Any lingering doubts about the validity of the leaked screenplay for Colin Trevorrow‘s Star Wars: Duel of the Fates (i.e. the original draft for Episode IX) can finally be put to rest with this latest online bombshell: concept art for Trevorrow’s never-produced vision.
In 20 amazing images (posted on the internet sharing community Imgur.com), we get a compelling sense of what Trevorrow’s finale for the Skywalker saga would’ve looked like had he not been fired due to creative differences with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. She eventually re-hired The Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams to produce The Rise of Skywalker. (To read my full beat-by-beat breakdown of Trevorrow’s script, click here.)
Two notable differences between the leaked screenplay and the art below: Rey’s lightsaber and a visual callback to Princess Leia from A New Hope.
- REY’S LIGHTSABER: In the screenplay draft dated December 16, 2016 (a full year before The Last Jedi even opened!), it describes Rey’s lightsaber as a hybrid of Luke’s broken lightsaber and a Tusken Raider battle staff. In the concept art, we see a straight dual-lightsaber similar to Darth Maul’s from The Phantom Menace, except Rey’s blades are blue. The concept art blends Luke’s broken lightsaber with Rey’s own lightsaber. Without a date of the concept art, it’s unclear which version came first and which one is the version that Colin ultimately decided would be used in the film.
- LEIA AND BB-8: In the leaked screenplay, General Leia places the distress call meant to be sent out into the galaxy on a disc that she places into R2D2 for transport to Coruscant where the message will be broadcast from. This image would evoke the early one from A New Hope where she places the Death Star plans and a message to Ben Kenobi into R2D2. In the concept art, we see that visual callback but with BB-8. It is unknown when this artistic rendering was made in relation to the development of the screenplay.
A hunch: since the Leia/R2 callback is in the script, I’d wager that the concept art was done before this draft of the leaked screenplay. If that’s the case, then the dual-lightsaber would’ve been an earlier version that eventually morphed into a lightsaber/Tusken-staff hybrid.
Also, if I’m deciphering some of the artistic signatures correctly, it looks like a couple of images have the dates 6/16 and 6/17 inscribed. Since Trevorrow was fired in the summer of 2017, it’s likely these images were done in June of 2016. That would pre-date the leaked script, and suggest that the renderings were conceived from an early story outline.
As I said in my analysis of Trevorrow’s narrative, even with a few misgivings considered (especially in how he defined “balance” in the Force) plus my love for The Rise of Skywalker being deeply sincere, I believe Colin’s Duel of the Fates would’ve been a thrilling and satisfying conclusion. This concept art only reinforces that sentiment.
Click on any panel in the gallery below to see full size images of each rendering. Here are descriptions of each concept, which can also be read by clicking on each image.
- Rey, clad in a black Jedi uniform similar to Luke’s in Return of the Jedi, wields a dual-blue lightsaber to slay First Order Stormtroopers in the film’s opening sequence.
- The First Order has taken over the city planet Coruscant.
- Resistance spy Bisc Kova is executed by a light blade guillotine on Coruscant.
- The Force Ghost of Luke confronts Kylo Ren on Mustafar.
- Rey is trained by Luke’s Force Ghost at the Resistance base on Koralev.
- R2D2 and C3PO walk the slum streets of Coruscant.
- Sith Master Tor Valum on the Remnicore System.
- Rey, Poe, Chewbacca, and BB-8 arrive at the planet Bonadan in the Millennium Falcon, a place where Poe’s grandfather once lived.
- General Leia places information into the memory banks of BB-8.
- Kylo Ren faces off against an apparition of Darth Vader for a lightsaber duel in a cave on Remincore.
- Finn, Rose, C3PO and R2D2 activate the Force Beacon on Coruscant to broadcast General Leia’s distress signal to the galaxy.
- Poe and Rey pilot a Razer Sail as they are chased by the Knights of Ren in their Knife-9 ship, across the waters of Bonadan.
- Resistance fighters apply new war paint to stolen First Order Walkers that they will use in the Battle on Coruscant.
- The First Order and the Resistance face off at the beginning of the Battle on Coruscant.
- Rey confronts a monster at the realm of Mortis.
- Finn leads the Resistance during the Battle on Coruscant.
- C3PO mourns the death of his friend R2D2.
- Rey battles Kylo Ren in a climactic lightsaber duel in the realm of Mortis.
- As the First Order falls in defeat, Chancellor Hux takes his life with a lightsaber (in an act of Seppuku).
- The Resistance fighters cheer victoriously against the defeated First Order.