Now that enough time has passed for the bulk of the planet to have witnessed Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in some capacity, it's safe to run around openly pontificating about the saga-closing movie's abject underwhelmingness.
As a remedy of sorts, however, we could all do a lot worse than the alleged leaked info from ousted director Colin Trevorrow's version of the Episode IX script that's currently making the rounds, co-penned by his Jurassic World writer Derek Connolly. Both Collider and The Playlist have independently confirmed in their subsequent reports that the intel, which reportedly originated from a Robert Meyer Burnett YouTube video, is indeed accurate.
This early (and obviously pre-J.J. Abrams' return) draft gave the movie the title of Duel of the Fates, which is honestly a damn fine title and a reference to one of John Williams' most brilliant compositions for the saga. Per the opening crawl, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) opens the story having "silenced all communication between neighboring systems." And per a handy StarWarsLeaks subreddit breakdown, the Trevorrow x Connolly rendition (dated December 2016) boasts a multitude of key differences from what would eventually become last month's Skywalker.
Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) gets greater focus here, joined in an early script moment by Finn (John Boyega) and BB-8 to steal a Star Destroyer loaded up with Imperial weaponry. Kylo Ren, meanwhile, suffers the same ultimate fate in this pre-J.J./Chris Terrio version of the story, though the character's journey (and, by extension, Rey's) varies greatly. Duel of the Fates had Kylo being haunted by Luke Skywalker's ghost, hanging in an old Vader castle, and even having a symbolic showdown of sorts with Vader. Emperor Palpatine, unlike in Skywalker, doesn't factor into Kylo's arc.
As for Rey (Daisy Ridley), she's not a goddamn Palpatine in this draft. Also, her parents are said to have been killed by Kylo Ren, whose descent into evil serves as the larger focus of the would-be movie.
Abrams, who took over the project in 2017 after Trevorrow left citing creative differences, addressed the criticism he and the Skywalker team have received during a recent Q&A event.
"I’d say that they’re right," Abrams said. "The people who love it more than anything are also right."
As to why he co-wrote the film with Terrio, who cursed the earth with Batman v Superman and Justice League, who the hell knows.