Before delving into the latest leaks it is important to stress that this in unconfirmed information that cannot be independently verified. Previous confirmed leaks have indicated there is a J.J. cut so the information provide here after may paint a picture of what transpired from the J.J. Abrams camp.
It is important to remember for context that the previous rumors claimed that J.J Abram’s cut also indicated that during test screenings his version tested the worse. After running the J.J., cut by several test audiences comprised of a diversity of audience demographics the final aggregate was a measly 29/100. With a final chapter testing at an abysmal 4 with audiences openly laughing as Rey curbstomps Palpatine all while Iger sat in to witness the entire affair.
After the screening Iger sat in on, he ordered re-shoots of the entire movie as stated by these rumors. Later, however, J.J. Abrams would tell Esquire that there were never any test screenings and denied the rumors, even though YouTuber Doomcock stated that he had sources that confirmed the test screenings took place.
Nevertheless, what follows, if true, is merely damage control on the part of the J.J., camp claiming everything fans liked was the work of Abrams, but everything bad was the entirely Disney’s doing.
-Obvious Spoilers Warning-
These latest rumors –fully copied below- come from Reddit user Egoshoppe who claims he got this information from a friend who works at Lucas Film. This friend by his own admission is both friends with J.J. Abrams is leaking the information with an agenda in mind believing JJ didn’t get a fair treatment by Disney.
The majority of the leaks can be summed up with the movie being designed by committee after his initial test screening failed to perform and Disney asking J.J., to interject scenes that would serve as vehicles for toy sales.
More or less anything that is considered woke was completely J.J.’s doing, except for the unspecified elements that were created by Disney aimed to please a group of people who weren’t fans. In essence these assertions boil down to anything popular and progressive like black characters and Rey’s lore breaking abilities making her the “bestest ever” as Doomcock is fond of putting is the work of J.J. Elements such as Rey being Palpatine’s granddaughter and receiving her powers as a result of this connection are entirely Disney’s doing.
Beyond that the majority of the rumors are merely finger pointing and aggrandizing J.J., with claims of a grand conspiracy that — despite investors being very irate over the failure of Star Wars Land which netted an executive a termination after the failure of Solo, and the projected drop off of Disney Plus subscribers following the conclusion of the Mandalorian — Disney would sabotage The Rise of Skywalker just to make J.J., less employable is insane.
If Disney wanted to do that they would have released the rumored “Lucas Cut” and heralded Lucas as the savior of Rise of Skywalker; in a single swoop stealing J.J.’s thunder and profiting. Instead the version that was released to the public was a hybrid of the J.J., and Iger cuts and it was Kathleen Kennedy who made that decision.
There is an immense amount of gall in claiming that Iger would throw away hundreds of millions in re-shoots, end his political ambitions and potentially his time at Disney prematurely depending on investor backlash just to ensure J.J. Abrams’ reputation was ruined. Rather than simply accept that J.J., is a horrible director, these people are propagating the paranoid delusional myth that everyone was willing to destroy their own reputation just to ensure the director couldn’t be successful in the future.
All in all, sounds perfectly in line with what an Sɺɯ would claim, which is why I believe these leaks have a high probability of being real.
But you can read the entire thing for yourself below.
Since shortly after release weekend, I’ve been corresponding with someone who worked closely on the production of TROS and works for one of the major companies I cannot disclose here. I have verified the source to my satisfaction. To protect the source, I am rewording what we spoke about over the last two weeks and am submitting it to you in bullet point format I have written based on what they told me. The TLDR is that they were upset with the final product of TROS and wanted to share their perspective on how it went down and where it went wrong.
- The leakers for TROS had an agenda and are tied to Disney directly. My source confessed that they have an agenda as well in that they struggle with ignoring what’s been happening to someone who they think doesn’t deserve it.
- JJ always treated everyone on and offset with respect so my source’s agenda is that what Disney has done to JJ and how much they screwed him over should be something people are at least aware of, whether you like him as a filmmaker or not.
- Disney was one of the studios who were in that Bad Robot bidding war last year. Disney never had much interest in BR as a company but they did in JJ because they saw WB (who JJ went with in the end) as a major threat.
- JJ is very successful at bringing franchises back like Mission Impossible, Star Trek and Star Wars. WB is struggling with DC and aside from Wonder Woman, DC is still seen as a bit of a joke in its current state by the GA.
