Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker script

When a film has such a storied production history as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — original director Colin Trevorrow leaving, The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams coming back on board to wrap up the trilogy — fans can’t help but wonder what could have been. And with Trevorrow and his co-writer Derek Connolly receiving a story credit for the film, fans also wondered if any of Trevorrow’s original vision made it into the final Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker script.

According to The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio, who penned the film alongside Abrams: slim to none. Terrio revealed that he and Abrams started from scratch when they boarded Episode 9, and whatever story credit that Trevorrow and Connolly received was coincidence.

In an interview with The Wrap, Terrio addressed the large group of writers credited to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, specifically the story by credit given to Trevorrow and Connolly. Trevorrow was initially attached to direct Episode 9, but exited the project with his co-writer, Connolly. But could Trevorrow’s original script survived in some way through Abrams and Terrio’s final version of the film? Unlikely, Terrio said, revealing that he and Abrams started The Rise of Skywalker from scratch:

“We are both a little superstitious about starting with material that might lead us in a direction that’s different than the one we might’ve gone in naturally. So we didn’t begin with the previous script, there may have been certain elements that we used that had been in the original script and we weren’t aware of it. The Guild makes the determination about those things. We didn’t have a bad relationship to Colin’s material. We just didn’t start with it. It’s not a juicy story of intrigue or anything.”

It seems like this is a case of Writer’s Guild of America screenwriting credit rules, and no actual elements of substance making its way from Trevorrow’s script to Abrams and Terrio’s. According to WGA rules, “story” is defined as “all writing covered by the [MBA] representing a contribution distinct from screenplay and consisting of basic narrative, idea, theme or outline indicating character development.” Trevorrow’s original script might have contained similar story beats or broad strokes of narrative, but the specific twists or plot details — like the return of Emperor Palpatine which, Trevorrow told Empire “was an idea JJ brought to the table when he came on board” and “honestly something I never considered” — was all Abrams and Terrio. So, in the end, we only have them to blame.

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