Excerpt From The Rise of Skywalker Novelization Released
The novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives March 17, but it is no mere adaptation. Written by Rae Carson, the book features expanded scenes and content not seen in theaters, as well as a few surprises — all culled from deleted scenes, never-before-seen material, and input from the filmmakers. In StarWars.com’s exclusive excerpt, Kylo Ren tears through Mustafar hunting for a Sith artifact that could lead to Emperor Palpatine; but in a new sequence, he ultimately encounters a strange being protecting the desired device…
General Armitage Hux watched—from a safe distance—as Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and a squad of stormtroopers cut a swath of blood and destruction through the pathetic Mustafarian colonists. They battled through the gloomy woods of Corvax Fen, one of the few patches on this hellscape of a lava planet that was cool enough to support native growth, if you could call this “growth.” Barren trees grew out of a noxious marsh, and the air was hazy with mist. The barbarian colonists were failing to put up a decent fight; their archaic halberds and broadswords were no match for the technical superiority of a good blaster, or even, Hux had to admit, a lightsaber.
Ren was a blunt instrument, a mindless dog, whose current obsession was putting all the First Order’s plans behind schedule. The general was half tempted to wade into the fight himself to hurry things along—just so they could leave this awful planet. Or at least he would be half tempted if his skills were not better used elsewhere. Best if Ren did all the dirty work; Hux was too valuable to risk.
“He’s almost beautiful to watch,” mused Allegiant General Pryde, standing tall beside him. The older man had arrogant blue eyes and a high hairline that seemed immune to perspiration, even in a hell-climate like this. “Don’t you think?”
Hux refused to gratify that with a response, because true beauty came from discipline, from order. So it was almost against his will that he found himself mesmerized as Ren met a barbarian’s charge head-on, cloak flowing, mist swirling around him. The glow of his lightsaber occasionally snagged on his cheek scar, making it appear as though a crack of glowing lava slashed his face. It was like something out of a dream, or maybe a nightmare, as the Supreme Leader plunged his fiery crossguard into his attacker’s abdomen, lifted him from the ground, and sent him toppling onto his back. Kylo Ren did not spare his fallen foe a single glance, simply rushed forward into the woods seeking his next kill.
But there was no one left. Corpses littered the ground, barely more than lumps of shadow in the gloom. The air smelled of ozone and scorched vegetation. All was eerily silent as Ren looked around, catching his breath. Even from a distance, Hux could sense his disappointment that the killing was over, that no outlet for his rage remained.
Kylo Ren gathered himself and strode away into the woods, shoulders set with determination, lightsaber still ablaze. The mysterious object he had come for—dragged all of them across the galaxy for—was nearly within his grasp.
“He’s gone mad,” General Hux said, and the contempt in his voice was obvious even to his own ears. “Flames of rebellion burn across the galaxy, and Ren chases a ghost.”
“No,” Allegiant General Pryde responded, softly but firmly. “Someone was behind that transmission. And Leader Ren will answer to no one.”
Hux narrowed his eyes. Ren would definitely answer to someone, someday. He just didn’t realize it yet.’
Kylo Ren showed mercy to nothing and no one, but he had a grudging appreciation for things that struggled to survive. Even though the nearest lava flow was many klicks away, it seemed as though the air ought to be too hot, too chemical, for life to truly thrive here. As they’d landed, Hux had proclaimed the planet a “desolate hellscape,” and Kylo hadn’t bothered to correct him. The truth was, Mustafar was teeming with life—all connected through the Force. Like those hapless cultists he’d just killed, who’d been obsessed with protecting Vader’s legacy. Or this forest of twisted irontrees they endeavored to cultivate. Or even the extremophile organisms that swarmed the lava flows. All fragile but determined, mutilated but indomitable.
It was no wonder his grandfather has chosen this place for a home.
Kylo strode through the trees, lightsaber still ignited. Malevolence lay ahead, along with a darkness that had nothing to do with the planet’s day–night cycle. But that’s not why he kept his weapon ready. He refused to put it away because for the briefest moment, as he was hacking away at Mustafarians, he had sensed her. Watching him. Now his guard was up, and it would stay up until he got what he came for.
By silent mutual agreement, the stormtroopers who’d accompanied him had declined to follow him through the woods, which suited him fine. He preferred to be alone for this.
A few more steps and the ground became soggy. The mist thickened. A small splash indicated that his presence had been noticed. Finally, the trees broke open onto a small lake with brackish water, bordered on all sides by forest and large black lumps like boulders, jutting out of the ground at odd angles. No, not boulders, he noted upon closer look, but rather fallen remnants of Darth Vader’s castle.
The entire excerpt can be read at StarWars.com
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Expanded Edition novelization arrives March 17 in stores and online retailers.