By Max Landis
First 13 pages of a 30 years later sequel to Return of The Jedi, written for fun as a warm up.
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A dirty, worn storm trooper helmet. It is suddenly WHACKED away by green stick, clattering to the ground!
EXT. JAKKU – THE JUNKYARD
Stripped ships and old parts, a skeletal graveyard on the desert planet of Jakku, white sands stretching as far as the eye can see beyond the edges of the conglomerated junk.
Set up in a clearing are a number of what could best be described as scarecrows, dressed in Stormtrooper Armor.
TEARING through them, swinging a green length of steel, is
REY, early 20s, compact and bright eyed in her salvage gear, twirling the green stick expertly and beautifully as she annihilates the stormtroopers!
The performance is delighting an assembled group of children of many species, who sit rapt in attention as Rey knocks down the last of the white scarecrows.
Stop hiding, Emperor! Face me, and the justice of the rebel alliance!
A woozy, acapella version of the Imperial March begins, being sung half heartedly, as from the junk emerges a small group of actual, living “stormtroopers,” among them several aliens, some of their armor incomplete or improvised.
Behind them is a silver Protocol Droid wearing a Storm Trooper helmet painted black, with a cape affixed to its back and a red stick in its hand. This is really E4PO, but for now he’s “DARTH VADER.”
He’s flanked by a Duros male, wearing a black hooded cloak, tall and thin like all of his species. This is KOZI, but for right now, he’s “THE EMPEROR.”
LUKE SKYWALKER! You may have fought your way on board my Death Star, but all you will find here is your doom! MWAHAHAHAHA!
Um, yes, you’re in big trouble now! Because we’re very...mad, you see-
Right, yes, sorry, of course-
STORM TROOPERS! KILL her- HIM!
The storm troopers step forward as the kids watch in terror and begin shaking their “guns” at Rey, who pantomimes blocking the blaster bolts with her “lightsaber.”
Zap! Pow zap! Zap pow!
Chvv! Vrn! Bzort!
Blasters cannot defeat me! I am a Jedi knight! Force PUSH!
Rey flings her hand out, and the “stormtroopers” clumsily fall to the ground.
Aghhh! Oh no, he got us! Oh, we got pushed down, ohhh owww!
The kids applaud, only for E4PO as “Vader” to approach her.
You- listen, I’m Darth Vader, and I’m going to- get you...buddy!
The Protocol droid stiffly waves his red stick. Rey groans, rolling her eyes, but recommits.
You cannot stop me Vader! The light side is stronger than the dark!
She whacks “Darth Vader;” E4PO loses balance and tips over, TIMBER, thud.
Big cheer from the kids on that one.
You may have destroyed my robot Darth Vader, but you cannot destroy me!
Did Mon Mothma never tell you what happened to your father?
She told me enough! She told me you killed him!
No. I am your father.
The assembled children gasp.
No! That’s impossible!
Join me...Or DIE!
“The Emperor” blows a raspberry, pantomiming lightning, and Rey falls, dropping the “lightsaber.” The children begin cheering her, and she slowly pantomimes fighting back, and then hurls her lightsaber at the “Emperor.”
He falls, “dead.”
The light side has conquered the dark! The empire has fallen! And I, Luke Skywalker, slain my father the evil emperor! I have won the star wars!
The children cheer, riotously, and Rey, Kozi, and the “stormtroopers” all bow. From the sidelines, a few mechanics and scrap workers cheer as well.
From higher up, an older man with soft features in brown robes watches, smiling warmly. He claps. This is ORLO.
(laying on the ground)
Uh...A little help?
EXT. THE JUNKYARD – MESS TENT
The various alien and human children are eating, contentedly, while Kozi and Rey watch from a higher up piece of a junk; a wider angle reveals...
They’re sitting on the wrecked wing of a B-Wing fighter.
They eat together, happily, old friends.
It went well today, Rey. They love that story. It’s getting to the point when their parents come to pick them up at the end of the day, they don’t want to leave.
Rey rolls her eyes.
I remember I used to watch you play alone. Doesn’t seem like that long ago.
Oh, stop with the old man stuff Kozi. You’re a scrap rat just like me.
Speaking of, I was thinking you and me could make a bid to go up on the next salvage.
Rey, you know none of the haulers would let a scrap-rat on a salvage-
Yeah but it’s not a rule though, right? Not a real one. I’m getting better at engineering-
“Getting better” isn’t good, Rey-
I am good! You’re good too!
