Star Wars leak reveals Colin Trevorrow's superior version of Episode 9

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The Star Wars Leaks subreddit has a surprisingly good track record when it comes to spoiling events in a galaxy far, far away ahead of time. For example, the entire story of Episode 9 (opens in new tab) was doing the rounds three months before The Rise of Skywalker arrived in theaters, and key story details (opens in new tab) on the game Jedi: Fallen Order (opens in new tab) leaked almost a year before release.

This latest reported leak, though, is something else: it's a summary of the original script for Star Wars Episode 9 before original director Colin Trevorrow departed the project, back when it was subtitled...Duel of the Fates. This came via YouTuber Robert Meyer Burnett (opens in new tab), and the breakdown of it on Reddit (opens in new tab) is pretty extensive. While it's worth considering as a rumor, The AV Club (opens in new tab) says it was able to independently verify the leak as the real thing.

If you didn't like The Rise of Skywalker, it's a fascinating look at what could've been. For one, it doesn't feature Palpatine as the villain, though he does appear in a limited capacity. The script was co-written by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, and is apparently dated as December 16, 2016. Trevorrow left the project in September 2017.

Let's get into the key details, then...

Another story

First up is the opening crawl, which establishes that the First Order now dominates the entire galaxy, save for a few planets. The movie starts with a raid on a First Order shipyard, revealing that Rey has forged a double-sided lightsaber from her weapon and Luke Skywalker's. The raid goes wrong, but Rey, Poe, Finn, Rose (who seems to have more to do in this opening than Episode 9 itself) and BB-8 make off with a First Order star destroyer. 

Hux is now Chancellor on an oppressed Coruscant. Kylo Ren, meanwhile, is on the Episode 3 planet Mustafar, haunted by Luke Skywalker's ghost. He finds a Sith Holocron containing a message from Palpatine meant for Vader, encouraging Vader to seek out Palpatine's master, Tor Valum, in the event of his death (what happened to two Sith at a time, eh?).

Rey is training as a Jedi, and communicating with Luke's ghost. The ultimate goal of the Resistance in this draft is to activate a beacon that's situated under Coruscant designed to put out a distress call to 50 planets, which they almost achieve before the First Order stops the message from going out. 

Kylo Ren meets Tor Valum, characterized as an ancient 'Lovecraftian' Sith alien. Leia teams up with Lando to arrange help from smugglers in overturning the First Order's rule, and the final battle occurs on Coruscant, off the back of civil unrest sparked by Finn and the droids.

Rey defeats the Knights of Ren in battle, and she finally confronts Kylo Ren himself. Kylo Ren reveals he killed Rey's parents at the behest of Snoke. Failing to turn to the light side despite the appearances of Luke, Yoda and Obi-Wan as Force ghosts, Kylo simply dies. The First Order ultimately loses.  

There are big gaps in the story from this synopsis, but the choice of Coruscant as a centerpoint for the story seems like a cool idea. Well, better than lots of secret star destroyers coming out of the sea at the behest of a cloned Palpatine, anyway.

It reads like absurd fan fiction in some ways, but it's less of a breathless MacGuffin chase than the finished Episode 9 is. It also treats Kylo Ren as truly lost to the dark side of the Force, which was clearly the point of the decisions he made in The Last Jedi. There's also no suggestion that Rey is a Palpatine, which was one of Episode 9's most divisive choices. 

Check out the full write-up (opens in new tab) for yourself and see what you think. 

Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.