Colin Trevorrow's 'Star Wars 9' Was Titled 'Duel Of The Fates', How It Differed From 'The Rise Of Skywalker'

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been out for a few weeks and, despite the $1B+ box office, is being looked at as a disappointment. I have thoughts on that, namely that the movie is just bad enough to ward off repeat viewings, but have discussed what's right and wrong with it more than enough. The film does feel sortof cobbled together, and part of the reason is that so many writers took a shot at getting it right. Remember, this began as a Colin Trevorrow joint, until he left in  the fall of 2017, shortly after Jack Thorne was brought on for rewrites. But now details of what Trevorrow's movie would've been have leaked, and honestly, it sounds like the movie I hoped for. Just being straight-up about that. I'm biased as fuck.

I won't go into all of the details, but basically this info has been confirmed by multiple sources close to the project, including a leak of Trevorrow's script acquired by filmmaker Robert Meyer Burnett. Reddit then went and broke the whole thing down, while ThePlaylist confirmed the script leak based on inside sources who can confirm their investigation's findings.

Right off the bat, one thing we know is the movie was titled Star Wars: Duel of the Fates, and here is what the opening crawl would've been...

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…

Already, this is a completely different movie. No mention of Palpatine, while Kylo Ren and the First Order remain the primary threat to the Resistance. One of the most egregious errors made by The Rise of Skywalker is that the First Order are punted aside and all but forgotten in favor of a random force we have no investment in. Hello, they spent five years building up the First Order, not only in movies but in books and animated shows, and they aren't a factor in the final battle? Ugh.

So let's go through some of the key story beats, and I can't cover everything here so you'll want to check out Rob's two-hour video or the Reddit thread for everything. What's obvious is that Finn and Rose's relationship is crucial to the story, unlike in TROS where they are basically sidelined or just tagging along. In Duel of the Fates, the two actually go on an important side mission to Coruscant, a key location as Star Wars fans know, in order to light an ancient signal in a Jedi Temple that calls the galaxy to war.

And this leads to another big difference: the ending of The Last Jedi mattered. That film concluded with Luke Skywalker's sacrifice during the Battle of Crait, sparking the flame of rebellion as seen by the Broom Kid with the obvious Force powers. In 'Duel', that rebellion is surging and the First Order are fighting to stop it. They've shut down all communications between planets, and the Resistance's main goal is to re-establish it so others can join in the fight. Luke's ghost is a presence throughout, and haunts Kylo just as much as it does Rey.

Finn, who began as a First Order trooper who betrayed the Dark Side, gets his chance to come full circle. In an early scene in which he, Rose, and BB-8 are stealing a Star Destroyer containing weapons, Finn encounters a fallen Stormtrooper and recognizes him. This drives his internal conflict about killing others who are in the same predicament he was in. Later, after he and Rose are captured, Finn manages to escape by gathering other Troopers who are as disillusioned as he was. During this sequence, Rose is interrogated by General Hux, who is decidedly not a Resistance spy. The Troopers gathered by Finn join him and become his army during the final ground assault in Coruscant. An air assault also takes place, led by General Poe Dameron, with the Resistance joining in with stolen fighters and the help of smugglers led by Lando Calrissian.

Later, Finn and Rose (there she is again, all important and shit) take all of the Force-sensitive children, including the Broom Kid, to a distant planet where they can be trained by Rey.

As for what Rey was doing this entire time, she carries a double-bladed lightsaber, probably similar to Darth Maul's or perhaps the one seen in TROS, and is on a separate mission with Poe Dameron. Picking up on threads left by TLJ, she still believes in Kylo Ren's goodness, even as both are on similar quests to end the Jedi and the Sith once and for all. Palpatine? He gets mentioned but is definitely not Rey's grandfather. Kylo is in search of a Sith Holocron that leads him into a Sith Lord and a fight with a Force Ghost version of Darth Vader. It's eventually revealed that it was Kylo Ren who murdered Rey's parents. Rey gets help from the spirits of Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and Obi-Wan in her final battle against Kylo Ren, who is too far gone to be redeemed.

If you're wondering why there isn't more of Leia, who it has been rumored would be a central figure prior to Carrie Fisher's death, that's not in this version of the script. Either those rumors were false or this script comes after her passing when changes needed to be made.

You can check out the entirety of the leak yourself and judge what it all means. The Rise of Skywalker is going to be discussed forever, that's just the truth, and knowing this is what might've been will only enflame the conversation further.  I have major doubts whether Trevorrow could've pulled this movie off behind the camera, let's not forget the problems he apparently caused with Kathleen Kennedy, but at least the ideas he had for concluding the epic Skywalker Saga read like they would've embraced everything contributed by both JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson.