A rumor has been circulating recently that an alternate ending to The Rise of Skywalker had been filmed in which Rey died (and stayed dead) and Kylo Ren lived on to take up the mantle of Skywalker.
Then on January 30th, the rumor was corroborated… or was it?
Juan Bautista, a man claiming to be one of the actors portraying the Knights of Ren known as Ushar, heavily suggested to the interviewers on the “Popcorn Talk” video podcast that he had seen this alleged alternate ending to The Rise of Skywalker a mere week before the film’s official release in theaters, saying:
“I saw it a week before… then I saw it when it came out.”
Asked what was different between the two viewings, Bautista suggested that the current rumors were true, saying:
“It was a few things. Different, kind of— wasn’t the same… It wasn’t longer or shorter. It was just that things were changed… Well, I’d say the rumor— The rumor is that…[Rey] does croak and Kylo was the one that’s supposed to take up the name for Skywalker.”
The interviewers went on to talk about the “rumors” that Rey died and the “rumors” that Kylo lived and became a Skywalker, while Bautista nodded and grinned, although looking slightly uncomfortable.
But not so fast. Things don’t quite add up here.
Ashley Beck, the stuntman and martial artist who actually portrayed Ushar, posted on his official Instagram on December 20th 2019 the following:
Beck went on to tag the five other actors who portrayed the KoR, namely Martin Wilde, Tom Rodgers, Anton Simpson-Tidy, Joe Kennard, and Lukaz Leong. He didn’t tag anyone named Juan Bautista.
Further, Twitter user @JordanMaison tweeted on the evening of January 30th that a certain Lucasfilm employee who limits his tweets (Pablo? Is that you?) had communicated this to his followers:
Add to all that the logistics of screening an alternate ending one week before the release, when the film was already in the can, mere days away from being sent to theaters. Also, the fact that on December 10th, 2019, just a little over a week from release, JediPaxis of Reddit fame posted the final update to his leaks, which revealed in precise detail the movie that we actually got (rather than the one Bautista claims to have seen around that same time).
Is it possible Juan Bautista was a stuntman for the stuntman Ashley Beck? It’s not impossible (though the acting credit doesn’t appear on what seems to be Bautista’s IMDb page). Is it possible that a fake ending was screened to secondary stuntmen one week before release in order to throw people off of the accurate leaks that had been circulating for months? Stranger things have happened.
But honestly, this all seems like typical much ado about nothing. Just more Star Wars drama churned from the rumor mill. Nothing much to see here. Moving along….