The Last Jedi - Star Wars - Episode VIII

This contains no spoilers of any kind! A war orphan with supernatural powers convinces a disgraced Jedi Master to teach her the ways of The Force, but when she learns his dark secret and is tempted by the Dark Side, she must decide for herself which path to follow.

cover art by: Richie Montez
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8. Chapter 7

INT. SAFEHOUSE - OPERATIONS - DAY

The holoprojector glow illuminates the small metal prefab. Major Ematt strokes his white beard as the model of a First Order Capitol rotates. Finn and Lando examine it closely.

MAJOR EMATT: With the transponder and codes, getting to Raithal will be easy, but as soon as we get near the city-

LANDO: Stormtroopers with blasters. We'll need a diversion.

Lando zooms out to show the surrounding area.

LANDO: Something that will make them think we have a different agenda. Something far away. What's this?

MAJOR EMATT: That's the Military Academy.

FINN: It was once. Now it's an indoctrination facility.

Finn loses his attention as memories haunt him.

MAJOR EMATT: Nonetheless, it's full of stormtroopers.

LANDO: Damn. Well, that's off the table. How about this?

MAJOR EMATT: That's a commissary. No matter what we chose as our target, this is all academic without air support.

He points to a Tie Fighter airfield. Lando rubs his chin.

INT. SAFEHOUSE - DAY

NIC TEED, a HAMADRYAS with green skin and a thick brow, and KAYDEL KO CONNIX, a young human female with blond hair pulled back into two buns, open the crates from the Bothans. Kaydel Ko pulls an old, well-used E-11 blaster from the haphazard pile and examines it.

KAYDEL KO: Do you know how to use this?

NIC TEED: Ask the Imp.

He nods toward Finn exiting the operations prefab.

KAYDEL KO: Hey! Have you ever used one of these?

FINN: Yeah, of course.

Finn pulls out another banged-up blaster from the crate. He points to the switches on the side.

FINN: Sting, stun, single, burst, and full-auto. Here's your plasma gauge, magazine catch, and scope.

Finn looks through the scope.

FINN: The targeting will need to be adjusted before they'll shoot straight.

NIC TEED: (chuckling) That explains a lot.

Kaydel Ko glares at Nic. Finn ignores the comment and pulls out another blaster to examine. Nic opens a container of medpacs and wrinkles his nose.

NIC TEED: (grimacing) Bothans smell worse than sarlacc breath.

KAYDEL KO: Show some respect. Many Bothans died to bring us this medication.

FINN: I dunno, I kinda like it... Musky.

Kaydel and Nic laugh. Finn chuckles and then looks up to see Rey packed and headed for the doors. He runs to catch her.

FINN: Hey, where you going?

REY: I'm done with all of this.

FINN: What do mean? You can't quit now.

REY: This war's insane. I'm better off on my own. Why don't you come with me?

Tempted, Finn looks back at the camp.

FINN: I... I want to, but I can't. There's too much at stake.

REY: Yeah, I've heard that, but look at the way they treat you after all you've done for them. They don't deserve you.

FINN: It's not about me. It's bigger than that. Regardless of what they think of me, they need my help. Besides, they're starting to come around.

KAYDEL KO (O.S.): Get back to work, buckethead.

Finn grins sheepishly. From the upper balcony deck, PI'QI, a long-horned IKTOTCHI with red leathery skin, shouts.

PI'QI: Stormtroopers!

An explosion shakes the arena. Resistance soldiers instantly respond and scramble toward the breach.

FINN: You'd better go while you can.

Finn takes off. Nic tosses Finn a blaster as he joins them.

Another explosion and Rey automatically reaches for her lightsaber but finds it missing.

EXT. SLUMS OF DREV'STARN - DAY

Rey slips outside and sees the 501st navigate the narrow, garbage-strewn, earthen streets. She ducks into a fuselage. The stormtroopers join their recon team in the siege of the arena. They charge straight toward it, seemingly oblivious to the incoming fire from the resistance snipers above.

EXT. SAFEHOUSE - ROOF - DAY

Lando gets to the roof to see JUMPTROOPERS with jetpacks zoom up over the arena and attack from above. One jumptrooper uses a flamethrower to torch the canvas awning. Lando fires at the flamethrower and hits the tank. It explodes. Fire rains down and sets the canvas roof ablaze. Lando's comlink crackles.

LEIA: The roof is on fire. We're exposed.

LANDO: Copy that.