- WB wants Abrams for some DC projects. My source said that this generation’s Star Wars is the MCU, and Marvel’s biggest threat is a well operational DC. They want to keep DC in the limbo that they’re in right now. Abrams jumpstarting that franchise with something like a successful, audience-pleasing Superman movie makes them nervous. Their goal is to make JJ look bad to potential investors/shareholders.
- My source mentioned this shortly after the premiere: “The TROS we saw last night was not the TROS we thought we worked on”.
- JJ was devastated and blindsided by this. He’s been feeling down over the last 6 months because of some of the ridiculous demands Disney had that changed his movie’s story. While the scenes were shot, a lot of the changes were made in post-production and the audio was rerecorded and altered. My source said they’ve never seen anything like this happen before. He’s the director and he wasn’t in the know about what they were doing behind his back.
- Apparently, JJ felt threatened over the month leading up to the premiere.
- Rian was never meant to do IX despite some rumors that he was.
- JJ was brought back by Iger, not KK. Disney insisted on more fan service, less controversy.
- JJs original agreement when he signed on was indicating he would have way more creative control than he did on TFA. It became evident this wasn’t the case only a couple of weeks into shooting when the trouble with meddling started.
- JJ wanted to do some scenes he thought were important but Disney shut it down citing budgetary reasons.
- May 2019: JJ argued that those scenes were crucial. He had to let go of one of the scenes. The other scene he insisted on was approved at first. He did reshoots and additional photography in July. The new scene was shot at BR in October.
- The “ending that will blow your mind” was a part of this. Older actors were included like Hayden, Ewan and Samuel and anyone who wasn’t animated. The force ghosts weren’t meant to be voices because they shot that footage on camera. The actors were in costumes. Rey was supposed to be surrounded by the force ghosts to serve as sort of a barrier between her and the Sith surrounding them.
- My source thinks but can’t 100% confirm that this is because of China. It’s an office talk of sorts. Some VFX people claimed they got a list of approved shades of blue they could use on the Luke force ghosts. Cutting this out was when the bad blood turned into a nightmare for JJ because the movie he was making was suddenly unrecognizable to him in almost every way.
- My source knows JJ well enough to know that he’s just not the yelling type but apparently in a meeting he yelled something along the lines of “Why don’t you just put ‘directed and written by Lucasfilm’ then?” My source wasn’t present for that exchange but knows some who were.
- Disney demanded they shoot some scenes that would have things in it for merchandise. “They fly now” is one of them. It’s also JJ’s least favorite scene. At a November screening of a 2:37 cut, he cringed, groaned and laughed when the scene was on.
- My source says that JJ was most likely not joking when he said “you’re right” in the interview where they asked him about TROS criticism.
- JJ’s original early November cut was 3 hours 2 minutes long.
- In January, JJ suggested that they turn this into two films. My source told me this well before Terrio mentioned it in an interview a couple of days ago. When Disney said no, JJ was content with making this 3 hours long.
- Over a period of 9 months JJ started realizing that one by one his ideas and whole scenes were being thrown out the window or entirely altered by people who have “no business meddling with the creatives”.
- They were not on the same page when it came to creative decisions and it became obvious that Disney had an agenda in addition to wanting to please shareholders. Disney could “afford messing up IX for the sake of the bigger picture” when it came to protecting things unrelated to IX.
- The cut JJ eventually and hesitantly agreed to in early December was 2:37 minutes long. It wasn’t the cut we saw which he wouldn’t have approved of (and which is 2:22 long). Apart from the force ghosts, there were other crucial and emotional scenes missing. The cut they released looked “chopped and taped back together with weak scotch tape” (JJ’s words).
- The movie opened with Rey’s training. Her first scene with Rose was shortly after Rey damaged BB-8 during the training. Rose made a silly joke about how Poe is going to kill her for damaging BB-8. There was a moment where Rey took a minute to process what just happened when she saw that vision during training. She looked distressed and worried. The next scene was noise as the Falcon was landing and Rey runs over there. Those two women who kissed at the end were visible in this shot and they were holding hands. One of them ran towards the Falcon as it landed.
- Kylo on Mustafar scene was 2 mins longer. There was a moment where Kylo seemed a bit dizzy and his vision was shown as blurry for a second. Almost as if time half-stopped while everyone in the background was slow-mo fighting. Kylo hears Vader’s breathing, then shakes his head and time goes back to moving at a normal pace and he jumps right back into the battle (the scene from the trailer where he knocks that guy down which did end up in the movie later).
- They cut some of the scenes from the lightspeed skipping segment. Some of the planets that were cut were Kashyyyk, Naboo, and Kamino.
