The second chapter of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization focuses on Kylo Ren and his path to Palpatine. How did he get there? What does he learn? Does he have any regrets?
Kylo Ren tore through Mustafar, destroying everything in his path. He killed without hesitation. We saw this in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but we know it deeply based on the novelization.
In Chapter 2, Carson focuses on Kylo Ren. Some of the changes from the movie include introducing General Pryde in tandem with bringing back General Hux. They are commenting on Kylo’s destruction while Hux sneers at it and Pryde is all for it.
Pryde sees the bigger picture while Hux allows his hatred of Kylo to color everything else.
Kylo gets the Wayfinder, but not before meeting a keep of sorts of the tool. It reminded me a bit of that huge tortoise from The Neverending Story. That’s how I pictured this moment in my mind. I’m sure it was nothing like that.
After getting the Wayfinder, Kylo heads to Exegol and meets Palpatine. What’s fascinating is how Kylo reacts to Palpatine. He isn’t scared. He doesn’t cower to him. He wants to strike Palpatine down because he is the last tie to the life he wants to forget.
But before we go on, it’s important to note here we discover exactly who and what Snoke is. Snoke was essentially a test tube experiment, clones created to be the puppet of Palpatine.
It makes me think of what this revelation has done to Kylo Ren. He killed his father and then killed Snoke. He thought he cut away the ties to his past, the people who shaped the person he became.
Instead he learns that everything that happened in those formative years were a lie.
Does he have regrets? Maybe. He doesn’t show it, but later on we will learn more about them.
Instead Palpatine manages to do what he does best – even while decrepit and plugged in to a life-extending machine – he talks his way into manipulating the result he wants.
Kylo wants to kill Palpatine, but the Emperor brings up the one thing that he knows will change Kylo’s thoughts.
He mentions the girl. The one who can get through to Kylo no matter where he is because of their Force bond. Instead of death, Kylo now wants to know about her life.
The chapter ends with Kylo wanting to know everything he can Rey.
If you watched the movie, you know the answer, but it’s a wonderful cliffhanger that hits better in the book than the movie. While the movie ran at such a high pace through the first half, the novel allows for it to slow down and focus on the moments that matter most.
This meeting between Kylo Ren and Palpatine was a major moment in Star Wars lore. First, it showed Palpatine was still alive after he was believed to be dead nearly 40 years ago. Secondly, Kylo faces down the man who turned his grandfather into one of the greatest villains the galaxy ever saw.
And Kylo manages to fall for the same tricks.
Palpatine gets Kylo to change his focus, which allows Palpatine to continue to pull the strings he wants across the galaxy.
Kylo Ren is more like his grandfather than he realizes.
What did you think of Chapter 2 of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization? What parts stood out most to you?