Finn joins Lando as Tie Fighters scream by overhead.

FINN: They know our location. Bombers are on their way.

Another explosion and the comlink crackles again.

MAJOR EMATT: Stormtroopers are inside the base.

FINN: We've got to get out of here.

Lando keys the comlink.

LANDO: Chewie, prep the Falcon and load everyone on board. We're getting the hell out of here.

FINN: Can we all fit?

LANDO: It's a freighter, isn't it?

EXT. SLUMS OF DREV'STARN - DAY

In the dirt along a failing masonry wall covered in graffiti, stormtroopers aim blasters at the heads of kneeling Bothans. Kylo paces impatiently before them.

AL-2112: They've located the resistance base.

KYLO: Move out.

AL-2112: Execute the prisoners.

KYLO: No. Let them go. Their deaths serve no purpose.

They leave the Bothans in bewildered relief.

INT. SAFEHOUSE - DAY

Doctor Kalonia leads her patients to the Falcon followed by her FX-7 medical droid. A soldier stops her.

RESISTANCE FIGHTER: There's no room for droids.

Kalonia nods with disappointment and continues inside. Artoo and Threepio arrive as the soldier shoots the medical droid. Artoo lets out a shriek. Threepio throws up his hands.

THREEPIO: Don't shoot!

RESISTANCE FIGHTER: We can't risk intel falling into enemy hands.

He raises his blaster.

THREEPIO: There's no need for that. We won't talk. I hardly talk at all. If fact most of my time is spent-

LEIA: Soldier! They're with me.

The fighter reluctantly waves them on. The droids quickly follow after Leia as she boards. Finn and Lando exit the stairway and run toward the Falcon. An explosion knocks them off their feet. Major Ematt and his team fire at the stormtroopers as they appear in the seating levels. The stormtroopers return fire and jump the rails onto the field. The team falls back into the Falcon. Finn helps up Lando and half carries him to the Falcon. The Falcon's AX-108 "Ground Buzzer" drops and lays down a barrage of rapid cover-fire for Finn and Lando.

EXT. SAFEHOUSE - ROOF - DAY

Rey watches as more jumptroopers rocket to the roof, armed with missiles. She runs toward a half-collapsed stairway. Around the roof perimeter, troopers fire on the Falcon. TIE bombers approach in the distance. Rey gets to the top of the stairs as a jumptrooper takes aim at the Falcon with his rocket. He pulls the trigger. The rocket fires, but Rey Force pushes it. It tumbles, knocks into the ship, takes off after a Tie Fighter, and destroys it.

Another jumptrooper turns and fires on Rey. She whips her staff around and deflects the blaster bolt, which slices her staff in two. She tosses the pieces aside. With the TIE bombers almost on them, the Falcon rises level with the arena roof. The jumptroopers rocket over the edge and onto the back of the Falcon. Rey backs up, sprints, and Force jumps over the parapet and onto the Falcon with the rest of the jumptroopers.

EXT. SAFEHOUSE - DAY

Kylo and his stormtroopers arrive to see the Falcon rise out of the arena. The scream of approaching TIE Bombers increases.

AL-2112: TAKE COVER!

AL-2112 shields Kylo with his body as the TIE bombers strike engulfs the arena in a massive fireball.

EXT. MILLENNIUM FALCON - DAY

The explosion shockwave rocks the Falcon. Rey desperately clings to the deck, but the jumptroopers' magnetic boots hold tight as they fire on the hull.

EXT. SAFEHOUSE - DAY

Kylo pushes AL-2112's dead body off of him. The surviving and injured stormtroopers rise to their feet.

KYLO: Call up the remaining squads! Bring that ship down!

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON - COCKPIT - DAY

Lando, Chewie, Finn, Leia, and the droids peer out as two jumptroopers take aim at them through the window.

LEIA: Shake them off!

LANDO: We're too heavy. I'd lose control.

Suddenly, the jumptroopers fly off the hull, revealing Rey behind them, arms stretched forward with a Force push.

FINN: Rey!

Finn snatches the lightsaber from Leia and slips out. He pushes through the crowded corridor to the top hatch lift.

EXT. MILLENNIUM FALCON - DAY

Jumptroopers descend upon Rey, who hunkers down in the valley of the cockpit access tunnel. The hatch opens and Finn crouches in the well with a blaster. He shoots a jumptrooper and gets the attention of the others. Incoming Tie Fighters and the Falcon's cannons trade fire. Finn tosses the lightsaber to Rey. She reaches out, but as Tie Fighter bolts strike the ship, she misses. The lightsaber clanks onto the deck, rolls to the edge, and stops by a thin line of conduit. She gives Finn an annoyed look.

