The journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been an arduous one, and since fans of the franchise are never happy new drama unfolds about the film. If you opened Twitter on Tuesday, you would have seen fans demanding Disney release the Abrams Cut of The Rise of Skywalker. “But wait,” you a smart fan and dedicated reader of Comic Years might say, “isn’t the film we got the J.J. Abrams cut?” The answer is: Yes, of course. However, since The Last Jedi backlash drove the fandom insane, we now have to deal with a contingent of angry fans demanding the version of a film they already have. This gets really silly, but since your humble correspondent is a Star Wars psychopath, I know how this all happened.
First, before we get into the fan demand of the release of the Abrams cut of The Rise of Skywalker we have to talk about Reddit. There is a big Star Wars community on the site, and the man subreddit is mostly people posting pictures of cosplay, collections, and anodyne things like that. There is a subreddit devoted to Star Wars movie leaks, which has a pretty good track record of revealing the plots of the films before they are released. And finally, there is the “Saltier Than Crait” subreddit, a wretched hive of scum and villainy (and sexism). Also involved is a YouTuber who wears a cardboard mask who goes by the name of Doomcock.
The Origins of The Rise of Skywalker Abrams Cut Lie
Image via Lucasfilm
After Solo underperformed because of poor scheduling and little fan desire for a Han Solo origin film, Star Wars haters felt emboldened. They thought their meager outrage at The Last Jedi tanked the film and that Disney was “panicked” to “save” the franchise. As the Star Wars leaks subreddit did what they do, Doomcrotch took those leaks and weaved his own misogynist conspiracy theory about the film. He released a video saying that Disney completed three films, one of which was apparently stealth-written and stealth-directed by George Lucas himself. These movies were “so bad,” apparently, audiences “walked out” of the test screenings. (Of course, they didn’t even do test screenings for The Rise of Sykwalker at all.) Still, this put the idea that there are multiple “versions” of The Rise of Skywalker out there, including the now-fabled Abrams Cut.
The folks at Saltier Than Crait loved this. They claim to be a group of “real” Star Wars fans mad at changes made during the sequel trilogy. In reality, they are mostly people angry that a woman is the main protagonist of the film, women did anything at all in The Last Jedi, and that Kathleen Kennedy is a woman. So, one of the moderators of that subreddit wrote yesterday that a “source who worked closely on the production” (?) reached out about how Disney essentially changed the film without director J.J. Abrams’ knowledge. Thus, this bit of fanfiction (or, to be fair, a hoax played on the moderator) resulted in fans demanding the Abrams Cut of The Rise of Skywalker.
The Rise of Skywalker Abrams Cut is Supposedly 3 Hours Long and Features Fan Dreams Made Manifest
Image via Lucasfilm
The “source” suggested that the bidding war that saw J.J. Abrams take Bad Robot to WarnerMedia last year created bad blood between Lucasfilm and the director. After the premiere of the movie, Abrams was reportedly “devastated and blindsided” by the fact that the movie was not the one they thought they made. Yes, this person claims that some point between the friends and family screening of the film and the official premiere, Disney stealth-edited the film to change it entirely. Now, was the motivation for these changes the “Social Justice Warrior” agenda Doomcrotch rails against? Was the motivation for the changes simply Disney thinking they didn’t have a good movie on their hands? No, according to this very dumb theory, Disney is trying to tank their $1 billion-plus film to “make J.J. look bad to potential investors” and Warner Bros. shareholders.
Firstly, this idea is ludicrous on its face. It’s like a House of Cards plot, if that show was written by children who had no idea how things actually work. Even if Disney felt some kind of way about J.J. Abrams heading to Warner Bros., they wouldn’t deliberately try to tank a movie that in their wildest hopes could make close to $2 billion. (Though it looks like the poor dears will have to settle for $1 billion and change, “change” being many hundreds of millions of dollars.)
Secondly, there is no way that a fleet of film editors could completely recut a movie in just a few days. In fact, longtime editor for Abrams Maryann Brandon described the editing process in an interview. Because they had three months less time to do this film than they did The Force Awakens, editing had to be done on set often mere meters from where Abrams was directing.
What Happens In The Rise of Skywalker Abrams Cut (That Almost Certainly Doesn’t Exist)
Image via Lucasfilm
After setting up this nonsense conspiracy theory in which Disney actually paid people to spoil their movie to hurt its director, the “leaker” goes on to describe what fans are missing. There are a number of moments in The Rise of Skywalker Abrams Cut that, conveniently, match previous “leaks” that proved not to be accurate. The biggest moments moment involved Rey actually surrounded by Force Ghosts. Instead of just hearing them she would have seen them, including ghosts played by Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, and Hayden Christensen. Cutting this scene “was when the bad blood turned into a nightmare” for Abrams, apparently. The leaker’s source is, actually, super-close to J.J. The post includes a fun line where J.J. shouts “Why don’t you just put directed and written by Lucasfilm” in the credits. (The leaker is actually super-close to J.J., apparently.)
There was supposed to be more made of Finn’s force-sensitivity, more of Kylo on Mustafar in the beginning, and also a romantic relationship between Finn and Poe. They cut down the lightspeed skipping segment, and amazingly all of the planets removed were fan-favorite locations like Naboo, Kamino, and Kashyyk. One of the most fanfiction-y cuts was that Leia actually manifested that memory of Han Solo Kylo/Ben saw after Rey stabbed him. (This is despite the fact that she died before any of this happened.) Also, Disney and Lucasfilm wanted to cut Babu Frik entirely (despite him being in the promotional material) because they worried he wouldn’t be received well by fans.
And, despite the fact that The Rise of Skywalker perfectly complements The Last Jedi, J.J. actually hated that movie. Despite being an executive producer on The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker Abrams Cut would have “undone” the movie even further.
This is Angry Fan Nonsense and Nothing More
Image via Lucasfilm
Other notable moments of silliness exist in the original Reddit post. The Abrams Cut of The Rise of Skywalker would have not had the kiss between Rey and Kylo. It would have had more Rose Tico scenes. There was a whole quietly brooding scene with Kylo Ren that ended up cut. My favorite of all of them, however, is that for some reason Abrams objected to John Williams’ score, particularly during the fight scene with the Knights of Ren. That anyone believes this is credible at all is almost offensive. There were disappointing things about The Rise of Skywalker, but nothing that justifies such an outlandish theory.
Now, to be fair, there was surely conflict between Abrams and Lucasfilm during the making of this film. The unmovable release date meant that Abrams and company didn’t have a lot of time to complete the film. Co-writer Chris Terrio said they wanted the film to be two movies, which might even be true. Still, the idea that they recut the film without J.J. Abrams’ knowledge and purposefully did it to make him seem like a failure is objectively stupid. Yet, the “true” reason for this “leak” gets revealed towards the end.
The “source” says that because of the massive disappointment in The Last Jedi Abrams found himself on “a tighter leash.” Thus all of Saltier Than Crait’s favorite tropes are at play in this theory. Rian Johnson did a bad job, the evil overlords of Kathleen Kennedy and Disney ruined the sequel, and J.J. Abrams ended up hamstrung by a “terrible story.”
So, the Abrams Cut of The Rise of Skywalker almost certainly doesn’t exist. Surely scenes and sequences ended up cut from the movie. Yet, suggesting Disney and Abrams worked against one another is preposterous.
What do you think? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.