Go back five years in time and everyone thought Colin Trevorrow was going to write and direct the last Star Wars movie in the Skywalker saga. At the time, everyone thought he’d be the best choice after directing and writing a successful Jurassic World feature and being a major Star Wars fan. He indeed did write a script for Episode IX, but Lucasfilm didn’t agree with his story or personal attitude.
Those story elements have only been partially revealed. One thing confirmed is he wouldn’t have brought back one pivotal character seen in The Rise of Skywalker. For many fans, this might have been all for the better.
Let’s take a minute to look at the alt-reality and see what would have happened had Trevorrow managed to be the writer who wrapped up the Skywalker story. Ultimately, he did receive partial story credit.
Would it have been better to not have Palpatine come back?
One of the biggest fan divisions in TRoS is the reveal of Rey being the granddaughter of Palpatine. Even if that does set up the ultimate vindication for the Skywalker name at the end, how Palpatine/the Emperor came back to life after being killed in Return of the Jedi still hasn’t really been explained.
According to reports, J.J. Abrams explained how it happened in his initial script until Abrams and his editor decided explaining things would muddle the overall story. Maybe so, but some considered the confusion of this plot angle one of the film’s major weaknesses.
For those who uphold Rian Johnson’s more bold storytelling, the ending of TRoS was just a little too convenient. Part of this includes managing to disable the new First Order by means of calling on hundreds of people and beings from the galaxy to help. If there’s maybe some logic there in how real battles are won, having the Resistance win so fast just made things feel rushed.
These elements and more have made the last Skywalker movie a mixed bag for far too many. Had the Colin Trevorrow script gone forward, he would have focused on other plot points other than Palpatine, according to recent media revelations.
Was the Trevorrow script mined anyway?
Abrams and his co-writer Chris Terrio say they started their own script from scratch and didn’t take any elements from Trevorrow’s original treatment. However, they do admit there could have been some unknowing crossover of ideas, even if they claim they didn’t see his script.
From all evidence available, Trevorrow would have made Leia the center of importance in the final episode over Rey. Of course, he didn’t know Carrie Fisher would pass away a year after the script was written. How Lucasfilm would have dealt with that had Abrams not taken over is one worth pondering in the alt-reality scenario.
It’s possible Trevorrow would have had to do a complete last-minute rewrite, or Abrams and Terrio might have been picked at the 11th hour to fix how to deal with Leia.
Knowing Leia would have been considered the story’s center as the true last Jedi sounds more than a little appealing. Rey would have still been there being trained by Leia as seen (all too briefly) in TRoS.
Did Trevorrow’s story take things full circle at the end?
For fans of the entire Star Wars saga, the ending of The Rise of Skywalker is still emotional and took everything back to the beginning. Whether Trevorrow wanted to do something similar to fan service is still unknown.
Many want Lucasfilm to release Trevorrow’s script somewhere so fans can see what more he had in mind. Based on him placing Leia as the central character, it’s possible he wrote his version with the original fans in mind.
In that regard, Trevorrow and Abrams/Terrio might not have been too far off on their visions. Only Rian Johnson remains the outcast Star Wars writer who likely would have done something wildly different had he written Episode IX. One has to wonder if he wrote a draft for Episode IX in his head he’ll share with his fans someday.