‘Rise of Skywalker’ Deleted Scene Almost Stopped Ben Solo’s Salvation

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A close up of Adam Driver

Weeks before Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) premiered in theaters, the film received major recuts that shifted the film’s original narrative. The most recent report comes from Chewbacca actor Joonas Suotamo in his new book, Roar! – My Life as a Wookie, in which he details that he and co-star Adam Driver shared a now-deleted scene that featured Kylo Ren torturing everyone’s favorite Wookie for information about the Resistance.

The Force Awakens
Credit: Lucasfilm

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While the late actor Peter Mayhew is known for his legendary portrayal of Chewbacca in both the prequels and the original Star Wars trilogy, Finnish actor Joonas Suotamo fills the Wookiee suit in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

Numerous reports confirmed that Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker underwent major rearrangements that affected the overall storyline, and for better or for worse, altered the conclusion of the Skywalker saga in the Star Wars movies.

However, a now-deleted scene in The Rise of Skywalker would have torn Star Wars fans apart.

Related: Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren, Grogu, & How They’ll Shape ‘Star Wars’

The fan-owned Twitter account The Adam Driver Files posted a translated excerpt from Joonas Suotamo’s Roar!, a novel describing the scene.

The Adam Driver Files shared:

“Joonas describes torture scene that was filmed as very intense & very tough for him both as Chewie’s actor & also mentally because Adam had ‘psyched himself to be a real monster through it all, w/ the cameras on or off.”

Adam Driver took method acting to another level during the production of The Rise of Skywalker, as Driver avoided speaking with Suotamo even after the cameras stopped rolling.

The Adam Driver Files later added:

Adam didn’t talk at all during breaks, even though at this point the actors were otherwise friends. Joonas says Adam was so convincing in the deleted torture scene that he was at times actually scared & he believes the scene might have turned out too dark for the film.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Concept Design Supervisor Ryan Church has taken to Twitter to share his own account on this now infamous scene, explaining the context related to his concept art that depicted this tumultuous scene.

Related: How Darth Vader Helped Kylo Ren Long Before His Birth

Church wrote:

“In the script this moment was a bit vague, I chose a camera angle, composition and gesture that says all there is to say about the relationship here- it could have been one of the most intense, meaningful moments of the Trilogy,” Church confirmed on Twitter. “Compositionally it kind of hits you over the head- the shape of Chewie and the chain forms an arrow that points right to Kylo’s head.”

He later added:

“Chewbacca’s body language- locked knees and straight back despite his obvious defeat- are meant to suggest the tension of the moment- he has the choice to make, will he raise his head to make eye contact?”

Thankfully, Lucasfilm executives agreed on leaving out the scene to avoid making the movie too dark, as well as dodging major backlash from Star Wars fans. No one wants to see the lovable Wookiee tortured, especially after considering how much turmoil that species has already gone through in the Star Wars universe.

George Lucas always aimed to provide family-friendly content in his original trilogy and beyond. Never do you see a Tie Fighter pilot injured when his galactic starcruiser is destroyed, nor are graphic images present when the Death Star does its stuff. Lucas never showed gory images after a lightsaber wound, and Lucasfilm’s team continues this tradition.

While he was a major bonus in the prequel trilogy, the son of Han Solo would have had a much harder time stepping from the dark side to the light side if this scene was left in. His character arc was already rough in the series, and this scene would have halted any possibilities of Kylo Ren being redeemed in this Star Wars saga.

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