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When Rey hears the whispers from the basement in Maz's castle and goes to investigate, she ends up opening a chest and finds

Luke's old Lightsaber that was last seen in Cloud City from The Empire Strikes Back before Vader cut off his hand with lightsaber in it

When she touches it, she sees a bunch of visions (or flashbacks). I've only seen the movie once so far, and that scene went by too fast for me to catch everything that happened.

What were all those visions?

  • 5
    I'm sorely tempted to edit in an "lsd" tag – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 24 '15 at 14:42
  • @DVK Your first comment sounds just like Richard! – Rand al'Thor Jan 17 '16 at 21:26
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UPDATE: updated with info from Episode VIII

UPDATE: Added a section at the end regarding things that were initially planned for the vision but cut from the film

PSA: This answer is NOT in its final format.

The final format will include, for each flashback part:

  1. A still screenshot and/or Youtube link to it (not available yet);

  2. Film script quote.

    UPDATE 2015/01/01: { as of 2015/01/01, I'm using a leaked WGA script copy; not the final shooting version officially confirmed by Disney. But the leak was confirmed as official on Reddit, and seems both legit and very close to the film.}

  3. Novelization quotes (Done for adult novelization but not Junior)

  4. My own interpretation if there's something to add.

So please check back in a week or so to see if this was improved significantly - next update mid-January.


Film Order

Here's the actual order in the film that I observed (which differs from both the novelization AND the WGA script)

  • Luke and Vader fighting in Cloud City (the end of Empire Strikes Back)
  • Burning temple.
  • Luke (well, someone with artificial hand everyone 100% is sure is Luke :) touching R2-D2
  • A fight at night, involving lightsaber killing a warrior.
  • Seven dark figures, 6 Knights of Ren and Kylo.
  • Rey with Unkar Plutt's hand on her, abandoned on Jakku
  • Rey in snowy woods, see Kylo Ren approaching
  • Rey hearing force-ghost-voices including her name spoken

The following pieces I did NOT notice when I watched and only know of them from novelization or script:

  • A planet with grass, and a lightsaber struck into the ground (MAYBE. Not sure if I saw that)
  • An unknown boy
  • Wooded area. Battle. And someone telling her to stay there and they will come for her.

DETAILS

  • Luke and Vader fighting in Cloud City (the end of Empire Strikes Back)

    Film imagery: Rey lying in a triangular looking hallway. Frankly, I personally did NOT notice Luke and Vader fighting, which novelization alludes to.

    WGA Script

    Rey OPENS THE BOX and sees inside Luke Skywalker's original lightsaber. With hesitation, she reaches towards it, but she cannot resist. As her hand makes contact with it, there is the piercing sound of a lightsaber igniting. She moves her hand away, as REY HEARS A MECHANICAL BREATHING sound. The CAMERA MOVES, LIGHTING CHANGES -- and we see behind her something impossible: a HALLWAY OF FROM DEEP INSIDE CLOUD CITY. Disembodied voices fill the air.
    YOUNG GIRL
    NO!

    Novelization:

    A heavy, slow, mechanical breathing filled the room. Turning, she found herself looking down an impressive hallway, its architecture reminiscent of the Old Empire. Peering harder, farther, she saw in the distance a section of the famed Cloud City. Two figures were locked in combat, distant, distant.

    Interpretation:

    This has an obvious meaning, in that this is how Luke parted with the lightsaber which is projecting all this LSD tripping onto Rey.

    Presumably, a subtext meaning has something to do with a young Jedi in training facing a Dragon figure (either foreshadowing Rey's fight with Kylo Ren at the end of Episode VII, or something in later trilogy we don't yet know about).


  • An unknown boy

    Film Imagery: None?

    WGA Script: None

    Novelization:

    A boy appeared at the end of the hallway. She started toward him, and the world turned inside out, causing her to trip and fall.

    Interpretation:

    No idea, but one can spin fan theories it was an earlier script version showing her Ben??? Flimsy, I know.


  • A planet with grass, and a lightsaber struck into the ground

    Film imagery: grass

    WGA Script:

    She stands -- looks around, confused by all she sees and hears. -- Turns and sees, through a DOORWAY.
    We follow Rey and she runs down the corridor, but it all TILTS -- TURNS -- and she lands on the WALL -- which is now the GROUND -- dried GRASS.

