The initial plan for the newest Star Wars trilogy was to have three different directors handle the three episodes. J.J. Abrams was brought in for the first film, Rian Johnson took on the second, and Colin Trevorrow was supposed to finish off the trilogy. However, a couple years ago Lucasfilm announced that it was parting ways with Trevorrow over creative differences, and J.J. Abrams was brought back to finish the trilogy he started, and write an all-new script along with it.
The movie that would become Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has, unsurprisingly, resulted in a lot of differing opinions, some good, some bad. One of the things it has done is made people wonder just how the movie would have been different if Colin Trevorrow's story (co-written with Derek Connolly) had been used, and now, it looks like we might know.
The script for Colin Trevorrow's version of Episode IX has reportedly leaked on Reddit, and if it is real, it shows a very different movie than the one that we got last month. The AV Club says its been able to verify the legitimacy of the script, so it sounds like this really is something close to what we could have seen. Here are are a few of the biggest differences, and what they mean to the story as a whole.
Not too much of a shock, but a movie with a very different story than Rise of Skywalker didn't call itself that. According to the leaked script, it was called Star Wars: Duel of the Fates. It's fitting that the last episode of the Skywalker Saga might make a references back to the first episode. "Duel of the Fates" was the name of the piece in John Williams' score that saw Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi battle Darth Maul, one of the few universally loved parts of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
However, the title was more than just a call back. The story would have seen Rey and Kylo Ren running on parallel journeys to potentially dismantle the Sith vs Jedi struggle that had been waged for ages. Both are fighting against the simple binary idea of good vs evil, though, obviously with very different goals. Leia specifically states at one point that she feels Rey is "something else"
Rose Has More To Do
One of the biggest criticisms of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the way it sidelined Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico. Rose had virtually nothing to do in the final episode of the Saga after being a major player in The Last Jedi. Colin Trevorrow, by comparison, decided to use Rose in a big way.
While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker put all of the main heroes, minus Rose, on a single path, Trevorrow's script would have split them up, which is normal for Star Wars. We would have seen two different quests. In one, Rose, Finn, C-3PO and R2-D2 travel to First Order occupied Coruscant to light a beacon that is designed to bring all the Resistance allies together to wage a major assault. In the other, Rey, Poe, and Chewbacca, follow Rey's quest to make sense of her situation, She needs to figure out if she's worthy of being a Jedi, or if maybe Luke was right, and the Jedi should just end.
Rey Is Not A Palpatine
The biggest topic of debate among Star Wars fans right now seems to be the decision for Rise of Skywalker to bring back Emperor Palpatine as the big villain, and Rey's connection to that. To be sure, this was absolutely a J.J.Abrams decision, as Palpatine is not the villain in this script. With the lack of Palpatine, also comes the fact that Rey is not related Although, the Emperor actually does make an appearance in Trevorrow's script, just a much smaller one.
Kylo Ren's story in this version actually does have him traveling to Mustafar, as he does at the beginning of Rise of Skywalekr, however, he seems to spend much more time there. He actually visits Darth Vader's home, and there he finds a Sith Holocron left for Vader by the Emperor. In it, the Emperor says that if the Emperor's plan worked and Luke killed him. Vader should take Luke to see the Emperor's teacher, Tor Valum. Ren then goes in search of Valum himself, and finds him.
Kylo Ren Is Not Redeemed
While the new Star Wars trilogy claims to be the story of Rey, in many ways, the more interesting character arc belongs to Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. He's given himself to the Dark Side, but he's constantly battling the light. In the end, Ben Solo overcomes Kylo Ren, at the cost of his own life in the movie that we saw, but in the one we'll never see, that's not what happens.
Kylo Ren trains with his new found Sith master and eventually has one final battle with Rey on Mortis, a Force realm seen in the Clone Wars animated series. During the battle, it's revealed that Kylo Ren killed Rey's parents on the orders of Snoke, and the Force Ghosts of Luke, Yoda, and even Obi-Wan Kenobi, try to reach Ben, but in the end, it's clear he's gone to far and he is "extinguished."
Force Ghost Luke Is Everywhere
Mark Hamill got to really shine in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but that performance was bookended by a pair of films where Luke Skywalker didn't have much to do. Rian Johnson's movie may have made Luke one with the Force, but the character would have still had a much larger role in Colin Trevorrow's version of Episode IX.
In addition to showing up in the final battle as mentioned earlier, Force Ghost Luke would have also appeared throughout the film, both to Rey, and more interestingly, to Kylo Ren. With Rey, Luke is trying to aid her, to help her complete her training. With Kylo Ren, Luke is constantly trying to draw Ben back to the light, though he's also sort of tormenting his nephew by haunting him, with lines like "This is where the dark path leads: an empty tomb."
There's a lot in the script that sounds exciting an interesting. Of course, even if Colin Trevorrow had stayed on Episode IX, we likely would not have seen this exact movie. The script is dated December 2016, prior to the death of Carrie Fisher, and so, if nothing else, the loss of her would have changed a significant portion of the movie. Beyond that, there likely would have been additional rewrites before production on the film actually began.
Still, it's always interesting to get a glimpse at what might have been.