There is no shortage of behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. Plenty has been written about how it was J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt’s idea to excise Luke Skywalker almost completely from The Force Awakens, ditching the notes and outlines George Lucas had handed over to Disney during the Lucasfilm deal. And how Rian Johnson returned to some of Lucas’ original Sequel Trilogy ideas for The Last Jedi, especially when it came to Luke training a new generation of Jedi. Meanwhile, Lucas’ idea for our heroes to explore the “microbiotic world” of the Whills remains untouched.
Then there’s all the drama surrounding the making of the final chapter of the trilogy. As we all know now, “creative differences” saw director Colin Trevorrow step away from Episode IX. The original script, titled “Duel of the Fates,” which he wrote with Derek Connelly, was ditched in favor of Abrams’ return to finish what he’d started. The result was The Rise of Skywalker, which, for better or worse, did away with many of Trevorrow and Connelly’s ideas in favor of something a bit more…nostalgic. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t parts of “Duel of the Fates” that survived the upheaval at Lucasfilm.
Consider the case of Tor Valum and the Eye of Webbish Bog, dark side monsters meant to guide Kylo Ren at crucial points in his journey. In “Duel of the Fates,” Kylo would have met the grotesque alien creature named Tor Valum, the Dark Lord of the Sith who trained Darth Plagueis, Emperor Palpatine’s own master briefly referenced in Revenge of the Sith. In concept art, he’s depicted as a Lovecraftian monster floating in a sort of bog inside of an ancient Sith temple.
But when Abrams took over, Tor Valum was no more, as the role of Kylo’s Sith mentor went to Palpatine himself. Instead, the monster concept was recycled in the form of the spider-like Eye of Webbish Bog, a creature who lives in a lake on Mustafar. The monster was meant to appear briefly in the film’s opening. After Kylo Ren slaughters the cultists protecting the artifact he’s after, he meets the Eye, who gives him the Sith wayfinder and explains how it will guide him to the planet Exegol.
While concept art is all fans have ever seen of this story beat in the movie, the Eye of Webbish Bog sequence did make it into Rae Carson’s The Rise of Skywalker novelization. The scene was also shot for the film but later cut by Abrams.
“I think it maybe was too lengthy an explanation for something that [Abrams] was able to explain in the movie much quicker, eventually,” creature and special make-up effects creative supervisor Neal Scanlan explained to Collider in 2020. “Runtime is always my biggest fear on any movie. So much of what we do, so much of what we shoot—and I’m sure this is the same for every department—you invest so much time and love in it and you hope it’ll make the final cut, but it doesn’t always do that because the movie would be four hours long. Which would be great!”
Fortunately, the creepy Eye of Webbish Bog has found a second life outside the big screen. The design was recently revived for Marvel’s Darth Vader series, written by Greg Pak and drawn by Raffaele Ienco. In issues 7 and 8, the Eye tests Vader, who seeks the Sith wayfinder that will lead him to the Emperor’s darkest secret. Sound familiar?
While this little arc ends with Vader getting what he seeks from the eye and heading off to Exegol, Marvel isn’t done with the Eye of Webbish Bog just yet. In the upcoming Revelations one-shot written by Marc Guggenheim, which will act as a prelude and preview of Marvel’s big 2023 Star Wars comic book plans, Vader returns to Mustafar and pays this mysterious creature another visit.
“Now, we all know that the Force can be used to glimpse the present, the past, and possible futures,” Guggenheim teased in a press release. “Well, the Eye [of Webbish Bog] is going to show Vader all of the above, including moments that will be coming into play in 2023 all across the Star Wars line. It’s our clever way of giving readers a preview of what everyone has up their sleeves for next year, but this isn’t a 40-page movie trailer. It’s a real Star Wars story with Vader at the center.”
The story will shed light on things coming up in Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra, Bounty Hunters, Han Solo & Chewbacca, and the main Star Wars series. It’ll even touch on Hidden Empire, next year’s big crossover event that caps Charles Soule’s trilogy of stories starring Qi’ra and the resurgent Crimson Dawn in the era just after The Empire Strikes Back. Just what the Eye of Webbish Bog has to say about what’s ahead as the comics inch ever closer to Return of the Jedi remains to be seen. It’s just nice to know he’s out there and not locked away in a Disney vault.
Star Wars: Revelations #1 is out on Nov. 23.