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Star Wars 9 Original Colin Trevorrow Script
Never underestimate Star Wars leakers. The devoted group of fans who post daily on the r/StarWarsLeaks Subreddit somehow managed to publish a fairly comprehensive script breakdown of The Rise of Skywalker months before its release. And it was real, too–anyone who read that breakdown had the entire movie spoiled. Hell, the Star Wars leakers even acquired two images straight from the film’s ending all the way back in October. We don’t know how they do it. But they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
This week, the Subreddit is poring through a brand new document that allegedly describes, blow by blow, the first script for Episode IX that was written by its original director and writer team, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. What do they claim the final film in the Skywalker saga was going to be titled? Duel of Fates. Not a bad title!
None of this has been verified by Disney or Trevorrow, of course. And story details are known to change all the time throughout production, so it’s hard to say if any of this would have remained in the final cut of the film. But if true, Trevorrow’s vision for the end of the Skywalker saga was wildly different than the mediocre movie we got from J.J. Abrams.
The biggest difference is the absence of our evil friend Emperor Palpatine. The leak says that Duel of Fates puts a bigger emphasis on Kylo Ren, Rey, The First Order, and the Resistance, than the eternal Sith lord. That is to say, the action comes from the unrest between these opposing forces–not an entirely new (or very old) threat of Darth Sidious. Palpatine is mentioned in the breakdown, but based on the scene descriptions in the breakdown, he doesn’t seem to actually appear in the film.
Duel of Fates opens with a pretty vague crawl:
The iron grip of the FIRST ORDER has spread to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Only a few scattered planets remain unoccupied. Traitorous acts are punishable by death.Determined to suffocate a growing unrest, Supreme Leader KYLO REN has silenced all communication between neighboring systems. Led by GENERAL LEIA ORGANA, the Resistance has planned a secret mission to prevent their annihilation and forge a path to freedom…
This opening text isn’t too far off from what’s going on at the onset of Rise of Skywalker (except for the whole dead speaking thing), but the big difference here is the state of Kylo Ren. According to the description, the moody dark lord has, like Luke Skywalker, vanished. He’s off on Mustafar skulking around Darth Vader’s castle, “haunted” by the ghost of Luke Skywalker. Ren does find an ancient Sith device. But it’s not a wayfinder, like in Rise of Skywalker. It’s a “holocron,” which leads him to someone named Tor Valum, the Sith teacher of Palpatine.
Both Ren and Rey seem to be trying to put an end to the Sith and the Jedi. It’s a story detail that many expected to appear in Episode IX–putting an end to the centuries-old conflict between these warring religions. Rey believes there’s still good in Kylo, and Kylo realizes that it was love that clouded Darth Vader’s perception.
There are some great highlights in this alleged leaked script, too. Rose Tico and BB-8 get a heist sequence of their own. The Resistance, including Poe and Finn, steal a god damn Star Destroyer. Kylo Ren fights a Darth Vader. And Chewie even pilots an X-Wing.
In the end, it’s revealed that Kylo Ren killed Rey’s parents. She’s not a Palpatine, she’s just Rey. The Force Ghosts of Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda all assist Rey in her final battle against Ren. The Jedi all try to bring Ben back to the light, but they are unsuccessful. As the leak says, “Ben is extinguished.”
You can read the full breakdown on Reddit, or listen to a live “review” of the script by fan Youtuber Robert Meyer Burnett.Real or not, this alternate story for Episode IX feels cathartic to read right now. It’s refreshing to imagine something–anything–different than the film J.J. Abrams made. Who knows, maybe Trevorrow will actually get to direct a Star Wars movie someday.
Dom Nero is a staff video editor at Esquire, where he also writes about film, comedy, and video games.