** SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK INCLUDED IN THIS ARTICLE **
Set to be released on March 17 – the same day as the film’s digital release – the novelization of the Rise of Skywalker is already been quite controversial among fans who have had gotten their hands on early release copies.
Early reports have focused on the seemingly “platonic” kiss between Rey and Ben and fans are passionately taking sides, and of the revelation that Palpatine was a clone.
But what more is there to the novel? Is it true that the kiss between the two main characters was non-romantic? What other scenes are there that could change how we view the film?
Let’s take a spoiler-y look ahead at what to expect from the novel and how that can affect any future viewings of the film.
The novel follows the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker film but will also include new scenes that have been adapted from deleted film scenes and input from the filmmakers. With so much input from the original source material, the added scenes in the book are meant to be taken as an extension of the film.
“The Resistance has been reborn. But although Rey and her fellow heroes are back in the fight, the war against the First Order, now led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is far from over. Just as the spark of rebellion is rekindling, a mysterious signal broadcasts throughout the galaxy, with a chilling message: Emperor Palpatine, long thought defeated and destroyed, is back from the dead.
Has the ancient Lord of the Sith truly returned? Kylo Ren cuts a swath of destruction across the stars, determined to discover any challenge to his control over the First Order and his destiny to rule over the galaxy—and crush it completely. Meanwhile, to discover the truth, Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced.” via Random House
The biggest expansion being discussed online lately is of the kiss scene. Shared excerpts online reveal a narration of the event leave the kiss up to interpretation, but most signs point to the kiss being rooted in feeling, emotion, and even love.
From the novel: “His heart was full as Rey reached for his face, let her fingers linger against his cheek. And then, wonder of wonders, she leaned forward and kissed him. A kiss of gratitude, acknowledgement of their connection, celebration that they’d found each other at last.”
The next big revelation coming from the novel is that Emperor Palpatine in the film has come back as a clone of his original self. Does this change much? I’d say not really. It does, however, give somewhat of an answer to Palpatine’s – dare I say it? – random presence in the film.
“Emperor Palpatine lived, after a fashion, and Kylo could feel in his very bones that this clone body sheltered the Emperor’s actual spirit. It was an imperfect vessel, though, unable to contain his immense power,” quoted via Reddit.
Finally, let’s talk about Finn. After the film’s initial theatrical release everyone was talking about Finn being force sensitive. It started out as a fan theory and was further confirmed by a J.J. Abrams at a Q&A.
Enhancing the Story
The novel has clearly been written as a way to expand upon events and ideas brought up in the film but which were not fully expanded on or completed, with the title including the phrase “expanded edition.”
Additionally, it seems to be another chance for interactions between Rey and the other resistance friends to develop their relationships.
Finally, with so much controversy around the return of Palpatine, the novel acts as a way to answer questions
While fans on either end of the spectrum may have been looking forward to the novelization to either expand on what they loved or change what they hated, it seems that the novel will stay true to the original story while working to answer questions.
From early reactions and reception to the book, it seems that author Rae Carson has done the best she can in adapting the film to written word while expanding on parts of the film that were rushed or left out.
How do you feel about the novelization? Do you plan on reading it before watching the film once release day hits?
This article was originally written for and posted at KernelNow.com. Their blog has since been removed from their website.