Not good enough to go up with the haulers. You wanna go ask Podder or Ian, you go ahead, but the first thing they’re gonna do is say no, and the second thing they’re gonna do is start asking questions about where you came from in the first place. That’s on you. Til then, I’m content to sort scrap and play the Emperor every day.
A freighter streaks over the sky high above them. Rey watches it sadly, realizing the productive part of this conversation is over; she switches tacts.
But you like playing the Emperor, right?
Better than I like playing Darth Grievous.
(laughing, mouth full)
I like watching you trying to hold all your “lightsabers.”
E4PO shuffles up behind them.
Yes, excuse me, I’d been meaning to talk to you about that. Do you think, ah, next time, when you defeat “Darth Vader,” you could be a little gentler?
I have to hit you hard, Forpeo. It has to look real.
Yeah, why you want to ruin it for the kids?
Yeah Forpeo why do you hate kids?
Why do you hate kids Forpeo?
I didn’t- look whether or not-look, I’m willing to-
Rey laughs warmly, and Kozi smiles.
Gentler next time. Got it, no problem.
You organics and your blasted sarcasm. Drives a droid to rust.
You still look good to me.
E4PO groans, and shuffles away, muttering, and Rey smiles, when-
WEEDLE, 20s, scrawny and dirty, rushes up beneath them, pushing through the children. He seems panicked.
Rey! Rey! Grathak’s here! He’s taking the power converters!
Rey turns, and runs, Kozi tossing off his Emperor robes and going after her. They hurry to:
EXT. JAKKU – THE JUNKYARD – MOISTURE FARM – CONTINUOUS
Rey, Kozi and Weedle rush out to the Moisture farm, where multiple air-processing towers have been set up. They are currently being stripped by a group of marauders, their speeders parked nearby.
The Marauders are led by
GRATHAK, a burly, intimidating thug. As the denizens of the junk yard gather, Grathak walks out to meet them. Orlo watches from a distance, at a high vantage point in the junk.
Rey, Weedle, and Kozi join the group, which is lead by red-furred female wookie BARBUKA.
Barbuka roars at Grathak as he approaches.
I toldja you shouldn’t have fought them, Rey!
She did what you were too afraid to do. You’d rather starve?
No, I’m just sayin: I toldja!
Thanks Weedle, very helpful.
I heard one of you attacked my scout. Who was it?
There’s a beat, and then Rey steps out.
Your scout was stealing our food, Grathak. He was-
Two of his thugs make a bee-line to Rey, easily overpowering and dragging her forward- Kozi tries to help and they shove him to the ground, kicking him in the face-
Rey suddenly pulls something from her satchel- A BLUE LIGHTSABER IGNITES, startling EVERYONE GATHERED!
Rey fumblingly SLICES OFF THE EAR of one of her attackers, and both of them scramble back. There’s a hush.
Grathak, however, is unimpressed.
You think you can pull that out to scare us every time, you’ve got another thing coming, scrap rat.
I won’t let you take the water. You can have some but I won’t let you take all of it-
You won’t “let” me?
Grathak casually draws his blaster and shoots Rey in the leg.
She screams and falls, dropping her lightsaber. The goons laugh, and continue collecting the water pods from the moisture farm.
Grathak kneels, talking directly to her.
Tell me more about the things you won’t “let” me do, scrap rat.
Grathak stands, addressing the group of scrap-sorters, children and mechanics.
See? I’m letting her live. I’m letting you all live. This time. Remember that when I come back. The only people who get hurt are the people who fight back.
He heads off, leaving Rey alone, laying on the ground, defeated. Barbuka rushes out to help her, roaring sympathetically. Rey pushes her away, trying to stand...
No Barbuka, I can-
!...But collapses, face first in the sand.
EXT. JUNKYARD – TENT – SUNSET
Rey sits in agony and frustration in an open tent in the junkyard. Barbuka is attempting, clumsily, to treat her wound, as Kozi looks on.
His eye is swollen shut from the attack by the marauder. His mood is dour.
We’ll have to take you to Amagana in the morning to get that treated. It’s too risky to travel in the night-
We could ask for a lift from one of the haulers-
we can’t ask for a lift from one of the haulers without credits, Rey. None of them will fly an inch without money in their pocket.
Rey’s quiet, touching her leg, pained.
They stole our water, we have to get it back-
And who’s going to lead the attack? You? On one leg? Think next time, Rey. You put us all in danger.
