Years of anticipation leading up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens made several things obvious once the film came out. Chief among them is that several shots in the highly scrutinized trailers were not in the movie. Now, the film’s director has explained the biggest one.
Minor spoilers follow.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, J.J. Abrams explained that the shot glimpsed above, of Maz Kanata handing the Skywalker lightsaber to General Leia, was not in the movie.
That was a scene actually filmed, but we took out. At one point, Maz used to continue along with the characters back to the Resistance base, but we realized that she really had nothing to do there of value, except to have her sitting around.
Lupita [Nyong’o] did film scenes on set for that sequence, but it felt like going right just to go left, and it was unnecessary. So we ended up leaving those things out.
It ended up in the trailer because when that trailer came out back in April, that scene was still in the current edit of the movie. But, it eventually hit the cutting room floor.
This, of course, makes perfect sense. But what’s less clear is how Maz handing the lightsaber to Leia fits into the narrative of the saber. In the film, we see her hand it to Finn so he can fight on Takodana. Finn then leaves the planet with the saber. So it seems she may have come back with Finn, Han and Chewie, asked Finn for the saber back and then told Leia the story.
What did Maz say in this moment though? Leia was being handed the saber of her father and missing brother? Did she find out how it got off Bespin? Maybe we’ll find out one day.
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