UPDATE: Robert Meyer Burnett, the YouTuber and filmmaker who shared details of Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars Episode IX screenplay on his YouTube channel two days ago, has dropped another video going into more detail on aspects of the plot that he says he was too vague on in the first video. You can find the second video beneath the first below.
Our original article from earlier continues below.
If you’ve never heard of Robert Meyer Burnett, you can probably be forgiven. He’s not well known, but he has spent most of his career working in the film industry doing everything from reading scripts to editing to writing and directing his own feature. Lately, he’s carved out a place for himself as a film commentator on YouTube; I haven’t listened to a ton of his videos, but I’ve liked what I have heard. You could do worse when it comes to movie talk on YouTube.
Anyway, I imagine Burnett’s seen a surge in subs to his channel in the last couple of days, because he’s claiming to have somehow managed to read a draft of Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars Episode IX script, subtitled Duel of the Fates. Burnett talks about the screenplay at length over on his channel (see video below). If you’re a Star Wars fan (former or current) or if you’ve followed the dumpster fire that has been Disney’s Star Wars, you probably want to check this out.
Below are some of the high points for those of you who don’t have time to listen to the whole video.
The Opening Crawl
The iron grip of the FIRST ORDER has spread to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Only a few scattered planets remain unoccupied. Traitorous acts are punishable by death.
Determined to suffocate a growing unrest, Supreme Leader KYLO REN has silenced all communication between neighboring systems.
Led by GENERAL LEIA ORGANA, the Resistance has planned a secret mission to prevent their annihilation and forge a path to freedom
- The film opens at the Kuat Drive Yards, the orbital shipyards where Imperial (First Order. Whatever.) ships are built, including capital ships like the different classes of Star Destroyer. Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose are attempting to infiltrate and sabotage the yards. Rose plays a key role in this scene, and her character is vastly expanded throughout the script. Something goes wrong, our heroes have to improvise, and end up stealing a Star Destroyer.
- Luke Skywalker’s Force Ghost is haunting Kylo Ren as he searches for something related to Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine on Mustafar, warning him that the Dark Side leads to an “empty tomb”.
- Ren finds a Sith holochron, but, as it is meant for Vader, it self destructs, critically injuring him.
- Luke’s Force Ghost encourages Rey as she trains to be a Jedi.
- Rey discovers a beacon lies beneath the Jedi temple on Coruscant. Because it’s Old Republic tech (ancient), the First Order doesn’t know about it and has no way of detecting or scrambling its signal, which the Resistance plans to use to gather others to its cause of defeating the First Order. Rose, Finn, R2-D2, and C-3PO are dispatched to light the beacon.
- Rey, Poe, and Chewbacca are off on a side mission that Burnett doesn’t go into great detail on. Something about finding out what Rey must do next, presumably in her training as a Jedi.
- Before the holochron exploded, Ren discovers the location of Palpatine’s teacher, a being called Tor Valum. Ren sets out to find Valu on a planet called Remnicore. Burnett compares Valum to Shelob from The Lord of the Rings.Ren trains with Valum and ends up fighting an apparition of Vader in a scene paralleling Luke’s fight with Vader on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back.
- Rey and Ren somehow end up on the planet Mortis, a planet that figures heavily into George Lucas and Dave Filoni’s expanded backstory for the force as seen in the animated series Clone Wars and Rebels.
- Rey and Ren fight. It is revealed that Ren killed Rey’s parents at Snoke’s behest.
- Leia asks Lando for help mustering smugglers and other groups that normally operate outside the law to her cause. He agrees.
- A space and ground battle occurs on Coruscant.
- Chewie flies an X-Wing.
- Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda appear as Force Ghosts to try and save Ren, but he dies.
- The Resistance wins and the First Order are defeated.
Burnett’s commentary is worth listening to, because he spends a great deal of time discussing how this version of the script focuses on the characters and their relationships with one another. He says multiple times that this version is fun and that it “feels very Star Wars” in the sense that the characters actually seem like a team and it’s all “earned”, something Burnett suggests is missing from the other films in the trilogy.
So those are the high points. Like I said, there’s more detail in the video, and I recommend listening to it not only for those details but for Burnett’s reaction to the script itself.
I have no particular allegiance to Colin Trevorrow, but I would have liked to have seen his version of this final film. His script does a great job of pulling in parts of the larger Star Wars universe and mythology. It makes it all feel really connected to the films this sequel trilogy was supposed to conclude. I’m not saying it would have saved he trilogy or that it would have been the best thing since The Empire Strikes Back, but I do think it would have been better than JJ Abrams’ film. But we’ll never really know.
What about you? Did you listen to Burnett’s video? Do you think Trevorrow’s film would have been better than Abrams’? Worse? Don’t care?
Let us know in the comments!