Even with all of the galaxy-spanning conflicts, and the ever-expanding, expanded universe, at the end of the day, Star Wars has always been a story about one family: the Skywalker family. The Skywalker saga is a story that’s been in development for over 40 years, but after nine movies, it’s finally complete (for now).
Now, Lucasfilm is presenting the story of the Skywalker family in a new book, Skywalker: A Family at War, that presents the multigenerational story told in a single chronological format. This book uses the story of all nine chapters of the Star Wars series, as well as some of the expanded universe material, to tell the story that you’re already familiar with but through the context of the family that is at the heart of the story.
The unique perspective of the upcoming book lets author Kristin Baver explore previously unseen moments of the characters that make up the Skywalker family throughout the generations. The website io9 has an exclusive passage from the book depicting previously unexplored moments of the childhoods of both Ben Solo and Rey.
The events depicted in the excerpt describe the very early years of Ben’s life as well as the lives of Han and Leia right after the war and struggling to settle into their lives of parenthood while simultaneously trying to build a new galactic government and repair the war-torn galaxy. While we know the end result of Ben’s childhood from watching The Force Awakens, it looks like we’re getting, for the first time really, to see all of the small steps that took us from the end of Return of the Jedi to where we find them 30 years later.
For example, a brief mention of a malfunctioning droid from Ben’s adolescence suggests additional context for one of the most pivotal moments in The Last Jedi:
"When Ben was two years old, the family enlisted the help of a droid, BX-778, adept at both brewing caf and watching over the small boy when his parents were otherwise engaged. The droid’s programming was briefly corrupted by a nefarious virus—when Ben was still given to late-night temper tantrums, it nearly slit the toddler’s throat. Fortunately, if Ben remembered the incident at all, it remained deep in his subconscious, the stuff of nightmares. Yet it seems possible that it left an emotional scar that influenced his later years."
Meanwhile, as the excerpt details the events of Ben’s early life and his parents, it also delves into the parallel timeline of Rey’s early years as well. Rey’s connection to the Palpatine bloodline is not kept hidden at all in this telling of the story and it looks like it’s being used to help add additional context to her early years as well:
"Rey’s biological father was the offshoot of Palpatine’s genetic research, not precisely a clone but made of cloned tissue and donated cells. His name has been lost to time, as has the reason the young man survived—whether by purpose or neglect. There is no record that the son of Palpatine demonstrated any of the Force abilities that his cruel and powerful father relished. Considering Sheev Palpatine’s history, that would have undoubtedly made the boy a disappointment to the man who sired him."
As you can see, the story is being told in a way that feels like a cross between a novel and a historical document. The texts acknowledge where there are still unknowns in the history of the Skywalkers, and where there is still room to tell more stories as new Star Wars material continues to be created. Yet, at the same time, we get more information about the formative years of the two main characters of the sequel trilogy than we’ve ever gotten up to this point. And that’s just looking at an excerpt of a 300-page saga. Who knows what other details are there, waiting for us to discover?
You can find the entire excerpt that’s been released over on io9. And or more, keep up with Dork Side of the Force.