ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 26: I’ve been a longtime admirer of the talent and creativity on this forum, and have followed several TROS fanedit projects with interest. The improvements people have been able to make to the mess of a movie we got are simply astonishing.
Even so, I personally find the source material so unsatisfying in both what’s there and what’s missing that I cannot imagine any fanedit altering enough to become an acceptable version of how the Saga “really” ends.
So, in January 2020, a like-minded friend and I began writing our own script for a completely different Episode IX. Today, we are thrilled to finally announce STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER—THE TEAM DALE REWRITE, arriving on Star Wars Day 2021, May the Fourth. I realize we’re far from the first to take on such a project, but we’re proud of and pleased with what we’ve made, and are excited to share our particular vision with the world.
We have also assembled a simple teaser trailer to give a general sense of what we have in store. Being composed entirely of existing footage, it naturally isn’t a 1:1 depiction of actual scenes…but it’s closer than one might think:
We hope you’ll find that our story features stronger roles for all the major characters, offers satisfying answers to the biggest questions of the Sequel Trilogy, thoughtfully uses elements from all three trilogies as well as both the Legends Expanded Universe and the Disney Canon, better distinguishes the First Order from the Empire as well as the FO-Resistance conflict from the Galactic Civil War, runs with the decisions of Episodes VII and VIII instead of retconning them (with one critical exception), and ends in a way that—we hope—changes this trilogy from just “things Disney says happened after Endor” to a genuine conclusion of a single, unified story.
In short, we believe we have come up with a more logical, consequential, and fulfilling conclusion to the Saga, one that better fits the spirit of the franchise as best we understand it.
This post will be updated with the direct link on May 4, the same day TeamDaleTROS.wordpress.com (which will host the document and serve as a blog for feedback and updates) goes live. We hope you enjoy it!
UPDATE 1, MAY 1: Here’s one more small tease for the weekend before the May 4th release – a visualization of our story’s opening text crawl:
UPDATE 2, MAY 4: Happy Star Wars Day! Our Episode IX rewrite can now be read online or downloaded as a PDF via the following link:
As you’ll be able to tell right away, we chose to format it as a script, but included a lot of additional detail that wouldn’t necessarily be in a real film script, in order to make up for the lack of a real movie and the associated design/production work that would flesh out the visuals. As such, it’s a fair bit longer than a real film script would be, but still well below the page count of a novelization.
We’re happy to take any questions you might have as well as feedback, both positive and negative. All we ask is that, at least for the first thread page or so, readers be mindful of others who haven’t gotten as far by putting specific details or plot developments behind spoiler tags:
Thanks for your time and attention, and may the Force be with you!
UPDATE 3, MAY 10: We believe the idea way to experience a story is of course to dive in at the beginning, unspoiled. However, we also appreciate that alternatives to official stories such as fanedits and fanfiction are a special case. Many who disliked the official Episode IX (ourselves included) did so not just for its objective flaws, but also for not fitting their/our subjective preferences and not delivering what they/we personally wanted to see. So taking the time to read almost 200 pages of something that might not turn out to be what you’re looking for either is a lot to ask.
So we have prepared the following plot summary beneath the spoiler tag, which will give readers the option of reviewing all our major story decisions so you can decide whether our vision is for you before deciding whether to make the time commitment of reading the entire script:
One year has passed since the Battle of Crait. The story of Luke Skywalker’s heroic sacrifice has inspired free worlds across the galaxy to resist the First Order, which is struggling both from the massive setback their fleet took with the loss of Snoke’s flagship, and from unrest among its high command due to the erratic leadership of its new Supreme Leader, Kylo Ren. What it had hoped would be a swift victory through intimidation is now a full civil war.
But the Resistance has suffered a loss of its own with the death of its leader, General Leia Organa, (whose health has been gradually failing ever since the First Order’s attack on the Raddus temporarily exposed her to the vacuum of space), a tragedy which has pushed now-Admiral Poe Dameron to embrace the responsibility of taking over as leader of the Resistance. Following Leia’s funeral on her mother’s homeworld of Naboo, Rey confides in Finn that her Jedi training has stalled due to increasing difficulty in connecting to the Force. She has suspicions as to the source of the block, but is not yet willing to admit them.