- The scene where the tie fighters are chasing them through the iceberg – those corridors were inspired by a video game JJ used to play in the 90s called Rebel Assault 2 (the third level in the game with the tunnels on Endor specifically).
- Jannah was confirmed to be Lando’s daughter.
- Rey not only healed Kylo’s face scar but she killed Kylo when she healed Ben. Kylo ceased to exist when Rey healed him. My source mentioned that some people assume it was Han Solo who healed him but that isn’t true and that wasn’t Han Solo. That was Leia using her own memories as well as Ben’s to create a physical manifestation of his own thoughts to nudge him towards what he needed to do. That was her own way of communicating that with him. And it wasn’t possible without her dying in the process. She made the ultimate sacrifice for her son and this flew over people’s heads with the Disney cut.
- The late November cut (the last cut JJ approved of) had scenes with Rose and Rey still. JJ wanted to give her a more meaningful arc. Disney felt that that was too risky too. My source mentioned that Chris Terrio said that it was because of the Leia scenes but this is only partially true because she had four other scenes including two with Rey/Daisy that Leia was not in.
- Finn wanting to tell Rey something was always meant to be force sensitivity. In the 3 hour cut, it’s explicitly stated. There was a moment when Jannah and he were running on top of that star destroyer and Finn needed to unlock or move something and he force-moved it and acted surprised when it happened. This was replaced with a CGI’d BB-8 fixing whatever he needed to fix on there.
- Babu Frik was nearly cut because some execs at Disney thought he would be the new Jar Jar. They are really surprised that people love him this much. He was JJ’s idea and was created in collaboration with some artists and puppeteers. The personality was all JJ.
- There were a bunch of scenes where Rey and Kylo (separately) went through quiet moments of reflection to deal with what they were going through. On her part, her going through the realization that there’s something sinister about her past. Him going through regret and remorse but trying to shut it out. My source said that the Kylo scenes were especially amazing because of Adam’s performance and how he managed to portray that inner turmoil. It provided much more context and added deeper meaning to both his battle with Rey and the final redemption arc at the end. It didn’t happen so suddenly and it was more structured than what we got.
- The Kylo/Rey scene where he dies was at least 4 minutes longer with more dialogue. Ben was always supposed to die. Source also added that if he wasn’t, then that might’ve been in an earlier draft which they haven’t read. The first draft they read included Lando (the first few didn’t). The Reylo kiss and Ben’s death was not part of the reshoots. It was a part of the re-editing. Even the cut that JJ thought was coming out earlier this month had a longer version of that scene than what was shown in the theatrical cut.
- JJ was against the Reylo kiss (or Reylo in general). This was Disney’s attempt to please both sides of the fandom.
- JJ was not happy with where TLJ took the story. The final result is a mix of that story and the story told by Disney and whoever they tried to impress (“certainly not the fans”). JJ is gutted over the final result. Star Wars means a lot to him. He had to sacrifice large chunks of the story in TFA but he was promised more creative control on TROS and instead the leash they had him on was only tightened as time went by. A source said that this is the one franchise and the one piece of his work that he didn’t want to mess up and instead it turned into his worst nightmare. When he found out that he was blindsided with the cut they presented, he said “what the fuck??” when Kylo was fighting the Knights of Ren at the end and the Williams music that was used for it was not what he wanted at all. He seemed to think it was out of place.
- JJ’s cut still exists and “will always exist”. We most likely will never see it unless “someone accidentally leaks it.”
Ok, so there you have it. If there are questions, I will try to follow up with my source but it’s up to them if they want to share more so I cannot guarantee an answer.
Edit: I forgot one thing that the source wanted included, concerning FinnPoe in TROS:
- The source asked about FinnPoe after seeing Oscar Isaac’s comment about how Disney didn’t want it to be a thing. This is true. JJ fought to make this happen. This is why Oscar is blaming Disney. It’s not just a random throwaway comment. He knows for a fact that it was Disney because these discussions happened. The main cast is insanely close with JJ and are just as pissed, though seemingly more outspoken about it than JJ. During TFA, Disney was hesitant to hire John Boyega because a woman was front and center so they deemed that risky enough so bringing in a male lead who’s black made them nervous. JJ fought to make that happen for about nine months before getting approval. The same issue came up when JJ fought to have Finn&Poe in TROS but he lost that battle as he lost many creative battles for this film. Many people, JJ included, came to the realization during this production that the story really is told by shareholders/investors instead of the creatives or anyone at Disney specifically. He tried to make a lot of things happen and was shut down because of this. They had him on a leash and many blame TLJ for the stricter creative approach.