J J Abrams is an incredibly gifted filmmaker, but his creations have one or two frustrating tendencies. This, the last instalment of ThermoCow’s Lowering Star Wars Expectations series, is a section of a hypothetical film treatment for the worst possible version of a J J Abrams Star Wars.
J J ABRAMS PRESENTS: J J ABRAMS' LOST IN STAR WARS
We open on a classic Star Wars rollup:
A MYSTERIOUS EVIL has emerged in the Galaxy. It is unclear why it has emerged, or if it really exists, or if indeed anything exists. The Galaxy as we experience it may be nothing more than some LIMBO in which we pay for the sins of a previous life, or just a mad god’s fever dream, or perhaps a metaphor for either or both of those things.
The despotic military junta known as the FIRST ORDER seeks to use the mysterious evil for its own benefit, though that evil may in fact be good or neutral, and we will not know until a MYSTERIOUS BOX that contains or is related to the mysterious evil is opened.
GENERAL HAN SOLO and ARCHBISHOP CHEWBACCA of the RESISTANCE are travelling to the uncharted Beta-4 quadrant to stop the First Order gaining control of the Mysterious Box, unless one or both of them are secretly aligned with the First Order…
The Millennium Falcon orbits an Earth-ish planet.
Inside, Chewie makes that noise he makes and points Han to the orbital scanners. No life signs - looks like they beat the First Order there.
Han notices a MYSTERIOUS SYMBOL tattooed on his own palm. He is confused - he doesn’t know how long the tattoo has been there or what it means.
An alarm is heard from inside Chewie’s stomach, and Han sees a MYSTERIOUS GREEN CLOUD rising up from the planet. He tries to evade the cloud, but it pursues them and seeps through the hull. As HAN passes out, he sees a MYSTERIOUS GLOWING HUMANOID.
The Millennium Falcon has crashed in a fertile woodland, where occasionally, a tree can be seen growing at right angles to the ground in a fibonacci sequence.
Han wakes up, groggy. Standing over him is a MYSTERIOUS PROTOCOL DROID. They have the following conversation:
Where am I?
A facile question betraying primitive assumptions. “Where”? What is “where” unless there is also spacetime, and is that not the most intangible concept? And who is “I”? Can you still truly believe in your own existence, despite what you think you have seen and have not yet misremembered?
Where is Chewbacca?
Archbishop Chewbacca? He was not in the crash.
Han is ROCKED TO THE CORE.
Perhaps the answer to this mystery is inside the nearby Temple of Ah’heru.
And the answer to the mystery of this tattoo and Chewie’s alarm belly and that green cloud and the glowing figure I saw?
Yes, perhaps those answers are also there.
They walk together. We see the temple in the distance, just as the Mysterious Green Cloud is retreating inside.
Just one massive LENS FLARE.
A SUPER STAR DESTROYER exits hyperspace near the Earth-ish Planet.
SNOKE, Supreme CGI Leader of the First Order, addresses his inner council. At his right hand is KYLO REN, who may be some kind of re-incarnation or metaphysical imprint of popular villain Darth Vader. We do not see them directly—rather, we see nothing but their shadows, reflected in a mirror and distorted through a fragment of irregularly-shaped glass (metaphor?)
The shadow of a high-ranking CREWMAN enters and announces that there is a recently crashed vessel on the planet’s surface, along with one humanoid lifeform. An unseen council member asks whether the Resistance might have secured the mysterious power already. Kylo Ren explains that he has a double agent within the Resistance to prevent that, then appears to kill the unseen council member so we know for sure that he is evil – or do we?
Archbishop Chewbacca teleports into the room with a personal teleportation device and reveals that he is that double agent. He explains his motivations, which to the audience just sounds like that noise he makes.
Again, all of this is just shadows that have been reflected and refracted, meaning everyone involved might actually be someone else, or a collection of shadow puppets, or no one at all.
Han and the Protocol Droid enter the Temple of Ah’heru. Inside is nothing but a MYSTERIOUS BOX on a pedestal: shiny, metal, about half the size of a shoebox. Han picks it up. It is mysteriously light - almost weightless. He looks for a way to open the box, but there is none. On each side is the mysterious symbol from Han’s palm tattoo.
The Droid betrays Han and a long Kung Fu battle ensues. They’re evenly matched, but there’s no need to dwell on it because it’s just an old guy and a robot. Eventually, the Droid knocks Han to the ground and straddles his chest. As the Droid chokes Han, Chewbacca teleports in. The Droid looks up. He’s clearly confused as Chewbacca tears off his head.
Chewbacca reveals to Han that he has told the First Order that he is working with them, but that he is in fact a triple agent loyal to the Resistance, pretending to be a double agent loyal to the First Order, and that he planted the Droid on the planet to trick the First Order into believing that he had a plan to use the Droid to prevent Han from gaining control of the Mysterious Box, but that he could not tell Han about the plan because the First Order was watching.
The GLOWING HUMANOID from Han’s vision appears and says, “I have something to tell you. It’s really, really important,” and promptly dies.
