s becoming more neutral. Batshit crazy, but neutral.
RIAN: My point is, what’s the tension in the next movie? Saving Kylo? He’s just killed his master and apparently has a thing for Rey. Building the rebellion against the First Order? The First Order gets its ass kicked twice by the last rebel ship standing. One bombs them and the other rams them. The First Order needs to learn to steer away from shit before the audience takes it seriously. Also, what resistance? There’s more porg on the Millennium Falcon than there are fighters in the resistance.
RIAN: I know I pitched the theme of the Force can be a part of anyone. We need to think about a post-Skywalker Star Wars, but as written now, we’re going to into the third movie with very little tension and no villain… and I know how to fix it.
RIAN: Rey needs to turn to the dark side. When Kylo and Ray reach out and touch hands, she turns to the dark side.
RIAN: Everyone calm down. This is not a restart. All of the major plot lines remain intact. Finn’s useless Raiders of the Lost Arc-inspired trip remains the same except he sees Rey and Kylo on Snoke’s ship. Suddenly Finn is in. He’s mad! He’s relevant! Is he a Jedi? I don’t know, but let’s find out. Luke and Kylo – again, it’s unchanged. We still get the showdown at Crait and now it’s more meaningful because – just like Luke predicted – Rey is just like Kylo. Luke still projects himself because Luke is a hero and that is what heroes do.
EXECUTIVES: (slightly less screaming)
RIAN: Yes, even the escape. Chewie shows up to rescue the remaining rebels, and they escape thanks to Luke’s Kylo-delay tactics. It’s 95% the same ending except for one crucial difference. Rey can sense that they are escaping… and she lets them.
RIAN: Of course, she’s not going to turn. She’s a mole. She’s full-on Severus Snape and who the hell didn’t love that guy’s arc? Even better, Chewie is in on the gig, and he’s full-on Dumbledoring his way to the next rebel base.
EXECUTIVES: (continued silence)
RIAN: I don’t know. That’s Colin’s job to figure out, but we’re handing him a gift. We hand him a villain. We provide him tension. We hand him the critical question to answer, “Is Rey good or bad?” I’d watch the hell out of that movie.
EXECUTIVES: (mumbling. threatening)
RIAN: Ron Howard?
RIAN: … This is just me spitballing. I think we’ve got an incredible movie on hands… as is. Sorry for wasting your time.