“The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the new book written by Lucasfilm creative art manager Phil Szostak, was released March 31 and is jam packed with concept art and plot points that reveal many of the axed storylines from the final installment of the Skywalker trilogy, directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Abrams and Chris Terrio. Abrams’ co-writer says in the book, “I’ve never written a film as much as this one. It’s like the tide. There’s a new script every morning,” which tells “Star Wars” fans everything they need to know about how many ideas were drafted and then scrapped. Polygon rounded up many of the canceled storylines as described by Szostak in the coffee-table tome.
The book confirms that early versions of the story gave Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) far more to do than just follow Rey (Daisy Ridley) around in her mission to defeat the First Order. At one point in the story the two characters were to take part in a “World War II-inspired caper” to find a code-breaking machine that would unlock plans to defeat the First Order. Per Polygon, “The top-secret technology would have been put at risk early on in the film when stormtroopers raided a pub on a snowy planet. The city where it all took place would eventually become Kijimi, the location in the final film where our heroes meet up with Zorii Bliss.”
Another idea that was floated around was the reveal that Finn had “a long-lost sibling that was stranded on a garbage planet.” The sibling was going to have knowledge of a “vital piece of information” that could help the Resistance beat the First Order. These scenes were drafted before Terrio and Abrams settled on the protagonists going to the desert planet Pasaana.
Poe’s scrapped storyline sounds the most intriguing, especially because “The Rise of Skywalker” theatrical cut doesn’t give the former smuggler much to do. The book describes early plans for Poe that were “much darker and grittier” in tone than the comic relief he played in the final movie. “One discarded plan placed put him on a swampy planet teeming with pirates, taking his crew up-river in a nod to ‘Apocalypse Now,'” Polygon reports. “Another version saw him captured by his old gang, a vicious group of drug dealers who had raised him since he was a boy.”