The production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, like all movies, was one that began with ideas, lots and lots of ideas. While many of these concepts became part of the final film, they also evolved over time resulting in numerous things being planned, and then scrapped, at various points along the road.
Now we have a bit of a look at some of the ideas that were nearly part of Star Wars: The Force Awakens thanks to a new portfolio of images provided by the production design team at Industrial Light and Magic. They give us a new perspective on several locations within the film, as well as a potential look at some places we never saw at all. Check out some of our favorites.
TIE FightersWe see the First Order attack Jakku with TIE Fighters in broad daylight early in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and we also see stormtroopers on the ground, but we never actually see them land. The only crafts we see the First Order land on the planet are at night in the opening sequence. The other item of note here is that, while difficult to see, the stormtroopers appear to have their classic original trilogy look, likely because the new design hadn’t been finished yet.
City StreetAn alien city street with Han Solo, BB-8, and somebody else (perhaps Rey?) at one end. We would guess there may have been plans to see more of the planet Takodana, or possibly that Maz Kanata’s establishment could have been located in a more urban environment originally. Either way, we never encountered anything that looked like this in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We like the way Han Solo is dressed as his classic Star Wars: A New Hope vest, thus making him recognizable, even from a distance.
Jakku TransportThis is one of our favorite images because it’s very clear what we’re looking at. We see Finn, recognizable by the jacket he’s holding, standing outside some sort of transport vehicle. It seems clear that this was considered as a way that Finn might make his way from the crashed TIE Fighter to the settlement where he eventually meets up with Rey. We likely would have met a number of new aliens, though the need to create all the new aliens, as well as it being superfluous, may very well be the reason we never saw it in The Force Awakens.
Lightsaber BattleThis image shows a potentially very different take on the lightsaber battle on Starkiller Base. While the faces are not clear, likely because the characters themselves were in flux, this shows what we can only assume is the final duel between Kylo Ren and Rey. However, in this version Finn is conscious and trying to get a clear shot, while the Millennium Falcon also hovers nearby. In the final version of this battle, all of these things happen separately rather than all at once.
BB-8Here we have a shot of BB-8 in what looks like some sort of droid repair shop or refuse facility. This could be a location on Starkiller Base or, it could be an out of the way area of the Resistance base, possibly where R2-D2, being a catatonic droid, may have originally been located. It feels scarier than that, though. It seems like the place where Chewbacca found C-3PO in The Empire Strikes Back. Like nothing good ever happens here. Perhaps they were considering scrapping R2 before he came back to life with the map to Luke.
Rusted AT-ATWe saw in that one ruined AT-AT in Star Wars: The Force Awakens how the disused junk from the Empire was being repurposed. Rey has been living in an old Imperial Walker for some time when we meet here, using it for shelter. This could have been an original plan for her home, but rather this feels like part of the main Jakku settlement and less isolated out in the desert wastes. The stall out front makes it feel like some kind of store.
Ship RepairHere we have an image of somebody working repairing the vehicles of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We know that Rey is mechanically inclined, and the colors of the image tell us that we’re on Jakku. You can see a crashed TIE Fighter through the window. This could be an early version of Rey’s speeder that she’s working on. Maybe her original occupation in an early draft of the script was a mechanic. It would explain why we have more than one craft here, it would also explain her subsequent skill flying various ships.
Luke SkywalkerHere we have an original concept for Luke Skywalker’s look in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that screams Obi-Wan Kenobi so hard we can hear it. The robe is the darker brown that Sir Alec Guinness sported in A New Hope and the hair is the same shade of gray. The samurai top knot is an interesting idea that we didn’t end up getting. Luke's hair is pretty long when we finally see him, but not man-bun long like it is here.
Millennium FalconThis may be the most interesting image in the lot. The Millennium Falcon hovering above a large body of water, near other craft, with Han Solo and Chewbacca standing on top of the ship obviously looking for something. We’ve never really seen anybody on top of the ship like this. Apparently, there’s a door from the cockpit that exits onto the ship. Who knew? Was the original Resistance base a floating armada? Or is this where Han and Chewie originally found the Falcon? What’s your guess?
New AlienHere’s another image that we can’t easily place into the existing framework of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We have an alien creature of some sort inside what appears to be a home. Could this be an early idea for the character of Maz Kanata? Or is this another part of Jakku that we never saw? Alternately it could be an entirely new concept that ended up not being used. Where do you think this creature fits?
Han Solo ShowdownThis is our first clear look at the older incarnation of Han Solo that Star Wars: The Force Awakens showed us in these images. What’s interesting here is the creature in the foreground that he appears ready to draw against. It’s most certainly a droid. We never saw any droid soldiers in the film, but maybe the original plan was for there to be some, and it looks like one had a high-noon-style showdown with Han. Whatever was planned here, we hope Han shot first.
Jakku SkylineThe crashed Star Destroyer in the background implies that this is Jakku, but this version doesn’t have the smooth, sandy terrain that we ended up with. Instead it appears more rocky as Rey looks out over the skyline. The binary suns in the background, which also didn’t survive, likely meant for this shot to harken back to Luke’s view of the two suns on Tatooine from Star Wars: A New Hope, and this could have been moment of pensive solitude for the heroine.
Castle In The SkyOnce again, if we can use the snow as an indicator that this was part of the original concept of Starkiller Base, then we have a very different look for it. While we see very little of the base’s external layout in the film, this shows us a single person making their way to a castle like building. It would make sense if this was the original concept for the First Order’s main headquarters, but without much more to go on, this could just as easily be Maz Kanata’s bar. Another possibility is that this is where we were to originally find Luke Skywalker at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
First Order BaseThis image, however, gives us a little more to go on. If this is the same building that we saw in the last image then it was absolutely meant to be First Order headquarters. These TIE Fighters could be launching to engage with Poe Dameron’s team for the final dogfight in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The lava stream is a nice touch. That's how you know they're bad guys, they live in a spooky, sinister castle.
Two-Seat X-WingX-Wing’s have always been single seat fighters in the earlier Star Wars films. Apparently, there was at least the idea of making them two-seaters instead in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Snowspeeders had two sets in The Empire Strikes Back because the vehicle had weapons capable of firing behind the craft. Although, in that case, the second seat also faced backwards. This image, however, looks more like a more modern two-seat fighter jet. What would the other pilot have done here? Were they like Goose in Top Gun?