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STAR WARS: DUEL OF THE FATES
If you'll recall, back before J.J. Abrams was brought in to write and direct Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, director Colin Trevorrow was attached to the as-yet-untitled Episode IX. Due to creative differences, however, he parted ways with Lucasfilm, opening the door for Abrams' return. Earlier this week — somehow — what is allegedly a version of Trevorrow's script for Episode IX made it into YouTuber Robert Meyer Burnett's hands. Multiple sites have reported that Burnett's breakdown of the script is accurate, and it matches some rumors that I've heard as well.
Now, the legitimacy and accuracy of this leaked script have been neither confirmed nor denied by Lucasfilm and Disney, so please take all of this with a grain of salt. But it's still worth talking about in this column because, well, everyone's talking about it.
You can watch Burnett's breakdown here, but we'll give you some of the highlights below.
First off, this script suggests that Episode IX wasn't originally called The Rise of Skywalker, but instead titled Duel of the Fates (which is also the title of one of the best tracks John Williams ever composed for Star Wars) and was packed full of twists and turns that seem like they could have been pretty cool to see.
Here are some of the highlights of this alleged early script:
Coruscant, a planet that featured prominently in the prequels, becomes the site of a lot of the action. Rey, Finn, and Poe steal a Star Destroyer. Rose sees a lot more action, as the script has her being captured and then escaping on her own to bring information to the Resistance. General Hux is the Chancellor of the galaxy, acting as the political power behind the First Order rather than an anti-Kylo mole in three scenes of the film. Kylo Ren was to be the big bad guy on his own, rather than sharing that spotlight with Palpatine, and he has a showdown with Rey on Mortis. Yes, the Mortis from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The final battle would have played out over the skies of Coruscant.
Palpatine, meanwhile, appears inside a Sith holocron, which would have been very cool to finally see in a live-action movie.
The script also contained larger nods to some of George Lucas' original ideas. In this draft, the ghosts of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, and Yoda come to try to turn Kylo Ren back to the light in the final confrontation of the film. Original drafts of Return of the Jedi had the ghosts of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda coming back to aid Luke in defeating Vader and the Emperor. The Rise of Skywalker hit on these notes with the Jedi of the past aiding Rey, but not to the extent that Duel of the Fates had them helping her.
It seems unlikely that we'll ever see this story told formally, so we'll have to be content with dreaming about what could have been. And who knows? Perhaps 30 years from now Marvel Comics will release an out-of-canon adaptation of the script, just as Dark Horse did for George Lucas' original draft of The Star Wars.
Never say never.
BABY YODA HAD A BIG WEEK
There were two great bits with the child most often referred to as Baby Yoda this week.
The first and most important is George Lucas cradling the asset like, well, a baby.
Jon Favreau posted this to his Twitter account. Is this a new image from behind the scenes of Season 2? Or is this some holdover from Lucas' set visit on Season 1? Examining the background more closely than I'd like to admit, I feel like this could be a new location we haven't seen yet. Either way, this is an image that will live in the annals of Star Wars history.
But that puppet he's holding?
According to actor Adam Pally, who played one of the biker scouts at the beginning of The Mandalorian's Season 1 finale, that puppet cost $5 million.
No, you didn't misread that. $5 million.
During the Television Critics Association, Adam Pally told the press how nervous the punch made him.
As he related (via Entertainment Weekly): "I remember the first take that I did when I punched him. They called 'Cut!' and Jon [Favreau], who was watching on a monitor in his office, he came down from this office and said, 'I just want to let you know that this is the hero Yoda [the main prop used for close-ups] and it costs, like, $5 million. So while I want you to hit it, I just want you to know that.' Because I think I took a big swing at it. And the next three takes I missed, because I was so nervous."
TAIKA WAITITI DOING MORE STAR WARS?
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Taika Waititi is in talks to helm a Star Wars film, though we don't know much more about it than that (Waititi tweeted an image of the cover for the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours).
It's not known if this project would be the same one that Kevin Feige is attached to produce or if it would be different. It would make sense that Waititi would be considered for Star Wars, though, given his impeccable handling of the Season 1 finale of The Mandalorian. He has a track record with Lucasfilm and his films have been uniformly great, including Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Jojo Rabbit, and Thor: Ragnarok.
Maybe this ends in Lucasfilm just talking about it with no film ever coming of it, but it's nice to dream.
It's assumed that if Waititi did take on a Star Wars film, it wouldn't happen until after he completed work on Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth film in the Thor series for Marvel, which comes out in November 2021.
STAR WARS RESISTANCE
There's a new episode of Star Wars Resistance coming this weekend and you'll definitely want to watch it. For one, it deepens the conflict Tam Ryvora is feeling, but it also shows us just how desperate the Resistance is in the days after the Battle of Crait.
This new episode, "Rebuilding the Resistance," airs on Sunday. It also has guest voice appearances from Daveed Diggs, Sam Witwer, and Elijah Wood.
Until next week: May the Force be with you!