Aboard the First Order’s current flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Dominance, the Knights of Ren accompany their master to an audience with General Hux, who declares Kylo Ren unfit to lead and claims the throne for himself. To Ren’s shock, Hux reveals that not only has he obtained rare lizards called Ysalamiri, which protect him from Force attacks, but he has convinced the Knights to side with him—providing the muscle needed for his mutiny. Kylo escapes the flagship, but not before suffering grievous wounds. The newly-minted Supreme Leader Hux gives the Knights of Ren new and exotic lightsabers, touts their mastery of a “lost art” which will turn the tide of the war, and tasks their deadliest member, Vicrul, with hunting down Kylo.
On the gas giant Bespin, at the Resistance’s new Nimbus Base (a small colony platform entirely separate from Cloud City, and hidden from planetary scans by advanced cloaking technology), Rey continues her efforts to train in solitude, during which it is revealed that she has constructed a new lightsaber for herself, but is unable to repair the Skywalker lightsaber with her remaining resources. Lando Calrissian returns from a recruitment trip and explains that remaining worlds who have yet to join the Resistance remain on the sidelines partly out of a lack of interest in restoring the flawed New Republic, and partly out of a cynical desire to wait and see which side prevails.
Lando also relays alarming reports that the First Order’s remaining forces have somehow become able to demolish larger and more skilled military forces with ease. Rey recognizes the reports as matching the Jedi texts’ description of an ancient Force ability called Battle Meditation, through which powerful Force users can amplify the skill, morale, and coordination of entire armies to supernatural degrees while confusing and demoralizing the enemy into disarray.
Meanwhile, Finn and Rose Tico travel to the planet Batuu in response to a call from underworld contact Hondo Ohnaka, who claims to have obtained something of great interest to the Resistance. Hondo reveals that his men have taken custody of the injured, weakened Kylo Ren, who fled to the smuggler’s haven guided by memories of accompanying his father there as a child. Kept compliant by more Ysalamiri, Kylo claims to know the location of survivors from Luke Skywalker’s Jedi academy, which he offers to give the Resistance in exchange for an audience with Rey. Finn and Rose reluctantly agree.
Knight of Ren Kuruk leads a First Order invasion of Naboo, which quickly falls to a terrifying display of Battle Meditation in space combat. After the effortless victory, it is revealed that other Knights are leading similar assaults throughout the galaxy, including the planets Corellia and Kashyyyk.
Rey, Poe, and Chewbacca meet Finn, Rose, and the captive Kylo at a rendezvous point on the ocean planet Kef Bir, during which Kylo reveals the Jedi survivors are being held in carbonite in an old Imperial stronghold on the acidic planet Vjun. Kylo also confirms Rey’s worst fears: her early displays of Jedi proficiency stemmed from Snoke bridging her mind with Kylo’s, which had a side effect of opening her to Kylo’s training and experience – a resource she lost when she broke their connection after the Battle of Crait. Driven in part by a desire to find experienced Jedi who could be everything she’s come to doubt in herself, Rey takes Finn, Rose, Chewbacca, and BB-8 to Vjun, while Poe takes custody of Kylo and brings him back to Nimbus Base.
While in transit aboard the Millennium Falcon, the heroes discuss their plan: Rey and Finn will infiltrate Bast Prison disguised as stormtroopers with orders to transfer the Jedi prisoners before Kylo makes a play for them on his own. Finn assists Rey with some sparring exercises, which highlight both Rey’s frustrations and the two heroes’ growing feelings for each other.
Back at the Resistance base, Poe interrogates Kylo about the Knights of Ren, during which Poe feels but ultimately resists a temptation to execute Kylo himself. Their confrontation devolves into a shouting match over Ren’s grievances against the New Republic and motives for joining the First Order. Poe acknowledges the Republic’s failings but makes clear that the Resistance is about higher ideals than loyalty to a failed government, ideals that Kylo’s rationalizations cannot bury. Kylo concedes nothing, but there appear to be slight cracks in his façade.
On Vjun, Rey and Finn locate and retrieve the fourteen frozen Jedi without incident. But just as they reach a hangar and begin loading them onto a cargo speeder, they are confronted by Vicrul and a squad of elite purge troopers. An intense chase ensues, with the heroes’ speeder fighting off indigenous beasts called Grath hounds along the way, while Rose and Chewbacca pilot the Falcon alongside Resistance starfighters against the First Order’s air and ground forces.
Eventually the heroes’ speeder crashes. Rey puts up a valiant defense but is easily overpowered by Vicrul, who murders two of the frozen Jedi in an attempt to make Rey give up the location of Kylo and the Resistance. Rey breaks free by momentarily giving in to the dark side, but is brought to her senses by an injured Finn. The Falcon reaches them and the heroes manage to escape with the twelve remaining Jedi, though the ordeal has brought Rey to her lowest point.
