Original Saga,  Prequel Trilogy,  The Rise of Skywalker

Colin Trevorrow’s script for Star Wars: Episode IX didn’t include Palpatine’s return


From Empire:

Jurassic World franchise overseer Colin Trevorrow was originally supposed to handle another huge piece of pop culture, writing and directing Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker. That never ended up happening, but Trevorrow’s work on the film had enough impact to score him a story credit (along with writing partner Derek Connolly), and residuals, which the filmmaker is donating to the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice in Berkshire. […]

[J.J.] Abrams, who took over co-writing and shooting the movie, went in some significantly different directions, including a return for a classic character. “Bringing back the Emperor was an idea JJ brought to the table when he came on board,” Trevorrow says. “It’s honestly something I never considered. I commend him for it. This was a tough story to unlock, and he found the key.” […]”


  • Arnav “RayO1” Bhattacharjee

    In all fairness, bringing back the Emperor was still originally George’s idea, so this is just JJ bringing it back to the table, and rightfully so. But outside of this, they better weigh the scales properly: bring Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith, back all you want…but not without the Chosen One. Not without Anakin Skywalker.

    Though this doesn’t excuse the fact that they lied. It appears there truly was no plan for the ST. What a shame.

    • Eduardo Vargas

      I keep hearing the nonsense that this is somehow George’s idea, when it very clearly isn’t if people bothered to pay attention to these movies. Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One, destined to Bring balance to the Force AND Destroy the Sith. That gives practically no wiggle room for the Emperor to come back, or the Sith. There’s a reason why in the previous two movies Snoke and Kylo Ren are specifically mentioned to be NOT Sith, because they where at least playing by the hard and fast rules at that point. Now they simply do not care, and are desperate to get this thing into theatres.

      • archdukeofnaboo

        @Eduardo Vargas

        I think all the fans now know, including those comfortable with the sequels, that Lucasfilm has been making it up as they go along, with no real vision for the trilogy as a whole. I’m not suggesting they needed all the details in advance (even Lucas didn’t have that for the prequels), but they should have some coherent plan made, with one sole director.

        That Palpatine is now back was clearly a last minute job (note: that’s not condemning the character to failure in IX, it could still work. I never liked Snoke anyway), and I think the people crying “Lucas’ ideas here, Lucas’ ideas there” are unfortunately deluding themselves, and continently ignoring how badly treated the creative was during the development of the first sequel, when his treatments were thrown out.

      • archdukeofnaboo


        I sincerely doubt the mastermind of the saga would want to swear fealty to a cheap Darth Vader fanboy version of the Dark Side.

        They’re not quite that stupid.

      • jarjarbacktattooguy

        Actress Allison Mack converted to the NXIVM cult and became a high priestess – and she’s pretty strong willed.
        So it’s possible Palpatine converted to the Knights of Ren. Maybe it’s their policies regarding the consumption of pork that he liked.

  • Cryogenic

    The idea behind the sequels — at least, how Kathleen Kennedy sees it — is giving each filmmaker a shot at delivering their personal vision (as long as it doesn’t conflict with Disney’s wider aims, as well as the Story Group’s philosophies and Kennedy’s own). This was obviously going to happen with three different filmmakers at the helm: one for each of the sequel installments. But then Trevorrow was given the boot (or stepped down) and Abrams was brought back. Both muddying things but also helping to bring a sense of “full circle” completion to the trilogy that Abrams began.

    Perhaps this is actually a better way of bringing closure to the full thing — cohering the sequel trilogy a bit better than having three separate visions. Now, it’s more like a trilogy with two hearts, two heads, two plot managers, two interpreters, two droids: echoing all the duality, including the unspoken “rule of two”, that the former trilogies (including the sequels) constantly hum and pulse with, top to bottom, inside and out. It’s all about those binary suns and much, much more…

    Abrams may have been the one who came up with the idea of bringing Palpatine back, or pushed hard for it once it was suggested by another party. Maybe that other party was Lucas. Or maybe Lucas encouraged that choice, or helped them finesse it once they had come up with it. After all, at Celebration 2017, Hayden and Ian walk out onto the stage to much applause, prompting Lucas to quip, “Dark Side rock stars”. Was it then, perhaps, that Abrams got the idea of bringing back Palpatine? Did Lucas assure them: “See? The fans love these guys. If you’re struggling to button this trilogy up, think of using them again. And by the way, Ian is a wonderful actor. Hayden’s no slouch, either.”

