Colin Trevorrow Reflects on his Canned Star Wars Movie
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR RISE OF SKYWALKER
Honestly, after seeing the movie that Abrams released a few times, we really wish that Disney went with Trevorrow. Look, if you enjoyed Rise of Skywalker, we’re not here to try and take that from you. Our own Shane Black enjoyed the movie, difference of opinion is a healthy thing.
From minute one to hour two there are just no surprises or universe changing moments in the film. We all knew that the Emperor was coming back, since they spoiled it ahead of time in every trailer. Most of us had already guessed that Rey was going to be the last one alive and that Ben would die stupidly. Since the trailer left very little to the imagination, we knew that the final battle wasn’t going to be very spectacular.
However, what we didn’t expect, especially from a Star Wars film, was to be bored. Whether it was the story, characters, lightsaber fights (all one of them), space battles, plot twists etc. Every single element of The Rise of Skywalker felt bored, played out and not really planned.
After the release of Rise of Skywalker, most fans were pretty let down. They weren’t as immediately upset and up in arms like they were with The Last Jedi, but they just felt betrayed. Expecting to at least be entertained in a few ways, but finding themselves annoyed at the ending and bored for the runtime.
Which led to several hours of YouTube essays being recorded about what really went wrong with Rise of Skywalker. Some fans speculated that it was mostly studio interference, others theorized that Abrams simply got shafted out of a better film by Rian Johnson etc. Overall, opinions were pretty unanimous. Even people who liked the movie, felt disappointed by the payoff and the central theme of the plot.
Fast forward a few months, Rise of Skywalker has had its theatrical run, opinions are running rampant and Star Wars fans have had enough. They really want to know what went wrong with Rise of Skywalker. Why did Abrams fail to follow through on a solid conclusion and what happened to the original script.
See, before Rian Johnson came in with The Last Jedi and caused a ruckus, JJ Abrams was not tied to the third movie. There was already a script, already a penned conclusion, already a story in motion before and after The Last Jedi. But, for some reason, Disney chose to ignore that and replace the director with Abrams and the rest is history.
theories started to form around what Trevorrow had planned
Colin Trevorrow had been tapped to direct the third film way back before the release of Force Awakens. While his name was a relative new one to fans both casual and dedicated, many were excited to see fresh blood. That same enthusiasm was seen for Rian Johnson, but his name was a little more well established.
Back to Colin Trevorrow. So after the release of Rise of Skywalker, theories started to form around what Trevorrow had planned in place of Abrams film. For a while that’s all we had to go on, theories and speculation.
Then, out of nowhere, Colin Trevorrow dropped concept art and the full written screenplay for his canned trilogy conclusion. Tentatively named “Star Wars: Duel of Fates” the script/screenplay was the battle cry that fans were looking for. While it wasn’t as bombshell dropping as something like The Snyder Cut, it opened the floodgates for fans.
There were so many revelations and unexpected surprises to be found inside of the Screenplay. All things that fans either didn’t know about, or were surprised that they didn’t happen in Rise of Skywalker.
Colin Trevorrow seemed to have a really solid grasp on what made Star Wars special
Things like: Kylo Ren being haunted by the ghost of Luke Skywalker, searching Darth Vader’s castle on Mustafar and making a helmet out of Mandalorian Metal. Rey being no one from The Last Jedi was carried over. She wasn’t Palpatine’s granddaughter unlike in Rise of Skywalker.
Similarly, Kylo Ren learns of an ancient Sith creature called Tor Valum. A lovecraftian entity that trained Palpatine. Eventually, Rey and Ren were going to find themselves traveling to Mortis. An ethereal and otherworldly Force entity planet that was the topic of one of the best stories in The Clone Wars. Brief side note, the fact that Disney saw Trevorrow taking character to Mortis and said “nah we can do better” blows my mind.
While in Rise of Skywalker, Rey manages to redeem Kylo Ren and save him, Trevorrow had no such plans. During their final battle, Rey was going to physically receive help from Force Ghosts like Anakin, Obi-Wan and Luke. To combat the massive power that Tor Valum gave Kylo Ren. Then, in the final moments, Kylo Ren was not going to turn and dies the villain.
As for the rest of the characters. There wasn’t going to be this massive space battle between these random Star Destroyers and Palpatine. Instead, they would have focused on Poe, Finn, Chewbacca and Lando traveling the galaxy to recruit Resistance members. More of a Empire Strikes Back feeling than a Phantom Menace.
There were several other massive changes that we won’t go into here. You can find the full script right here, and we highly recommend you read it and form your own theories.
That Brings us to Today
So where are we today? Well, Colin Trevorrow revealed the circumstances and issues surrounding his departure from the Star Wars franchise. In an interview with Collider he had this to say:
“We were [in] art and writing [when I left Star Wars], it was a development thing. It was script development. I guess the lesson from it is – I’ve been very fortunate in the films that I’ve directed, the path that I wanted to follow and the path that everyone involved wanted to follow was the same. It’s totally possible for two people to see two totally different paths through the woods. That was just an experience that obviously you can imagine, it can get to the point of being traumatic when there’s something that you care about that much and you’ve invested that much in it. But that’s one of the things that you accept when you take on any role in film, especially when you become a storyteller, that there are gonna be heartbreaks. There’s gonna be crushing disappointments and then there’s gonna be victories and hopefully they’ll balance out in the end.”
Well, that is certainly a safe way to look at things. Considering the stranglehold that Disney has on Star Wars, probably best to remain as professional and impartial as you can. Especially when discussing things that are emotionally sensitive to oneself. Unfortunately someone didn’t give that memo to Rian Johnson, but who’s counting.
While a good screenplay and a solid script don’t always make for good movies, we do feel that Rise of Skywalker kinda cheated fans out a better movie. Colin Trevorrow seemed to have a really solid grasp on what made Star Wars special in the first place: A sense of mysticism, intrigue, morality and exploring lesser known parts of the universe.
Arguably, Abrams had a somewhat solid grasp on that with Force Awakens, but failed to follow through on its potential. Rian Johnson, love him or hate him, fell victim to that issue as well. He could have made something tremendously different and still told a good story, but then forgot to make a good film around it.