Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker looks set to go down in history as an anticlimax. The film is rated the worst in the franchise, annoyed legions of fans and may have done some serious damage to the reputation of the series. Since its release though, folks have been wondering just what went wrong and a hint came early in 2020 when gossip started to leak about tensions between director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm.
The story goes that Abrams screened a cut that came in somewhere around the three-hour mark, only to be ordered to slice it down substantially. This resulted in a theatrical cut of 122 minutes.
That paring down means a lot has been left on the cutting room floor. We’ve seen evidence of many of these cut scenes in behind-the-scenes pictures and sources from within the production, too. This has included scenes of Kylo Ren reassembling his shattered helmet, the ‘Jedi chorus’ in the film’s finale featuring ghosts rather than just voices and now, a scene in which Kylo Ren apparently ponders Vader’s burnt mask.
The above stills are from The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-length documentary included with the home release of The Rise of Skywalker. Though the scene is clearly unfinished (you can see a blue screen in the corner), it looks like it’d have provided a quieter and contemplative moment. And honestly, the movie is sorely lacking those, racing at full speed through locations without pausing for breath.
It also appears that this would have given us some more perspective on Kylo Ren. His complicated relationship with his family legacy is at the core of his character, and at least to my eyes, this looks like he’s wondering if he’ll soon meet the same fate as Vader.
Maybe one day we’ll get a director’s cut of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but I wouldn’t count on it happening anytime soon.