J.J. Abrams’ conclusion to the Skywalker Saga paid a lot of lip service to fan expectations. Abrams tried to repair Luke’s legacy after the revolutionary tactics employed by Rian Johnson. He came up with a solution for Rey’s heritage, and connected the Sequel Trilogy back to the Original Trilogy AND the Prequel Trilogy. And while Abrams seemed to go out of his way to include references and mentions to the Star Wars touchstones that fans adore (hey there, Billy Dee Williams!), he could have included one more classic locale in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Adam Brockbank is a concept artist who has worked on the Harry Potter franchise, Captain America: The First Avenger, Solo: A Star Wars Story and J.J. Abrams’ final Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker. He shared the above photo on his Instagram account showing a recognizable confrontation from Rise, only, setting it on the iconic planet of Coruscant, from the expanding Star Wars galaxy.
Where have you heard the name Coruscant before? It was a prominent location in George Lucas’s Prequel Trilogy, housing both the Galactic Senate building and the Jedi Temple. Coruscant appeared to be one of the most developed planets in the galaxy, consisting of towering skyscrapers and advanced technologies. Senator Padme Amidala is in Coruscant to vote on significant political motion when she is attacked by an assassin, leading to this chase around the skyscrapers in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.
According to Adam Brockbank’s concept art, Coruscant would have been a fading husk of its former self by the time we revisited it in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. There’s no explanation given as to why Coruscant would have fallen to ruin, though given its position as a base of operations for the corrupt Galactic Empire, there’s no doubt the wolves would have turned on each other following the success of the Rebellion.
Instead of revisiting this iconic location, J.J. Abrams and his team had Rey (Daisy Ridley) confront Kylo Ren and his TIE fighter on the desert sands of Pasaana (a planet we’d never visited in the Star Wars films before) as Rey, Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and their allies seek a clue to unearth a Wayfinder.
The final confrontation between Rey and Kylo’s ship ended up looking like this:
While a return to Coruscant might have been a nice touch, The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t lacking for nostalgic references to the movies that came before it. What the movie really needed was stronger connective threads to an actual arc for the story, and a pitstop in the defunct Coruscant likely wasn’t going to provide that. Do you agree?