Jason Fry’s expanded novel brings the worlds and events we enjoy within the Star Wars universe to even greater life…
Many authors including George Lucas himself have, over the years written the Tie-In novels for the Star Wars films. Alan Dean Foster provided a great novelisation of The Force Awakens. Donald F Glut wrote a fantastic book with his The Empire Strikes Back novel. James Khan provided us with a faithful adaptation of Return Of The Jedi and George Lucas gave us what could be called the first expanded novel when the original novelisation of A New Hope was published back in 1977. It was the perfect book to accompany his film. Many of the scenes he wrote but didn’t end up in the final cut of the film brought us closer to his vision for the film. Some of the scenes were shot and have been brought to us via home media as deleted scenes, showing us what we before could only visualise in our minds. Sadly, the writers of the Prequel novels just couldn’t match the quality of their predecessors. The novelisation of Revenge Of The Sith remains one of my most hated books in history. The writing style was all wrong, the description was sorely lacking and I just couldn’t enjoy the book at all.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Expanded Novelisation) | by Jason Fry
Now we come across the expanded novelisation of The Last Jedi by acclaimed writer Jason Fry. I had no fear in reading this of it being a disappointment. I like Fry’s writing style, his descriptive detail and the passion he puts into his novels. And again, he didn’t let me or the readers down. The rich detail he puts into his writing, his descriptive power he brings to the reader and the enjoyment he gives his readers are here as usual. Again, he gives us a book that we cannot put down. Whether you’ve seen the film or not, if you enjoyed it or not is immaterial, you can’t fail to enjoy this book. Our heroes, the villains and the action flows through the written word on the pages and the images form in our mind that bring a smile to your face while reading it. Yes, it really is such a rewarding experience.
The book is an expanded version. This, of course, means it expands on the story and brings us scenes that were not in the final film. I found myself actually missing these scenes in the film when I rewatched it again recently. The opening to the book is an incredible look at what might have been IF Luke Skywalker had refused to accept his destiny in A New Hope. We find Luke as a moisture farmer, like his Uncle Owen before him, an old man. He and his uncle allowed Imperial Stormtroopers to confiscate the two droids they purchased from the Jawas. Luke was presented to them as Luke Lars. Obi-Wan Kenobi attempted to inform Luke of his true parentage but was scared off by Uncle Owen. The Imperials later destroying Kenobi’s home, killing him by aerial bombardment. Princess Leia is executed for treason. The Death Star has brought peace through force to the galaxy and Tatooine is now an imperial port. Jabba the Hutt rules the planet in league with the Imperials. And Luke is married to his friend, Cammie. His other friends joined the failed Rebellion and have perished in a vain attempt to strike at the Empire.
Of course, this is a dream, brought to Luke on Ahch-To through the force trying to forewarn him that he’s not finished with the fight yet. He knows something is coming. He has shut himself off from the force but the force is still with him regardless of his wishes. We then move on to another scene absent from the film, Han Solo’s funeral. To be honest, though this would have made an emotional scene for all the fans, I’m kind of glad it didn’t make it into the film as it would have given the film a slow start and not the kind of start we expect from a Star Wars film. That being said, it makes an amazing start to the story in literary form and adds a lot to the reader’s experience. Follow this up with more of the relationship between Rose and Paige Tico and the book soars.
More surprises follow during the course of the book which the reader needs to experience for themselves and will not be spoiled by me. Nevertheless, I can reveal that more of the brother/sister relationship between Luke and Leia is revealed and examined in detail and it helps a certain scene in the film make more sense. The relationship between Leia and Holdo, first examined in the fantastic book Leia: Princess Of Alderaan by acclaimed author Claudia Grey is fleshed out more here and makes Holdo’s sacrifice all the more heroic and heartbreaking in equal measure. Fry knows his readership and his audience so well and here, yet again, he doesn’t let them down.
The cover artwork perfectly recreates the teaser poster for the film in stunning all colour glory and the back cover quite simply presents us with the epic statement that starts every Star Wars film ever since the 1977 original. It goes to prove that you don’t need anything over-elaborate to grab the eye, the books cover is simple and effective. The book, its title and it’s author will sell themselves so in this case, the simple approach works wonders.
After the disappointment of the Prequel novels, it’s a pleasure to say the book series, like the films themselves, are back on track. With authors like Jason Fry putting their heart and soul into their writing and actually caring for their readers, the future looks brighter for all of us fans. Seeing the film on the big screen is one thing. Reading the expanded versions of the novels not only make some of what we see make more sense to us but what we see within our minds while absorbing the words on the page brings the worlds and events we enjoy within the Star Wars universe to even greater life. And I cannot wait to immerse myself into the book again.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Expanded Novelisation (Paperback Edition) by Jason Fry is available to buy from Penguin Random House and all good bookstores from November 27th. © 2018 Lucasfilm Ltd.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!