I am so glad that The Book of Henry was so bad.
If it had been merely passable, its writer / director Colin Trevorrow (also of Jurassic World fame) would have made the final chapter of the Skywalker saga as he was originally hired to do — and without the Emperor in it.
In an interview with Empire magazine, Trevorrow copped to the fact that his script for Episode IX did not include Emperor Palpatine:
- “Bringing back the Emperor was an idea J. J. [Abrams] brought to the table when he came on board,” Trevorrow says. “It’s honestly something I never considered. I commend him for it. This was a tough story to unlock, and he found the key.”
He never even considered it.
That pretty much says it all about the vast chasm that exists between Trevorrow’s limited vision and the expanse of Abrams’. How much smaller would IX have been with just Kylo Ren as the main baddie (especially assuming that his redemption seems likely).
Even so, the response to this news shouldn’t be disdain for Trevorrow (after all, who of us was even theorizing that the Emperor would return?) but, rather, to have that much more appreciation for J. J. Abrams. And credit Trevorrow for the gracious humility to say “this was a tough story to unlock, and [Abrams] found the key.”
Trevorrow and his screenwriting collaborator Derek Connolly still share a screenwriting credit on the final produced screenplay, despite Abrams saying that he and Oscar-winner Chris Terrio (Argo) started from scratch. What that means is that there were at least enough remnants of ideas or characters that originated in the Trevorrow / Connolly draft which remained in the final Abrams / Terrio draft for the Writers Guild of America to require their crediting. Trevorrow declined to comment what that content included, deferring to sometime after the film is released.
The entire history of the Star Wars saga just dodged a major Death Star blast. Thanks to J. J. Abrams’ creative foresight and daring, this 42 year journey will conclude with The Emperor. Knowing that now, it’s hard to imagine how the Skywalker story could’ve been complete any other way.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens on December 20, 2019.