The story of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker didn’t end when the credits finished rolling in theaters. The official novelisation – written by Rae Carson and dubbed the ‘Expanded Edition’ – features a whole host of deleted scenes, new story snippets, and even some Easter eggs from a galaxy far, far away that will have you seeing Episode 9 in a whole new light.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most important, most interesting, and even the most impactful changes from screen to the page. Here are 17 key things we learned from the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novel.
More Leia scenes expand upon her relationships
For obvious, tragic reasons, Leia’s screen time was limited in The Rise of Skywalker. The Expanded Edition helps flesh out certain scenes, including extended training scenes with Rey, as well as further post-Return of the Jedi Force lessons with Luke. Her twin brother even suggests that she’s a more natural hand with the Force than he ever was.
We also know why she stopped training as a Jedi: she once saw a vision that foresaw the death of her son, Ben, if she continued down that path. Awkward…
Eye of Webbish Bog's role
The Eye of Webbish Bog, a giant spider-like creature on Mustafar who guides Kylo Ren to Exegol, was meant to be in the movie. J.J. Abrams and his crew even got as far as creating the Eye and filming a scene with it. We don’t know what that looks like – no deleted scenes are on the home release – but the novel gives us some idea of the part he was supposed to play.
He confronts Kylo on the volcanic planet after the Supreme Leader scythes through several unnamed minions. At the “wishes” of Darth Vader, the Eye directs Kylo to an altar on a lake. In it, rests the Sith wayfinder that would eventually point Kylo towards the Emperor and a face-to-face on Exegol.
How Palpatine is kept alive
As you may have already read, Palpatine is inhabiting a clone body – more on that in just a second – but it’s how he’s kept alive that is most striking to Kylo when they first meet.
He gets around using an “Ommin harness” which is a “mechanical spine once worn by an ancient Sith king.” On top of that, he’s also using vials of mysterious liquid to keep him going, though only one remains by Rise of Skywalker’s opening act.
How Palpatine survived Return of the Jedi
How does one survive a one-way trip down to the depths of the Death Star? Simple: telepathically teleport your mind into a clone body. His body wasn’t recovered, and the process was “imperfect” but it kept ol’ Palps going for a while longer. The novel even suggests he knew Vader would betray him and had been practicing the ultimate mind trick for years.
Kylo thought Rey’s parents were nobodies
One of The Last Jedi’s big reveals, that Rey’s parents were “nobodies”, was arguably retconned by Rise of Skywalker’s unveiling of her Palpatine lineage. Kylo, though, was telling the truth when he told Rey in the cave on Ahch-To, or at least he thought he was. How did he make the mistake? Because “Force visions were filled with tricky truths and potential realities.”
The First Order reaction to Captain Phasma’s death
Gwendoline Christie’s chrome-domed Captain Phasma wasn’t mentioned indirectly or by name in Rise of Skywalker, though her impact is keenly felt in the Expanded Edition as the First Order “doubled” recruitment of Stormtroopers, swooping up the galaxy’s children. All because Phasma left that much of a gaping hole.
How the Resistance was able to rebuild
On Crait, all looked lost for the Resistance. Even though its most prominent members escaped unscathed, their numbers dwindled to a mere handful. To rebuild, Leia enlisted the help of Maz Kanata – and it turned the tide. After all, Kanata “had more connections in more places than the rest of them combined.”
Who is Lando's kid?
Everyone and their porgs supposed Jannah, the ex-Stormtrooper who made her way to a moon on Endor, was actually Lando’s offspring. The novel almost connects those dots in a mini-deleted scene revealing that his child – a girl – was taken by the First Order. But it’s never explicitly made clear that it was Jannah.
Two deleted Kylo Ren scenes show Young Ben
Two genuinely special deleted scenes that were present only in the novel help provide a glimpse into the life of Kylo Ren before he turned to The Dark Side.
The first involves Kylo interrogating Chewie on his ship, with the Force giving him visions of his previous life – including target practice and speeder training with “Uncle Chewie.” D’aww.
Later, Lando turns on a hologram home movie showing Kylo riding on the shoulders of Chewbacca.
A Dyad reference
Why were Kylo and Rey so close? It might not be because they have the hots for each other. The Expanded Edition re-introduces the concept of the ‘dyad’, a mythical Force construct that binds two people by an unspoken collection. Rey feels like she has half of her missing and, according to the novel, she does – it’s Kylo.
Hux’s final moments reveal who he truly hated
Hux’s betrayal came and went almost as fast as the blaster fire that ended up. The novel, inevitably, stretches out his inner thoughts as he hits the floor. Unsurprisingly, he remains bitter to the end, but it’s Rey who he directs his ire at the most. “His last thought was of the scavenger,” it reads. “He hated that girl. She had ruined everything.”
Leia's passing was slightly different in the novel
In the movie Leia just faded away after her last-ditch attempt to reach her son across the galaxy, but it’s Luke who prompts her towards the end in the Expanded Edition. In another touching moment, it’s revealed she can sense R2-D2’s sadness as she slips away.
Several cameo ships appear over Exegol
The final battle over Exegol featured an armada’s worth of ships, but some namechecked in the book may make the ears some certain spin-offs' fans prick up.
Team Inferno – from Battlefront 2 – swoop in to save the day, as does the Fireball from Star Wars: Resistance, as well as the Tantive IV piloted by Nien Nunb.
Nien Nunb’s death is confirmed
Nien Nunb’s ship was seen going down in Rise of Skywalker, but it’s here where we get confirmation as Poe, who had known Nunb his whole life, sees him sacrifice himself during the aerial assault.
What Lando's doing next after Rise of Skywalker
Get ready for a possible post-Episode 9 Disney Plus adventure. The Expanded Edition makes it abundantly clear that Lando is setting out on the Lady Luck with Jannah to help reunite the kids taken by the First Order with their families.
Is Finn Force sensitive?
Post-release, it was revealed that Finn was trying to tell Rey that he was Force sensitive. Trouble is, he was sinking at the time and too self-conscious to mention it later. The book backs that up on a few occasions, once where Rey senses what Finn was trying to tell him, and also with the Force helping Finn make decisions in the heat of battle on Exegol.
The Knights of Ren were always tools of Palpatine
During Kylo’s fight with the Knights of Ren on Exegol, the extended passage heavily implies that the masked fighters supposedly loyal to the ex-Supreme leader were always under the control of Palpatine.
Relive the Skywalker Saga with our guide on how to watch the Star Wars movies in order