5:28 pm EST, January 15, 2020

6 major takeaways from Colin Trevorrow’s leaked ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ script

Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars: Episode IX script has leaked, and his version of the galaxy would have looked very different from The Rise of Skywalker.

Almost a month after the release of The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars fandom is still abuzz with debate about the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga.

But the ever-so-slightly receding tide of Star Wars discourse surged again with the emergence of original director Colin Trevorrow’s script for the project, reviewed by Robert Meyer Burnett on YouTube. Verified as the genuine article by several news outlets.

Trevorrow was an early pick to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, but was let go from the project in late 2017. His script, completed just before Carrie Fisher’s death, was ominously titled Duel of the Fates — and it is different from the final version penned by J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio from tip to tail.

6 huge changes between Colin Trevorrow’s ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

Rey was random

Possibly the biggest difference between The Rise of Skywalker and Trevorrow’s script is Rey’s identity. Duel of the Fates stays the course with Rian Johnson’s diagnosis in The Last Jedi that Rey is not Palpatine’s granddaughter, nor is she related to the Skywalker family.

Rey grapples with her lack of identity throughout the draft, feeling unequal to the task of being a Jedi because she is, as she says, “no one.” Both Luke, in Force ghost form, and Leia encourage Rey to find her own strengths.

colin trevorrow leaked script
“You’re not like my father or my brother,” Leia tells her. “You’re new. Whatever happens, remember the Force choose you, Rey. Your story isn’t written by anyone else.”

Rey’s parents aren’t entirely absent from Trevorrow’s leaked script, though. Apparently the final confrontation between Kylo Ren and Rey includes the revelation that it was Kylo Ren who murdered Rey’s parents, on the orders of Supreme Leader Snoke.

Speaking of which…

Bendemption was a fail

Where The Rise of Skywalker chose something of a split decision when it came to Kylo Ren (Ben Solo rejected the Dark Side and sacrificed his life for Rey) Colin Trevorrow’s Duel of the Fates goes hard on Ren as a Villainous Villain who Villains Forever.

Throughout the script, Rey continues to believe that Kylo Ren can return to the light — at one point, she tells Finn “It’s never too late to change.” Luke too, as a Force ghost, attempts to sway his nephew away from his terrible path.

Leia, however, remains skeptical, and it is her instinct that ultimately proves correct. Kylo Ren grows increasingly monstrous throughout Trevorrow’s leaked script. The Holocron ultimately burns Ren’s face, which is healed by a fusion of his skin with Mandalorian armor — the mask essentially made permanent in flesh.

Related: So who were all those Jedi in The Rise of Skywalker?

And Ren even rejects the example of Darth Vader. “You allowed love to cloud your judgement,” he tells Vader’s helmet, before destroying it for good. In a dark echo of Luke’s training with Yoda, Trevorrow has Kylo Ren seek out a Sith master and train with him, even confronting Vader in a mystical cave… a clash that Kylo loses.

Finally, Rey and Kylo Ren have their final confrontation. The Force ghosts of Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda all appear in a last-ditch effort to save Ben Solo, but their efforts are in vain. The script summary is not specific on how the fight ends, but it seems that Rey ultimately defeats Kylo Ren, to the point that his spirit is “extinguished.”

The dead spoke! But only kind of

Emperor Palpatine does actually figure into the events of Duel of the Fates, though nowhere near as significantly as in The Rise of Skywalker. As in the final film, Kylo Ren is first seen searching for the Sith Holocron (called a “Wayfinder” in TROS.) Instead of a map, the Holocron contains a hologram of the Emperor, leaving instructions to Vader in the event of his death at Luke’s hands.

Palpatine’s message is what sends Kylo Ren in search of his Sith teacher — and it’s also what maims him. According to the description, the Holocron unleashes the Emperor’s signature lightning, this time in red, burning Kylo Ren into his final form.

Luke’s story wasn’t over

Despite his death in The Last Jedi, it was somewhat surprising to see Luke Skywalker’s profoundly minimal role in The Rise of Skywalker. But that wasn’t the case in the original script.

rise of skywalker
Instead, Luke’s Force ghost continued to train Rey in Duel of the Fates, coaching her through her insecurities and assuring her that the Force speaks through her. Luke Skywalker also does his ghostly best to wrench Kylo Ren away from the Dark Side, haunting him through his quest for the Holocron and attempting to reawaken Ben Solo.

Luke is unsuccessful, of course. But you know, the effort is appreciated.

Familiar ground was trodden

J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars films are often dinged for their reliance on story points from the older films, but as far as locations go, the Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker director tends to introduce more than re-visit. The Rise of Skywalker alone directs the action to the new planets of Exegol, Passana, Kijimi, and Kef Bir — only returning to the established locales of Tatooine and Ahch-To.

Colin Trevorrow’s Duel of the Fates, on the other hand, is full of familiar places. Coruscant is occupied by the First Order, and the Jedi Temple there becomes a major plot-point in the script.

Star Wars Rose Tico
Kylo Ren finds the Sith Holocron on Mustafar, place of Anakin’s death and Vader’s rebirth. And the final confrontation between Rey and Kylo Ren occurs on Mortis, a Force-laden planet with major mythological significance in The Clone Wars animated series.

Rose was important!

Love or don’t-love The Rise of Skywalker, it was jarring to see Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico so thoroughly left out of the action. Apparently this wasn’t the case in Trevorrow’s draft.

Related: 65 questions we still have after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Rose is described as being a “key character” in Duel of the Fates. The description of her adventures isn’t long, but Rose is a part of the main crew that manages to filch a Star Destroyer out from under the most of the First Order, and is eventually captured and tortured by the baddies on Coruscant. But you can’t keep a good mechanic down — Rose manages to escape before the end, and is presumably part of the Resistance’s triumphant victory.


– Rey hacked her staff into a lightsaber from the start of the film.
– Leia didn’t die in Duel of the Fates.
– Finn and Poe seem to have had somewhat smaller roles, and were split up on separate arms of the adventure for the final act.
– Rey, not C-3PO was mind-hacked for crucial information, though this was done by a mystical Seer and not Babu Frick.
– Hux did not turn on Kylo Ren.
– Chewbacca flew an X-Wing!

Colin Trevorrow’s script for Star Wars: Episode IX isn’t yet available to read in its entirety. But this is the internet, of course, so stay tuned.

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