UPDATE: “It’s true. All of it.” This really is the concept art for Colin Trevorrow’s unmade The Duel of the Fates script. He confirmed their authenticity on Twitter. He also said R2-D2 would have lived in his movie. That shouldn’t make us feel better, since again the film was not and will not ever become a reality. And yet it does.
Yes, this is from Duel of the Fates. But I’d never kill R2…he just took a bad hit. Happens to all of us. https://t.co/ekGMRUdV2g
— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) January 24, 2020
We were rightfully skeptical when the supposed outline for Colin Trevorrow’s canceled Episode IX script hit the internet. But against all odds, it turned out to be real. It also turned out to be fascinating, especially after the divided responses to J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker. That’s why we’re especially curious about a new Reddit post that claims to include original concept art for the unproduced film. We don’t know for sure if these are legitimate, but if so, they offer a tantalizing glimpse of what could have been. And they might even highlight why they never were.
A Reddit user shared 20 images (we first learned about at Star Wars News Net) that they say are official concept art for Trevorrow’s unproduced script. They look authentic and match up with many of the details we know from the story Trevorrow submitted to Lucasfilm. Obviously that does not guarantee these are real. But if they aren’t, someone sure put in a lot of effort creating fake art for a movie that won’t ever exist. So, with a grain of salt large enough to turn the Great Lakes into seawater, we’re going to treat them as authentic.
Some of these images are powerful enough on their own that they don’t even need the context of the abandoned script. Rey wields a double-bladed lightsaber over fallen stormtroopers while she’s dressed in black, a look reminiscent of Luke’s in Return of the Jedi. Bisc Kova, a Resistance Traitor, waits to be executed by a lightsaber guillotine on Coruscant. Rey floats in the air during training with Luke’s ghost on Koralev. Kylo Ren battles Darth Vader in Dagobah’s Dark Side cave. The crew travels to Bonadan, Poe’s former home. The Knights of Ren then chase him and Rey as they flee on a Razer Sail.
One image features Kylo’s ancient alien Sith teacher Tor Valum, and in another, Luke catches his nephew’s lightsaber. Rey also faces a giant monster on Mortis before facing Kylo in a final showdown on the planet. And in what is maybe the single most beautiful image, Leia records a message via BB-8 just like she did with R2-D2 long, long ago.
Almost all of these images match what we know was in the script, and more than half take place on Coruscant. This large collection depicts many of the story beats on the First Order-occupied planet. Rose and Finn set off a beacon from under the Jedi Temple. Finn leads a force of resistance fighters and former stormtroopers into battle using stolen First Order weapons they’ve repainted. General Hux uses a lightsaber to commit seppuku after losing the battle. And, in what is easily the saddest image, C-3PO mourns R2-D2 after he’s destroyed in battle.
If real, the images highlight a possible reason Lucasfilm moved in a different direction. Trevorrow’s story was intimately tied into the prequels. Half of the movie, including its epic finale, would have taken place on Coruscant, the planet most connected to Episodes I, II, and III.
J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson barely referenced those films in their trilogy. Luke mentioned Darth Sidious in The Last Jedi when he discussed the fall of the Jedi; beyond that, the Disney-produced Star Wars Skywalker saga films seemed to purposefully keep as much distance as it could from George Lucas’s prequel films. The capital planet blown up by the First Order in The Force Awakens wasn’t even Coruscant. We wouldn’t even be sure Disney knew the prequels existed if not for Rogue One.
If Disney was intent on avoiding almost all references to the prequels then Trevorrow’s script was never going to work for the Mouse House. They did not want to return to Coruscant, even if it would have connected all three trilogies.
Of course, this is just a theory. And, like these images, it should be treated with some healthy skepticism. But that doesn’t mean we’re wrong, either.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm