Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker director Colin Trevorrow apparently had an entirely different script ready back in early December of 2016, about a week before Carrie Fisher passed away. Depending on what your issues with Rise were, this Trevorrow script may have solved them. Video blogger and director, Robert Meyer Burnett, got the chance to look at Trevorrow and writing partner Derek Connolly's take on Episode IX, and The AV Club has independently verified that this is legit.Starting around 20:39 in Burnett's video, you can see a photo of a script title page and a crawl that reads:
The iron grip of the FIRST ORDER has spread to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Only a few scattered planets remain unoccupied. Traitorous acts are punishable by death.
Determined to suffocate a growing unrest, Supreme Leader KYLO REN has silenced all communication between neighboring systems.
Led by GENERAL LEIA ORGANA, the Resistance has planned a secret mission to prevent their annihilation and forge a path to freedom...
The film also has a way better subtitle, "Duel of the Fates," and Reddit user Lollifroll was helpful enough to put together some of the key plot points for a general public who can't listen to a video blog for 3 hours.
If you were hoping for more Rose Tico, you would have gotten your wish: She was apparently set to be a much more important character. The movie would have opened with her and BB-8 attempting to blow up the base where the First Order were building their ships. The Knights of Ren, while featured in Abrams' film, would have gotten some dialogue, and an opportunity to look like actual bad guys worth fighting, instead of Toys R' Us mannequins brought to life. Hux would have become Chancellor Hux, and we'd have been witness to a horrifying early instance of him using a light blade guillotine, which would hopefully make us all stop laughing at how ridiculous Hux is.
Kylo Ren would be off on Mustafar (his grandpa's old holy grounds) yelling at his uncle Luke's Force ghost and searching for "something of great power," where he finds a sort of Last Will and Testament from Palpatine to Vader. The will instructs Vader to bring Luke to see a Sith Master in another system. Kylo heads there instead, to train under this Sith Master, Tor Valum. Kylo's training somehow involves fighting Darth Vader -- a fight which he obviously loses -- and man, don't you want to see Vader kick Ren's head in?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rey is doing a ton of training with Force Ghost Luke. She's getting very obviously frustrated, particularly with this "balance between the Dark side and the Light side" stuff. She's got a badass new lightsaber (she combined Luke's cracked one with her own staff), and she's also found something in the Jedi Texts about a "Force Beacon" hidden underneath the old Jedi Temple on Coruscant. This Force Beacon is from way before the Empire, and the Resistance is going to try to use it to gain some allies.
There's a big fight between Rey and Kylo, wherein he reveals that he's actually the one who killed her parents so long ago -- so it's not a stretch for us to think the Force might have connected them that day. Anyone who'd been making Harry-Voldemort comparisons with Rey and Kylo can feel good that Trevorrow more or less doubled down on it.
Burnett has now released a second video with even further details, and u/Lollifroll has helpfully summarized more of it. Some of the highlights include Kylo getting some vampiric lessons in "consuming life force," the tragic death and resurrection of R2-D2, and Hux's lightsaber collection (he commits seppuku with what seems to be Mace Windu's lightsaber).
In general, the alternate script seems to complete the story arcs in bolder and more satisfying ways than Rise: There's a big finale with a lot of Force-intensive battling in amidst the lightsaber work, largely because Kylo strikes Rey and blinds her, forcing her to fight without seeing. Kylo nearly kills Rey with his vampire force powers, but has a change of heart and puts his own life force into her instead. He dies, and in his final breath tells her that her last name was Solana. "Rey of Sunshine," if you will.
Which, okay... it's not all better.