    There has probably been some very loose story scheme they’ve been trying to adhere to across these movies. That’s not the same as honouring Lucas’ vision necessarily, but it doesn’t mean they have completely disregarded all his ideas, or broken from all his themes, either.

    Part of the issue here, and I never really see it being contemplated, is that they took Lucas’ original character concepts for Episode VII and mixed and matched them, and they also changed the level of focus given to the OT cast. This obviously altered the dynamic of the ST considerably. As a result, huge ripples were cast into the waters of Episodes VIII and IX, and it’s no surprise they may have had to look for new “keys”, to use Trevorrow’s term, to bring it all off.

    Kylo and Rey, for example, have a very strange connection in these films. It’s something unique to these particular movies. To do it justice, it clearly became essential to develop a new plot architecture — one that would expedite their bond and all the artifacts surrounding it correctly. You can’t just barrel into your original blueprint once your “kids” start making certain demands and expressing their unique qualities. Lucas himself spoke of this same basic issue when confronted with the reality of the third act of his prequel opus at the close of 2002:

    “Back in August, I started writing this. But the script starts to have its own life. Characters start to tell you what to do — and you end up with problems. By the third film, you have a lot of characters left over from before, and they’re all running around yipping and yelling and saying, ‘What about me?’ And you have to solve these problems, because what you thought was going to happen isn’t happening.”

    (p.36, J.W. Rinzler, “The Making Of Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith”)

    The fuller quote in the Rinzler book (I left the last few sentences off) has Lucas explaining that he had to “disassemble Episode III and rethink it”, in order to “make it line up with Episode IV”. When writing the prequels, Lucas was uniquely obligated — at least, when he got to Episode III — of making it conform to what he already made with the Original Trilogy. In other words, he had to make the prequels align with their own “future” (the future is the past).

    Once again, we have arrived at the trickiest part of a Star Wars trilogy: the third act. The place where everything must be resolved. And, per the Lucas quote, you have characters and plot points “yipping and yelling”, trying to be heard, demanding closure. As a result, your earlier ideas no longer make the same sense, “because what you thought was going to happen isn’t happening”. Where previously you had clarity, now you have the reality of those demands intruding, creating unforeseen headaches, pushing you to places you didn’t conceive of when your journey got underway. To quote John Lennon quoting someone else: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

    But there’s also a slightly different situation this time around. There isn’t the same pressure to have the story conform to some pre-established future. Instead, it must look back — the one thing Shmi counselled her son to not do — and try and weave together the faults, foibles, and elegant pirouetting of eight preceding movies. A different sort of challenge. JJ may be the king of gimmicks, but ushering the Emperor into the final part makes sense. Potentially, it’s a great fix, as Trevorrow alluded to. After all, the previous trilogies are as much the Emperor’s story as they are Luke’s or Anakin’s. Star Wars: AKA “How The Emperor Tricked Everyone And Won” (and then lost and then won and then lost again).

    Well, these are my thoughts, a month away from release, anyway. It’s true that I’ve roasted these guys something rotten the last few years. But if you take a more sympathetic view of the creative process, it’s hard to maintain the same level of unreconstructed cynicism. Making movies of this calibre is a serious adventure. You have to be a bit audacious — yes, even arrogant — to pull it off. I’m now curious to see what they actually came up with.

    In retrospect (an important lens when interpreting Star Wars — or anything, really), I think Rian Johnson did a tremendous amount to justify the caged mythology they offered the world with TFA. Some eighteen months after first viewing it, I think “The Last Jedi” is a much more fascinating film than my initial stance allowed; and I’m hoping some of the same may apply to Episode IX and — in time, perhaps — to this syncopated sequel trilogy as a whole.

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