Star Wars IX – Duel of the Fates: the movie that never was
The Skywalker story came to an end in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (J. J. Abrams, 2019), the last movie in the Star Wars universe before the franchise takes a break from movie theaters for a while.
Although we thought we would not see more about the Skywalker Saga, a script entitled Duel of the Fates has emerged on the Internet, developed by Colin Trevorrow much earlier than the story written by J. J. Abrams. Fragments of this alternative version were disclosed by filmmaker and movie fan Robert Meyer Burnett in his Robservations podcast, where he revealed in detail several scenes of the script and the overall structure of the story.
In MFC Editorial we discuss all the details about Star Wars IX – Duel of the Fates: the movie that never was.
The Fall of Skywalker
After four decades of movies, one of the most important stories in cinema came to an end with Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, released on December 2019. The film grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, becoming the ninth highest grossing movie of 2019.
Despite its commercial success, Episode IX is considered by the specialized critic as one of the weakest films in the saga. The Rise of Skywalker earned an average of 52% in Rotten Tomatoes compared to the overwhelming 91% of its predecessor, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017), leaving fans disappointed with the story’s ending and more interested in other titles of the franchise such as The Mandalorian, the hit Disney+ series.
The movie that never was
Since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, the new films of the franchise have undergone complicated development processes. On many occasions, both the production and the release dates of the new films have been delayed due to script rewriting, changes in direction, reshoots and constant alterations, even during the final editing process. The Rise of Skywalker was no exception, since J. J. Abrams, director of the film, confirmed that he was included late in the project, with less than a hundred days for its completion.
Before Abrams, Colin Trevorrow was the one who would be in charge of directing the ninth film of the main Star Wars story. Known for writing and directing Jurassic World (2015), Trevorrow was confirmed as director of the ninth installment of Star Wars in August 2015, but, in September 2017, it was announced that he was leaving the project due to creative differences with Disney.
Shortly after the premiere of The Rise of Skywalker, fragments of the script by Trevorrow titled Duel of the Fates, which was written before the J. J. Abrams version, appeared on the Internet. In addition to appearing in the credits of the film as a collaborator in the creation of the story, the veracity of the leaked script was confirmed by Trevorrow himself through his Twitter account, where he admitted that several pieces of leaked concept art belonged to his version of the movie.
Star Wars IX – Duel of the Fates
This section contains SPOILERS on Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
The script by Colin Trevorrow is titled Duel of the Fates in reference to the theme song of the same name composed by John Williams for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). With this title, Colin Trevorrow intended not only to define the final fight between good and evil personified in the characters of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), but also to give total closure to the nine films that make up the Skywalker Saga, the main story of Star Wars.
Unlike The Rise of Skywalker, in Duel of the Fates Rey does not turn out to be Emperor Palpatine‘s granddaughter, staying as a character without lineage and reinforcing the themes of courage and hope introduced in The Last Jedi. In addition to Palpatine‘s omission as the main villain of the story, other highlights of this version include Rey with a double-bladed lightsaber, a combination of her staff and Luke Skywalker‘s saber; the presence of the force ghost of Luke Skywalker as both Rey’s teacher and Kylo Ren’s tormentor; a more active role for the Knights of Ren; the appearance of an ancient Sith Lord named Tor Valum, who instructs Kylo in terrible and forgotten dark techniques; and a final battle set in Coruscant, one of the most important scenarios in the Star Wars universe. You can read more details about the Duel of the Fates script by clicking here.
It is presumed that part of the reasons why Duel of the Fates was not brought to life was due to Carrie Fisher‘s death in 2016, which occurred a week after the completion of Trevorrow’s script, in which Princess Leia played a fundamental role. Whatever the reasons for which it was discarded, Duel of the Fates is considered by many to be a better version of Episode IX and as the most appropriate way in which the story of the Skywalkers should have ended.
Rey with double bladed saber (hybrid of her staff and Skywalker saber) on a Star Destroyer
Bisc Kova (Resistance Traitor) is executed with a light blade guillotine on Coruscant
Rey and Luke train on Koralev
Lord Sith Tor Valum
Kylo fights Vader during a vision
Rey and Kylo fight at the peak of the temple on Mortis
Force Ghost Luke blocks Kylo’s lightsaber
Hux commits seppuku
Leia sends a message through BB-8