Back at Nimbus Base, Finn is treated for his injuries while Rey reluctantly decides she has no choice but to work with Kylo, especially with the rescued Jedi’s health and odds of survival very much in doubt. Poe refuses to allow Kylo to be released, and with no clear sign of the First Order’s location or next move anyway, the issue appears to be tabled.
Meanwhile, Hux decides that the Resistance needs to be drawn out of hiding so it can be destroyed before it has a chance to revive the Jedi and cancel out the First Order’s Battle Meditation advantage. So he moves the fleet to the peaceful, Force-strong planet Aquilae, with a terrible plan: using decades-old superweapons called climate disruption arrays to torture the populace so their pain will echo in the Force, calling out to Rey and Kylo.
The planet’s devastation has its desired effect. Poe is still unwilling to release Kylo, until the dark warrior reveals that Hux’s plan has (apparently) had the side effect of killing all the Ysalamiri reinforcing his cell, meaning he could have escaped or killed the heroes but chose not to. Kylo makes an additional show of good faith by using the Force to heal Finn’s wounds. Poe reluctantly admits they have no other choice, and the Resistance forms a plan: commando and sabotage teams will infiltrate the Dominance and clear Rey and Kylo a path to confront the Knights of Ren, distracting them from using Battle Meditation so the Resistance fleet can move in and attack.
In transit aboard the Falcon, Luke Skywalker appears to Rey to offer words of encouragement. He tells her that while the quick refinement of her skills may have come from Kylo, her innate strength and Force potential were always hers alone. Luke also assures Rey that she is not simply repeating Kylo’s mistakes by telling her the story of how Snoke, a Jedi Master of the Old Republic who (unbeknownst to Luke at the time) had turned to the dark side after surviving Order 66, got his hooks in Ben Solo at an early age. Luke discovered the truth and drove Snoke out of his training temple, but the seeds of mistrust he had already planted grew for years, were later exacerbated by Ben’s discovery that his parents had lied to him about his relation to Darth Vader, and ultimately exploded that fateful night Luke looked into his nephew’s mind. Luke helps Rey regain a measure of trust in herself and reach an understanding that Kylo is at a crossroads, and that the outcome of this mission could cement his path in either direction.
Kylo is visited by his “Uncle Lando,” who gives him an ornate blaster pistol he had kept as a gift for the boy years ago, and offers him unconditional love in spite of all he’s done. After Lando leaves, Anakin Skywalker appears before Kylo, imploring his grandson to learn from his example and not repeat his failures as Darth Vader. Kylo vents his cynicism and resentment, but Anakin tells him the mere fact that they’ve finally connected is a sign that Kylo’s conflicted mind is opening up. Anakin leaves the troubled young man with some final words of wisdom: to find the string he needs to make the right choice in the people around him. After the experience, Rey comes to Kylo’s quarters and offers him her own show of faith: his grandfather’s lightsaber, and the chance to repair it with parts from his shattered crossguard saber.
Rey and Kylo hijack a First Order supply ship they’ll use to board the Dominance, and Lando and Chewbacca rejoin the Resistance fleet in the Falcon. The Jedi duo boards at the same time six Resistance strike teams board in stolen First Order troop landers. The heroes fight their way through the ship. Five teams attack various strategic targets while the team led by Finn and Rose works their way toward the ship’s security center. Rey and Kylo are eventually confronted by Knights of Ren Vicrul and Ap’lek, who separate the duo to face them one-on-one, in hopes of breaking the Force bond from which Rey and Kylo both draw strength. They struggle against the aggression and apparent superiority of their respective Knights, but eventually prevail—Rey by centering herself in the light, Kylo by drawing further on the dark.
The Resistance commandos make good progress, but are eventually overwhelmed by purge trooper squads. All alone, Finn and Rose find themselves cornered by a squad of stormtroopers, and all seems lost until Finn, acting on instinct, tries appealing to the consciences of the troopers buried beneath intensive mental conditioning, drawing on his own experiences as a former stormtrooper—as well as his dawning Force-sensitivity. The Force manages to break through three of the troopers’ conditioning, and they turn on the other five to save Finn and Rose, then offer their aid. Finn is shaken by this new revelation about himself.
