NCN Writers’ Room: “Star Wars: Episode VII — Rise of the Marauders”
Written by Brandon C. Kesselly (@bckesso) & Jose Lopez (@Sh1tJayLowSays)
It should be no surprise that we at NerdCraft Nation did not think much of The Rise of Skywalker and the Disney sequel trilogy as a whole. In hindsight, we thought these movies could have been a little more…well, Star Wars. Since we, unfortunately, didn’t get Colin Trevorrow’s Duel of the Fates and George Lucas’ original trilogy plans were scrapped, Brandon and Jose turned to the next best thing: fanfiction!
In the first of a 3-part series, here is their reimagining of Star Wars: Episode VII, now titled “Rise of the Marauders.”
Act I: The Marauders Attack
We open with local starfighters escorting ships from orbit to a small New Republic (NR) meeting at Theed Royal Palace. Queen Alyla Duelian of Naboo gathers senators from across the galaxy to discuss recent reports of the so-called “Marauders” threatening to take down the NR. Some senators shrug it off as radicals who want to go back to the times of the Empire. Meanwhile, other senators consider them a credible threat to the NR, citing attacks on small planets throughout Republic space. The queen wishes to push the Senate to take action against the Marauders. Suddenly, the building explodes, killing everyone inside.
On Coruscant, a HoloNet broadcast of Supreme Leader Snoke appears across the city, taking responsibility for the bombing on Naboo. Snoke claims it is the first of many to come and that the NR will fall at the hands of the Marauders. Chancellor Lanever Villecham and Vice Chancellor Leia Organa watch the broadcast from their offices, prompting them to call an emergency meeting of the Senate.
Supremacy (Snoke’s Ship)
Snoke entrusts his commanders to continue with the next phase of his plan. Kylo Ren will lead an attack on Coruscant that will serve as a decoy, while Captain Phasma will lead her troops to the Galactic Archives (formerly the Jedi Archives) and retrieve an important artifact.
Leia greets Senate leaders as they make their way into the meeting. Chewie is her head of security. She senses a familiar presence arriving amongst the crowd — her brother, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. They embrace. R2-D2 is with Luke while C-3PO has been serving as translator for the Vice Chancellor.
As the leader of the newly revived Jedi Order, Luke was invited to provide guidance and comfort to the Senate as to how to best deal with the growing threat of the Marauders. Luke tells Leia that Master Mara Jade would not be able to attend so she sent her apprentice, Rey Solana, in her place.
Rey relishes the honor of meeting Leia and tells her about all the stories she’s heard. Leia finds it flattering and tells Rey she reminds her of her son Ben, who died long ago on a mission that went astray. Luke still feels responsible for his death, but Leia reminds him that what happened wasn’t his fault. “Tell that to Ben,” he says. “Where’s Han?”
“Hey, kid,” Han Solo says, sneaking behind him. They embrace. “It’s good to see ya again.” Luke introduces Rey to Han.
“You’re Han Solo!” Rey cries, making him chuckle.
“The one and only!” says Han.
“You’re the pilot of the ship that made the Kessel Run in 14 parsecs!”
Han, now a legitimate businessman and entrepreneur of his own transport service, is on his way to oversee some incoming cargo. “All legit, I swear!” he exclaims, grinning. “Lando’s inside already. I’ll leave you all to your politics. Maybe we can grab a drink later!”
Luke, Rey, Leia, Chewie, R2, and 3PO head into the Senate hearing. Lando Calrissian, the NR Deputy Chief of Intelligence, has saved some seats for the two Jedi and embraces his old friend.
“Luke! Good to see ya, old buddy!” Lando says, looking at Luke.
“It’s good to see you, too, Lando. This is Rey, a young apprentice training with Mara.”
“Well, hello, what do we have here?” Lando takes her hand and places a gentle kiss.
Rey is continually in awe of meeting so many legendary heroes from the old Rebellion.
Unbeknownst to them, Kylo Ren and his Knights of Ren begin to infiltrate the NR HQ, stealthily taking out guards along the way and placing explosive charges throughout.
Act II: Assault on the Senate
Chancellor Villecham calls to order the Senate to see what must be done about the Marauders. Most agree they are extreme terrorists but debate rages on for how best to deal with them. Villecham calls for Lando to give a brief intelligence report, and Luke senses a disturbance in the Force as Lando speaks. When the Knights of Ren signal that all the bombs have been set in place, Kylo Ren presses the detonator.
The explosion goes off, killing several Senate leaders in attendance and incapacitating others like Lando and Chewie. The Knights of Ren move quickly to then capture Villecham and Leia amidst the chaos. Luke senses his sister is in danger and the headstrong Rey impulsively chases after the Knights of Ren.
After a wild chase amidst the debris, Rey catches up to the bombers. As they shoot at her, she draws her lightsaber to deflect the blasts. Eventually, she gets into close proximity with one of the Knights and engages him in single combat. After a brief duel, she knocks him unconscious. She attempts to go for Leia but is thwarted by Kylo Ren, who Force pushes her into a nearby wall and flees the scene with the remaining Knights and the help of General Hux. Luke and some NR guards catch up to Rey as Ren gets away.
