Star Wars: TLJ – Re-imagining The Throne Room Fight
Based on the info provided by this excellent video, (Give it a watch if you like in-depth fight critiques. It isn’t essential to understand what I’ll go over in this piece though. I’m only just a layman making my best interpretations.) this is how I’d re-choreograph the throne room fight in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, because why the hell not. This fight had the potential to be one of the best in this trilogy, even with the bare-bones and sloppy context and build-up. It’s amazing how much they screwed up in this movie, coming down to even the simple mechanics of a fight scene.
It’s pretty obvious that the goal of this fight was for the visuals only with little substance. Regardless of how grounded it may look since no one is throwing out Force moves or jumping around all over the place, it’s still pretty shit. The actual choreography, the mechanics, I mean for Christ’s sake, Rey and Kylo barely even have a genuine character moment during the fight. So, here’s my re-imagining of this scene. I hope you enjoy.
So first, cut down on the number of opponents. I’m can’t remember if there’s a hard number that dictates how many of these guards there should be, but I think it’d be more visually pleasing if Kylo and Rey both had 3 guards to deal with each. It keeps things symmetrical and more manageable for the audience. It also doesn’t make our two Force-users ridiculously outnumbered.
Start with Rey and Kylo back to back as normal but taking more substantial defensive positions as their attackers move in. As they do, perhaps Kylo and Rey perform a defensive, back-to-back spin maneuver to establish a level of space between them and their opponents. Nothing overtly flashy, but a dual maneuver that keeps their opponents at bay for a few seconds. During this time, the numerous faceless combatants can assess openings in our Force-users’ defenses. They have the numbers advantage, but it doesn’t mean they can charge in recklessly against two foes as powerful as Rey and Kylo.
This defensive maneuver from the two Force-users can establish their instant chemistry in the fight. Light paired up with dark, working together seamlessly. Their body language in swings lines up together to keep themselves covered from as many angles as perceive-ably possible at the moment. Maybe add a slow-down effect at certain parts of their swings just to add a little visual flair and beauty for the audience.
At the tail end of this defensive move for our two Force-users, they both throw out a medium-strength Force push. This connects with a few opponents, possibly two on each side. How I imagine this works is; using Force moves in a fight takes a certain amount of focus. The more focus time you have, the more powerful the Force push, or some such can be in close-quarters combat. This is why you can’t just toss out a random Force move in the middle of a fight. At least not an exceptionally powerful one anyway. But the opening gambit of Rey and Kylo’s defensive move gave them enough time to muster up something while the guards looked for an offensive opening. Turning defense into offense.
The fight officially begins with the guards that didn’t get blown away engaging with Kylo and Rey respectively. The two only have so much time before the other guards come back to re-engage. So the pressure’s on to take out these first two before that happens. A few clashes occur. Possibly a little side-switching for some more visual splendor or some such before the two Force-users are successful. Giving the first two guards a good bopping that at the very least takes them out of the fight. I can accept this as the two have effectively earned it through their smart opening play.
I imagine that Kylo’s opening Force push probably hit his opponents much harder than Rey’s. He’s got that Skywalker blood after all. So perhaps Kylo is a bit faster in taking his man down than Rey, giving him a little bit of time to give her a hand. Rey clashes and Kylo takes the opportunity to strike the killing blow as they switch sides once more. Kylo then has to deal with the guards on Rey’s side coming at him a lot earlier than on Kylo’s end for Rey.
This is where the two split off. Kylo must now make distance between his opponents to manage them both more efficiently as the three of them drift off-screen.
The camera then pans in to focus on Rey as she takes on her two guards. She essentially does the same as Kylo. She keeps a set distance away from both her opponents as they swing and lunge at her. Blocking won’t be enough against two guys. Luckily, those Jedi reflexes come in handy as the two faceless combatants work in tandem with each other. As one is blocked, the other swings, Rey’s spacial awareness, and Jedi-ness allow her to react accordingly.
I imagine that if the rhythm is good enough, you can pull this off in live-action without too much of a hitch. (Just re-shoot the damn string of exchanges if the rhythm’s clearly off.) Make it clear to the audience that Rey is currently in defense mode. She has a solid defensive stance and she’s blocking the entire time. Her opponents continue to push her back with their pressure. She has to keep lunging backward to maintain a safe distance. Maybe throw a no-handed backflip in there for some more pleasing visuals.
Meanwhile, Kylo is a slightly different story. Putting that cross-guard to good use, you can probably still have the three-man bind happen when he uses it for that reason in the film. Instead of getting some random, cliché explosive burst out of nowhere though, maybe what the Youtube video suggests would actually happen in that situation happens. In the time it takes for one of the guards to make another strike at Kylo though, Kylo uses a small Force push to redirect the guard’s strike to miss or possibly even nick his ally. The bind giving Kylo a small amount of time to toss out the weak but calculated Force move to influence the trajectory of the strike.