    Novelization:

    Onto the wall, which had become the ground. Not the adamantine ceramic she had just seen, but dry grass. Nearby, a lightsaber slammed into the ground. A missed thrust, a statement of power—she didn’t know, couldn’t tell. A hand appeared to pull it upward.

    Interpretation:

    UNKNOWN, but it could either be Jedi Training, implying she trained with Luke; or Jedi Training simply showing her Luke's academy which is about to be destroyed, or even the first steps in that fight.


  • A fight at night, involving lightsaber killing a warrior.

    Film imagery: dead bodies, someone getting pierced

    WGA Script: IMPORTANT: In the script, this part is AFTER Luke and R2-D2!!!

    We PUSH IN ON REY as RAIN BEGINS -- and DAY TURNS TO NIGHT -- and she LOOKS UP -- we TILT UP -- To see we're LOOKING UP AT A WARRIOR as he is STABBED BY A FIERY LIGHTSABER! He screams and falls to the ground -- we FOLLOW HIM, revealing Rey again, now in a nighttime battlefield.

    Novelization:

    Day became night, sky ominous and filled with rain, cold and chilling to the bone. She was standing, she was sitting, she was looking up—to see someone, a warrior, take the full force of the lightsaber. He screamed and fell.

    Interpretation:

    Unknown. However, in light of the details of what happened that night as seen by Rey from both Luke and Ben Solo, this scene is most certainly NOT the same event (when Ben was wielding a blue lightsaber and dressed like a Jedi Trainee, not his red lightsaber and dressed in Kylo Ren Goth Getup).


  • Seven dark figures, 6 Knights of Ren and Kylo.

    Film imagery: The iconic screenshot showing Kylo Ren and other 6; surrounded by dead bodies.

    WGA Script: IMPORTANT: In the script, this part is AFTER Luke and R2-D2!!!

    She gets to her feet, frightened by what she sees. We PIVOT AROUND HER to REVEAL KYLO REN, and the six other KNIGHTS OF REN, who flank him!

    Novelization:

    Battlefield then, all around her. Putting a hand to her mouth, she rose and turned. As she turned, she found herself confronted by seven tall, cloaked figures, dark and foreboding, all armed. Soaked and shivering, she stumbled backward, turning as she half fell.

    Interpretation:

    Unknown. However, in light of the details of what happened that night as seen by Rey from both Luke and Ben Solo, this scene is most certainly NOT the same event (when Ben was wielding a blue lightsaber and dressed like a Jedi Trainee, not his red lightsaber and dressed in Kylo Ren Goth Getup).


  • Burning temple.

    Film imagery: The iconic screenshot showing Kylo Ren and other posse.

    WGA Script:

    She turns to look -- we PIVOT -- and see a BURNING TEMPLE AT NIGHT.

    Novelization:

    Firelight illuminated her, firelight from a distant, burning temple.

    Interpretation:

    Unknown. However, **in light of the details of what happened that night as seen by Rey from both Luke and Ben Solo, this scene is most certainly NOT the same event (when Ben was wielding a blue lightsaber and dressed like a Jedi Trainee, not his red lightsaber and dressed in Kylo Ren Goth Getup).


  • Luke (well, someone with artificial hand everyone 100% is sure is Luke :) touching R2-D2

    Film imagery: The iconic screenshot showing Luke's gloved hand touching R2-D2

    WGA Script: IMPORTANT: This scene in script is BEFORE the lightsaber fight and Knights of Ren!

    We PAN to: R2-D2 -- who watches the flames -- and a MAN appears (LUKE, whose face we do not see). He falls to his knees, reaches out to the droid -- with a MECHANICAL RIGHT HAND.

    Novelization:

    The seven vanished. A sound made her turn, and she blinked in surprise at the sight of a small blue-and-silver R2 unit. A new figure appeared. Falling to his knees, he reached out to the droid with an artifice of an arm—metal and plastics and other materials with which she was not familiar. She blinked and both were gone.

    Interpretation:

    This one is weird. Originally everyone thought it was Luke entrusting R2-D2 with the map to where he plans to go; and telling him to shut down.

    However, J.J.Abrams instead said it was NOT what happened, the map was in R2-D2 since Death Star and it shut down on its own from grief. So, now we don't know what this scene means anymore. THANKS, JJ!


