Original Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director Colin Trevorrow retains story credit on the final film. When he was fresh off the success of 2015's Jurassic World, Trevorrow was hired to helm Star Wars 9. He worked on the project for a couple of years, but was let go in 2017 due to creative differences with Lucasfilm. The movie's screenplay, which went through multiple revisions, proved to be the biggest sticking point in Trevorrow's departure. The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams was brought back to finish what he started, co-writing a new script with Oscar-winner Chris Terrio.
Since then, the general assumption has been Abrams and Terrio were working with a clean slate, essentially starting from scratch as they crafted an ending for the Skywalker saga. But, as it turns out, things may not have been that simple. Even though Lucasfilm was unhappy with Trevorrow's progress on the script, he and co-writer Derek Connolly are still receiving credit for the movie.
According to Collider, the WGA's official writing credits for The Rise of Skywalker include "Story by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow and Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams." This is a somewhat surprising development, seeing that it's been more than two years since Trevorrow left the galaxy far, far away.
There's an important distinction to keep in mind. Abrams & Terrio are the only ones getting credit for the screenplay. With Trevorrow earning a "story by" nod, it indicates Abrams & Terrio implemented enough of Trevorrow's original ideas into their script. Lucasfilm and Trevorrow may not have seen eye-to-eye on the direction of the film, but the studio apparently liked some of his concepts and wanted to hold on to them. Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time an ousted Lucasfilm creative has received final credit on a Star Wars film. Phil Lord & Chris Miller, who were infamously fired from Solo: A Star Wars Story, were listed as executive producers on the spinoff. Trevorrow's story credit is Lucasfilm's way of acknowledging his contributions to the film, even though things didn't work out.
Of course, fans shouldn't expect to find out what Rise of Skywalker ideas stemmed from Trevorrow any time soon. Disney is running one of their trademark secretive marketing campaigns, keeping key story details closely guarded for the time being. Since Lucasfilm always intended to bring back Emperor Palpatine for the grand finale, it's possible that's where Trevorrow fits in. Perhaps he laid the groundwork for the villain's return, and Abrams adapted it to whatever he had planned. It was also revealed that prior to Carrie Fisher's death, Leia was going to be the last Jedi in Star Wars 9 (possibly helping train Rey). That thread can't happen anymore, but Leia could still be a mentor to the young scavenger and help her harness her Force abilities. Regardless of what Abrams used, hopefully The Rise of Skywalker concludes the saga on a high note.