The shadows of Snoke and Kylo Ren observe Chewie and Han agreeing that they must return the box to Resistance HQ, through a camera planted on the Protocol Droid. They reveal that they know Chewie is pretending to be a triple agent loyal to the Resistance, and that he is, in fact, a quadruple agent, and that the only way they will be able to access the Mysterious Power they believe to be inside or somehow related to the Mysterious Box is to allow it to fall into the hands of Jedi Masters LUKE SKYWALKER and LEIA ORGANA SOLO. As such, they aided Chewie’s plan to plant the Droid with orders to attack Han and take the box with the intention of then arriving himself to kill the Droid to demonstrate his own (actually false) loyalty to the Resistance.
Han and Chewie land at Resistance HQ, which has a sign saying “Resistance HQ?” just to keep people guessing. They are greeted by Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, and converse:
Han, Chewie, my old friends. This box may contain or be related to the Mysterious Evil I sensed. Come to the New Jedi Council Chamber, and we will sit around talking about it.
Do you know how I got this tattoo on my palm?
It is a metaphor.
Han is completely satisfied and they go to the New Jedi Council Chamber together.
Big, big lens flare.
The New Jedi Council discusses the Mysterious Box.
One of the Jedi Masters notes that the box, although impossibly light, seems to be completely impregnable.
The scene begins again from the top. Was that some sort of flashback? Or maybe a flash forward? It’s intentionally ambiguous.
This time around, the Jedi Master does not speak. Instead, JEDI MASTER LEIA ORGANA SOLO says that she recognises the mysterious symbol on the top: it is the seal of an ancient Jedi Genius named Rambani. She demonstrates using her targeting computer that the symbol is actually a set of superimposed numerals: 8, 27, 40, 45, 90, and 223. She says history reports that Rambani, being a genius, hid a Mysterious Evil or something related to a Mysterious Evil inside a Mysterious Box, and ensured that the box could only be opened by someone who solved a series of difficult puzzles. Leia reveals that the puzzles have something to do with the numbers, but that it isn’t clear to her what their relationship is or precisely how they relate to the box itself.
** SCENE 9A
** Chewbacca tiptoes out of a darkened room. Possibly the New Jedi Council Chamber, but
** possibly somewhere else entirely. R2D2 whistles twice before playing a hologram video of
** Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor version), eyes wide with horror, saying “He sees everything”.
Han and Leia are in their quarters. Han is working with a pencil and paper, obsessing over the meaning of the numbers. He works out that when the numbers are converted to letters using modulo 26, they spell “Han Solo”. Leia explains that this may mean that he is somehow connected with the box, or that he is the only person who is not somehow connected with the box, or it may be coincidence.
Chewie is in the bowels of Resistance HQ. He whistles nonchalantly as staff pass, then slips unnoticed through a door marked ‘Restricted - Orbital Shield’. He pulls a HYDROSPANNER out of his beard and starts TAMPERING with SOMETHING.
An ALARM SOUNDS. Han and Leia meet ADMIRAL ACKBAR and LUKE, already in the Resistance HQ Control Room. Admiral Ackbar explains, hilariously, that an enormous First Order fleet has exited hyperspace near Resistance HQ and that the orbital shield seems to be down. Ackbar scrambles the fighters and explains his plan:
The First Order believes that Chewbacca is a quadruple agent, posing as a triple agent, but he is actually a quintuple agent. He told the First Order that he would pretend to be pretending not to work against them, but he was pretending to pretend to not be pretending. He returned to Resistance HQ to sabotage our orbital shields, with my knowledge, so that the First Order would believe it was time to seize the Mystery Box. We are prepared for them.
So that means…
Yes. It’s a trap!
Ackbar winks to the camera.
The GHOST OF YODA appears, dripping wet and speaking backwards, but there’s already too much mystery going on to even begin to think about what this means.
Han suddenly wakes up. He’s back in Jabba’s Palace. It’s exactly the same as in Return of the Jedi, except that the GLOWING HUMANOID is there and tells him that the last thirty years of his life were just a dream or perhaps a vision he suffered whilst frozen in carbonite.
SCENES 13 to 79
Han lives through the next thirty years of his life, experiencing the same events he had previously experienced. The GLOWING HUMANOID is there the whole time, watching him.
Han wakes up again. He, Admiral Ackbar and Luke Skywalker are in the Temple of Ah’heru. Kylo Ren is also there, and it’s obvious who he is even though we’ve never actually seen him until this point. Kylo Ren explains that most of the First Order is actually a covert branch of the Resistance. Luke explains that the Mystery Box opened when Han first touched it in the Temple of Ah’heru, and that Han then passed out, and that everything that happened from that point onwards, including both the apparently real-world events he had lived through following the finding of the box and the massive thirty-year flashback that happened with the Glowing Humanoid, was a dream or vision of the future or maybe a parallel timeline. Who knows?
Chewbacca enters and reveals that he thought he was a septuple agent, but is now a little bit confused. Leia enters, having travelled back through time to tell them not to open the Mystery Box, but it’s too late.
As a satisfying conclusion to the story, it is revealed that the Mystery Box also contains a SMALLER BOX.