Rey gets back up and unmasks the Knight of Ren she took out. Luke is surprised at Rey and asks what happened. The young bomber is revealed to be Finn, a Knight of Ren disillusioned with the NR, who he thinks is responsible for the death of his family.
Captain Phasma’s troops set off explosives near the Galactic Archives and some of the guards quickly go investigate. This distraction allows for Phasma and her troops to take out the remaining guards and infiltrate the Archives. They steal a Sith Holocron created by the late Emperor Sheev Palpatine. It contains a contingency plan for something called “Starkiller Base.” They report back to the Supreme Leader that they found what they were looking for.
Luke and Rey try to interrogate Finn to find out what the Marauders’ next plan of attack will be but he shows a surprising amount of resistance. In an act of desperation, Luke begrudgingly decides to probe his mind for the information about their plan, revealing the decoy attack on the Senate to infiltrate the Archives, their hideout on the salt planet of Crait, and something oddly familiar about his master Kylo Ren. With Finn in custody, Luke and Rey go to the Archives to see that they are too late. The guards are dead and Luke realizes that they’ve taken the Sith Holocron.
Phasma delivers the plans for Starkiller Base to Snoke, who claims that with this power the Sith will rule once more. Kylo returns with the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor held captive so they can be publicly executed later and transmit it across the galaxy. Snoke smiles as his plans are finally coming together and he orders some of his troops to scour the remains of the second Death Star so that they can build Starkiller Base from the ashes of the Empire. He then orders his ship to Crait, where they will execute the prisoners one by one.
Luke and Rey meet with Lando, Chewbacca, and Han to plan a rescue mission.
“Wait a minute,” Lando says. “How the hell does he know about Crait?”
Luke says that it’s possible they have help from a former Rebel sympathizer and that it’s up to them to rescue Chancellor Villecham and Leia on Crait before it’s too late. Lando informs Grand Admiral Ackbar that the Marauder forces are hiding out on Crait and Ackbar orders the NR fleet to prepare for battle.
Meanwhile, Rey takes Finn prisoner aboard the Millennium Falcon. Han decides that he’s not gonna wait around for the NR fleet to blow up the Marauders and save his wife. Luke, Rey, Chewie, R2, and 3PO join him aboard the Falcon for a rescue mission of their own.
“I had a feeling you couldn’t wait for the fleet,” Lando tells Han.
“Of course not,” he replies. “While you’re all busy scrambling ships, my wife could be killed. I’ve gotta go, Lando. It’s Leia. I can’t lose her. I already lost Ben. I can’t lose her, too.”
“I thought you’d say that, too,” he sighs, “and so did Ackbar. We knew we couldn’t stop you if we tried, but keep an eye out for the advance party. I’ll stay on Coruscant to coordinate the mission. Bring her home, Han.”
Leia regains consciousness and realizes she and Villecham are being held captive by the Marauders. She senses a peculiar familiarity with Kylo Ren in particular. Kylo brings them in front of Snoke, and Leia sees that they are preparing to transmit another message. Snoke declares his victory over the NR and claims responsibility for the several deaths in the Senate, as well as showing Villecham and Leia being held captive as his prisoner. He makes a gallant speech about how this is just the beginning of the destruction of the NR and signals Kylo Ren to execute Villecham. Kylo decapitates him in the transmission. Watchers from across the galaxy gasp at the horrific turn of events.
“A word of warning to the Republic,” Snoke says coldly. “Yield or your new Chancellor will suffer the same fate.”
Following the broadcast, Snoke returns to his ship, leaving Hux, Phasma, and Kylo in command until he returns for the next execution.
En route to Crait, Luke, Han, Chewie, R2, and 3PO see Snoke’s transmission. Meanwhile, Rey talks to Finn and tries to make him realize that the Marauders have been lying to him about the NR, who only wants to ensure peace and prosperity in the galaxy. He finds that hard to believe and is still convinced that they are trying to trick him.
Lando reaches out to the group, informing them that Ackbar has sent an advance party to meet them at Crait. They should make contact before infiltrating the base.
“But Captain Solo — ” 3PO says before getting interrupted by Han.
“I’m not ‘Captain’ anymore,” Han tells him.
“Well, sir…the odds of making it there undetected are 357 to — ”
“Oh, shut it, Threepio.”
“Just like old times,” Luke says, smiling. He heads to the common area to meditate with Rey. Meanwhile, Finn tries to pick the lock from his bindings while the rest of the group is distracted.
Act III: Rescuing the Vice Chancellor
The Falcon is the first to arrive on Crait, landing inconspicuously at a distance from the main base. Han, Luke, Rey, and R2 disembark to sneak into the base and leave Chewie and 3PO to watch Finn on the ship. Ackbar and the NR Fleet arrive on Crait and the X-Wing fighters initiate their attack. Snoke orders the Marauders to defend their base and launch a counter-attack with their stolen TIE fighters. Kylo Ren senses a disturbance in the Force, and he orders the Knights to proceed with the attack, heading toward the familiar presence.
