Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker could have had a truly regal presence
Newly released concept art reveals one discarded plotline would have had Dame Judi Dench appearing as a character with significant ties to an iconic Star Wars craft.
Star Wars fans are aware that each of the movies has a lengthy pre-production process that involves scores of ideas that never make it into the final film.
For Rise of Skywalker, whose development was already complex, several plotlines were proposed but never came to be.
Artist Phil Saunders has shared to ArtStation several unused locations and characters from the early script development by J.J. Abrams.
One would have involved Rey making her way to a distant world to meet the person behind the most iconic ship in the Star Wars universe.
“Another random shot from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In an earlier version of the script, Rey would have sought out the original designer of the Millennium Falcon to find a piece of hardware that could stop the First Order armada. Dame Judi Dench was on the wishlist for the role, and would have been great. Rey finds her on yet another desert planet of course, and her home would have been carved into the top of a spectacular mesa. I was just tasked with adapting a piece of reference provided by the art department into an interesting interior.”
While a novel explored the history of the famous craft, there has never been an in-canon look at the Falcon or its origins. Little else is revealed about the scene or Dench’s role aside from being a past friend of Rey’s.
The idea of Dench in this part would have been intriguing as, while an Oscar-winning dramatic actress, Dench has engaged in the occasional blockbuster such as Cats. Seeing her in the Star Wars Universe would have been quite the sight for fans.
An Abrams Cut?
The Dench revelation comes amid continued buzz on social media that there is a longer “Abrams Cut” of ROS, which may clear up some plot points.
Among the chief criticisms of the film from fans is that it felt too rushed in the plotline, with several beats seemingly missing. While Abrams has never confirmed it, speculation is that several scenes were cut from the film that might have aided the story.
Domhnall Gleeson, who played Hux, addressed the criticism in an interview with Indiewire. He admitted that he was disappointed that the revelation Hux was secretly a spy for the Resistance was given little time to develop but still defends the director.
“It would’ve been nice to stick around a little bit longer, for sure. It would’ve been nice to see the spy thing play out a little bit, but J.J. [Abrams] knows what he’s doing, and I heard a kind of gasp in the cinema when it happened, so I guess he was right.”The film is what the film needed to be, I think. There’s always stuff that you would like to see more of, but you can’t have a 17-hour film, I’ve been told. Apparently, that’s not allowed, so I was happy with what was there.”
All this shows that even over a year and a half after its release, ROS remains one of the more debatable entries of the Star Wars saga.
Star Wars the Rise of Skywalker streaming on Disney+.