Star Wars: Duel of the Fates was Colin Trevorrow’s version of episode IX before the movie became The Rise of Skywalkerand this concept art reveals just how vastly different his version would have been!
The Rise of Skywalker was a major disappointment and a movie that tried too hard to course correct the Star Wars franchise after Lucasfilm gave Rian Johnson perhaps too much creative freedom with The Last Jedi. Trying to please everybody ultimately meant that no one was particularly happy, and JJ Abrams ultimately delivered a mess.
Much has been said about what Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow had planned for his version of episode IXthe movie that was set to be titled Duel of the Fates.
The prevailing opinion online is that it would have been vastly better than what Abrams delivered, a sentiment we’d agree with based on plot details we outlined. Now, though, we’ve retrieved some concept art from the movie that shows just how different it could have been.
That includes brand new Force powers, a completely different look for Kylo Ren, and a Force Ghost moment in fans argued should have been included The Rise of Skywalker (instead of a series of disembodied voices). Duel of the Fates would have been a much different movie, and you can check that out for yourselves by hitting the “Next” button below!
10. Star Destroyer Escape
Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron are seen fighting their way through the Eclipse, a new kind of Star Destroyer, in this exciting piece of artwork. They intended to take down a power shaft that supplied raw pray to a First Order factory below during this opening battle, but things swiftly go awry for our heroes, which is why they’re now on the run.
Rey was set to combine Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber with her signature staff to build her own Jedi weapon, hence why she’s now using a double-bladed lightsaber in this scene. That makes way more sense than her dela trying to mend a lightsaber that was split in half during the events of The Last Jedianyway!
Rey, Finn, and Poe were planning to seize this Star Destroyer, providing their fellow Rebels with a powerful new weapon and dealing a huge blow to the First Order in the process. Regardless, the Resistance’s plot would have ultimately failed.
9. Kylo Ren’s Redemption?
While that was happening, Kylo Ren was searching for an ancient weapon on the opposite side of the Galaxy that he could use to defeat Rey and his mother’s army. He’d have discovered a Sith Holocron and a message from Palpatine instructing him to find Tor Valum, a Sith Master and Palpatine’s tutor, during an encounter with Luke’s Force Ghost on Mustafar.
However, the Horon would have released a flash of red Force lightning leaving Kylo severely hurt and hideously scarred. Why? Because it could sense that, inside, he was still becoming between his Light and Dar sides.
In this piece, we see the villain being cared for and nursed back to health by some of the planet’s citizens. Shocked by his selflessness and what happened with that Holocron, Kylo was going to start to realize that redemption might be possible and that there was still good within him.
8. A General And A Princess
Trevorrow’s episode IX script called for Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa to spend a significant portion of the film amassing an army and trying to mobilize people around the Galaxy to Rebel against The First Order once and for all.
After Fisher passed away, it was decided to kill off her character early and give Poe Dameron and Chewbacca her character’s story arc (for example, they would have been the ones to track down Lando Calrissian in a bid to convince him to join their cause rather than Read).
The Princess and General is seen in this piece of concept art on the brand-new planet Korilev. That would have been the Resistance’s base, and in both versions of the plot, Leia was going to be deeply affected by Kylo Ren’s deeds. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why she appears to be so dejected in this picture.
7. Fighting The Knights Of Ren
The Knights of Ren in Duel of the Fates would have each had unique names and personalities despite being glorified Stormtroopers in The Rise of Skywalker. One of them was even supposed to be revealed as Kylo Ren’s rival who also accessed that Sith Holocron and later tried to assassinate both Rey and Kylo in order to usher in a new age of the Sith.
However, many of them would still have perished, and in this image, Chewbacca is seen seizing one of the Knights by the throat. The leaked script states that he would then have flung the villain into the air before shooting him out of the sky. What a way to go!
There was a draft of the script with the aforementioned female Knight emerging as a deadly new threat and the movie’s main villain, but for the most part, they were cannon fodder. We can blame JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson for treating them as unimportant background characters in their movies for that, of course.
6. Kylo Ren’s New Helmet
In this movie, Kylo Ren didn’t track down the fragments of his previous mask and put them back together. Instead, he’d have created a new helmet for himself after the Force lightning that erupted from the Sith Holocron left him with terrible scars (he did, after all, destroy his previous one dele in The Last Jedi).
