An alleged early draft for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, bearing the original title of Star Wars: Duel of the Fates in reference to the iconic John Williams composition, was recently detailed after claiming to have been personally viewed by writer and producer Robert Meyer Burnett.

Burnett, director of the Star Trek-centric romantic comedy Free Enterprise and producer of the special features found on the Blu-ray releases of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Enterprise, detailed the alleged draft on the 317th episode of his YouTube show, Robservations:

Regarding the validity of the alleged script, Burnett does not directly address how he viewed the script and continually jokes with the idea that “maybe I made this all up,” but he does confirm that he “did look at something myself,” though remarks that “it no longer exists in any form.”

“I will confirm I did look at something myself. I’m not saying what it is, or where I even saw it, or how I saw it. It no longer exists. It no longer exists. It no longer exists in any form. So, no, I can’t in fact share it, with anyone.”

If the alleged script is to be believed, Duel of the Fates would have taken a much different direction than The Rise of Skywalker, as evidenced by the opening title crawl being devoid of any reference to Emperor Palpatine:

“The iron grip of the FIRST ORDER has spread to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Only a few scattered planets remain unoccupied. Traitorous acts are punishable by death.

Determined to suffocate a growing unrest, Supreme Leader KYLO REN has silenced all communication between neighboring systems.

Led by GENERAL LEIA ORGANA, the Resistance has planned a secret mission to prevent their annihilation and forge a path to freedom…”

According to Burnett, entire character arcs would have been changed as well, including Luke Skywalker appearing as a force ghost to train Rey while Kylo Ren is himself haunted by memories of his former master. Finn would provide more substantial emotional support to Rey and lead a citizens uprising against the First Order on Coruscant.

Rose Tico would be featured as a prominent, main character. In reference to Tico, Burnett hopes that actress Kelly Marie Tran never reads this script, as it treats her much better than the final version of The Rise of Skywalker:

 “By the way, can I just say that I hope Kelly Marie Tran never, ever reads this script, ever, because Rose Tico is front and center throughout this whole movie and her character is great as written.”

Other highlights include Poe, Finn, Rose, Rey, and BB-8 stealing a Star Destroyer to escape from a First Order battalion, Rey discovering a Prequel Trilogy-era beacon underneath the Jedi Temple in Coruscant which is used to issue the call to arms to Resistance-sympathetic allies across the galaxy, and Kylo Ren fully succumbing to the Dark Side and killing “Ben” before being ultimately defeated by the Resistance heroes.

As the script would have resulted in a film almost entirely different from The Rise of Skywalker, the list of details provided by Burnett is rather extensive. Thankfully, Reddit user /u/Lollifrollon provided a summary of Burnett’s description of the script to the /r/StarWarsLeaks subreddit:

Live updating this post as I listen…

  • Trevorrow’s draft is from 12.16.16 (a week before Carrie’s death)

  • Title is DUEL OF THE FATES

CRAWL:

The iron grip of the FIRST ORDER has spread to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Only a few scattered planets remain unoccupied. Traitorous acts are punishable by death.

Determined to suffocate a growing unrest, Supreme Leader KYLO REN has silenced all communication between neighboring systems.

Led by GENERAL LEIA ORGANA, the Resistance has planned a secret mission to prevent their annihilation and forge a path to freedom…

  • Opens at the Kuat Shipyards (man on a mission-style)

  • BB-8 and Rose Tico (allegedly a key character in script) are infiltrating Kuat Moon where First Order build their ships (workers are oppressed). There is an orbital ring and moon below it. Finn and Poe are there. No R2/3PO. Rey arrives.

  • The plan: Send explosive into the power shaft that delivers raw ore into the ring.

  • Plan goes wrong. (RBM loves dialogue at this moment.) First Order is able to contain blast. Admiral Vaughn says Resistance tactics are “pitful.”

  • Rey disguised as a Tusken Raider is revealed to have created her own weapon (a double-blade lightsaber hybrid of her staff and Luke’s cracked saber).

  • They battle and Poe, Finn, Rose, Rey, and BB-8 STEAL A STAR DESTROYER (Eclipse-class) and escape.

  • The Knife 9 a ship containing the Knights of Ren arrives a Kuat. Ataska (?) Ren kills Admiral Vaughn for his failure.

  • CUT TO: CORUSCANT. No longer a vibrant city. “The new structures are built atop the art deco structure of the old republic.” Occupied by the First Order now (they have a citadel/palace there). Citizens are scavengers now. Hux is now CHANCELLOR HUX and is addressing Bisc Kova (traitor who helped Resist. steal Star Destroyer.) Kova is executed with a light blade guillotine.

  • Hux and Commander Selleck have a meeting with several alien war lords (ode to ANH imperial council scene). First Order has allies. They are aware of Rey being the last Jedi. Council wants to know WHERE IS KYLO REN? He is missing. Hux only knows he has gone searching for something of great power.

  • CUT TO: MUSTAFAR. Kylo Ren is alone, except for a Darth Maul-esque droid. He has stubble indicating search has been for a long time. Ren is being HAUNTED by Luke’s force ghost.

  • Luke: “This is where the dark path leads; an empty tomb.” Kylo (retort): “Where did your path lead?”

  • Luke is trying to convince him to go back to Leia. Kylo: “I’m going to be more powerful than any Jedi…even you.”

  • In Vader’s Temple, Kylo finds a Sith Holocron which reveals a hologram of Palpatine. Recording is for Vader. Palpatine has a contingency for Vader if Luke kills him. Vader is to take Luke to the Remnicore (?) System to see TOR VALUM, Master of Sith/Palpatine’s Teacher.

