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As reported at https://github.com/scala/scala/issues/4392, not everyone appreciates REPL's colon-command syntax. Since JLine already supports vi mode line edits, one accommodation would be to recognize a colon while in escaped edit mode, erase the line, draw a colon and accept command text.
This improvement would delight that fraction of users who <3 vi and also use a lot of ::. Probably under a flag.
This would make even more sense with line healing enabled.