This concept art depicts him sitting in a chamber that isn’t all that dissimilar the one Darth Vader was shown in during The Empire Strikes Back.
It’s a sinister and terrifying mask that’s obviously modeled after what Vader once wore, though it also seems to draw inspiration from Stormtroopers, the Knights of Ren, and the helmets used by warriors on Mandalore. It’s difficult to determine why Abrams and Terrio chose to bring back the original version as a new version would have been fun to see.
5. Kylo Ren Meets His New Master
While the final draft of Trevorrow’s completely scrapped this subplot in favor of the female Knight of Ren going rogue, the original version was going to send Kylo Ren to the Sith temple on Remnicore (shown here). There, he would have come face to face with Tor Valum.
Heading down a dark path and a brief shot at redemption, the Supreme Leader was going to destroy his “weak” grandfather’s helmet during an outburst on Coruscant. Later, Kylo is led to a “vergence” in the Force where he would have faced Darth Vader after discovering how the Sith can prolong their lives by sapping the life Force from other creatures.
Since Valum was characterized as having a “Lovecraftian” appearance and being over 7000 years old, his debut was bound to introduce some intriguing new wrinkles to the Galaxy’s past. In the end, the former Ben Solo would have fallen short of outdoing his grandfather in a cave fight clearly meant to pay homage to The Empire Strikes Back.
4. The First Order’s Prisoner
The Jedi Temple is located on Coruscant, and the iconic location was once set to play a significant role in Duel of the Fates. It was set to be the First Order’s headquarters and the location of the movie’s final battle when Finn and Rose inspired the inhabitants of the planet to rebel against their captors.
This hard-hitting piece of artwork depicts Finn as a First Order prisoner in a labor camp, and shows how much Coruscant has changed over the years. As Rose was supposed to be who the heroes saved from here in later drafts, we’re guessing plans for Finn changed over time.
Fans have criticized the mostly forgettable story arc for the Resistance hero in The Rise of Skywalkerbut in Trevorrow’s episode IX, he befriended a Stormtrooper and persuaded him and other deserters to join the Resistance. From there, Finn would have led an epic uprising.
3. Kylo Ren’s New Powers
Kylo Ren would soon learn how to sap the life energy from everyone around him, despite failing to defeat Darth Vader in a fight. Here, he’s demonstrating that by drawing the energy from a tree, causing it to wither and die.
As you might expect, Valum would have been disgusted by his new pupil’s inability to beat Vader and the fact that he was still becoming between his good and evil sides. Demanding that Kylo leave his world immediately, the ancient villain got more than he bargained for when the leader of the Knights of Ren drained his life essence from him as well.
In the final battle with Rey, Kylo used this power against her to gain the upper hand. However, Abrams and Terrio would use this idea as a basis for the “Force Dyad,” something that allowed Palpatine to use their life Force him to revive himself on Exegol.
2. The Final Battle
This concept art depicts the final confrontation between Rey and Kylo Ren on Mortis. The duel would have included several major revelations, such as Supreme Leader Snoke being responsible for ordering the young Kylo and his Knights dela to kill her parents. With her last breath, though, Kylo would have revealed that her real name is “Rey Solana.”
Before that could happen, an epic battle would ensue, with Leia stepping in to persuade her son to finally act honorably after Kylo used raised life energy to repair his scarred face.
This version of episode IX kept Kylo Ren as the franchise’s main antagonist and gave him only a small measure of redemption by the time all was said and done. Trevorrow did consider that female villain as the big bad, but he was clearly becoming between introducing her and focusing on the former Ben Solo!
1. Familiar Force Ghosts
Every version of Trevorrow’s episode IX would have concluded with some well-known characters making their triumphant returns as Force Ghosts. Characters including Luke, Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi were set to appear in an attempt to save Ben, but were ultimately unsuccessful due to the severity of his wounds.
Meanwhile, in the version where Rey and Kylo teamed up against that female Knight, he’d have sacrificed himself, with these Force ghosts on hand to heal Rey and ensure the young Jedi would live on.
Look closely at this piece of artwork, though, and it seems a number of other classic Jedi Knights would have shown up, including a number from the prequel era. As cool as those voices in The Rise of Skywalker were, this is what fans really wanted, and it’s something Abrams considered before ditching the idea for whatever reason.