The first chapter of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization perfectly set the tone for what’s to come while giving us the Leia we didn’t get to have.
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization is out and the first chapter set the tone from what we are going to expect. For the purpose of these chapter discussions, I am going to treat the book as a separate entity from the movie (though there will be some comparisons).
There are things that happen in the book that do not happen in the movie or had the same impact.
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Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Rise of Skywalker novelization.
The first chapter focuses on Rey and Leia on a moon on Ajon Kloss. Rey is training, trying to get in touch with the Jedi of the past. She floats in the air with rocks and pebbles around her. We saw in the movie, but there is so much more going on in this chapter much of which comes from Leia.
In the movie, J.J. Abrams and company were limited by how they could use Leia because of Carrie Fisher’s passing. In the book, author Rae Carson is able to bring an authentic Leia to us.
When Rey runs off to run the training course, Leia takes the moment to remember her time on Ajon Kloss. She trained there with Luke, but it was also there she realized she wouldn’t continue the path of the Jedi. Perhaps it was because she was pregnant and wanted to raise her son in a different way.
Interestingly, while Rey certainly sees Leia as the mother she never had, Leia has the same feelings toward Rey and doesn’t want to let her down the way she feels she let Ben down.
This passage was revealing:
"“The girl had darkness in her, just like Ben. But Leia would not make the same mistakes she had with her son. She would not give in to fear – neither of the darkness rising within her pupil nor of her own questionable qualifications as a teacher. Most important, she would never send Rey away."
There is a lot to unpack. Leia felt the darkness in Ben. She did what she thought was best at the time, sending her son to train with Luke, a person who certainly knew about the choices between light and dark.
Yet, for all of Luke’s teachings, he was never able to get through to Ben. Luke only seemed to fuel Ben’s insecurities, which Snoke and Palpatine were able to take advantage of.
You can also see where Leia puts the blame on herself. Of course, she will do that and has likely questioned every move she has made that led Ben down that path. Leia saw sending Ben to Luke as part of the problem.
Interestingly in The Rise of Kylo Ren comic miniseries when Ben to choose Snoke, he thought about going to Leia. She was the one that held him fastened to the light, and that’s why he avoided her.
When it comes to Rey in the chapter, she was not without interesting moments. While Rey was running through the training course, she actually felt a connection to Kylo. It was severed in The Last Jedi.
She sees Kylo mowing down people, but then her vision shifts to what seems to be Palpatine, describing it “part human, part machine, with tubes stretching away from it like tentacles, all filled with a strange liquid.”
Rey then heard the word, “Exegol.”
Then her final vision was of Palpatine’s throne room.
There was a lot more going on in this scene than what it showed us in the movie, but this opening provides a much clearer picture of what’s to come.
It establishes Leia’s insecurities and her despair toward Ben and how she plans on not failing another child. It shows the link between Rey and Kylo is still strong, but also that she has a link to Palpatine that we were not aware of before. While she gets stronger in the Force, so do her connections to things around her.
She doesn’t know what they mean yet, but that’s OK. The journey is part of what makes this all so exciting.
What parts stood out to you from the first chapter? Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization is in stores now.