Thoughts on Colin Trevorrow’s ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – Duel of the Fates’
Prior to JJ Abrams taking reigns of Star Wars: Episode IX. Filmmaker Colin Trevorrow was set to write and direct the ninth installment of the Skywalker saga. Prior to this Colin was best known for his work on Jurassic World. In September 2017 though, Disney and Trevorrow “mutually” chose to part ways. Speculation on his departure is that he was unable or unwilling to work around the death of Carrie Fisher causing tension with he and Kathy Kennedy. But, at this point that is unsubstantiated.
When JJ was brought on board a total re-write was completed on the film giving us what we know as The Rise of Skywalker. But what was Trevorrow’s film? Did it continue the themes of what Rian Johnson gave us in The Last Jedi?
Lucky for us Writer, Producer and Director Robert Meyer Burnett shared on his YouTube network a leak of the Colin Trevorrow story/script. It’s called Star Wars: Episode IX – Duel of the Fates
Below You can read it.
Keep in mind that Robert Meyer Burnett can confirm this information (a draft) is from something that he saw. Despite having pictures of the supposed screenplay. He cannot and will not confirm it is anything that is in his possession now.
Because of this the synopsis/story below is based off of his retelling it on his YouTube channel.
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….
Opens at the Kuat Shipyards (man on a mission-style)
BB-8 and Rose Tico (allegedly a key character in script) are infiltrating Kuat Moon where First Order build their ships (workers are oppressed). There is an orbital ring and moon below it. Finn and Poe are there. No R2/3PO. Rey arrives.
They plan to send explosive into the power shaft that delivers raw ore into the ring.
In Star Wars fashion the plan fails. The First Order was able to contain the blast and Admiral Vaughn says “their outdated tactics are pitiful.”
Rey, who is disguised as a Tusken Raider is revealed to have created her own weapon. She created a double-blade lightsaber hybrid of her staff and Luke’s destroyed saber.
They battle and Poe, Finn, Rose, Rey, and BB-8 steak a Star Destroyer (which was an Eclipse-class) and escape.
The Knife nine, a ship containing the Knights of Ren, arrives a Kuat.
Atoska Ren kills Admiral Vaughn for his failure.
CUT TO: CORUSCANT. No longer a vibrant city. “The new structures are built atop the art deco structure of the old republic.” Occupied by the First Order now (they have a citadel/palace there). Citizens are scavengers now. Hux is now CHANCELLOR HUX and is addressing Bisc Kova (traitor who helped Resist. steal Star Destroyer.) Kova is executed with a light blade guillotine.
Hux and Commander Selleck have a meeting with several alien war lords (ode to ANH imperial council scene). First Order has allies. They are aware of Rey being the last Jedi. Council wants to know WHERE IS KYLO REN? He is missing. Hux only knows he has gone searching for something of great power.
CUT TO: MUSTAFAR. Kylo Ren is alone, except for a Darth Maul-esque droid. He has stubble indicating search has been for a long time. Ren is being HAUNTED by Luke’s force ghost.
Luke: “This is where the dark path leads; an empty tomb.” Kylo (retort): “Where did your path lead?”
Luke is trying to convince him to go back to Leia. Kylo: “I’m going to be more powerful than any Jedi…even you.”
In Vader’s Temple, Kylo finds a Sith Holocron which reveals a hologram of Palpatine. Recording is for Vader. Palpatine has a contingency for Vader if Luke kills him. Vader is to take Luke to the Remnicore System to see TOR VALUM, Master of Sith/Palpatine’s Teacher.
After scanning Kylo, the Holocron realizes it is not Vader, explodes and releases red lighting which burns Kylo Ren, who screams in complete unbearable agony.
CUT TO: RESISTANCE BASE on KOR-ALAF (?). Leia is introduced as she feels what’s happening to Ben. Chewbacca and Lt. Connix tell Leia that the Kuat team is back. They’re shocked to see a Star Destroyer (which is landed onto the planet). Funny moment w/ Rey using Mind Trick on First Order officers who were still on the ship.
Rey confides in Finn that she doesn’t feel like she has what it takes to be a Jedi and can’t live up to everyone’s expectations. Finn asks her if she still senses Kylo. Rey confesses she’s been having nightmares. Finn asks if it’s Kylo. Rey says she can’t explain their connection.
Finn: “You have to shut him out. He can’t change. It’s too late.” Rey: “It’s never to late to change. You taught me that Finn.”
Resistance realizes that the Star Destroyer stills has most of it’s weapons (tanks, TIEs, etc). Only missing piece is an army to use it.
Rey researching the Jedi texts from Anch-To discovers that under Coruscant Jedi Temple there is a communication system (called a FORCE BEACON) from the Old Republic that can send a signal to 50 planets. They plan on using it to get allies. First Order can’t stop it, since it predates Imperial tech. Rey: “Hope is all we have left.”
Force Ghost Luke appears as Rey trains. Luke is pushing Rey to get stronger in the Force, while he is pushing Kylo to let Ben out.
Kylo makes it back to Coruscant. Face is damaged. Mandalorian armor is smelted and is been applied to his face. Confronts Hux and belittles him, saying he doesn’t need titles.
