As the culmination of a very similar Star Wars trilogy, J.J. Abrams’ upcoming The Rise of Skywalker is already drawing comparisons with Return of the Jedi. Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy has already adopted a couple of early-draft ideas from the original trilogy that George Lucas tossed out.
Rey looks exactly like the initial female version of Luke Skywalker, BB-8 resembles the early designs of R2-D2 as “just a sphere, a circle, wheel-like,” and Starkiller Base was named after the original name of the Skywalker family. Here are 10 Early-Draft Return Of The Jedi Ideas That The Rise Of Skywalker Might Use.
10 A Major Character Dying Early On
Early in the writing process for Return of the Jedi, Harrison Ford pitched a death scene for Han in the film’s opening to George Lucas. He said it was to “give the movie weight and resonance,” but it’s more likely that Ford was simply fed up with Star Wars.
Since the opening revolved around saving Han and he had an incomplete character arc, Lucas made the right decision to not include this and keep Han around until the end. However, it might be a good idea for J.J. Abrams to kill off a major character like Poe Dameron or Finn in an early scene of The Rise of Skywalker to show audiences it’ll be an unpredictable ride.
9 The Hero Severing The Villain’s Arm
All throughout Disney’s sequel trilogy, Rey has been tempted by the Dark Side just like Kylo Ren has been tempted by the Light Side. These temptations could come to a head in interesting ways in The Rise of Skywalker as they lead up to their inevitable lightsaber battle.
In the original version of Luke’s duel with Darth Vader, Luke chopped off his father’s arm before being urged by the Emperor to finish off his “weak” dad. While Luke would never go that dark and it was smart to cut it, Rey might. So, let’s see the darkest lightsaber duel in Star Wars history to wrap up the Skywalker saga.
8 A City Planet Operating As The Empire’s Base Of Operations
The original opening scene of Return of the Jedi was set on Had Abbadon, a planet made entirely of city that was used as the Empire’s capital. George Lucas would later retool the Had Abbadon idea to create Coruscant for the prequels.
Perhaps this can be tweaked for The Rise of Skywalker and show us that the First Order invaded Coruscant – former headquarters of the Jedi Council – to use as their capital planet. This would be a great way of establishing the First Order as an actual ominous presence in the galaxy since this hasn’t yet been established in the way that it was with the Empire in the original trilogy.
7 A Spaghetti Western Ending
Producer Gary Kurtz had his own ideas for the end of the Star Wars trilogy that were separate from George Lucas’, and while anything outside of Lucas’ vision wasn’t going to make the cut, Kurtz’s ideas were pretty intriguing.
He wanted the ending to see the Rebel Alliance crumbling – which would make more sense for the Resistance, since they’re far weaker than the Rebels ever were – with Leia becoming a queen (which could still happen with the older Leia if Carrie Fisher’s unused Force Awakens takes can be manipulated that way) and Luke (or, in this case, maybe Rey) walking off into the sunset like Gary Cooper.
6 Giant Creatures Watching Over The Ewoks On Endor
The early trailers for The Rise of Skywalker seem to suggest that the Resistance will be heading to the wreckage of the Death Star II on the forest moon of Endor. Return of the Jedi didn’t explore every corner of Endor, so there’s a lot of new stuff that The Rise of Skywalker could bring to the table.
The first concept art done by Ralph McQuarrie showed giant creatures watching over the Ewoks like spooky tyrannical overlords. As long as the Star Wars saga is returning to Endor in The Rise of Skywalker, it would be interesting to see this concept fleshed out and turned into a spectacular sequence.
5 A Final Battle In An Underground Lava Pit
Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s final lightsaber battle in Return of the Jedi originally didn’t take place on the second Death Star in the Emperor’s throne room, but rather in an underground lava pit that contained another throne for the Emperor. Instead of tossing the Emperor down a reactor core shaft, Vader would throw him into a river of molten lava.
This basic premise was later reused for the final battle of Revenge of the Sith, and since Disney’s sequel trilogy likes rehashing ideas so much, perhaps they could combine the two previous trilogies’ final battles and have a throne room duel with lava running through it.
4 A Fleet Of Death Stars
It might have seemed a little silly that the Empire just built another Death Star in Return of the Jedi because that storyline was already done. And, from an in-universe point of view, the Rebels already blew up one Death Star, so they could easily do it again and the Empire should’ve realized that. In the initial draft, the stakes were more suitably raised as the Empire was building an entire fleet of Death Stars.
This would be a great way to conclude the journey that began with the original Death Star’s destruction – except, in the First Order’s case, it would be a fleet of Starkiller Bases – and it might explain why the Resistance heads to the Death Star II wreckage.
3 Yoda Tells Luke A Dark Secret
In A New Hope, Obi-Wan tells Luke Skywalker that Darth Vader killed his father. In The Empire Strikes Back, it’s revealed that, actually, Vader is Luke’s father. In Return of the Jedi, originally, as Yoda speaks to Luke from his deathbed, he was going to reveal a dark secret: that he told Obi-Wan to lie about Vader being Luke’s father in order to protect him from his own emotions.
However, this revelation didn’t make the final cut of the film. It would be an interesting little nugget of closure if the final chapter of the Skywalker saga put this revelation back into the canon.
2 Force Ghosts Fighting The Villain
Originally, in Return of the Jedi’s final battle, the Force ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda were going to appear to help Luke Skywalker fight Darth Vader and redeem him. The Last Jedi’s use of Yoda already established that Force ghosts are hanging around a lot in the sequel trilogy, and Mark Hamill has been confirmed to return as Luke in The Rise of Skywalker despite his death on Ahch-To.
This suggests that maybe this scrapped plot point from Return of the Jedi will be used in The Rise of Skywalker. Just like the fallen Avengers returned to help Cap fight Thanos when he was seriously outmatched, maybe Luke and Yoda’s Force ghosts will do the same when the Knights of Ren are beating Rey in combat.
1 The Hero Turns Evil
A very early version of Return of the Jedi’s script saw Luke Skywalker don his dying father’s mask and take over as the evil ruler of the galaxy. While that would’ve been a terrible idea for a goody-two-shoes like Luke Skywalker, acting completely out of character, it’s not so crazy to suggest that Rey could do this.
She has already shown her Dark Side tendencies and has even veered pretty close to joining her new pen pal Kylo Ren a couple of times. Her view of the Force is stuck in a moral gray area. She’s not completely evil, but she’s not completely good, either. Rey turning evil might irk some fans, but it would be a shocking twist to end the Skywalker saga on.