Colin Trevorrow’s Duel of the Fates
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker could have been so different. The original plan was to have writer/director Colin Trevorrow helm Episode IX, but after parting ways with Disney, director JJ Abrams was brought back to the franchise instead, co-writing a script with Chris Terrio and delivering the movie we actually got.
But recent internet leaks have shown that Trevorrow had very different ideas – and to many imagined a better movie than The Rise of Skywalker. A completed script and concept art have made their way online, giving a clearer picture of what might have been.
Duel of the Fates
Right away, we have a different title. The movie would have been called Duel of the Fates, which is named after the piece of music that played over the battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, so forming a bookend to the saga in its own way.
Rey is a Jedi master
After the events of The Last Jedi, Rey is much further along in mastering the ways of the Force – and is trained by the ghost of Luke Skywalker! Just like Luke in Return of the Jedi, she now wears a black outfit, and has made herself a double-edged lightsaber – a bit like the one Darth Maul had in The Phantom Menace.
A mission goes wrong
The movie opens with Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose and BB-8 on a mission to destroy one of the First Order’s Star Destroyer factories. It doesn’t go to plan – Rey gets into a fight with a bunch of stormtroopers – but the heroes do manage to steal a Star Destroyer. Seriously annoyed, the First Order calls in the Knights of Ren.
Where’s Kylo Ren?
The Supreme Leader of the First Order is on a quest to master the Dark Side. He discovers a message from the Emperor, originally left for Darth Vader, revealing the whereabouts of a Yoda-like Sith master called Tor Valum, who happens to be a 7,000-year-old alien.
Mission to the Jedi temple
Back at the Resistance base, the heroes realise they don’t have the manpower to properly make use of the Star Destroyer. Luckily, Rey has learned of a secret Jedi temple on Coruscant, where the First Order’s base is now located, with a Force Beacon that could send a message calling for reinforcements.
Rey vs the Knights of Ren
While Rose, Finn, R2-D2 and C-3PO head to Coruscant to activate the Force Beacon, Rey, Poe and Chewbacca fly to a different planet, Bonadan, in the Millennium Falcon, so that Rey can find more clues to her past (it gets a bit vague here). The heroes are chased by the Knights of Ren in their spaceship, Knife 9, followed by a huge lightsaber battle, which Rey ultimately wins.
Kylo Ren vs Darth Vader
Tor Valum lives on the planet Remincore, and when Kylon Ren arrives, we get a version of Luke’s training sequences from The Empire Strikes Back – there is even a tunnel sequence where Kylo Ren faces off against Darth Vader.
Uprising on Coruscant
After switching on the Force Beacon, the heroes escape into Coruscant and discover that the population has its own resistance against the First Order, even amassing some of their stolen vehicles. Elsewhere, one of the people who received the Resistance message was Lando Calrissian, who meets up with Leia to join the fight.
The final battle
There is a big push against the First Order, with a space battle above Coruscant and also on the streets below. Somehow, Chewbacca ends up flying an X-Wing! Rey and Kylo Ren also meet at a Sith temple on the planet Mortis – Kylo Ren reveals that he killed Rey’s parents on the orders of Supreme Leader Snoke.
Rey’s surname isn’t Palpatine
There are attempts to bring Kylo Ren back from the Dark Side, including an intervention by Luke Skywalker’s ghost, but he’s too far gone. Using his new ability of draining the Force from others to make himself stronger, Kylo Ren gains the upper hand, but then Leia reaches out to him – he returns the Force energy to Rey and reveals her real name with his dying breath: Rey Solana.
A different ending
So then the First Order falls, everyone celebrates, and in a throwback to the 1977 movie, we see Leia dressed in white, placing a message in BB-8 to take to the rest of the galaxy to tell them that they have won. And on a distant planet, far away, Rey can be seen training a new generation of Jedi.
Would it have been better? Sadly, we’ll never know.