Coruscant nearly made its return in the Skywalker saga’s conclusion, and now we have a taste of what we could have gotten.
If fans were to be polled on their favorite Star Wars planets, Coruscant would likely be near the top of the list. It was home to a sprawling cityscape, bustling underground and some of the prequel trilogy’s finest moments.
Of course, barring some later editions of Return of The Jedi, it was absent in the original trilogy and the latest appearances have come outside the main films. However, there was a chance to see the planet once again in The Rise of Skywalker.
Concept art from the film, released by production designer Kevin Jenkins and laid out here on Reddit, reveal the early plans for the planet’s return. Ultimately, we know this didn’t pan out, but it leads to an interesting discussion about just what could have been.
Why bring Coruscant back?
First, it’s important to acknowledge that this concept art is not from Colin Trevorrow’s initial story, but rather, the beginning stages of J.J. Abrams’ rewrite. Trevorrow left the project in 2017, whereas Abrams stepped on in September of that year with this art dating back to November.
Coruscant was believed to be a focal point of Trevorrow’s film, which is likely why it remains here, however, its utilization seems very different. The first image shows Emperor Palpatine, indicating that Coruscant may have served as the backdrop for his return, unlike the film’s Exegol.
It would align with the fact that a Sith shrine sits beneath the Jedi Temple at Coruscant, which was even believed to wield some form of influence. A later image further emphasizes that point, as we see Rey beside a pair of Sith statues — this time on Exegol — but embodying the same idea.
Another piece of art shows Kylo Ren flying through the blood-soaked space of Coruscant, with one of the more interesting images being what Jenkins called an “ash-covered Coruscant,” with Rey landed on it in Red 5, which made an appearance in the final cut.
Piecing this art together, it becomes apparent that Coruscant was originally the site of Palpatine’s story and the film’s final battle, only to be replaced by Exegol. Browsing through Jenkins’ Twitter replicates that impression, with Palpatine’s throne and the underground lab being familiar sights.
What could Coruscant have been like in the Rise of Skywalker?
This version of Coruscant gives a very different impression than the one we know and love. The emptiness pales in comparison to the vibrancy of the prequel trilogy but could have made for an intriguing, perhaps even post-apocalyptic, experience. From a broader sense, it would have been a neat way to wrap up the trilogy.
This isn’t the first time we have seen concept art of Coruscant either. Trevorrow’s original script planned to include even more of the Republic capital, with this art being just one example. While it didn’t ultimately come to fruition, it’s interesting to know that the writers continued to consider it. In the end, I can only imagine my excitement at seeing Coruscant on screen.
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