Rey and Kylo reunite, Finn and Rose take over the security center, and the former tell the latter to signal the fleet as they make their final approach to Hux’s throne room. But as Resistance fighters begin their attack, the Jedi find themselves trapped inside energy shields backed by Force-dampening Ysalamiri, helpless to watch as the four remaining Knights of Ren are free to use Battle Meditation to bolster the First Order’s forces. The Resistance fleet is forced to fall back, unable to do anything but defend themselves out of range while praying for a miracle.
As Hux gloats, Rey has an epiphany, and through their bond coordinates with Kylo to reach out and calm the Ysalamiri’s fear, getting them to voluntarily stop blocking the Force. The Jedi break free and engage the Knights of Ren in a furious two-on-four lightsaber brawl. Finn senses this reversal of fortune and informs Poe, who signals a second wave of Resistance ships to join the battle. These reinforcements include a rich variety of allies from all corners of the galaxy, friends old and new, veterans of conflicts past and present, all coming together in an epic space battle.
The heroes in the security center discover that purge troopers are closing in on their location. The three awakened stormtroopers provide Finn and Rose with an escape route, offering to stay behind to buy them time and possibly sabotage the Dominance’s main reactor. The heroes don’t want to abandon their new friends, but the troopers insist they want Finn to survive to help free more of their brothers and sisters throughout the galaxy.
The Resistance destroys the disruption arrays and the Jedi destroy the Knights of Ren, but with Hux seemingly at their mercy Kylo feels the temptation to take his revenge rising again—temptation that explodes into rage when it’s revealed that Hux was simply projecting himself into the chamber via a hologram, and is actually on the verge of escape. Falling deeper into the dark side, Kylo resolves to kill him while Rey gives chase.
A purge unit reaches the security center, discovers the awakened troopers’ change of allegiance, and kills them, but not before they trigger an overload in the main reactor. Finn senses their deaths, and fears for Rey, but Rose convinces him to press on and make their way off the ship.
Kylo corners Hux in an escape pod bay, but before he can murder the helpless villain Rey intervenes, engaging him in a reluctant lightsaber duel while trying to appeal to his conscience. Kylo’s conflict eventually resurfaces, strengthened by a loving last-minute appeal from one more Jedi spirit: his mother Leia. Kylo’s good side seems to come closer to surfacing than ever before, but his warring emotions ultimately overwhelm him, and he lashes out in a Force Repulse that knocks Rey unconscious.
Safely back at the fleet, Finn resumes desperately trying to contact Rey, who regains consciousness and finds that Kylo is gone—and has both spared Hux’s life and left the Skywalker lightsaber behind. Hopeful that Kylo Ren is Ben Solo once more, Rey drags the Supreme Leader into an escape pod and ejects from the Dominance just before it explodes, sparking a chain reaction that destroys the First Order fleet in a brilliant pyrotechnic display.
The heroes reunite and celebrate their victory, and Rey reunites with Finn, culminating in a long-overdue kiss. On the surface of Aquilae, Lando and Chewbacca spearhead search-and-rescue efforts for survivors of the First Order’s attack. In the following weeks, the Resistance and its allies—including contingents of former stormtroopers awakened by Finn—help planets including Naboo, Corellia, and Kashyyyk cast off First Order occupations.
Several months later, Lando, Finn, and Chewbacca prepare to depart Batuu aboard the Falcon. They allude to a grand new opportunity awaiting Finn and discuss Lando’s work helping establish a new Senate, as well as his hopes that a new Galactic Alliance will be more successful at earning the trust of worlds burned by the New Republic. Finn also offers the two his sympathies for the apparent loss of Ben, but Lando expresses faith that they’ll see him again.
In a remote settlement on the jungle moon of Yavin IV, a humble recluse is revealed to be Ben Solo, apparently content to live out his days in isolated anonymity. He is visited by his Uncle Luke, who relays his parents’ love and pride in him, and his confidence that Ben is on the path to redemption. Luke disappears, and Ben reflects on an image of Han and Leia with newfound hope.
The Falcon drops Finn off on the planet Jedha, where he makes his way to the newly-constructed Skywalker Temple. Rey greets him with a kiss and guides him to the main hall, where the Jedi survivors and additional students now number two dozen. Rey takes her place as one of four Jedi teachers, Finn begins his Jedi path by joining the class, and the spirits of Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Qui-Gon Jinn look on in approval as the New Jedi Order—having learned from the mistakes of the past and survived efforts to snuff it out in its infancy—formally convenes with a lightsaber salute, dedicating themselves to the restoration of peace and justice in the galaxy.
Co-author of STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER–THE TEAM DALE REWRITE