While the Marauders are distracted by the attack, Luke’s group sneaks past the guards patrolling the border. R2 connects to the schematics on the base to find where Leia is being held. On their way to Leia, they are intercepted by Kylo Ren who draws his lightsaber. Luke steps up to fight and feels a strange familiarity with Kylo Ren, a raw energy twisted by anger and the Dark side. Rey wants to duel him as well but Luke encourages her to help the others rescue Leia. Meanwhile, Finn manages to escape from his bindings, knocks Chewie unconscious, locks 3PO in the cargo hold, and goes to warn his fellow Knights.
The others are confronted by Captain Phasma and a few Marauders who are guarding Leia. Phasma whips out her electric staff, Rey whips out her lightsaber, and they begin to duel. Rey manages to take Phasma out. Han shoots the guards and manages to liberate Leia from her bindings with Rey’s help.
After a vicious duel, Luke manages to break Kylo’s helmet and sees the person underneath as Ben Solo, his long lost nephew. “Ben…is that you?” Luke asks, deactivating his lightsaber.
Ben swings, and Luke evades the attack, refusing to fight his flesh and blood any longer.
“Fight me, you coward!” Ben barks, slashing wildly with rage. Luke calmly evades the strikes, but as they edge closer, he is forced to reignite his weapon in self-defense.
On their way out, Rey’s group sees the end of the fight between Luke and Kylo. Leia recognizes a presence she has not felt in a long time: her son. Han also stands flabbergasted realizing that his son is now the malevolent Kylo Ren.
The other Marauders fire on the group as they try to make their way to the Falcon. Seeing the predicament the group is in, Luke ushers them to continue without him, choosing to stay and buy them time to escape. Rey wishes to help, but Luke orders her to protect the others and “tell Mara.”
Ben continues his assault as the Marauders fire on both Luke and the Falcon. Luke defends against as many of the attacks as he can, but eventually gets hit by blaster fire and a slash from Ben as the Falcon’s ramp closes.
“I failed you, Ben. I’m sorry,” says Luke.
“I’m sure you are!” Ben replies. “The Republic will soon bow to the rule of the Marauders. And when I kill you, I will have killed the galaxy’s last hope.”
“Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong. The Republic will not fall. This war is just beginning. And I will not be the galaxy’s last hope.”
“You know I’ll destroy them, and you, and all of it.”
“No, Ben,” says Luke, “if you strike me down in anger, I will always be with you.”
Ben delivers the final blow, and Luke’s body becomes one with the Force.
Once they are on board, Han orders Chewie to jump to hyperspace. General Hux orders the Marauders to stand down as the Millenium Falcon “won’t get far.” He orders them to evacuate the base immediately and rendezvous with the Supreme Leader.
The NR fleet eventually retakes the base on Crait, but many of the Marauders have managed to escape.
The group makes their way to the common area only to find that Chewie is on the floor unconscious and 3PO is screaming from the cargo hold. Rey lets him out and 3PO informs the group that the prisoner escaped. Han then wonders who is piloting the ship. Finn comes out of the cockpit revealing that he returned to the ship, but now with a bomb strapped to his chest.
“I went back to them. I went back and they decided to strap a bomb to my chest,” Finn says. “Hux told me I needed to atone for leading the Republic to the base. I told him I didn’t have a choice. That YOU made me do it. But it didn’t matter. I’m just a sacrifice for the cause. I thought I was worth more than that.”
Rey tries again to convince Finn that the Marauders never really cared about him if they thought he was better off dying for their cause. Horrified by what he’s become, he sees that Rey was right all along. Despite his status as one of the Knights of Ren, he was just another nameless soldier in their endless crusade, but he is unable to disarm the explosive.
With only seconds to spare, R2-D2 manages to defuse the bomb on Finn’s chest and deactivates it. Finn now realizes how wrong he was and decides to join the group to help them take down the Marauders.
The Marauders move what scraps they can from the Death Star to their new hideout on Exegol and begin construction of Starkiller Base. Supreme Leader Snoke now feels his threat to the galaxy is greater than ever. Kylo Ren and General Hux look out at the scrap metal, observing the construction of the weapon.
A memorial service is held for Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To. Han, Leia, Lando, Chewie, and several other Rebel Alliance veterans are in attendance, as are the Jedi and Finn. Despite the occasion, the group does not seem to be forlorn, save for Rey, who partially blames herself for Luke’s death, and Finn, who is still trying to come to terms with the fact that he’s essentially been living a lie his whole life. But the festivities surrounding them seem to lift their spirits.
Master Mara Jade gives a brief eulogy, reminding the crowd that “while Master Skywalker’s body is dead, his spirit is one with the Force. He will always be with us, guiding us as we carry on his legacy and that of the thousand generations of Jedi before us. As long as even one of us lives, there will be hope in the galaxy.”
Leia agrees. “Luke wouldn’t want us to be sad over his death,” she says. “He would want us to celebrate his life.” She and Han lead the group in a toast to Luke’s life, to the future of the Republic, and the Jedi Order.
Rey smiles and places her hand on Finn’s shoulder. He turns to her and nods approvingly. Leia hugs Mara out of gratitude, and the group looks peacefully at the sunset.
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