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Back when the plan was for a different director to tackle each movie in the Star Wars Sequel trilogy, Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow was on board to helm Episode IX, what we now know as The Rise of Skywalker. Due to creative differences, Trevorrow eventually exited the project and was replaced by the returning J.J. Abrams, though Trevorrow was still given a ’Story by’ credit for the final film.
As it turns out though, when it came to the script itself, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker did not use any of what Colin Trevorrow came up with beforehand. This revelation comes straight from writer Chris Terrio, who said that he and J.J. Abrams started from scratch and “worked from a blank page.” Terrio added:
We are both a little superstitious about starting with material that might lead us in a direction that’s different than the one we might’ve gone in naturally. So we didn’t begin with the previous script. There may have been certain elements that we used that had been in the original script and we weren’t aware of it. The [Writers Guild of America] makes the determination about those things.
The fact that Colin Trevorrow was credited in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suggested that some of his ideas were incorporated into the movie, though obviously J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio would receive the ‘Screenplay by’ credits in the end. So if Abrams and Terrio did indeed start from scratch, then either some ideas are universal and Abrams and Terrio unknowingly ventured through the same creative territory that Trevorrow did with Derek Connolly, or Trevorrow’s ‘Story by’ credit because of his prior involvement on The Rise of Skywalker.
Whatever the explanation is for this behind-the-scenes puzzle, Chris Terrio added in his interview with The Wrap that he and J.J. Abrams didn’t “have a bad relationship with Colin’s material,” it’s just that they didn’t start with it. On Colin Trevorrow’s end, he hasn’t been willing to divulge any details about which of his specific story beats were included in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, although we have learned that Palpatine’s presence came from the Abrams/Terrio school of thought.
Still, Colin Trevorrow expressed gratitude for his influence still being somewhat felt in the final version of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. However, rather than keeping the residuals he’ll earn from The Rise of Skywalker, he’s instead donating the profits to the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice, which is located in Berkshire, England.
While the chances of this happening are extremely slim, it’d be cool if Disney/Lucasfilm released Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly’s Star Wars: Episode IX script someday. It would be fun to compare and contrast the earlier version of the story and the one that was presented on the big screen, just like seeing how Michael Arndt’s version of The Force Awakens was different from the one that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan drafted together.