FINN: It's not my fault.

Another Tie Fighter strafes the ship. Finn and Rey take cover, and the jumptroopers advance on them. The quad-laser cannon swivels and knocks a jumptrooper off the ship as it shoots down one of the evading Tie Fighters. Three more pick up the chase. Rey stretches for the lightsaber as it bounces on the edge. Finn frantically fires at the jumptroopers as Tie Fighters pepper the Falcon. The hull smokes and sparks.

FINN: I changed my mind! I don't want to be a hero!

Tie Fighters zoom past. Finn looks up as seven more join the others. They bank and come about into an attack position. Suddenly, red cannon fire crosses their path and blows two Tie Fighters out of the sky. The Tie Fighters scatter and X-wings streak past.

INT. X-WING - DAY

Kare' Kun lets out a victorious cheer.

KARE' KUN: Eat dirt, sleemo!

EXT. MILLENNIUM FALCON - DAY

More X-wings whoosh by. Their shockwave rocks the Falcon and dislodges the lightsaber. It floats freely off the edge. Rey reaches for it and snaps it out of the air with the Force. A jumptrooper approaches from behind. She ignites the blade, whips around, and slashes him. His body falls from the ship as Rey stands and approaches the remaining jumptroopers.

FINN: Rey! What are you doing?!

The jumptroopers fire, but she confidently deflects the shots.

FINN: Oh.

She swings and swipes as she closes in on them and sends them off the ship one by one. She slashes at the last. He rockets up out of her range and fires. She deflects the shots, sending one shot into the replaced sensory array antenna. It flops forward.

REY: Oops.

Finn fires and hits the rocket pack. It spins the jumptrooper around in circles, flies him off, and he explodes. Finn and Rey share in the adrenaline-filled victory dance. Finn stumbles a bit and gets a glance over the edge.

FINN: I'm glad you're back, Rey, but can we get inside now?

EXT. WHITE MOUNTAINS - EVENING

In the mountain's shadow, two GR-75 transports, half buried in a snowdrift, consume most of a valley floor with the X-wings and Falcon parked scattershot.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON - LOUNGE - NIGHT

Finn, Rey, the droids, Wedge, and the rest of the senior staff gather around the dejarik table.

FINN: I can do it. I can create the diversion, but I'll need the transports.

LANDO: But we only have the one transponder.

MAJOR EMATT: Not too worry, the transports are equipped with cloaking devices, thanks to General Solo. I don't know where he got them. I didn't ask.

LANDO: (chuckling) Han Solo, you pirate. I know who he got them from, and you're right. It's better not to ask.

MAJOR EMATT: It's still a hell of a gamble.

WEDGE: Let us worry about the local flyboys, but if a Star Destroyer shows up we won't last a parsec.

THREEPIO: Excuse me, sir, but a parsec is a unit of distance-

MAJOR EMATT: Even if we take out Snoke, that's no guarantee the First Order will fall.

LEIA: No, but a power vacuum could fracture their organization and give us time to rebuild the Resistance. If anyone wants out, now's the time.

The room remains silent.

LEIA: All right, then. Good luck.

EXT. OBROA-SKAI ORBIT - DAY

The Prominence and X-wings drop out of hyperspace into the middle of a frenetic battle. The X-wings feverishly scatter and instantly come under fire. Poe lets out a long wail as he dodges and banks, nearly crashing into another X-wing. A TIE comes into his firing sights. Instinctively, he shoots it down, then another. His wits return and he manages to get a handle on the dicey situation. Beyond the chaos, three Star Destroyers mercilessly unleash hell onto the helpless New Republic frigate, Solstice. Poe, now in control, actively seeks and destroys targets. A lock alarm sounds and shots fly past him. Snap swoops in and picks off the pursuer.

SNAP: First round's on you.

POE: I'll buy all the rounds if we survive.

Myri grits her teeth as she fires, weaves, and dodges.

MYRI: Where is your spine, Black Leader?

POE: It's attached to my body, and I'd like to keep it there, thank you.

MYRI: Look out!

Poe's ship makes physical contact with a Tie Fighter. BB-8 takes a fatal blow. His ship spins out of control.

POE: Kriff!

