After years of fan campaigns and online protests, we finally got Zack Snyder’s original vision for Justice League in 2021, which led to a short-lived outcry for David Ayer’s cut for 2016’s Suicide Squad. But wait… this wave of original cuts of not-well-received-tentpole-films is yet to end as if a recently posted report by an alleged Star Wars leaker is correct, there also exists a very different JJ Abrams cut for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
This information comes from the Reddit thread which had “leaked” that Star Wars producers were against John Boyega’s Finn romancing Rey. In the opening lines of their post, this anonymous “Lucasfilm insider” claims that they have worked on the Star Wars sequel trilogy films: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker.
According to this unverified leaker, a different, much longer cut of JJ Abrams’ The Rise of The Skywalker exists and even though it’s an “assembly cut” of what the director had filmed before the reshoots had taken place, it does resemble his original vision for the film.
Of the many claims made by the leaker, one is about JJ Abrams wanting a “more traditional ending” to the sequel trilogy. He wanted Luke Skywalker to survive, live past the end of the films, and go on to be a mentor for a new generation and his offspring. But Lucasfilm was adamant that they wanted the Skywalkers retired and done with.
Apparently, Rose was supposed to have a key role wherein she would be instrumental in altering a communication jammer of the First Order that they used to keep “the galaxy in the dark.”
The leaker also claims that JJ Abrams had many ideas for Rey in The Force Awakens and stated that the filmmaker wanted her to be the granddaughter of Anakin or Luke’s daughter that he had with an unnamed “Force archaeologist.” The original plan was for Rey to learn that she is Vader’s granddaughter and then reconciling with Luke. Even Finn was supposed to stage a stormtrooper rebellion “after finding a long-lost sibling,” Poe was to become the leader of the Resistance while Hux was slated to be the Grand Marshall of the First Order.
Kylo would have reformed and strived to save the galaxy, but in the end, he would have found peace in death. The majority of the story was scrapped, apart from a few pointers that were retained but still altered like the end of Rey and Kylo’s story, which was supposed to be more tragic as Abrams had allegedly planned “Rey wanting to put him out of his misery and Kylo wanting to be free.” He saw the latter as a “tragic villain” and wanted to tell a “dark what-if story to the redemption of Vader.”
But Disney and Lucasfilm also disagreed with JJ Abrams’s ideas for the finale as they felt the need for a bigger villain, more prominent than Kylo or Hux, and thus they pushed for the return of Palpatine. And even when Abrams agreed to the addition of Palpatine, Disney and Lucasfilm kept sending him notes so as per the leaker’s report, he went on to shoot two films: one that was his vision and the other that followed Disney as well as Lucasfilm’s demands.
The fact that the supposed Lucasfilm insider deleted their Reddit account soon after posting the controversial report majorly diminishes its credibility. But in case, their claims are true and there exists a JJ Abrams cut of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, chances are slim that it will ever get to see the light of day as the viewers’ excitement that made the Snyder Cut possible simply doesn’t exist for the last film in the Star Wars sequels trilogy.