I think most of us are in agreement that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker did not stick its landing. The film is a lot of fun in parts but is mostly a complete mess that spends most of its time trying to undo what transpired in The Last Jedi instead of pushing forward the narrative in an organic and meaningful way. At the centre of all its problems is Emperor Palpatine, who is brought back in the blandest of ways and turns out to be nothing more than a moustache-twirling, one-dimensional villain.
Interestingly enough, a new leaked script has found its way on r/StarWarsLeaks which is the alleged original screenplay penned by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, before they were replaced by JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio. And I’ll be honest, everything I’ve read so far is far more intriguing than whatever Abrams and Terrio came up with.
Before we dive into some of the aspects of the leaked script, let’s keep one thing in mind. Neither Disney nor Lucasfilm have confirmed any of it and probably never will. That said, AV Club has verified that the leaks are legit.
The best part of the leaked script is the absence of Emperor Palpatine. The Episode IX screenplay, wonderfully titled Duel of Fates focuses more on Kylo Ren as the primary antagonist and his complex relationship with Rey.
The opening 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 is a far more interesting opening crawl than the one we actually see in cinemas. The focus is squarely on the FIRST ORDER, which looks to be growing in strength. There’s a mention of traitorous acts being punishable by death, which makes me wonder if we would actually see one of the resistance members — key characters or otherwise — actually get executed by the First Order army.
Rey is a nobody.
In the original script, it’s revealed that Rey’s parents were killed off by Kylo Ren under the orders of Snoke.
The most frustrating story beat in The Rise of Skywalker is the big reveal — Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter. Not only does it not make sense within the established narrative of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, it also undermines the profound theme brought about in Last Jedi: You don’t have to come from greatness to be great. The Force is about more than just bloodlines.
I love that the original script continues that narrative.
More deconstruction of Star Wars.
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.”
Once again, this continues the discussion brought about in The Last Jedi. Are the methods of the Jedi religion flawed and outdated? Is this concept of light and dark broken in and of itself?
“A thousand masters so eager to tell us how to live.” A powerful line. It beautifully progresses Rey’s character who even in The Last Jedi is wrestling with the idea of light and dark, wondering if there’s a better way to view the world. After all, we all have both light and dark inside of us.
There’s plenty more juicy stuff to unpack from the script, including Rose Tico getting an entire subplot with BB8. Click here to check it out.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently playing in Malaysian cinemas.