On the same day that Rise of Skywalker comes home for digital download, a new novel called The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition will hit bookstores. Like The Last Jedi before it, this is an after-the-fact novelization of the film, which means it has a lot of extra stuff in it.
Novelizations of movies historically been finalized before the film was finished shooting. But these days, Lucasfilm releases its novelizations afterward as a kind of alternate version of the story that exists exclusively in print.
Last week, some fans who attended the C2E2 convention in Chicago were given early copies of the Rise of Skywalker novelization, and that means some big differences have already hit the internet including the fact that Palpatine was really a clone! But Palps having a clone body is hardly the big news. In fact, there are much bigger Force fish to fry.
Here are five big revelations from The Rise of Skywalker novelization so far, plus why the clone thing isn't that big of a deal.
Clone Palps? La-di-dah
All around the internet, folks are freaking out that in the early pages of the new book it's revealed Palpatine inhabited a clone body. Here's the relevant info when Kylo inspects the gear that remade Palpatine
Emperor Palpatine lived, after a fashion, and Kylo could feel in his very bones that this clone body sheltered the Emperor's actual spirit.
Does this change anything? For some fans, this means that the Palpatine we met isn't the "real" Palpatine, but for those of us who read Dark Empire in 1991, this feels like an old trick. The Emperor has a lot of clone bodies and transferred his soul into body after body after body. So, as revelations go, this one seems pretty basic. Didn't the movie imply this anyway?
With old Palpy out of the way, let's talk about the moments in The Rise of Skywalker novelization that actually blew our minds...
5. A missing line from the trailers happens in a pivotal moment
One huge line from the trailers actually never happened in the movie. You remember, in a voice-over, Rey says that nobody knows her. And then Kylo counters with "But I do." In the final film, this exchange didn't play out that way at all. But, in the novelization, it turns out this was a little Force telepathy chat between Rey and Kylo.
He sent a thought directly into her mind: I know you.
No one does, she shot back.
But I do.
Not only does this resolve a major mystery from the trailers, but it's also a much better ending for Rey and Kylo than the one we got onscreen. Best of all, it doesn't undo what happened in the movie. It just makes it better.
4. Finn feels the Force
One massive plot hole in the theatrical release of The Rise of Skywalker was easily the fact that Finn seemed aware of the Force, but it was never made entirely clear that he could contact it. In the novelization, he actually feels Rey in the Force very much the way Luke and Leia could connect to each other through great distances in The Empire Strikes Back. Here's what it looks like.
The moment Rey came back to herself, Finn knew. He launched himself out of the turret seat – no one was pursuing them anyway — climbed the ladder and sprinted for the cockpit. "Chewie, I felt her!"
3. Rey's ability to move objects through the Force was inspired by Luke
We all love the Ben Solo challenge, but the moment when Rey passes him the Skywalker family lightsaber is obviously a pretty big deal. It's definitely not something Rey or Kylo had every intentionally done before. Sure, Kylo felt those raindrops in The Last Jedi, but the deliberateness of the lightsaber pass was fairly new.
Turns out, according to the novelization, Rey was using a similar method that Luke used to project himself in The Last Jedi.
The vision shifted. It was Luke sitting cross-legged on the island on Ahch-to, trembling with effort as he projected himself onto the battlefield on Crait. And yet another flash. This time Leia in her jungle quaters, giving everything she had to send a final thought to Ben.
They were all manifestations of the same power. And now Rey would use it in her own way. She lifted her saber as if to strike — and reached for the connection she shared with Ben.
There you have it! Rey used the Force "in her own way." DEAL WITH IT.
2. The World Between Worlds
One fan also noticed that at some point in the book, there's something that paraphrases the World Between Worlds. In Star Wars Rebels, the World Between Worlds was a kind of time portal that let Ezra Bridger rescue Ahsoka Tano from Darth Vader. And in the Rise of Skywalker: Visual Dictionary, it was made clear that the World Between Worlds could have been one way that Rey contacted the spirits of Jedi in the past for the grand finale. From the book:
It was like she was staring through a window to somewhere else. A place between places.
1. Rey didn't stay on Tatooine after she buried the sabers
Get ready to have your mind blown by the sands of Tatooine: After Rey buried the sabers and looked out at the binary suns, she actually packed up and left.
Rey had zero intention of staying on Tatooine and living there, and the new novelization of The Rise of Skywalker makes that fact 100 percent clear. Rey is gonna bounce just as soon as Luke and Leia's ghosts leave her alone. Really!
Here's the passage from the end of the book:
Rey Skywalker walked toward the Falcon to return to her family... As she approached BB-8 warbled that he'd had enough of desert planets. But he gave no complaint when she paused to gaze into the vast desert morning.
This seems to make clear that Rey was watching a binary sunrise, rather than a sunset, which actually makes more sense, not just visually, but also thematically. Luke watched those suns set a few times. Rey is the only person, it seems like, in all of Star Wars, who gets to watch the morning break.
Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition is out from Del Rey Books On March 17.