Jurassic World screenwriters Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly receive a "story by" credit in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but Chris Terrio, who co-wrote the finished film with director J.J. Abrams, says he and Abrams "started from scratch" and worked "from a blank page" when brought onto the project after original director Trevorrow was dismissed by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. When Trevorrow departed the project over reported creative differences, The Force Awakens director Abrams accepted an offer from Kennedy to return and close out the trilogy and the nine-episode saga. In doing so, he and Terrio started over with a fresh script:
"We are both a little superstitious about starting with material that might lead us in a direction that's different than the one we might've gone in naturally. So we didn't begin with the previous script," Terrio told TheWrap. "There may have been certain elements that we used that had been in the original script and we weren't aware of it. The [Writers Guild of America] makes the determination about those things."
Terrio added, "We didn't have a bad relationship to Colin's material. We just didn't start with it. It's not a juicy story of intrigue or anything."
Trevorrow in recent weeks revealed his version of Episode IX did not include a revived Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), and bringing back the villain who perished in Return of the Jedi is something Trevorrow "never considered."
In a separate interview with Awards Daily, Terrio said the controversial decision to involve Palpatine was discussed before he ever signed onto the project.
"Well, I can't speak to Kathy's overall intent," Terrio said when asked if Palpatine was always in the plans for the saga's finale. "That was certainly discussed and was discussed before I ever came on." Kennedy, he added, "had this overall vision that we had to be telling the same story for nine episodes."
"Although from the sleight of hand of Episode VII and Episode VIII, you wouldn't necessarily know immediately that we were telling the same story," Terrio continued. "She thought it would be a very strong end for the ninth movie. This fits well with J.J. because he loves magic tricks. He will often talk in metaphors and magic tricks, and so in Episode VII and Episode VIII, you think you're watching one thing but Episode IX tells you to watch more closely – you were actually watching something else."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.