Rey to Luke as they train: “Balance? The dark suffocates the light, light extinguishes the dark. Over and over and over again. How is that balance in the force?”
Luke: “I know that anger. 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.”
Rest of exchange between Rey and Luke is basically Rey trying to back away from being a Jedi (she admits she is NO ONE) and Luke trying to convince her (he says the Force is speaking to her).
Back to Kylo. He and Hux continue to snipe at each other. Kylo says he’s leaving again, but not before telling Hux the power he discovered will make destroying planets insignificant. Kylo’s last order to Hux: “Find the Resistance, wipe them out, leave the girl to me.”
TEAM A (Rose, Finn, R2, 3PO): Going to Coruscant to light the beacon.
TEAM B (Rey, Poe, Chewbacca): Going to a planet to find someone to help Rey figure out what she needs to do. (side: Yes, his descrp. is that vague)
Kylo is going to a Sith Planet/Remnicore. EDIT: Before he leaves Coruscant, he takes Vader’s mask and says he understands Vader now. Kylo: “You allowed love to cloud your judgement” and he throws Vader’s mask off of a balcony and it shatters.
Leia stays at the base overseeing the Resistance.
Before Rey leaves, she and Leia have an exchange were Rey says she believes there’s still good in Kylo. Leia is skeptical, but Rey believes in her Jedi Training. Leia: “You’re not like my father or my brother. You’re new. Whatever happens, remember the force choose you Rey. You’re story isn’t written by anyone else.”
Robert Meyer Burnett (RBM) starts summarizing now:
First Order tracks down stolen Star Destroyer to Kor-Alaf. Resistance escapes.
TEAM A successfully infiltrates the Jedi Temple and turn on the beacon. Cut to different places around the galaxy receiving the signal (Bossk cameo). It is then cut off by the First Order. TEAM A then flee into the underbelly of Coruscant.
TEAM B are being pursued by the Knife 9 (Knights of Ren ship) and eventually reach the planet Bonadan.
Kylo reaches Remincore and confronts Tor Valum (7000 yrs old, alien of unknown origin, spindly, intense sinewy muscle — very Lovecraftian). Kylo begins training with Valum. Ode to ESB Cave scene: Kylo fights Vader. Fight is brutal and Kylo loses.
Bonadan: Poe takes Rey to a Seer who can pull information out of memories. The Seer pulls a star chart out of Rey’s mind from her visions w/ Kylo. Knights of Ren show up and fight Rey in a lightsaber battle. She defeats them and TEAM B escapes.
Both Rey and Kylo eventually get to MORTIS.
Leia asks Lando if he will organize the smugglers and fight the First Order.
Rose is captured and tortured by the First Order, but is able to escape.
Finn/R2/3PO start a citizens uprising on Coruscant around the First Order’s Citadel/Palace.
Leia brings her forces to Coruscant to battle the FO. Massive space battle, ground battle (ROTJ-style you know the works lol). Chewie flies an X-Wing.
Rey and Kylo battle on Mortis, using force energy that can pull from each other. At some point is revealed Kylo killed Rey’s parents at the behest of Snoke. Towards the end, Luke/Obi Wan/Yoda appear as Force Ghosts to save Ben, but are unsuccessful. Ben is “extinguished.”
RMB seems to be at the end, so just for house keeping sake – Resistance won, First Order loses.
One final deet: Han Solo did appear in the script and does confront Kylo at some point.
Thoughts on the Leak
Keep in mind that this is a version of the film that may have NEVER been made. Films go through many rewrites before a film is made so this could be an early version of what Colin wanted to do with the movie.
With that said the ideas here seem to be more ambitious than what we had in The Last Jedi. By ambitious I mean a bit risky, but in a way that it built on the lore of Star Wars and what has come before it. Differentiating itself from what we had seen in TFA and TLJ.
While I absolutely enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker I have to say this film would have been way more intense than the one that we got. Maybe not as emotional but absolutely a fun ride that would have expanded on so much of the Star Wars lore.
The biggest take-away from this is that there is no finality to the saga here. While it wraps up the story of Ben/Kylo along with Rey and friends. It doesn’t close out the possibility of Episodes X, XI & XII. How TROS seemingly does…. in a way.
Because of that it really feels like this film is A LOT like Return of the Jedi. Which is my favorite from the Original Trilogy.
Looking more at this, I personally LOVE the inclusion of Luke haunting Kylo. It actually makes the scene in TLJ where he tells him he would see him around make sense. Also, Luke continuing to train Rey is incredible. He has a connection to both of them and he is still trying to help pull Ben back to the light while guiding Rey away from the dark. This is way more in line with the Luke we all grew up admiring.
While this film would still have been divisive. (It seems there was no way Episode IX wouldn’t be) I think this would have been FAR more accepted as a strong closer for the trilogy as opposed to what we got. Although, Ben still dies in this version too, but the difference is he isn’t redeemed. Well from what we can see.
Honestly, there is so much more to talk about in regards to this and over the next couple weeks I am going to get the Podcast moving again and along with an official review of Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker I will also discuss what could have been in regards to Colin Trevorrow’s script.
Make sure to check out Shootin’ the Sith Podcast for more Star Wars content from the #Spoilerverse