Rey looks sad, ashamed. Kozi leaves. Barbuka coos affectionately, and then suddenly:
I enjoyed your story today. Even the parts of it that were wrong.
Orlo stands above them at the entrance to the tent.
There were no wrong parts. Leave me alone, stranger, I’m not interested in a history lesson.
Understandable. If I might ask, where did you acquire that weapon, your “lightsaber?” I understand them to be quite rare-
None of your business. If you’re one of Grathak’s men you’ll have to try harder than that.
Barbuka hesitantly puts her hand on her blaster. Orlo eyes this, but stays calm, pleasant, warm, unconcerned.
Grathak? Ah, today’s barbarian. No, I assure you I have no allegiance to men who win their arguments solely by shooting and shouting. I’ll excuse myself.
Orlo starts to leave, but then stops, turning back.
If not a history lesson, perhaps some attention to that leg, then?
Yes, I am a doctor. Kind of you to ask. My name is Doctor Orlo. And a dirty blaster wound like that is only going to get worse before morning.
Rey looks to Barbuka, then back at Orlo. She sighs.
EXT. THE JUNKYARD – CAMPFIRE – NIGHT
Night has fallen over the junkyard. We can see the somewhat surreal visual of lights moving around in and under the junk, dozens of little scrap heap homes, campfires burning in the cockpits of fallen TIE-fighters...
And in the distance, the multicolor signal lights and engine glare of scrap freighter ships, landing and unloading at the edges of the massive junkyard.
Life on Jakku. Slow. Quiet. Beautiful. Dangerous.
Above it all, next to a campfire, are Rey and Orlo, who is Gently using some kind of bacta-device on her leg wound. Rey is staring up at the stars, gritting her teeth.
Orlo smiles at her warmly. After a beat, Rey speaks.
Well, go on. What parts of my story were wrong?
Darth Vader wasn’t a droid. There was a man, in there. Under that black armor.
Rey is surprised to find herself very interested.
How could you know that?
Some planets have easier access to history than Jakku, dear girl. And some things more complicated than a man in a black cloak hunting down a bright eyed young hero.
It’s good of you to spend time with the children.
I was one of them, once.
The stories like to paint things in good and evil, dark and light. But reality is often frustratingly more complicated.
The Emperor was evil though.
Yes, he was. May I ask you: Those raiders today. Were they evil because they wanted what was yours? They thought they were justified in taking it, to survive-
If your survival means someone else’s death, that is evil-
But you were prepared to kill them to stop them from taking what they needed to survive. So: are you evil?
Rey listens without answering, lost in thought.
Try out your leg. Should be healed up.
Rey shakily stands, with Orlo’s help. He smiles, reassuring, fatherly, and she takes a few steps away.
It’ll hurt for a while yet, but the wound is closed.
Orlo nods, obliging. Rey stares up at the thousands of stars twinkling in the night sky above her. There’s a cold wind.
It was brave what you did today. To fight for these people.
I thought you said it was evil.
Can evil not be brave? Can evil, in its moment, not be heroic? Perhaps your friend Grathak is a hero to his men-
You talk of evil like it’s an illusion. Our water is gone, really gone- the children will go thirsty. That is real.
Orlo looks sad.
You are brave, though. I believe that-
I’m not brave. I just...I don’t like people pushing me around.
Orlo smiles again, looking at her framed against the stars.
When you stare up at the night sky, what do you see? What are you looking for? The other worlds? The things you want to see, places you want to go-
No. The people. I see all the stars and I think about all the millions of people I’ll never meet.
Perhaps somewhere up there, the person who gave you that?
Orlo indicates the lightsaber at her side. Rey senses his interest, and ignores it, smiling at the ground. When she looks back up, Orlo is staring straight at her.
There’s a strange chill in the air. Rey seems to find herself unable to look away from Orlo.
Orlo gently waves his hand as he speaks.
You will tell me where you found that lightsaber.
Rey blinks, dazed for a moment, and then shakes her head.
I’m sorry, but I’d rather not, and I wish you wouldn’t ask again. It’s personal to me. It’s the only thing I truly own.
Orlo nods, suddenly seeming more interested in Rey.
He raises a hand, pinching two fingers together. Rey gags, unsure what’s happening, and then realizes: somehow, without physical touch, Orlo is CHOKING her.
She reaches for her blaster, but Orlo waves a hand and the blaster somehow slides out of reach? Impossible!
Orlo leans in, smiling, Rey clutching at her throat.
I’ll ask one...more time...child...
Where did you get that lightsaber?
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