While “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” covers a lot of ground, not everything could be entirely fleshed out in the movie.
Director J.J. Abrams recently revealed that between 10-20 minutes of scenes were cut from the film’s final edit. The official novelization, written by Alan Dean Foster, includes some bonus scenes, and it adds more layers to what we saw in theatres.
That valuable background includes an explanation for why R2-D2 wakes up at the end, as well as a brief history of the galactic government now in place 30 years after “Return of the Jedi” and the Resistance’s relationship to political powers.
The novel also dives into the complexity of Kylo Ren’s character. His uncertainty over killing his father is made clear, and it’s also revealed that both Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke know how Darth Vader died.
Here are eight scenes from the novel that didn’t appear in the movie:
Poe's escape from Jakku after crash-landing on the desert planet with Finn is never shown in the movie, but the book offers a partial explanation for how Poe survived the crash and made it back to the Resistance base.
He loses consciousness as the TIE Fighter goes down and wakes up in time to stabilise the spacecraft before hitting the ground. He stumbles from the wreckage with a concussion and begins to wander in search of water and a new ship, continuing the search through the night.
In the morning, a scavenger on a speeder approaches and the two strike up a dialogue about wandering the desert. The scavenger thinks Poe's story about crashing on the planet is a humorous lie and agrees to take Poe to a town with another scavenger who might be able to assist. On their journey, a group of thieves approaches and Poe convinces the scavenger to let him take control of the speeder. With his expert piloting skills, Poe evades the thieves.
But that's as far as Poe's escape goes. How exactly Poe gets off Jakku still remains a mystery.
Unkar Plutt is the creature Rey gives junk to in exchange for food rations on Jakku. Played by Simon Pegg, Plutt doesn't appear in the film again after Rey gets off of Jakku. But in the book, Rey has another interaction with Plutt at Maz Kanata's castle.
After Finn leaves the castle with the crew he's hoping to travel with, Rey hears the familiar voice of Unkar Plutt and he grabs her. Using a homing device in the Millennium Falcon, Plutt was able to track her to the castle. She tries to struggle out of his grasp and manages to hold her blaster to his face, but he grabs it from her hands.
Chewbacca notices what's happening and comes to Rey's rescue. Plutt isn't threatened by the wounded Wookie at first, but that's his mistake.
'Grabbing the thrusting arm, a roaring Chewbacca twisted and ripped it off at the shoulder, throwing the dismembered limb clear across the room. Looking down at himself, Plutt let out a scream of agony as his underlings hurriedly fell back.
The arm landed on a table where a group of four-armed, long-snouted Culisettos was gambling. With an annoyed huff, one of them picked up the amputated limb and absently tossed it aside, allowing the game to resume.'
Leia tells Han Solo that she knew Snoke, Supreme Leader of the First Order, was after their son from the beginning
In an exchange between Leia and Han Solo, Leia reveals that she had been aware Supreme Leader Snoke was manipulating their son, Ben (now Kylo Ren), but kept it from Solo.
She explains her 'many reasons' for keeping it a secret:
''I was hoping that I was wrong, that it wasn't true. I hoped I could sway him, turn him away from the dark side, without having to involve you.' A small smile appeared. 'You had -- you have -- wonderful qualities, Han, but patience and understanding were never among them. I was afraid that your reactions would only drive him farther to the dark side. I thought I could shield him from Snoke's influence and you from what was happening.' Her voice dropped. 'It's clear now that I was wrong. Whether your involvement would have made a difference, we'll never know.''
In this bonus novel scene, Finn and Rey steal a snow speeder on Starkiller Base in an effort to break into the oscillator. With Rey as the pilot and Finn manning the weapons, the two manage to evade their pursuers and make it to the oscillator, where Rey's knowledge of mechanics helps get them inside.
We also get this humorous piece of dialogue:
''Snow is cold!' Rey squeezed the speeder between a phalanx of willowy alien trees. 'It's the complete opposite of Jakku!'
'Try living here,' Finn told her. 'There are only two seasons: winter, and dead of winter!''
Kylo Ren and some stormtroopers board the crashed Millennium Falcon as it sits on Starkiller Base.
Ren seems to recognise the ship and sits in the pilot's seat as he tries to figure out why exactly the ship seems familiar.
'Kylo Ren ignored him (a stormtrooper) as he strode past, his eyes raking every corner of the crashed vessel, looking for -- he wasn't sure. Something that might speak to him. Something recognisable, perhaps. There was nothing in the deserted cockpit, but he delayed leaving anyway, settling down in the pilot's seat. Something…'
He doesn't realise his father, Han Solo, is on the base until they are in the same room together.
We the viewers have yet to officially know Rey's lineage, the subject of many online theories, but the novelization reveals that Kylo Ren has some idea of where she comes from.
As Ren tries to probe Rey's mind for an image of the map, he discovers something of interest and attempts to analyse it when he discovers that she is blocking him from her mind. As she manages to get inside his head, the stunned Ren realises she is strong with the Force.
During the lightsaber battle in the woods, Rey uses the Force to draw Luke Skywalker's lightsaber to her hands, bypassing Ren. All that happens just like in the film.
But in the novel, this turn of events leads Ren to mutter, 'It is you,' showing that he already knows, or has a sense of, who she is.
'His words unsettled her: Not for the first time, he seemed to know more about her than she did about herself. But she had no time to ponder his comment, nor was she inclined to do so anyway; she was too consumed with rage,' the novel explains.
During this scene, the novel also reveals that Rey 'recoiled' from the Dark Side as it pressured her to kill the wounded Kylo Ren.
In the film, a wounded Kylo Ren is left in the frozen woods of Starkiller Base as Finn and Rey are saved by Chewbacca flying the Millennium Falcon, but how exactly does General Hux know how to find and save Ren?
On the order of Supreme Leader Snoke, Hux and some troopers venture into the woods to save Ren from the imploding base. Hux is able to locate Ren because of a tracking device in Ren's belt.
Some 'The Force Awakens' fans noticed that Poe and Rey don't ever meet in the film even though they are both on a mission for the Resistance to find Luke Skywalker, but the novelization shows that they do, albeit awkwardly.
After R2-D2 awakens from his low-power mode and helps complete the map to the missing Skywalker, Resistance members erupt into cheers and begin to hug each other. Rey and Poe embrace before officially introducing themselves.
''Uh, hi,' the pilot mumbled. 'I'm Poe.'
She (Rey) nodded slowly, searching his face and finding that she liked it. 'I recognise the name. So you're Poe. Poe Dameron, the X-wing pilot. I'm Rey.'
'I know.' He smiled back, a little more at ease. 'Nice to meet you.''
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