The poor reception of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker among critics and fans still stings five months after release. What’s made the burn worse is the leak of an early script written by original director Colin Trevorrow and frequent collaborator Derek Connolly, from when Episode IX was titled Duel of the Fates. When matched with similarly leaked concept art verified by Trevorrow, the screenplay is a bittersweet revelation of what could have been, including the poetic original vision for Rey’s new lightsaber.
The screenplay and concept art for Duel of the Fates depict Rey brandishing a blue, double-ended lightsaber following the destruction of her original weapon at the climax of The Last Jedi. The hilt looks to be made from the Jakku staff she wielded for the first half of The Force Awakens, and powered by the split kyber crystal from Luke and Anakin’s blue lightsaber. It’s a beautiful, symbolic blend of the past and present, a deeply personal weapon that combines Rey’s scrapper roots with a tribute to her deceased Jedi mentor.
Better yet, the lightsaber’s visual motif would have fulfilled the themes spouted by Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi about letting the past die. As a new hero descended from nobody of importance (pre-Rise of Skywalker canon, of course), the base of Rey’s lightsaber comes directly from her own past while channeling the power of its blades from those who came before her. It acknowledges Kylo Ren’s dark, though not entirely evil philosophies while finding a way to strike a balance with her own. Allowing for a morally gray area in between the Dark and Light sides of the Force.
It makes more practical and thematic sense than what The Rise of Skywalker ultimately came up with. Rey somehow repairs the Skywalker lightsaber in between movies, a fact that not only doesn’t make much sense, but also directly contradicts the themes Rian Johnson wrote into The Last Jedi about relinquishing the past. While it was an interesting bit of fan service also giving Rey the lightsaber Leia trained with following Return of the Jedi, it didn’t really push the saga’s deeper ideas forward. That’s not to mention the tremendous waste of not giving Rey her own lightsaber until the epilogue of The Rise of Skywalker. Rey’s dependence on the past and others’ weapons left a big portion missing from her character arc.
Additionally, while her yellow kyber crystal is admittedly pretty cool, the color doesn’t make much sense for a variety of reasons. According to the Star Wars Fandom page, yellow kyber crystals are exceedingly rare and were mostly acquired as family relics passed down between generations. If Rey’s lightsaber is indeed powered by true kyber, it would have been astronomically unlikely for Rey to find such a rare artifact after the Empire left most of the galaxy’s kyber stocks barren while building the Death Star.
Symbolically, yellow lightsabers were also often held by Jedi who trained in pursuit of scholarly and combative knowledge. Rey doesn’t quite fit the description, though perhaps she ended up purifying a Dark side user’s corrupted crystal as Jedi Jaden Korr did in the Legends continuity. A green or orange kyber crystal, representative of spiritual philosophers and powerful Force users, respectively, may have made more sense. Perhaps Rey’s yellow crystal is meant to echo the lightsabers of the Jedi Temple Guards as she is now tentatively the last standing protector of the Force at the conclusion of The Rise of Skywalker.
While not used in the canon film audiences got, the same sentiment going into Rey’s original new lightsaber at least went on to be used in the franchise’s latest videogame Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. After he damages the lightsaber he was passed on by his late master, protagonist Cal Kestis fused its remains with another one gifted to him by his new, ex-Jedi companion, Cere Junda. In this case, Cal’s hybrid lightsaber was powered by an entirely new kyber crystal he found on Ilum, which split in two similar to Luke and Anakin’s weapon.
The lightsaber Rey wields in Colin Trevorrow’s unused screenplay for Star Wars: Episode IX would have fit the saga’s ongoing themes and story to a tee