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STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: Secrets the Novel Revealed (Part 2)

Last post, I covered some interesting moments from the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. After a long pause (and a gentle nudge from the editors), I’m back at it!

(As a side note, if you’re interested in seeing what I’ve been up to between installments, check out my posts about STAR WARS: RIVALS, the fan film we’re entering in this year’s Star Wars Fan Film Awards contest…)

But, let’s get back to the list! Here are some more interesting differences between the movie and the book…

26. Stormtrooper helmets are cooler in the book than the movie indicates.

In the movie, I thought it was a little convenient that “stormtrooper helmets only filter smoke, not toxins!” (according to Finn on the Millennium Falcon). The book explains this a little better. The helmets can filter out toxins, but they have to make the switch in the helmet before they enter an area. While the explanation in the book is a bit expository (and doesn’t sound 100% like Finn), it does make more sense.

27. More details about why Han and Chewie are hauling rathtars.

King Prana is mentioned in the movie, but we get a little more details here. Prana is building a private zoo to surpass those of his competitors. It sounds like Prana is a Jabba-like character (which is no surprise since Han tends to hang in those circles). Prana is mentioned several times in the novel, making him slightly more prominent than he was in the movie. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him appear in another novel or even a subsequent movie.

28. How exactly do the Kanjiklubbers and the Guavian Death Gang gain access to Han’s freighter? 

Well, the freighter is equipped with instrumentation that allows people to access it from the outside. Why? Because, if you’re hauling rathtars (or the like), you may die and leave your ship floating in space with rathtars running around, which means the ship needs to allow for outsiders to access it.

29. Bala-Tik, Tasu Leech, and Razoo Qin-Fee (not mentioned by name in the movie) and the others stick around for a little longer in the book. Also, Finn and Rey make a noise while under the floor space, which draws attention to them.

The scene is extended, which improves the whole sequence (in my opinion). I like the extra context. It’s one of the few times I felt that way about the novel. The introduction of Han and Chewie is amazing (“Chewie, we’re home.”), but the “rathtar scene” is my least favorite part of the movie (with the exception of Bala-Tik, who seems cool).

30. Bala-Tik doesn’t die. He doesn’t in the movie, either, though it’s far clearer in the novel.

It kinda seems like he could show up in a future film. Tell that to Kanjiklub!

31. There’s an extra scene where the Resistance pauses to react to news of Lor San Tekka’s demise. Also in this scene, Leia asks Threepio to search for BB-8.

Threepio to the rescue! Threepio notes that BB-8 had a tracking system installed (something not mentioned in the movie).

32. There’s a scene where Leia (unknowingly) sends Korr Sella to her death.

“Go talk to the Senate! Just watch out for giant sun-energy lasers…” Actually, she wants Korr to get the Senate (and the Republic) to declare war against the First Order. Obviously, Starkiller Base has the power to destroy an entire system of planets, which Leia doesn’t know yet.

33. Threepio figures out that he can send a message out to the Resistance’s associate droids to look for BB-8.

This gives context to the scene from Maz’s place where a random droid notifies the Resistance that BB-8 is there. All thanks to Threepio.

34. Snoke’s description.

From the book: Tall and gaunt, he was humanoid but not human…(his face/skin is) so aged it verged on translucent. Poorly reconstructed, the broken nose…old cuts and wounds marred the chin and forehead.

Who is Snoke? Plagueis? Palpatine? Bane? It’s not enough information to make a call. But, it’s interesting. I still think it’d be awesome if he ends up being Plagueis.

35. Snoke has a special place in his heart for Kylo Ren. He speaks more favorably to Kylo (compared to Hux).

“I have never had a student with such promise–before you.” High praise. But, how many students has Snoke had? Interesting to think about… And, if Snoke is Plagueis, does that mean that Kylo could be more powerful than Palpatine?!?!?

36. Snoke watched the Empire rise and fall.

He’s old. Clearly. But, who is this guy? Who do you think Snoke is?

37. There’s an entire scene that tells us what happened to Poe after the TIE Fighter crash.

He meets a local on Jakku named Naka Iit, gets into a short speeder battle, and eventually meets someone who gets him off Jakku. Problem solved.

38. Han’s dialogue is not quite as cool as it is in the movie.

MOVIE: “It’s true. All of it.”


NOVELIZATION: “…it’s true. All true.”

Is it a gig deal? Not really, but the line in the movie is better.

