12:00 pm EST, February 14, 2020

The most important quotes from ‘Duel of the Fates,’ Colin Trevorrow’s leaked Star Wars IX script

We’ve had a look through Colin Trevorrow’s leaked Star Wars Episode IX script and thoughts: We have them.

There’s never a dull moment in Star Wars world. Just as the fandom was beginning, somewhat, to settle down into the aftermath of The Rise of Skywalker, the boat was rocked once again by news from what seems like an alternate timeline.

The original draft of Episode IX, the first studio-ready version completed by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly in late 2016, was leaked. This version wasn’t an earlier incarnation of JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio’s script for The Rise of Skywalker, but instead a very different and much earlier concept for the final Star Wars film.

Duel of the Fates was scuppered when Colin Trevorrow, originally hired to direct the film, was let go from the project. As it stands, the script represents an almost bizarre alternate timeline for Star Wars, a startlingly fully-formed What If. Even as it stands, it must be acknowledged that the final version of The Rise of Skywalker owes a considerable amount of its DNA from Trevorrow’s ideas.

duel of the fates

There’s lots to observe and compare between the two versions of the eternally-awaited Episode IX. We could talk about what Kylo Ren’s considerably darker storyline means for the character, or mull over the explicitly romantic storyline between Rey and Poe Dameron (despite the considerable difference in age between Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac.) We could discuss Rose’s vastly greater role (the nearly-forgotten mechanic has the first line of the movie, in fact) or what Leia’s storyline might have been meant to look like in its original conception.

But first, we want to dive into the dialogue: The patented quippy, quirky, weighty, and inspiring quotes that have made Star Wars so memorable for so long. The story is in the words, after all; so what do the words of Duel of the Fates tell us about what the Skywalker story might have been?

Here are the most important quotes from ‘Duel of the Fates’ by Colin Trevorrow

“The black empty part is where we should be pointed!” – Rey

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First up is a pithy line from early in the film, as Rey finds herself co-piloting a stolen Star Destroyer beside Mr. I Can Fly Anything, Poe Dameron. The flight gets off to what you might call a rocky start.

“You can silence planets, not people.” – Lord Gherlid

This rather distasteful new character is a galactic crime lord, unimpressed by Chancellor Hux’s insistence that cutting off transmissions across the galaxy (a major plot-point in the Duel of the Fates script) is really going to quell the Resistance. We’re definitely not rooting for Gherlid (or frankly, anyone) in this scene, but the guy’s got a point.

“It’s never too late to change. You taught me that.” – Rey

In this scene, Finn tries to help Rey grapple with the enormous pressure she bears as the last Jedi. Rey tells him of her nightmares about Kylo Ren, and Finn urges her to shut him out — it’s too late for Ben Solo to change. Rey disagrees.

Rey: “‘Balance.’ Dark suffocates the light. Light extinguishes the dark. Over and over. How is that balance?”
Luke: “I know that anger. I had it. My father had it too.”
Rey: “So says my master. And his master before him. A thousand masters, so eager to tell us how to live.”

The Force ghost of Luke Skywalker continues to visit both Rey and Kylo Ren throughout Duel of the Fates, by turns advising and berating his former students. Luke means well, but there’s no doubt that, in Trevorrow’s estimation, the classic Jedi wisdom just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Finn: “I’ll lead the team, General.”
Rose: “I’ll lead the team, General. But I’ll let him think he’s doing it.”

Both Finn and Rose take on strong leadership roles in Trevorrow’s script, which has a corresponding effect on their budding relationship.

Rey: “I have to bring an end to all this. I have to confront him.”
Poe: “Mmhmm. You’re just gonna ‘confront him’? Who talks like that?”
Rey: “Jedi do. I’m new to this.”

Speaking of relationships, Duel of the Fates shifts the role of Rey’s would-be protector from Finn to Poe Dameron. Sparks between the two pilots are evident throughout the script, only intensifying the more Rey puts herself in danger.

“My whole life, I heard one word. Balance. I never really understood what it meant. Until the first time I saw you. I heard that word again. Like it was whispered to me. Balance. You’re not like my father. Or my brother. You’re new. Whatever happens, remember: The Force chose you, Rey. Your story isn’t written by anyone else.” – Leia

Though this draft of Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX script was completed before the death of Carrie Fisher, Leia remains a figure somewhat distant from the action. But when it’s time for the Princess-Senator-General to drop wisdom that both comforts Rey and contextualizes the larger themes of Star Wars, she certainly doesn’t disappoint.

“Tell me the odds, Threepio. I like numbers.” – Rose

This sweet twist on Han Solo’s classic “Never tell me the odds” goes to Rose, who, naturally, is a giant wonderful nerd.

Rey: “I remember love. That’s why I waited for so long. But I must have imagined it. They were no one.”
Poe: “No one is no one.”

Later in the script, Rey and Poe visit the planet of Bonadan in search of a “Force navigator” who can find the planet Mordis. On Bonadan, the two share memories of their pasts… and also kiss in a, ah, strictly professional capacity to avoid the attention of Trevorrow’s new trooper class, Mechtroopers.

(*cough* MERCHtroopers *cough*)

Finn: “So many people living underground.”
Rose: “Rich folks don’t spend much time thinking about what they’re standing on.”

Finn and Rose, meanwhile, head to Coruscant to break the Galactic silence using an ancient Jedi beacon. Rose is quick to point out that the social hierarchy on the once-Capitol has grown even worse since the days of the Republic.

C-3PO: “I’m afraid all my knowledge of Coruscant is limited to the upper levels.”
R2-D2: (beeps)
C-3PO: “Elitist? Where do you even learn these words?”

R2-D2 also seems aware that his pal C-3PO may be part of the hierarchy problem.

“This is General Leia Organa of the Resistance. The time has come to forge a path to freedom. The forces of oppression have ruled our galaxy for too long. We must join together and fight. Send your fastest ships, all your warriors. Our voices will not be silenced. We can no longer live in the shadow of the First Order. We must step into the light.” – Leia

In Duel of the Fates, Trevorrow and Connolly take inspiration from Leia’s original transmission that kick-started the Star Wars saga. This time, Leia’s words inspire the entire galaxy as the message spreads — from a Bendu monk to a Mon Calamari fish bar (yes, really), to Bothans and all the way to Bossk in his Trandoshian palace. (Yes. Really.)

Poe: “I’m not leaving you.”
Rey: “You will leave this place and go back to help the Resistance.”
Poe: “I’m not… don’t do this…”
Rey: “You will leave this place and go back to help the Resistance.”
Poe: “No… you can’t…”
Rey: “You will leave this place and go back to help the Resistance.”
(Rey kisses him)
Poe: “I…I have to leave this place. I have to help the Resistance.”

After an attack by the Knights of Ren on Bonadan (which includes Rey’s first use of Force lightning), Rey and Poe share an intense and ambiguous moment. While their romantic connection is solidified, Rey uses the Jedi mind trick to force Poe to leave against his will, so that she can go on to Mortis by herself.

Luke: “This is why the Jedi live in isolation. The pain of loss only leads to the Dark Side.”
Leia: “I’ve lost everything, and everyone. But I’d still choose to love.”

Later, Luke’s Force ghost visits Leia. The twins discuss Rey and Kylo and the power and emotion that envelop the two Force users. Luke once again argues for the ancient Jedi traditions — but Leia, who has suffered unimaginably and yet retains her positivity and wisdom, sets her brother straight.

Finn: “You had a name once. Do you remember it?”
RK-514: (shakes his head)
Finn: “Get a name. That’s the first step.”
RK-514: “Then what?”
Finn: “Find something worth fighting for.”

Throughout Duel of the Fates, Finn grapples with guilt over the stormtroopers who remain essentially enslaved to the First Order. His resolution to help his former fellows break free of their brainwashing comprises the bulk of his arc in the script, and proves to have touching and effective consequences.

Rose: “Are you? Are you trying to use the Force on me?”
Hux: “Be quiet.”
Rose: “Oh no, see… you’re not special. I mean, at all.”
Hux: “Shut up!”

Look, this had to be in here because Hux tries to use the Force multiple times in Trevorrow’s script, and even though this particular moment is one of major peril for the captured Rose, it’s just freaking hilarious.

“Resistance is reckless! Passion is the greatest weapon we have! The Rebels fought the Empire and won. You showed us it could be done. But that was your war. This one’s ours. Let us fight it.” – Poe

At a pivotal moment in the Resistance’s stand against the First Order, Poe makes his case to Leia that it’s time to join the fight on Coruscant — no matter the odds.

“We are the Resistance! All of us!” – Finn

Leading a parade of Coruscant’s downtrodden, along with his new former stormtrooper friend Rafe, Finn becomes a true symbol of the Resistance.

“I can’t leave him.” – C-3PO

In The Rise of Skywalker, it’s C-3PO who makes the major sacrifice for the Resistance, but in Trevorrow’s imagining, R2-D2 is nearly destroyed in the final battle. Though he and R2 have been bickering since the beginning, C-3P0 is utterly distraught at the loss of his friend, and only agrees to continue on when Chewbacca hauls the little blue droid onto his back and carries him to safety.

Kylo: “I’ll be stronger than any Skywalker has been.”
Luke: “You are no Skywalker.”

As Kylo Ren hunts for power on Mortis, Luke returns to try (one last time) to set his nephew down the right path. Kylo tries to strike at Luke with his saber, but even as a Force ghost, Luke is able to catch the blade — and then deliver that damning line.

Rey: “Our Masters were wrong. I will not deny my anger. And I will not reject my love. I am the darkness. And I am the light.”
Kylo: “You are nothing! You are no one!”
Rey: “No one is no one.”

Rey is wounded and blinded during her final confrontation with Kylo Ren. But, buoyed by the faith of Luke and her friends, she is able to continue the fight. In this exchange, her story comes full circle — she embraces her darkness and light, and accepts that her identity, no matter what it is, has value in this story.

Luke: “You chose to embrace the Dark Side and the Light. To find balance within.
Yoda: “Co-exist, they must, as such feelings do in all of us.”

Following her defeat of Kylo Ren, Rey joins the Jedi Masters Yoda, Luke, and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the “astral plane.” There, they make a few edits to the long-standing Star Wars philosophies of good and evil, acknowledging that Rey’s blended path is correct.

Trevorrow also pulls heavily from Harry Potter here, as the masters tell Rey that she can choose to live, or choose to move on in the Force. Her decision remains uncertain until the closing moments of Duel of the Fates, when Rey reappears to teach the next generation of Jedi.

Finally, though this would not have been able to make it into the film, we have to shout out a memorable stage direction from the end of Duel of the Fates. When Chancellor Hux is hit by the reality of his failure, Trevorrow and Connolly describe him thus:

Hux realizes the tragic truth. He lost the star wars.

Whatever you think of the curtain’s drop on the Skywalker Saga, that certainly deserves a tip of the cap.

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