The Rise of Skywalker Expanded Edition gives fans greater insight into the innermost thoughts of Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe and Finn as they attempt to destroy Emperor Palpatine and restore freedom to the galaxy once of for all. The official novelization of Episode IX also contains whole scenes not included in the movie, providing tantalizing new information about issues fans had already speculated about endlessly, like the origins of Rey's yellow lightsaber. Among the standout scenes to emerge from the book shows how Kylo Ren made it to Exegol after his fight with Rey on Kef Bir.
In a scene analyzed by YouTuber Star Force One, author Rae Carson explains how Kylo finds an old TIE scout ship in the hangar bay of the Death Star II ruins. In a glorious throwback moment, he enters one of the most historically meaningful locations in the galaxy, seemingly unaware of its close connection with the grandfather he admired throughout his life.
After coaxing it back to life Kylo, he tries to find his way to Exegol to confront Palpatine along with Rey. Unfortunately, the navigation on the TIE is faulty and it takes him an immense effort to steer the old scout ship correctly. He lands his ship and gets that familiar base-of-the-skull feeling: Rey senses his arrival.
The moment explains a major mystery: exactly how Kylo escaped Kef Bir. After all, we saw Rey take his ship, and the ocean moon was treacherous terrain for anyone. Knowing his way around the fallen Death Star means he must have learned something about the battles of old, back when he was still Ben Solo, apprentice to Luke Skywalker.
While this scene in the novelization explains how Kylo escaped Kef Bir, it simultaneously exposes another plot hole. How could he arrive on Exegol so soon after Rey if the old TIE scout ship couldn't fly at hyperspace speeds? The account in the video makes it seem like he got there with no trouble aside from the faulty navigation, but that trip would have been far longer without lightspeed technology. Perhaps Carson's text has a fuller explanation that isn't covered in this analysis.
The scene closes with a revealing insight about Kylo's complex relationship with Rey. Upon arriving on Exegol, he parks the TIE next to a Resistance X Wing fighter and takes a moment to look at the ships: "old enemies parked side by side." You don't need a literature degree to unpack that metaphor illustrating the new, fragile alliance between Rey and Kylo, a dyad in the Force.
For fans, this hidden moment means a welcome glimpse into post-Kef Bir Kylo: we can read about him leaving the place where his grandfather and former idol died and rush to Rey's aid. He's no longer his old self. Though he lived in the past before, now he stands with Rey: old enemies, side by side.
The Rise of Skywalker Expanded Edition is available now.