39. Han spends an extra minute explaining to Rey how the blaster he gives her works.

It’s not that necessary, but it does feel like his line from the novel: “A bit more to this model than that. Put a little more effort in, get a little more result out. You’ve got a lot to learn…” actually fits better. In the movie, I believe he just says, “A bit more to it than that.” I like the extra context, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

40. Unkar Plutt shows up at Maz Kanata’s…

He’s really obsessed with Rey (though, we still don’t know why). He tries to kidnap Rey (saying only, “You’ll pay for what you’ve done.”), but Chewie comes to her rescue and tears off one of quarter portion of Plutt’s limbs (er… he removes one of his arms). Ouch.

41. The Resistance droid in Maz Kanata’s place recognizes BB-8 and notifies C3PO. And Bazine Netal speaks in Galactic Basic (English).

In the movie, the droid arbitrarily notifies the Resistance, but in the novel, he connects with Threepio. Connecting back to the previous point about Threepio.

42. Differences in Rey’s vision at Maz’s place (when she touches the lightsaber).

The vision montage is one of the most intriguing parts of the film. Here are some notable descriptions from the novel:

  • She sees a section of Cloud City (that wasn’t clear to me in the movie).
  • She sees two figures in combat (could it be Luke and Vader?).
  • She sees a boy and starts walking toward him.
  • She also sees: a distant, burning temple.
  • She sees barren, snowy woods, and hears the sounds of unknown forest creatures, and then the sounds of battle.
  • Then, she hears that (not sure why there’s emphasis) voice say: “Stay here. I’ll come back for you.” She responds, “Where are you?” The voice answers: “I’ll come back, sweetheart. I promise.”

Clearly, she’s seeing scenes from Luke’s past, and then someone is telling her that s/he will come back for her. Is Luke her father? Is it someone else? We don’t know. But, the “promise” made to her does make sense given Rey’s desire to get back to Jakku.

43. The book explains how Starkiller Base works.

It’s appropriately psuedo-science-y. And, there’s a little bit more explanation of what causes the planets it targets to explode (they call it a “pocket nova,” which probably makes no scientific sense, but it sounds cool!).

44. “Hundreds” of Republic ships are destroyed when Starkiller Base fires on the Hosnian system.

Ouch. I thought the Republic seemed pretty small. Five planets? That’s it? But, “hundreds” of ships does offer a glimpse into the size of the Republic’s fleet (which has now been decimated).

45. Luke’s lightsaber “feels comfortable” in Finn’s hand.

I found this very interesting. Why does it feel comfortable? Does he have some sort of training? Or, does he also have some connection to the saber? Can Finn use the Force? It’s another unsolved mystery…

46. Rey wants to kill Kylo Ren. Really badly. So much so, in fact, that there’s an indication she may be using dark side powers.

It never says she’s using the dark side, but she’s definitely angry, and we know what anger leads to… In the movie, we have no indication of her using dark side powers, but she’s definitely calling upon the Force through anger.

47. After the battle at Maz Kanata’s, Maz tells Finn that she now sees the “eyes of a warrior.”

It’s a cool, short scene, and also helps to complete Finn’s character arc. It also marks the turning point of Finn’s development as a hero. In the movie, his heroics aren’t solidified until he volunteers to pursue Rey on Starkiller Base.

48. Extended bromance scene between Poe and Finn.

On D’Qar, where the Resistance base is located, Poe and Finn momentarily touch based about what has been happening to them. There aren’t any specifics worth mentioning, though.

49. In the short briefing where Finn meets Leia for the first time, Leia tries to compliment Finn…

She says, “[to do what you did…] clearly marks you as…” The sentence goes unfinished. A hero? Sensitive to the Force? Connected to Rey and Poe? We may never know.

50. Han didn’t know about Snoke’s influence on Kylo.

Han has been blaming himself for Kylo’s decision-making, but Leia tells him that it’s all Snoke’s fault. Han’s surprised by this reveal, and Leia tells him that she knew Snoke was watching Kylo from the shadows for a long time.

All right, just a few more to go! I’ll write part three soon. Let me know what you think thus far!

About Jay Sherer (19 Articles)
Jay Sherer is the author of Timeslingers, a time travel adventure available now on, and the soon-to-be released comic book, The Standard. He’s also a big Star Wars fan, if you couldn’t tell.
Contact: Website

2 Comments on STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: Secrets the Novel Revealed (Part 2)

  1. Re: #42 — The Cloud City bit was that corridor with the slanted walls & lights — the corridor from the end part of Luke & Vader’s duel. Not sure I would’ve recognized it myself, but someone else pointed it out with a screencap.

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