Max takes a space detour to Exegol to review Rae Carson’s hotly-anticipated novelization of ‘The Rise Of Skywalker’
The Rise of Skywalker‘s official adult novelization was very much a surprise. The Rise of Skywalker really didn’t move me much when I saw it, but the book added a new dimension of feelings for me. Rae Carson must’ve had a script handy when she wrote the book because it’s EXTREMELY faithful to the movie dialogue. Seriously. The movie was playing out in my head as I read. I can’t decide if that’s what makes a good novelization or a bad one. I’m, however, am leading more towards good. One of the fun things about movie novelizations is that you can see the same scenes you see in a movie, but included are insights into the characters’ thoughts and emotions. Also, if you’re a junky for details, the novelization allows you to learn things you would never be able to get from a movie.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Expanded Novelization | By Rae Carson
The beginning of the novel utilizes this very well. We are given, word for word, Palpatine’s creepy return transmission on the Holonet. Its short, simple and to the point, basically saying “I’m back and everyone is screwed”. Its equivalent to Hitler suddenly announcing himself on the radio from a fortress in South America in modern-day. Although, the book never really entertained the possibility of it being a sham and with the disturbing potency of deepfakes on Earth; you can’t help but wonder if a much more advanced society would be able to do this, with no difficulty whatsoever.
The beginning also gives us more time with Princess Leia. Carrie Fisher tragically passed away in 2016, so the only footage for Leia, were deleted scenes altered from the first two Sequel movies. In the book, we get to see Leia’s strong bond with Rey, who is now without a doubt; her student. Another great detail that the book reveals is the Ommin harness; a mechanical pine that is connected to Palpatine to keep him alive. It was so dark and shadowy when we saw that contraption Palps was hooked up to, and it’s good to have some light (both literally and metaphorically) shed on it. I really loved Carson’s ability to get into the head of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. As he sees his helmet being repaired, he feels like he is being reborn like his grandfather was. Kylo loves power and sees the “extreme competence” of the mask fixing, a type of power. I have to agree. Seeing a master of his craft at work always impresses me. Kylo has many thoughts throughout this book that were insightful such as the fact that he still wants the past to die, but he will use the Sith to further his ends. He wants to rule with Rey because he feels a deep connection to the scavenger and also wants to extinguish the light in BOTH of them, within the case of himself; almost causing him mental pain.
We learn that Luke made annotations in the ancient Jedi texts, and confirms that Palpatine sought to live forever, (which of course makes sense) and affirms his return. Leia also had indeed been weakened by her expulsion into the vacuum of space and is living on borrowed time. Rose’s absence from most of the movie is explained as she was needed on the Resistance base to study the Sith fleet. It isn’t great that Kelly Marie Tran was “shafted” with very little screen time in The Rise Of Skywalker, but at least the book gave her a noble errand to perform. The Jannah/Lando speculation is also further fueled, as Lando laments the theft of his daughter by the First Order. One of my favorite moments of the book is Rey’s analysis of Ochi’s cluttered, old ship. She immediately assesses what she thought she would get monetarily if she was scavenging this stuff. Years ago, another Star Wars author named Claudia Gray joked on her blog that Rey staring at the Death Star wreckage; she was also assessing what she could salvage. Very funny stuff and I wonder if Carson put that there deliberately.
As I said, the book really mirrors the movies and there are very few extended scenes. People who were expecting an “Expanded Edition” will be disappointed. However, I love the strongly reflected emotions and reactions of the characters. Kylo feels bitterness and paranoia when seeing Chewbacca, since apparently, that snake, Snoke, put doubts in his brain if “Uncle Chewbacca” really cared for him. Snoke also pulled the same poodoo with Ben’s parents, Han and Leia. Ben really at one point believed they cared more about the organizations they were part of than him.
The dyad in the Force (Ben and Rey) is fleshed out further, and it is implied that the Rule of Two was based around trying to initiate this phenomenon. Rey and Ben were both drawn to the Light and Dark Sides of the Force respectfully. Some interesting story notes from the text that I observed is (at least for me); the doubt one of the characters has about the afterlife.
Zorii is just as baffled about life after death and its existence, as we are. Secondly; when the team arrives at the moon Kef Bir, we learn C-3PO “connects to the Holonet” to “Google” information on the moon. This confirms that Star Wars, indeed has a form of “wi-fi” and the Holonet can be used as an Internet search engine. That rocks my world, as I always brainstormed on forums that the Holonet was not as sophisticated. Thirdly and finally, there is a brief mention of a Nubian yacht in the fleet of the final battle. Hmmm. Who used to fly one of those?
All in all, this novelization seemed to have a strange effect on me. I didn’t care for The Rise of Skywalker as a movie, but I liked it as a book!? This is just bizarre. How can this be? Perhaps The Rise of Skywalker is not so and after all and when a stronger lens is used to examine it; it holds water. I highly recommend Star Wars fans to give TROS novelization a try. I can’t say you’ll experience the same epiphany as me, and you might very well feel cheated with the lack of “bonuses”; however, I truly believe if you are a fan of a good read; The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson is for you. I mean come on. It’s written by a Rae (Rey). Obviously, it was her destiny. I give this book an A and now I feel the Skywalker Saga is ended and complete.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker – The Expanded Novelization by Rae Carson is published by Del Rey Books and is available to buy NOW!
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Max Nocerino is a new addition to the Future of the Force roster. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter @MaxN2100 where he channels his passion frequently!