  • Wooded area. Battle. And someone telling her to stay there and they will come for her.

    Film imagery: Unsure

    WGA Script: (they do NOT tell her this in the script! Scene missing, possibly a deleted scene! Skip to Jakku scene right away!)

    Come back around to Rey, soaking now,

    Novelization:

    Note the important detail! This is a wooded snowy area! NOT Jakku!!!

    Around her now: barren, snowy woods, the sounds of unknown forest creatures, and a conviction that she must be losing her mind. Once more she climbed to her feet, her chilled breath preceding her. From in front of her, not far away, came the sounds of battle: the cries of the wounded and the clashing of weapons. Then behind her, another voice.
    That voice.
    “Stay here. I’ll come back for you.”
    She whirled, glazed eyes desperately scanning the dark gaps between the slender trees, trying to penetrate the darkness.
    “Where are you?” She started running toward the voice.
    “I’ll come back, sweetheart. I promise.”
    “I’m here! Right here! Where are you?”
    No response. She started forward again, running, only to be brought to a sudden halt by a figure appearing without warning from behind a tree.

    Interpretation:

    This one is hard to interpret, but one plausible interpretation is that Rey was FIRST left by (presumably? Luke?) on a wooded snowy planet which was a deleted scene; BEFORE - as shown in the next scene - being flown to Jakku. We don't know for sure.


  • Rey with Unkar Plutt's hand on her, abandoned on Jakku

    Film Imagery::

    We see baby Rey standing with someone's hand on her shoulder that looks like Unkar Platt. She yells "Come back", watching a strange ship (NOT Millenium Falcon, or any other ship we saw before!) fly away.

    WGA Script:

    as the RAIN STOPS and SUNLIGHT illuminates her -- she turns to look -- we PIVOT --
    and see...
    A little girl. Rey as a child. She is sobbing, hysterical. Unkar Plutt's meaty hand holds her thin arm. She is on Jakku, watching a starship fly into the sky, abandoning her.
    YOUNG GIRL
    No, come back!
    UNKAR PLUTT
    Quiet, girl!
    The ship flies towards the desert sun, which is strangely eclipsed, as if being eaten by darkness.

    Novelization

    NOT in novelization at all - replaced by wooded scene above.

    Please note that the reason it's not in the novelization is because apparently, this scene was filmed REALLY late, in 2015, as per this article.

    Interpretation:

    Explains how Rey ended up on Jakku.


  • Rey in snowy woods, see Kylo Ren approaching

    Film Imagery:: What it says on the tin. Please note that the image seems to be either very similar, or identical, to what we see later on Starkiller.

    WGA Script:

    Rey looks around her to see she is..
    In a NIGHTTIME, BARREN, SNOWY WOODS. She's losing her mind, confounded and lost and she gets to her feet, her breath seen in the frigid air -- and then: THE SOUND OF CLASHING LIGHTSABERS! She moves through the woods, toward the sound. Rey runs, heart pounding, when KYLO REN EMERGES FROM BEHIND A TREE! She stops, SCREAMS, FALLS BACK and LANDS IN:

    Novelization:

    No snowy woods here - BUT we had the "Stay here sweetheart" scene in snowy woods that wasn't in the script.

    “I’m here! Right here! Where are you?”
    No response. She started forward again, running, only to be brought to a sudden halt by a figure appearing without warning from behind a tree. She screamed, and screamed again, and fell backward, backward, sitting down hard in—

    Interpretation:

    Clearly, this is Force Premonition of her upcoming fight with Ren on Starkiller. The only part of the trip that seems to be about the future.


  • Someone speaking her name

    Film imagery: No imagery. Just audio. We hear "Rey" and "these are your first steps" for sure, the latter when she already went out of the Force vision and landed on her behind on Maz's basement floor.

    But we know from WoG that this happened on voice:

    (source) He revealed that audiences can hear a little bit of Yoda; Luke yelling "Noooo! from THAT moment in the Empire Strikes back, as well as the younger Obi Wan saying: "Rey … these are your first steps". ...
    ...Alec Guinnesses voice urttering Rey's name was gleaned using dialogue of him saying the word 'afraid'

    Novelization:

    Someone, somewhere, somewhen, spoke her name.
    “Hello?” Wreathed in the irrationality of the moment, she called hopefully, but received no answer.

