The Real Tragedy Of The Rise of Skywalker

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Harrison Ford Rise of Skywalker

All these years later, we’re still processing how badly the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy let us down. Every film was weaker than it should have been, but one behind-the-scenes fact makes the final entry in this trilogy tragic for reasons other than its awful quality. Kathleen Kennedy later revealed that Leia actor Carrie Fisher wanted to have a main role in The Rise of Skywalker and that Disney planned to accommodate her, but Fisher’s death prevented that from happening.

Rounding Out The Old Guard

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To hear Kennedy tell it, Carrie Fisher’s reasons for wanting to be a very prominent part of The Rise of Skywalker are twofold. First, “She was having a blast” filming The Last Jedi and was eager to film the sequel. Second, she felt that since Harrison Ford had been at the forefront of The Force Awakens and Mark Hamill had been at the forefront of The Last Jedi, it only made sense for her character–rounding out the original trio of heroes– to take center stage at the end of this trilogy.

In remembering this exchange, Kennedy recalls that Carrie Fisher “thought [The Rise of Skywalker] would be her movie. And it would have been.” Unfortunately, Fisher’s untimely death kept this from happening, and Kennedy didn’t divulge any details in this interview about how the film might have incorporated Leia in a bigger way per the late actor’s wishes.

Leia’s Expanded Role

However, we can get a better idea of what Leia’s expanded role would have been like by looking at the Duel of the Fates. No, we’re not talking about John Williams’ banger song from The Phantom Menace (admit it, you’re humming it right now). Instead, this is the title of the Star Wars sequel written in 2016 by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly back when Trevorrow was still attached to direct the film.

Duel Of The Fates Versus The Rise Of Skywalker

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In addition to giving Carrie Fisher’s character a much greater role than she had in The Rise of Skywalker, Duel of the Fates is a better script in almost every way. What, though, would Leia have been up to in this sequel that was never meant to be? For starters, she would play a more prominent role in leading the Resistance and convincing Lando Calrissian and his smugglers to help lead an attack on Coruscant.

What Could Have Been: Leia Crossing Kylo Ren

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Speaking of Coruscant, the First Order is somehow blocking all communication throughout the galaxy, requiring Finn and Rose to activate a device to cut through the block. This gives Leia the chance to rally forces across the galaxy to rise up against the First Order. Later in the movie, Leia uses The Force to speak to Kylo Ren, convincing him not to drain all the life out of Rey.

We Got Space Mary Poppins Instead

Even if Carrie Fisher had lived and Disney opted to go with Duel of the Fates instead of creating the very different The Rise of Skywalker script, the story would have undergone tweaks from page to screen. Still, we’re confident the final product would have honored Fisher’s request to have a more prominent role in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy and been a more entertaining film all around. Instead, fans sadly remember her sequel character with three little words: Space Mary Poppins.

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