Some things are better left on the cutting room floor.
The Blu-ray/DVD release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits store shelves on April 5 (though a digital release precedes it on April 1), and one of the most anticipated features of the package is the deleted scenes. Heck, they even got their own trailer, which is something that only a franchise as big as Star Wars can pull off.
We'll have a more in-depth review of the home release of The Force Awakens in the near future, and it's packed with good stuff. Unfortunately, though, the deleted scenes are kind of a disappointment.
That's less a dig at the scenes themselves and more a compliment to the final cut of the movie. Because the scenes aren't bad. They're just unnecessary. You can look at every one of them and say, "Ah, yes. It makes sense that this was taken out of the finished product," if only for concerns about time.
That means that there are no startling revelations, no new hints about what Episode VIII will bring or who Rey's parents are (not that you should've expected that, anyway). These are very short, sometimes unfinished moments that might make you say, "Huh," but will not make you say, "Whoa!"
Well, with one possible exception. We'll get to that.
Here's a rundown of each scene, in order of where they would have appeared in the film. Spoilers for each scene follow, if you'd prefer to see them all yourself.
(Note: There is a seventh deleted scene that is only available digitally. You get a digital copy of the movie with the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack, but that extra scene isn't on the disc and isn't covered here.)
Finn and the Villager
A short bit from the beginning of the movie (during the Stormtrooper assault on Jakku). Finn, with blood on his helmet, sees a a cowering villager trying to escape the chaos of the attack. They stare at each other. He lowers his gun. She runs away. That's it.
A nice moment, but we get enough of Finn's morality already, making this unnecessary.
A report comes into General Leia's base that the Jakku village was wiped out and that there has been no word from Poe. This scene is interesting primarily because it puts Leia in the picture sooner rather than later. She also gets a good line, when talking about BB-8, that tugs at the nostalgia strings: "Never underestimate a droid."
There is one other tiny, easily missable detail that might have been good to keep in the final movie. When asked whether the Resistance should reach out to the Republic about the attack, Leia says they should be "smarter than that." It doesn't explain everything about why the Resistance exists and why the Republic isn't stopping the First Order themselves, but it at least acknowledges that there are things going on behind the scenes.
X-Wings Prepare for Lightspeed
This one is super rough and clearly unfinished in terms of special effects, but it's watchable. There's not much to see, though, because it's literally just X-Wings preparing for a jump to lighspeed. The title doesn't lie, at least.
Kylo Searches the Falcon
This is, in my mind, the crown jewel of the deleted scenes. In it, a masked Kylo Ren, née Ben Solo, climbs aboard the Millennium Falcon. Even though you can't see Adam Driver's face, you can sense the inner conflict going on in his mind as he acknowledges that his father, Han Solo, is on Starkiller Base. It's a nice setup for the showdown that follows.
Snow Speeder Chase
Another scene with some unfinished CG. Rey is wearing Poe's/Finn's jacket as the two try to outrun a Stormtrooper while escaping Starkiller Base. Finn is driving, but then shouts, "Switch places!" so Rey can steer while he shoots. As usual, Rey and Finn are enjoyable to watch on-screen together, but there's nothing here that really adds to the overall experience.
Interestingly, this scene also doesn't show Rey putting on Finn's jacket. She already has it when the scene starts. Another mystery left unsolved!
Finn Will be Fine
Back at the Resistance base, Finn is unconscious and being treated for his injuries. We see Rey on the verge of tears as she worries about her friend until a woman suddenly appears next to her -- in an almost creepy fashion -- and says, "Your friend's gonna be just fine." She smiles awkwardly and the scene is over.
Beyond the Resistance woman's random appearance, cutting this scene gives more weight to Rey's final words to an unconscious Finn near the end of the movie. Her belief that the two friends will cross paths again is more powerful from a storytelling perspective if she hasn't just been told by someone else that Finn will be fine.