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Dais Johnston

'Rise of Skywalker' concept art finally fixes Kylo Ren's arc

Star Wars has never shied away from a planet-hopping adventure. Especially in the sequel trilogy, fans were bombarded with new planets, environments, and creatures. However, there are some planets from stories before that didn’t make the cut — and those decisions could have made all the difference. One artist has released never-before-seen concept art that shows a side quest that could have changed, and maybe fixed, Kylo Ren’s storyline.

On his website, concept artist Jon McCoy recently unveiled a “sketchbook” of unfinished/unused Rise of Skywalker concept art. While all these images are intriguing for every Star Wars fan, one batch of art is fascinating: a series of landscapes showing Kylo among the ruins of a post-Order 66 Coruscant.

While there isn’t much in the actual images, just Kylo exploring an abandoned cityscape, it has enormous implications for the Star Wars universe. Coruscant was the center of Jedi culture during the prequel trilogy, but the activation of Order 66 left it abandoned.

What does this mean for The Rise of Skywalker? It could have added a lot more relevance to Kylo’s arc. We saw him track down the sites that were special to his idol/grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, walking the streets where we saw a young Anakin turn to the dark side.

This would have grounded Kylo’s character and made his complex relationship with the Force more clearly understood. After all, Coruscant is where Anakin wrestled with his allegiance. It could have been the most straightforward way to show the parallel between the two.

But don’t completely give up hope on this missed opportunity. Star Wars has been known to recycle past rejected ideas in future Star Wars projects. The ice spiders in The Mandalorian Season 2 were inspired by some truly iconic Empire Strikes Back art. However, since Kylo’s story is very much at an end, it’s unlikely we’ll see this in Star Wars’ future.

However, Star Wars is known for timeline-hopping as much as planet-hopping. We may very well see a young Ben Solo — maybe one fresh from his, uh, tumultuous expulsion from Luke’s Jedi Academy — on a pilgrimage to the lands of his ancestor.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now streaming on Disney+.

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