Novelist Alan Dean Foster wrote a treatment for Star Wars: Episode IX that the prolific author says would have retconned "as much as possible" from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which Foster calls a "terrible film" and a "terrible Star Wars movie." Foster, who penned the novel adaptations for creator George Lucas' original Star Wars and the J.J. Abrams-directed The Force Awakens, says he "hated" writer-director Rian Johnson's middle installment preceding what would become Abrams' Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In Foster's unused treatment for Episode IX, the author attempted to correct or explain many of the "silly things" in Episode VIII of Disney-Lucasfilm's Star Wars sequel trilogy:
"Episode VIII was out, it was a done deal. And I went and saw it, and I thought it was a terrible film. I thought it was a terrible Star Wars movie, and there's no need to go into why because every fan already has," Foster told Midnight's Edge. "I thought, 'How can this be retconned? How can we fix as much as possible from Episode VIII in a proposed Episode IX?' And I wrote a partial treatment for that, attempting in that storyline to explain a lot of the really silly things that happened in Episode VIII."
Foster's media representative was unable to get the treatment looked at by Disney because The Rise of Skywalker had already entered into production. "I did that for the fans," Foster said. "I never expected Disney to do anything with that."
In his Episode IX treatment, Foster set out to explain why the untrained Rey (Daisy Ridley) "suddenly has more Force powers than anybody" after a brief visit to the watery planet of Ahch-To in The Last Jedi. "How can I explain that away? And can I somehow tie that into the fact that she was abandoned on her planet on Jakku and bring those two things together?"
Foster conceived an idea to give Rey an undefined disease that would have meant replacing part of her brain with electronics, making her "part droid" to explain her quickly-acquired skills.
"That gives her the ability to learn remarkably quickly and also enhances her existing Force powers, and that's how she can throw boulders around at the end of Episode VIII," Foster said. "Also, it allows her to be instantly simpatico with other droids. I thought this would be a really fun story element, as well as explaining why and how she's able to do these remarkable things."
The treatment also gives Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) "what I thought was a proper send-off at the end of Episode IX." In The Last Jedi, Luke dies alone on Ahch-To after using the Force to project his image across the galaxy to Crait, where he confronts and taunts corrupted nephew Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
"At the end of it, there's a big battle on Coruscant with the Emperor's clones. I also manage to provide proper motivation for the character that they forced Boyega to fall in love with, I give her something proper to do that justifies her character," Foster said of Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), the Resistance maintenance worker introduced in The Last Jedi. "At the end of the film, Luke is dying under a tree, and Rey comes out. And Luke's last words are 'Aunt Beru,' which brings the whole thing full cycle."
"I don't know. I tried, anyway," Foster said. "I tried."
Asked how he feels towards the Sequel Trilogy, Foster said, "I liked Episode VII very much. I thought it set up a lot of really neat things that were never addressed in Episode VIII. I hated Episode VIII, and I thought Episode IX was good. Not great, but good."
Foster added that, by returning for what became Rise of Skywalker, Abrams was "stuck with the problem of trying to explain and deal with so many of the silly, ludicrous things that happened in Episode VIII. You can tell that I'm going to be asked to write Episode X (laughs)."