Several Tie Fighters close in to finish him off. Myri rushes in recklessly. She takes several hits but manages to fend off the closing Tie Fighters.

MYRI: Poe! Are you all right?

POE: No. I'm venting plasma and I lost BB-8.

Two more Star Destroyers appears from hyperspace and maneuver toward the battle.

MYRI: Enough already!

INT. BATTLECRUISER PROMINENCE - BRIDGE - DAY

A frustrated Captain Canady pounds the console. Admiral Bashier maintains a cool and collected facade as they watch the battle grow insurmountable.

CAPTAIN CANADY: Admiral, we must retreat. We have no chance against those Star Destroyers.

ADMIRAL BASHIER: No! We stay and fight. We are the face of the New Republic. We must demonstrate our superiority or risk losing everything we've fought for.

CAPTAIN CANADY: We will lose everything if we continue to stay here and fight!

INT./EXT. X-WINGS - DAY

Alarms sound in Poe's cockpit.

POE: I've taken too much damage.

MYRI: Hang in there. We'll be pulling back any minute.

ADMIRAL BASHIER: All fighters focus on the bridge of the closet Star Destroyer.

The Prominence unleashes all cannons in a maelstrom of fire.

MYRI: Okay, listen up. We're going in with a delayed pincer move, but attack the bridge from behind. The Prominence will barrage the front. Watch out for their over-spray.

BASTIAN: What about the other Star Destroyer? They'll blast us into star dust.

POE: They won't risk firing at their own ship, so stay close to the hull. Keep an eye open for turbolasers.

MYRI: I'll take point. Try not to die.

POE: Hey, Myri. I realize this isn't the right time or place, but you're the best pilot I've ever seen.

Myri's eyes well up a little.

POE: It's been a real honor to serve with you.

MYRI: Even though you guys are reckless and unruly, I'm glad you're here.

Poe smiles.

SNAP: Hey, Poe. I thought I was the best pilot you've ever seen.

POE: I only said that so I wouldn't embarrass you in front of your mom.

The squadron pilots burst out in laughter as they speed off toward certain death.

EXT. STAR DESTROYER - DAY

Compartment doors slide open along the port edge. Inside, two missiles shift into launch position. The tips slowly illuminate into a bright red glow, then launch. The missiles and X-wings fly by each other.

KORTU: Prominence, incoming missiles.

INT. BATTLECRUISER PROMINENCE - BRIDGE - DAY

Turbolasers rain hellfire at the missiles and shoot one down, but the second finds its target. The bridge explodes with flame and debris. Captain Canady grabs the console and pulls himself to his feet. Blood and burns cover his face and arms. Air leaks through the bulkhead, and the dead and injured litter the floor. Captain Canady finds Admiral Bashier with a large shard of durasteel protruding through his neck. The Captain drags him across the floor toward the lift. Admiral Bashier's bloody hand reaches up and grabs Captain Canady by his jacket.

ADMIRAL BASHIER: (in a weak raspy voice) I've done my duty. Save the fleet.

EXT. RAITHAL - CAPITAL CITY - NIGHT

The once great Imperial City is now war-torn and neglected, except for the new towering Capitol building topped with a geodesic sphere.A large cargo vessel taxis from the spaceport as a Tie Fighter patrol whizzes past.

INT. SPACEPORT TRAFFIC CONTROL - NIGHT

OPERATIONS COMMANDER BLANN lazily sips his caf as he watches the cargo vessel float away.

AIRMAN TAGGI stands to formally address Commander Blann.

AIRMAN TAGGI: Commander Blann, long-range sensors have detected a recruit transport on approach, but it is not within a designated flight path.

COMMANDER BLANN: Have they the proper clearance codes?

AIRMAN TAGGI: Yes, sir.

COMMANDER BLANN: Then correct their heading and grant them clearance. With all the new recruits, I'm surprised there is any room left on the planet.

AIRMAN TAGGI: Sir, no recruit transports are scheduled until tomorrow. Protocol-

COMMANDER BLANN: Airman Taggi, not every wrinkled collar suggests a conspiracy.

AIRMAN TAGGI: Sir, may I suggest visual confirmation?

Commander Blann clangs his cup onto his saucer and sighs with annoyance.

COMMANDER BLANN: Fine. If it makes you feel better, send a patrol.

AIRMAN TAGGI: Very good, sir.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON - COCKPIT - NIGHT

Lando and Chewie watch as the clouds clear to reveal the spaceport.

