'Rise of Skywalker' leak alleges reshoots might have cut two Force ghosts

Similar speculation about late-game tweaks to past 'Star Wars' movies have been tough to confirm.

Obi-Wan Kenobi's ghost in 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Either Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is going to be filled-to-the-brim with ghosts, or a bunch of ghosts have just been lost on the cutting room floor. The latest batches of leaks and rumors about The Rise of Skywalker suggests two very famous Jedi ghosts have been downgraded from being full-body ghosts to disembodied voices. But did this cut really happen? And should you really get too worried about ghosts getting downgraded? This is Star Wars, so you better believe we’re worried! Let’s get into it.

Major speculative spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, plus alleged leaks and rumors from other websites are discussed below. You’ve been warned.

According to excerpts from Jason Ward’s podcast Now This Is Podcasting!; reshoots on The Rise of Skywalker have resulted in Force ghosts of both Luke and Leia to become a little less Force-ghosty. In other words, the Making Star Wars editor suggests that earlier cut of the film may have shown Luke and Leia as full-bodied ghosts. Instead, Ward claims, that in the final version of the film, the Skywalker siblings are more like voices whispering in Rey’s ear, kind of like Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope’s climactic Death Star attack run. Here’s the breakdown from Reddit.

Making Star Wars is a somewhat mysterious outfit that seems to be right a lot of the time about stuff that could happen in Star Wars movies. So if you wanted to start placing bets on some of this stuff, including the idea that “Luke and Leia’s ghosts don’t show up anymore” and that Palpatine is into some crystal shit, be my guest. But here’s the thing: with three months to go before The Rise of Skywalker hits, there’s no way all this stuff can be true, particularly when it comes to reshoots dramatically altering the final cut of the film. After all, we’ve been down this road before. Here are three things to bear in mind as we consider these new leaks, all the specifics about alleged Luke and Leia Force ghosts, and speculation tied to past Star Wars reshoots.

Rogue One
Remember this scene in the movie? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Star Wars reshoots are always shrouded in mystery

Figuring out what has been changed by reshoots in a movie no one in the public has seen yet is a tricky game, kind of like when Luke used his lightsaber against that remote with the blast shield down; only in our version of it, it’s like fighting with blinders on while you’re also asleep. We all tried to play this game during the big Rogue One reshoot crisis, and we certainly tried to figure out what (if anything) Ron Howard kept from the Miller and Lord version of Solo. Here’s what we knew before those respective films came out about the reshoots: The reshoots were happening. And here’s what we knew after those movies came out.

  • In Rogue One, basically, an entirely new ending was added and the movie was reshuffled to accommodate that.
  • With Solo, um, well, we kind of still don’t know, and we maybe never will. Some of the deleted scenes make it seem like there was a version of this movie without the space fuel called “coaxium,” but that’s not clear at all.

So, perhaps we shouldn’t pretend to know what the reshoots in Rise of Skywalker have changed, given that we still don’t even know what happened with reshoots from movies that have been out for quite a while?

yoda luke the last jedi
Expect me, you did not! Nothing, you learned, from the leaks.

Even half-right leaks from previous Star Wars movies were often half-wrong

Making Star Wars is a fun website and certainly is way more interesting than people who just outright lie (like Mike Zeroh). And yet, if you dig back in the site’s archives, you’ll find various leaks from The Last Jedi that reach conclusions that are simply not true. Some of the information is right, but the conclusions aren’t.

For example, in March 2017, Making Star Wars ran a piece about a mysteriously burnt tree in The Last Jedi. In the film, this is the tree Yoda sets fire to with lightning. Obviously, no one of us knew that yet, because none of us knew Yoda was even in the movie. But in this piece, Ward suggests the tree was possibly burnt by Kylo Ren, and also tries to explicitly link the tree to The Clone Wars. None of this is right. He was right about the tree existing, and right that it was burned, but nothing else. There’s a lot of stuff like this when you dive into the archives of anyone’s fan theories (just look at some of the crazy shit I wrote even a few months ago, if you want) but Making Star Wars presents this stuff as pseudo-fact. In the world of Star Wars fandom, a “leak” often carries more weight than a “rumor” or a “theory,” because the term implies its something the filmmakers want to keep secret. The problem is, very often, these leaks end up being wrong, even if they contain stuff that is right.

Did Making Star Wars or anyone else know Yoda was going to be in The Last Jedi? NOPE. We all figured that one out when Frank Oz showed up to the premiere of that film about a week before it came out. How about Darth Maul in Solo? No one saw that coming either, even though we should have. Ray Park was at the Solo premiere, and at the time it seemed nobody noticed or cared. Oops!

Luke and Leia in 'The Last Jedi'
Luke and Leia in 'The Last Jedi'

The notion of Luke and Leia helping Rey in a big fight seems off for one big reason

Rumors about ghosts are in some ways a perfect encapsulation of all fan theories and rumors before a Star Wars movie comes out: We’re all basically C-3PO, a rational thinking machine, who was somehow completely fooled by a ghostly astral projection of a dude who wasn’t there. So, will the spirits of Luke and Leia aid Rey in a pivotal battle? My money is on no, and that’s because reshoots or no reshoots, this all sounds a little too similar to stuff that was cut from early versions of Return of the Jedi. When you hit the books, specifically Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, you’ll discover that this idea has been floating around before. In one proposed version of that film, Luke would have been assisted by fully-reborn Obi-Wan. In later versions, spectral images of Yoda and Obi-Wan would have acted as shields to protect Luke from the Emperor’s lightning. All of this stuff is documented pretty well and has been out there, for anyone to read, since at least 1997.

So, the idea that Rey would be assisted by the voices or the spirits of Luke and Leia in the middle of a fight just smacks of being way too close to that Return of the Jedi idea. It seems like the information has something genuine to it, but it doesn’t seem like it’s being applied the right way. Dramatically, Rey can’t rely on Luke and Leia in this movie, disembodied voices or not. For one thing, Luke basically shut down this idea in the very first trailer. He likes Rey, and all the nice Jedi ghosts are rooting for her. But, as he said: “This is your fight now.”


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.

Media via Sidon_Ithano, Lucasfilm