    Interpretation:

    The meaning here is obvious, she's meant to go on Campbellian Hero's Journey. With a full blessing of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, because a man who raised Annie Skywalker into Darth "Whiney Anakin" Vader is really to be trusted to shepherd on a young budding Jedi on her way.


Things that were cut from the film

Speaking with University of California Television, The Force Awakens editor Maryann Brandon spoke about what was cut. Brandon said,

“She went into this room and then it became the room in Cloud City, which you can still kind of see because we still kept that idea, but then she used to walk down the hall and she saw Darth Vader and Luke fighting. And she saw Darth Vader cut Luke’s hand off. Then she turned around and saw Snoke, or some version of Snoke, vague version of him and a little boy. So all those images we had, they just didn’t have a logic that satisfied anyone enough.”
(source)

  • 3
    Wow, you blew my answer out of the park. +1 – Rick Sanchez Dec 23 '15 at 23:56
  • 3
    “Note the important detail! This is a wooded area! NOT Jakku!!!” Well, isn’t that special! – JakeGould Dec 23 '15 at 23:57
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    @DVK Just making a point that this is an interesting difference from the film. If in the book she was in a forest and then on a desert planet, it implies somehow something happened to get her to Jakku. In the film she was alway on Jakku it seems so it would seem she was abandoned there. – JakeGould Dec 24 '15 at 0:00
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    @RickSanchez I think it's safe to say that DVK blew everyone out of the water! – Möoz Dec 24 '15 at 0:01
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    @Mooz - I'm a regular Captain Ramius :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 24 '15 at 0:03
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The film's screenplay confirms some details (from /Film):

  • We pretty much knew that the first image is that of a hallway in Cloud City, but this script confirms it, calling it “a hallway of from deep inside Cloud City” and mentions a “mechanical breathing sound” and also that “disembodied voices fill the air.”
  • Some people have argued that the image of Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 was not from the attack on Skywalker’s new Jedi Training Academy, but the script confirms that we “see a BURNING TEMPLE AT NIGHT” in the background.
  • As for the man stabbed with a lightsaber, some fans have incorrectly identified that as Constable Zuvio, but we’ve previously debunked that claim. The script says that it is “A WARRIOR” who is stabbed by “A FIERY LIGHTSABER!”
  • And while we have assumed that the men around Kylo Ren in this vision are the Knights of Ren, the screenplay officially confirms this: “We PIVOT AROUND HER to REVEAL KYLO REN, and the six other KNIGHTS OF REN, who flank him!”

And

Most interesting, the screenplay confirms that is is in fact Simon Pegg‘s character Unkar Plutt who is seen next to young Rey when she is abandoned on Jakku.

  • 1
    +1, but I hope you don't mind that I still added original WGA script quotes to my answer after you posted this. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 1 '16 at 21:14
6

I've seen the film only once too, and there are two specific scenes (parts) in the vision

  1. Rey being left on Jakku as a child by someone ( we see a spaceship flying away, and someone grabing her hand)
  2. Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren in the aftermath of some battle ( presumably the battle when he kills Luke's other Jedi students).

Be advised that there may have been more to that vision, but that's all I remember.

  • 1
    The other Luke? How many Lukes are there? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 27 '15 at 18:43
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet I meant that as a possessive ( the other Jedi students of Luke ) – Rick Sanchez Dec 27 '15 at 18:46
  • 2
    Oh—Luke’s other students. :-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 27 '15 at 18:46
1

J.J. Abrams has shed some more light on the flashbacks in the commentary tracks.

"In this scene she is drawn to this place, almost like Cinderella. And she goes to this box, which, when she opens, she discovers something that of course has no meaning to her -- she's never seen this before, doesn't know what it is -- but has meaning to the audience. Touching the lightsaber triggers what we called "The Forceback." There were many iterations of this. In one, from this Cloud City corridor, she looked down and saw Vader fighting Luke, which we ended up cutting. We wanted [this scene] to be a more personal story. Something that she couldn't comprehend that was overwhelming to her, frightening to her. That was taking her through all of these elemental experiences. Of fire. Of rain, snow, wind. But also that she was being confronted with truths about The Force, about the past, the Knights of Ren here, the past for herself. She realizes the cries that she heard were actually her own cries as a young girl being taken away from her family. And then she hears a voice. 'Rey.' And that's Obi-wan Kenobi."

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