AIRMAN TARKIN: Recruit transport four nine. You are clear for landing. Come to mark eight point two five.

FINN: Eight point two five, copy that. (clicks off the comm) Okay, they bought it, but as soon as we dip below their sensor array-

The proximity alarm flashes and two Tie Fighters flash by.

LANDO: There goes our cover. Prep your team.

Finn slips out as Lando keys the comm.

LANDO: Ematt, the party is starting early.

EXT. CAPITAL CITY - NIGHT

High above the city, a blue electricity crackles, and the two GR-75 transports solidify from the cloaking device. The rear transport doors open in flight. X-wings launch from inside and dive toward the city. Three Tie Fighters lift off from the air base. The X-wings quickly engage them. Y-Wing bombs obliterate a parked column. The two quad-cannons of the Falcon fire on the patrol.

The X-wings sweep the city and take out turbo cannon placements, laser towers, and encampments. Wedge, Kare', and Nien Nunb circle the military academy as the two massive transports land outside the complex. B1 battle droids scurry from rusty bunkers like fire ants from a disturbed mound. Many struggle with frozen joints and disabled blasters. Wedge and his squad ravage the droid army.

WEDGE: This is easier than I thought.

KARE' KUN: Too bad.

Nien Nunb chuckles in his weird laughter.

EXT. OLD IMPERIAL ACADEMY - ROOF - NIGHT

The Falcon's ramp lowers and Finn's team jumps out. Artoo's rockets glide him to the deck. Finn leads Rey, Kaydel Ko, Nic, and Artoo towards a service hatch. Finn blasts the lock.

INT. OLD IMPERIAL ACADEMY - NIGHT

Nic slides down the ladder last. The clank of boots on the loose deck grate deadens inside the sloped walls, regularly interrupted by thick braces. They cram into an elevator. Finn mashes the button, but nothing happens.

REY: Artoo, see what you can do.

Artoo tweedles and accesses the data port.

FINN: The control center is in the basement.

The elevator chimes and the door closes. A Muzak version of the Imperial March plays overhead.

FINN: We can unlock all the cell doors from there.

NIC TEED: What?! The plan is to blow the reactor.

FINN: Change of plans.

The doors open, and the team is met with blaster fire from a long corridor. Nic takes a hit. Finn pulls him back inside.

KAYDEL KO: Nic!

Rey and Kaydel Ko fire back from what little cover they have. Nic slumps dead in Finn's arms.

KAYDEL KO: They're stormtroopers! Is this really worth it?

Rey looks questioningly to Finn. Finn nods. A thermal detonator rolls into the elevator. Finn, Kaydel Ko, and Rey hold their breath, but Artoo kicks it away. It sails back into the control room and explodes. Through the smoke, the team enters the control room, strewn with bodies and the sparking wreckage of the console.

REY: Is there another way to open doors?

FINN: Yeah. One by one.

KAYDEL KO: We don't have time for that.

REY: Let me try.

EXT. OLD IMPERIAL ACADEMY - NIGHT

Nien Nunb runs recon and spots bipedal AT-ST walkers and stormtrooper squads en route to the Imperial Academy.

NIEN NUNB: We definitely have their attention.

LANDO: Copy that, Nien Nunb. We're en route.

NIEN NUNB: Leaving soon. Be quick.

INT. OLD IMPERIAL ACADEMY - DORMITORY - NIGHT

Rey stands before a dimly lit hall. A steam pipe mists and drips, and the lights that work flicker. Finn and Kaydel Ko stand behind her.

KAYDEL KO: If this doesn't work, we have to blow the place.

FINN: It'll work.

Rey takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and reaches out. Nothing happens. Rey peeks through one eye. She takes another breath and lets it out slowly. Kaydel Ko is not impressed, until doors rattle. The rattle turns into a shudder. Finn and Kaydel Ko take a step back. The doors buck and stress as if holding back a monster, until multiples burst from their thresholds. A domino effect of smashing doors echoes down the hall.

Finn and Kaydel Ko share a dumbfounded look. Children's faces, boys and girls from five to fifteen, cautiously peep out from the doorways. Rey, surprised at herself, beams with pride. Finn hugs her.

FINN: Thank you.

Kaydel Ko revives her pretentious attitude.

KAYDEL KO: That's great, but let's get a move on? There's a lot more doors to open.

Finn waves out the cadets.

FINN: Come on! We're going home.

The children scurry out of the rooms and follow him.

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