Last week, Disney did something unusual: it dropped a trailer for the deleted scenes from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” that will be included with the blu-ray and digital homes video releases.
It was a weird thing to do, in a vacuum. But “Star Wars” hardly exists in one of those, despite its interstellar premise. Disney knew fans wanted those deleted scenes real bad — bad enough that they would be a selling point for the blu-ray.
The deleted scenes definitely are a selling point because we know that a ton of material was cut from “The Force Awakens.” Stuff that’s important to the series’ world-building, that helps us catch up with what’s gone on in the galaxy in the 30 years since the end of “Return of the Jedi.” Stuff that adds something really substantial to how we think of the film. Stuff that, when we buy a copy of the blu-ray to see what cool deleted scenes they threw on there after they got us excited with an actual trailer advertising them, will actually satisfy.
But Disney didn’t give us that kind of stuff. It instead gave us a little bit of flavor. Four minutes of scenes that would probably improve the movie by letting it breathe a little, but which are not all that illuminating. And only one of the scenes we’re given, in which Han Solo, Finn and Maz Kanata face off with some Stormtroopers in the basement of Maz’s bar, is actually cool to watch on its own. That one, by the way, isn’t even on the blu-ray, but is exclusive to the digital release (which blu-ray purchasers can access with the included digital copy code).
The funny thing about that scene, though, is that we only get part of it. I’d heard about this scene before, from plot leaks prior to “The Force Awakens'” as release (and discussed by Slashfilm here in its roundup of cut material). We see Han bantering with the Stormtroopers, making fun of Supreme Leader Snoke’s name, but not that he was stalling for time while Maz gathered her strength to take the troopers out with the Force. The version we got just ends without anything happening.
Where’s the meat, Disney? We know you have some we could chew on, but you won’t give it to us. You’re standing there, holding it behind your back and pretending it doesn’t exist even though its aroma is strong as hell.
I’m not grasping at straws here. J.J. Abrams has described his original cut of “The Force Awakens” was over 2 hours and 30 minutes, whereas the theatrical version ended up at 2 hours and 16 minutes. Abrams told Collider he had “about a dozen” deleted scenes totaling 10 to 20 minutes. The seven scenes we get with the home video release come in under five minutes in total.
Disney-commissioned tie-in materials, like the film’s novelization or the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary,” describe or show images from some of these scenes — such as one, early in the film, where Leia goes to the Republic Senate to plead for them to pay attention to the growing threat of the First Order. It’s a crucial scene if you wanna have any real perspective on the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance, or why it’s a galaxy-shattering event when the First Order destroys the Republic capital.
Look, I know deleted scenes aren’t actually that big of a deal. But you’re dealing with the largest, craziest, most voracious fanbase in the world here. We hear about deleted scenes and flip the fuck out. We see an actual ad for deleted scenes and have a meltdown. It’s just our nature.
So we need the good stuff. Give us the good stuff. Please?