The bind releases.
If the opposite guard is nicked then Kylo can take that opportunity to get a big strike in. This can be enough to take him out of the fight. If the initial guard’s strike is just a miss, then Kylo can perhaps shift his weight out of the bind in the ensuing confusion. This can maybe knock one guard into the other, leading to another takedown or heavy damage to them both.
Back to Rey. She ain’t doing too hot. Her defenses are only lasting so long. If she doesn’t find an opening for herself soon, she’ll be dead meat. Let’s say Daisy Ridley can actually act, and you can see the desperation in her face each time she blocks another move or dodges. She cracks and takes a hit. Nothing insanely serious like a fucking slice up the spine, if that’s even all that serious, to begin with… but maybe a stab to a non-lethal area like her shoulder or something. She cries out in pain while reeling backward, her yelp echoing off the walls of the throne room. Well maybe not that dramatic, but you get it.
The scream is enough to get Kylo’s attention and he reacts. Right now, he more or less has the upper hand in his fight. One guard is down or incapacitated at the very least. He finds an opening and throws his saber at the guard moving in for the killing blow on Rey, possibly nailing him at a weak point, bopping him. Kylo, now currently defenseless outside of his Force-user reflexes, must create more space against his opponent as he attempts to safely make his way to a downed guard’s weapon and make use of it in the meantime.
Rey is stunned. The realization that she and Kylo are actually fighting together sweeps through her mind. But it’s only a fleeting moment as she must quickly defend herself once more when her last opponent breaks out the daggers. Rey gets a second wind. She ignores the pain of her injury, only feeling the blood running from it. As her final opponent sizes her up, she gives a simple flourish before taking up a one-handed defensive stance, determination in her eyes. No screaming required, please.
There’s a stand-off to give the audience time to soak in the gravity of this moment. Nothing but the sound of clanging/clashing blades of the nearby fight filling in the background. DUEL OF THE FATES PLAYS!!!! Well, it doesn’t have to be Duel of the Fates, but it can be something of a modern equivalent. It definitely needs some epic music in the background though.
Rey and dual-dagger dude clash. Instead of the whole, ‘I forgot I have a second weapon’ deal, dagger man actually puts it to use during their first bind. Rey is ready though and uses a small Force push to influence dagger man’s off-hand dagger strike so he misses. It won’t be that easy.
Wide shot over the entire throne room. The other four red bodies scattered around in various places. Snoke’s bisected body still looks as disappointing as ever. But at least the last two guards and our two Force-users hold their own against each other. Kylo isn’t as proficient with his opponent’s weapon as his opponent is, naturally, but it’s enough to keep him alive for now. Meanwhile, Rey manages the pressure from her opponent. Small and weak, but effective and surgical Force pushes with her off-hand keep the dagger man’s off-hand at bay. She defends with her lightsaber in her other hand. It’s taking everything she has to keep this level of focus though, and she’s starting to reach her limit.
Kylo’s opponent is starting to get the upper hand, putting Kylo on the defensive. He’s feeling the pressure. He’s tired and he’s getting sloppy. The guard finds an opening and disarms Kylo with a flourish, flinging whatever weapon he had in the air. The weapon finds itself careening over towards Rey and her opponent causing them to dive away from each other. In the recovery moments, dagger man tries to force his advantage and rushes in for a killing blow on Rey. During her recovery, Rey musters up a sizable, two-handed Force push. She knocks dagger man off his feet, giving her time to follow up with a modest Force jump over him that sends her lightsaber plunging into his chest, bopping him.
Kylo, unfortunately, took a hit on around the same level or below as Rey’s injury as she finishes off her opponent. But just as Kylo did with Rey, Rey saber-throws her weapon right toward Kylo’s opponent. Perhaps she’s not as accurate, but it at least gives Kylo enough time to grab Rey’s lightsaber and finish the deal with another flourish. All that’s heard is the hum of Rey’s lightsaber in Kylo’s hand and the exasperated breathing of the two Force-users. Kylo then shuts the saber off and the two of them exchange a long glance, contemplating what just happened.
And there you go. A fight that I imagine has less visual clutter on-screen, incorporates some Force moves that aren’t super OP and still gives the audience a little visual flair with meaningful substance. It gives the actors less clunky choreography and It also doesn’t cripple the bad guys to near-uselessness. Well, at least I hope it does all that. Obviously, I’m giving this movie WAY more credit than it deserves. I’m also adding elements from my head as well. But I just love speculating about fights in any piece of fiction. I thought re-imagining this one will be fun and entertaining. Tell me what you think and how you’d redo this awful fight scene in the comments below!
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