‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Novelization Answers Lingering Questions From Film [Spoilers]

As with most other Star Wars: The Force Awakens articles in the aftermath of the release of the film, this one is chock full of spoilers. If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, then “move along, move along.”

No doubt when you saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you were left with a slew of unanswered questions. Some of them pertain to the bigger questions the film left in our minds, such as the identity of Rey and what her true lineage might turn out to be, and a lot of smaller ones (like why the heck did R2-D2 wake up at just the right moment?). As it turns out, a lot of those smaller questions are answered via the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization, written by Alan Dean Foster. The novelization was based on an actual script for the film, (though, not the final script. We’ll get to that later), and a lot of the “internal feelings” that were described in the script — but perhaps not conveyed so well via the actors — are described in detail within the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization. So, if you were wondering just what Kylo Ren was thinking when he killed his father or what Rey was thinking when she kissed Finn goodbye at the end of the film, some of those things are answered. So let’s get started.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
[Photo by Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images]

First of all, why did R2-D2 wake up at just the right moment? When watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I, for one, thought that Artoo’s release from his self-induced coma seemed just a bit too convenient for the Resistance. However, according to the novelization, that wasn’t the case. According to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization, R2-D2 overhears the Resistance leaders discussing the map to Luke Skywalker’s whereabouts (which the book confirms is the location of the original Jedi Temple). In the book, “no one notices” as a light comes on atop a certain R2 unit that is stored in the corner with a bunch of other junk. According to both the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization and director J.J. Abrams, when R2 overhears the talk about the acquisition of the missing piece of the map, he comes to life to provide the rest of the map he’d downloaded in Episode IV from the Imperial archives.

The next revelation to be gleaned from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization is Kylo Ren’s recognition — or assumed recognition — of Rey. It’s clear in the film when his subordinates tell Ren that BB-8 has escaped with the help of a “girl” that this news upsets him. When he finally catches up to her, Ren says something to the effect of “so you’re the girl I’ve heard so much about.” However, in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization, it seems as if the recognition goes farther than that. What’s interesting is that after Rey retrieves Luke’s lightsaber from the snow bank using the force, Kylo Ren looks at her and mutters to himself, “It is you.” Later in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization, Rey thinks that Kylo “knew more about her than she knew about herself.”

One more little tidbit about the final lightsaber duel between Rey and Kylo Ren: in the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when Rey has summarily won and Ren lays before her on the ground, a voice speaks to Rey from within her mind.

“Kill him, a voice inside her head said. It was amorphous, unidentifiable, raw. Pure vengeful emotion. So easy, she told herself. So quick.”

However, in the book, Rey “recoils” from the voice, and the brief inclination to end Kylo Ren then and there. In the film, we see a glimmer of the dark side make an appearance on Daisy Ridley’s face before the ground opens up and separates the two foes. In the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization, Rey makes the decision not to kill Kylo Ren and runs back to assist Finn before the ground opens up and separates them.

Speaking of Kylo Ren, after he kills his father, Han Solo, with his lightsaber, it feels as if Kylo Ren has completely slipped over to the Dark Side, leaving all vestiges of redemption behind. At least, it does in the film. In the book, things aren’t so cut and dried. In the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization, Kylo Ren actually has some doubt about what he’s just done after killing his father.

“Following through on the act ought to have made him stronger, a part of him believed. Instead, he found himself weakened.”

Okay, so this is where the caveat has to be put in that Foster based the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization on an earlier script than the final shooting script. However, the question remains, did J.J. Abrams deliberately make the choice that Kylo Ren didn’t feel any conflict about killing Solo, or was it just not conveyed well by Adam Driver’s performance on-screen? You make the call.

One last thing that might come as a surprise to Star Wars fans is that Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren both know how Darth Vader ultimately destroyed Emperor Palpatine. In the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization, the two villains discuss how the Emperor was killed, and Snoke refers to it as a “foolish error in judgement,” and “sentimental.”

What questions are you still left with after discovering these insights from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization?

[Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney]