When the final installment of the Star Wars Skywalker Saga hit theaters back in 2019, it was met with a polarized response, with many fans and reviewers frustrated that it failed to deliver a satisfying ending to the series.
That film wasn’t the original ending that Lucasfilm had in mind: Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow had originally been tapped to direct the conclusion, and his script eventually leaked out onto the internet shortly after Rise of Skywalker’s release, giving us a good idea of what might have been. Until now, that’s just been a document floating around online (or print, if you happened to really want a hard copy). Now, we’re getting a glimpse of what the film might have looked like: a fan is adapting the screenplay as a comic book.
Trevorrow’s film was to be called Episode IX: Duel of the Fates, and it would have taken the finale in a very different way. The film opened with the Resistance being utterly defeated, with General Hux in control of the First Order. The sequel trilogy’s main heroes—Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose—launch an attack against Hux and the First Order on Coruscant, while Kylo Ren is haunted by the ghost of Luke Skywalker.
But Trevorrow was eventually let go from the project in the fall of 2017 over creative differences that arose between him and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy. The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams returned and started over from scratch, resulting in Rise of Skywalker.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Trevorrow’s screenplay leaked, along with a number of concept images, giving us an interesting glimpse into the development process.
Enter Andrew Winegarner, a comic artist and teacher based in California, who explained on his website that he took a couple of the scenes that he liked from the film and began adapting them as a comic.
Hey, Star Wars fans. I've been working the past year on a comic book adaptation of Colin Trevorrow's Star Wars Episode IX script "Duel of the Fates" and I'd like you to check it out! (It will be 7 issues total when completed.)
Hope you enjoy it!https://t.co/XfrNX5wHvQ pic.twitter.com/2Ay070L9oS
— Andrew Winegarner (@AndyWinegarner) March 4, 2021
He explained that he was let down by Rise of Skywalker, describing it as a “retread of Return of the Jedi that didn’t seem to follow the trajectory of the story set up in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.”
A friend of him texted him an article about a rundown of Trevorrow’s script. “Just even reading the bullet points of the plot points of the script,” he told Tor.com, “It sounded much better than The Rise of Skywalker.”
Once the script leaked, he loved it, and was inspired to draw two of the scenes that he liked the most: “Rey vs. Hattaska Ren on Bonadan (a planet from the Expanded Universe) and Kylo vs. Vader on Remnicore.”
“I worked for over a month on those 10 pages, coloring them to the best of my ability (I don’t think of myself as a colorist.) I tweeted about them and got some likes, even from Colin Trevorrow himself! This was in early COVID lockdown and Jurassic World: Dominion was put on hold, so maybe Trevorrow was on social media more, like everybody, because he couldn’t shoot [it].
A number of people liked and commented on the pages online, and friends encouraged him to keep going. “I thought that was a herculean task, but once I got going I realized that she was right. I’ve had a blast making this.”
Winegarner outlined his process: he went through the script and drew a series of thumbnails. It was a familiar process: his first graphic novel, Peaceful Warrior, had its origins as a film script, an adaptation of Dan Millman’s book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
“I thumbnail it out in ‘zine-size: 8.5×11 paper folded in half. Then I take 11×17 paper and draw it for real, inking with a brush or a Micron pen. Then I scan it into my computer and letter it in Photoshop. If I have the gumption that day, or I particularly like a certain page, I will spend the extra time to color it. I do make some changes, edit out small bits, like an early scene with a fish on Kuat. That’s just for pacing and trying to get it to fit into the 24-page format of a comic book.”
He’s since posted the results onto his website, and through it, you can see what might have been had our timeline changed just a little bit.