If you’ve seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then you know the story of a galaxy far, far away, plus 30 years. But if you’re like me, you walked out of the theater with a few questions. And it seems the novelization has some answers.
One of the most jaw-dropping moments of the movie occurred when Kylo Ren confronts his father Han Solo, who stands on a gantry without handrails. Han tries to convince Kylo to come home with him. Instead, Kylo kills him.
In the movie, Kylo kills Han "to be free of this pain.” The novelization explains the act not as a way to free himself but to make himself stronger with the dark side. According to the Daily Dot, the scene reads:
"Following through on the act," the narration says, "ought to have made him stronger, a part of him believed. Instead, he found himself weakened."
More importantly, it seems that Kylo knew Rey. When Rey Force-pulls Luke’s lightsaber, he mutters: "It is you."
The line suggests that they had met before. Reaching deep into fan hypothesis, they may have met back when Kylo was Luke’s student—and Rey was present because she is Luke’s daughter.
Throughout the course of the movie, Rey learns she's Force sensitive, and she even learns how to manipulate and control it on the fly. But the novelization reveals that she doesn't just use the Force: Rey feels the power of the Dark Side.
Kill him, a voice inside her head said. It was amorphous, unidentifiable, raw. Pure vengeful emotion. So easy, she told herself. So quick.
For me, this is the saddest omission from the movie. Rey being tempted by the Dark Side would have made that battle with Kylo that much more difficult and even more triumphant when she managed to keep him from killing her.
For other revelations, such as Rey's and Dameron Poe's first meeting, you should read the Daily Dot article.
Or better yet, read the novelization by Alan Dean Foster—who wrote the novelization for Star Wars as well as Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, the book that bridged Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back— for yourself. Although the novelization had been delayed for fear of spoilers, the e-book edition dropped on the same day as the film.
To my knowledge, the novelization doesn't explain how the separate governments of the Republic and the First Order co-exist. Or why First Order would build a gantry without handrails.