Ever since The Last Jedi popped into my eyes, I’ve been fascinated by everything Star Wars. Well on my way to watch Star Wars Rebels Season 3, several canon books being read and many audiobooks about the films, it has been a fascination of mine ever since. It didn’t make sense to me to read the novelization of a movie up until this year. I thought I should give it a try, and when Jason Fry mentioned of Han’s funeral being part of the novel, it got me hooked.
One of the main points of reading a novelization is that the internal struggles from several characters are better fleshed out. Simple, but important details are thrown in descriptions of the characters. This is the case for Jason Fry’s novelization of Rain Johnson’s script. It isn’t only a marketable repository of deleted scenes; it is a bible that makes you figure out many details that just have a few seconds of screen time.
This is a spoiler-filled review,so better prepare if you are expecting to read the book.
The very first lines of the book, suggesting that Luke has a wife, grabs your attention instantly. Not only is it a game changer, but it is also an important piece of information that sheds light on Luke’s current struggles. When the tables are turned, suggesting towards the end of the prologue that it had all been a dream, suggests even more from Luke. He’s dreaming of a normal, simple life on Tatooine. No Jedis, no Vader, no Leia. Just a farmer and his wife Camie. The dream shows that, even though he is seduced by this simple life, it wouldn’t have any meaning for him. His call for adventure is too strong for him to live that life.
Slowly we move on to the current struggle of the Resistance. Leia trying to make sense of the evacuation, mourning his beloved Han Solo. His funeral shows the difficulty of being General Leia Organa, stripped out of any normal life. This is a current theme in the book that maybe doesn’t show as strong in the film. Leia, Luke, Rey and Kylo struggle between a life they want and the life they are living.
In the first battle between the Resistance bombers and the First Order, the plot points are being described one by one, but the real tidbits that give a whole new heart to these scenes are the small conversations between Paige Tico and Rose. The sisters melt down your hearts even more by knowing their fate. Even though there is a book dedicated to some parts of the Tico’s backstory (titled Cobalt Squadron), Jason Fry gives us enough dialogue to care about these sisters.
As we move forward, we see Rey’s conflict by trying to explain to Luke how much she needs him. Even though there isn’t too much detail, the conversations between Kylo and Rey do have some interesting details. It is mentioned several times how Kylo can see Rey’s emotions, while Rey can tap into Kylo’s abilities with the Force.
There’s an interesting touch with Luke’s emotions when it is explained how he slowly connects with the Force and feels Leia’s presence, making a gentle throwback to The Empire Strikes Back.
In the novel, it is shown Luke’s third lesson, a deleted scene that has become my favorite of all. Its funny, but it states the point. The twist is enough to give Rey the sense that she needs to get rid of everything about the Jedi ways. If you still haven’t watched the scene on YouTube, please wait until you read it.
But where the character intentions really shine is in every moment when General Hux is being mentioned. We learn about his dad, who was an officer for the Empire, that defines his path. It is shown how much he wants to get rid of Kylo Ren and show the true power of his fleet. These details are great to see what Episode 9 could have in store. In The Last Jedi, the tension between Kylo and Hux is noticeable, but the novelization gives us actual reasons to care about the conflict.
And for those who think Holdo’s suicide plan was unnecessary and overkill, we learn that Poe was trying to jump into hyperspace, making this more of a collaborative plan. We learn about Holdo’s conflict on what to do, showing it wasn’t part of her plan to commit suicide to defend the Resistance. This debated plot point has more layers to it in the book, something that left many viewers dumbfounded in the movie.
As I expected, there wasn’t much of Snoke’s backstory and I’m glad about it. Still, it shows more about the Supreme Leader’s intentions and thoughts that make it more menacing and three-dimensional. There are many details about his relationship with Hux and Kylo, as well as his past and how he became the Supreme Leader of the First Order.
Overall, I highly suggest reading the novelization if you enjoyed The Last Jedi. It shows the struggle each character has with more detail and it informs the movie in an interesting way. What I’ve found is that these novelization and books give a new perspective to the movies, making it much more engaging if you want new takes on Star Wars. Jason Fry surpassed my expectations and showed me how a novelization could be as engaging and interesting as the movie that got me more involved with this galaxy from far, far away.