Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might have still earned $1 billion at the box office. But by just about any measure, the film did not deliver the thrilling conclusion to the Skywalker saga that Lucasfilm promised. After all, director J.J. Abrams’ return to the franchise after The Force Awakens earned the worst reviews of any live-action Star Wars movie.
So fans wondered what Star Wars: Episode IX would have been like under director Colin Trevorrow. The Jurassic World filmmaker was originally attached to direct and co-write the sequel trilogy’s final installment. But he left the project in 2017 due to creative differences. Nevertheless, an early version of his script leaked soon after The Rise of Skywalker‘s release.
Now a new video offers fans the best chance yet to see his leaked version of the script brought to life.
‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ did not meet expectations
One of the biggest issues some fans have with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is its seeming disregard for much of what writer/director Rian Johnson did in The Last Jedi. At several points throughout, Abrams appears to contradict Johnson’s film, though co-writer Chris Terrio assures fans this isn’t the case.
Yet, the divisiveness running throughout the sequel trilogy makes The Rise of Skywalker feel like it’s struggling to please all Star Wars fans. Perhaps the best example of this is the spontaneous return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). While the sequel trilogy had set up Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) as the Big Bad, The Rise of Skywalker resurrects an old villain instead.
This sudden narrative shift has caused a ripple effect throughout Star Wars media. With little explanation in the actual film, comics and novels have been attempting to clear up the many plot holes torn open by Palpatine’s return. Perhaps Lucasfilm is doing damage control to appease fans left dissatisfied with where The Rise of Skywalker leaves things.
The version of ‘Episode IX’ fans almost got instead
Thanks to the leaked script, fans learned a lot about what Trevorrow had planned for his Star Wars movie. Titled Star Wars: Duel of the Fates after John Williams’ iconic track from The Phantom Menace, the story proved to be substantially different than The Rise of Skywalker. Most notably, Trevorrow included more Leia and a greatly reduced role for Palpatine.
Popular YouTube channel Mr. Sunday Movies has put together an animated video that attempts to visualize Duel of the Fates. Based on leaked concept art from Trevorrow’s version of the film, the video incorporates a great deal of humor in its recounting of the alternate script. But it also goes a long way to helping fans visualize the Episode IX that never came to pass.
Granted, Abrams was limited by the real-life death of Carrie Fisher and the pressure of tying up the entire nine-part Skywalker saga. Some fans might still prefer his version over Trevorrow’s. Yet, regardless of their preference, the new video presents an interesting opportunity to imagine how Star Wars might have ended in different hands.
‘Star Wars’ needs to step away from the Skywalker saga
These days, it doesn’t seem like Star Wars fans can agree on much. But no matter what The Rise of Skywalker does, it’s clearly time to move in a new direction. Forty years focusing on one family has become a burden for the saga. And more stories like The Mandalorian could present the chance to uncover new corners of the “galaxy far, far away.”
Right now, it’s unclear when the next Star Wars movie will arrive. We don’t even know which of the many rumored and announced concepts will be up first. But fans hungry for more stories have a lot to look forward to. Between the Disney+ series and the recently announced The High Republic line of novels and comics, Star Wars isn’t going away anytime soon.