Before we dive into this list, I want to make it clear that I understand that these books’ concepts don’t always mean they were ever intended for the movie. Phil Szostak, who helps put these books together, pointed this out on Twitter and I thought it’s best to open with that. These are just concepts that are drawn before the script is written often as a starting point. So here are the five things that stuck out the most to me.
5. Gold Kylo Mask
One of the cooler Kylo Ren concepts that I found while looking through The Art of The Rise of Skywalker book is the concept that Kylo Ren’s fixed mask had a golden glow/plating instead of the red. I think that this would have been a cool movie concept for a multitude of reasons. I think if you are going to fix Kylo’s mask, making it gold instead of red would have given a fresh look to the character. The red glow fits with him when he is the full-blown villain of the trilogy, but in the movie that is redeeming the character, that new look would have been a nice revamp of his look.
I cannot recall a main character in Star Wars having some sort of gold-plated armor, so by adding the gold to Kylo Ren, it would have been a nice and new feel to the franchise. I do hope that in a future Star Wars project, they roll with the golden look for another main character. I think it would act as another iconic Star Wars look, and I am sure that fans would fall in love with it. So, hopefully, this concept gets utilized down the road.
Finally, I think that the gold armor would translate with the entire “Dyad in the Force” concept. Half of the Dyad, Rey, got a gold/yellow lightsaber in one of the final shots of the movie. So, to me, it makes a lot of sense for Kylo Ren, the second half of the Dyad, to have something of his also be gold. By doing so, it would play into the whole rhyming parallels that Star Wars has always loved to do.
4. Rey’s Double-Sided Saber
Another cool concept they had early on is Rey having a double-sided lightsaber that she used in training during the movie. From the concept art, which for this is in all black and white, it looks like they had the idea of making her staff into this double-sided lightsaber. From what I have read up on the double-sided saber and staff combo, folks have reason to believe that J.J. Abrams and company decided against it entirely because they thought that style of the saber is unique to Darth Maul and should remain that way. I get that reasoning, and looking back, they probably made the right choice even though I would have liked to see that concept come to fruition with Rey.
Although, Dark Rey did have a double-sided saber in The Rise of Skywalker. I guess I will always just be craving some more of Rey wielding a weapon in the double-sided variety.
3. Chewbacca Interrogation
In The Art of The Rise of Skywalker book, there are a couple of images of a captured Chewbacca being held and interrogated by Kylo Ren. The imagery in the book is fantastic and easily one of my favorite unused concepts in the entire Sequel Trilogy. Not only does it look great, I think it would have added a very emotional layer for the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga.
Chewbacca and Kylo Ren have become fan favorites over the years, but in the movies, we never get them to have a face-off with one of each other. Sure, in a way, they do meet during The Force Awakens when Chewbacca fires his blaster at Kylo Ren, but we never get the one on one interaction that would have been so deeply rich content-wise. I think like when Leia dies, we would get a very emotional reaction from Chewbacca. There could have even been some deep, emotional content from Kylo Ren as he reminisces on what he did to Han Solo – further setting up his redemption later on in the movie. If I had to guess, this never made it into the movie because of pacing.
2. The Bog and The Oracle
Okay, okay, okay, but why oh why didn’t this glorious concept make it into the movie? I love every little thing about The Bog and The Oracle on Mustafar. It feels so Star Warsy and in so many ways that it was something out of The Mortis Trilogy in The Clone Wars. The Oracle is so mystical and weird, and one hundred percent belongs in the Star Wars universe. Having Kylo Ren talk to this creature about the Force, or Vader, or anything in between, would have been a top-tier Star Wars moment, and quite possibly is one of my favorite “what could have been” Star Wars moments.
What puts this concept over the top for me is the fact that it would have been mostly a practical effect, a lot like Yoda in the Original Trilogy. I love the idea of The Oracle being more practical, or at least leaning towards more practical effects because it makes everything feel more real, in my opinion. Anyway, I hope down the road we get this slug/spider hybrid talking about the Force on a baby’s head. I’d take thirty seasons of The Oracle talking about the Force on Disney+ please and thanks.
1. No Exegol or Palpatine
The last on this list is more of something that is lacking from this art book. There are very limited concepts (there’s like two or three) of Exegol, and there are NONE from what I could see of old man Palpatine. This boggles my mind. Palpatine was the big hook when promoting the movie, and there is NO art of him. Now, I am sure that there are concepts drawn up of him and his throne, they just are not included within the artbook. Part of it is frustrating, but in a way, maybe I sort of get it? They probably don’t want to release ALL the concept art, but man do I want to see at least some of this version of Palpatine in concept form.
The planet of Exegol has about two pieces of concept art, and for a new planet that is a huge focal point in The Rise of Skywalker, it is so bizarre that it severely lacks throughout the book. All of the concept art for Exegol is the exterior, and it just begs the question of why there is no throne room or interior to the temple of Exegol in the book. You would think for the final chapter in this saga that we would get some juicy content concept art-wise for the final battle of the Sequel Trilogy. I guess for me, it is just odd to not include a ton of Exegol and Palpatine content.
Overall, the artbook is great, as it always is. I love these books, and it’s a subgenre of Star Wars I’ve gotten into over the last few years. Hopefully, you all enjoy this list and the book as well.