  • After scanning Kylo, the Holocron explodes and releases red lighting which burns Kylo, who screams.

  • CUT TO: RESISTANCE BASE on KOR-ALAF (?). Leia is introduced as she feels what’s happening to Ben. Chewbacca and Lt. Connix tell Leia that the Kuat team is back. They’re shocked to see a Star Destroyer (which is landed onto the planet). Funny moment w/ Rey using Mind Trick on First Order officers who were still on the ship.

  • Rey confides in Finn that she doesn’t feel like she has what it takes to be a Jedi and can’t live up to everyone’s expectations. Finn asks her if she still senses Kylo. Rey confesses she’s been having nightmares. Finn asks if it’s Kylo. Rey says she can’t explain their connection.

  • Finn: “You have to shut him out. He can’t change. It’s too late.” Rey: “It’s never to late to change. You taught me that Finn.”

  • Resistance realizes that the Star Destroyer stills has most of it’s weapons (tanks, TIEs, etc). Only missing piece is an army to use it.

  • Rey researching the Jedi texts from Anch-To discovers that under Coruscant Jedi Temple there is a communication system (called a FORCE BEACON) from the Old Republic that can send a signal to 50 planets. They plan on using it to get allies. First Order can’t stop it, since it predates Imperial tech. Rey: “Hope is all we have left.”

  • Force Ghost Luke appears as Rey trains. Luke is pushing Rey to get stronger in the Force, while he is pushing Kylo to let Ben out.

  • Kylo makes it back to Coruscant. Face is damaged. Mandalorian armor is smelted and is been applied to his face. Confronts Hux and belittles him, saying he doesn’t need titles.

  • Rey to Luke as they train: “Balance? The dark suffocates the light, light extinguishes the dark. Over and over and over again. How is that balance in the force?”

  • Luke: “I know that anger. My father had it too.’

  • Rey: “So says my master and his master before him. A thousand masters so eager to tell us how to live.”

  • Rest of exchange between Rey and Luke is basically Rey trying to back away from being a Jedi (she admits she is NO ONE) and Luke trying to convince her (he says the Force is speaking to her).

  • Back to Kylo. He and Hux continue to snipe at each other. Kylo says he’s leaving again, but not before telling Hux the power he discovered will make destroying planets insignificant. Kylo’s last order to Hux: “Find the Resistance, wipe them out, leave the girl to me.”

  • TEAM A (Rose, Finn, R2, 3PO): Going to Coruscant to light the beacon.

  • TEAM B (Rey, Poe, Chewbacca): Going to a planet to find someone to help Rey figure out what she needs to do. (side: Yes, his descrp. is that vague)

  • Kylo is going to a Sith Planet/Remnicore. EDIT: Before he leaves Coruscant, he takes Vader’s mask and says he understands Vader now. Kylo: “You allowed love to cloud your judgement” and he throws Vader’s mask off of a balcony and it shatters.

  • Leia stays at the base overseeing the Resistance.

  • Before Rey leaves, she and Leia have an exchange were Rey says she believes there’s still good in Kylo. Leia is skeptical, but Rey believes in her Jedi Training. Leia: “You’re not like my father or my brother. You’re new. Whatever happens, remember the force choose you Rey. You’re story isn’t written by anyone else.”

RMB starts summarizing now:

  • First Order tracks down stolen Star Destroyer to Kor-Alaf. Resistance escapes.

  • TEAM A successfully infiltrates the Jedi Temple and turn on the beacon. Cut to different places around the galaxy receiving the signal (Bossk cameo). It is then cut off by the First Order. TEAM A then flee into the underbelly of Coruscant.

  • TEAM B are being pursued by the Knife 9 (Knights of Ren ship) and eventually reach the planet Bonadan.

  • Kylo reaches Remincore and confronts Tor Valum (7000 yrs old, alien of unknown origin, spindly, intense sinewy muscle — very Lovecraftian). Kylo begins training with Valum. Ode to ESB Cave scene: Kylo fights Vader. Fight is brutal and Kylo loses.

  • Bonadan: Poe takes Rey to a Seer who can pull information out of memories. The Seer pulls a star chart out of Rey’s mind from her visions w/ Kylo. Knights of Ren show up and fight Rey in a lightsaber battle. She defeats them and TEAM B escapes.

  • Both Rey and Kylo eventually get to MORTIS.

  • Leia asks Lando if he will organize the smugglers and fight the First Order.

  • Rose is captured and tortured by the First Order, but is able to escape.

  • Finn/R2/3PO start a citizens uprising on Coruscant around the First Order’s Citadel/Palace.

  • Leia brings her forces to Coruscant to battle the FO. Massive space battle, ground battle (ROTJ-style you know the works lol). Chewie flies an X-Wing.

  • Rey and Kylo battle on Mortis, using force energy that can pull from each other. At some point is revealed Kylo killed Rey’s parents at the behest of Snoke. Towards the end, Luke/Obi Wan/Yoda appear as Force Ghosts to save Ben, but are unsuccessful. Ben is “extinguished.”

  • RMB seems to be at the end, so just for house keeping sake – Resistance won, First Order loses.

  • One final deet: Han Solo did appear in the script and does confront Kylo at some point.

You can the Reddit thread here:

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  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi

    Spencer is a contributing reporter for Bounding Into Comics. Unabashed anime fan, life-long comic book reader, avid video game player, and in need of a separate house for all of his figures. Trying to sift through the noise to bring the readers the facts.

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