the force awakens alternate opening

Fans didn’t know what to expect when they sat down in darkened theaters for the anticipated return of the Star Wars franchise with J.J. Abrams‘ The Force Awakens. After the familiar opening crawl disappeared from the screen, The Force Awakens drops viewers right in the middle of the action. In a span of minutes, a Jakku village is besieged by First Order troops, Poe Dameron is captured, and Finn gets his tragic origin story.

It’s a sensational start to a great film, but it wasn’t the only opening that Abrams considered. Several The Force Awakens alternate openings were considered by Abrams, several of which were storyboarded. One particularly gripping alternate opening even went into production. You may remember it. The one with Luke’s hand. Now, one of those alternate openings has been given the fan animation treatment.

Animator Tim Gray created the animation based on one of Abrams’ original storyboards, presumably found in one of the many Force Awakens-related books. In the description of his two-minute animated opening, Gray says “The original concept for The Force Awakens opening was very different to what finally made it to screen. Using the original storyboards by J.J. Abrams, I have attempted to capture what this could have looked like.”

The alternate opening mirrors the opening to A New Hope almost exactly. Several small ships are being followed by a gargantuan Star Destroyer, but here’s the twist: the smaller ships are tugging the dilapidated Star Destroyer to Jakku, where scavengers like Rey will harvest it for parts. It’s a truly satisfying parallel to A New Hope, and would fit in well with the rest of the film’s homages to the 1977 original.

But while the visuals are impressive and foreboding, I could see why Abrams and his team ultimately scrapped it. It’s a more subdued opening that sets the stage for Rey’s journey, but doesn’t have quite the kick of the final opening scene.

Neither opening is quite as wild as another, more infamous alternate opening scene. That opening featured Luke Skywalker’s severed hand (we never really saw what happened to it after The Empire Strikes Back) floating in space, still clutching the blue lightsaber he lost in his duel with Darth Vader. The hand finally enters the atmosphere of Jakku, where it burns upon entry, leaving only the lightsaber falling into the sandy wasteland. Yes, that is a real alternate opening, and yes, Mark Hamill totally confirmed it.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: