‘Star Wars’: The Heartbreaking Details of Han’s Funeral Have Been Revealed
There is no escaping the fact that there were a lot of complaints about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Many fans loved the latest addition to the Star Wars saga, but others left the theater with a bad taste in their mouth. With a running time of over 150 minutes, not everything that Rian Johnson wanted to put in the movie was able to make the cut. Fans had questions about the missing third lesson with Luke and Rey, Supreme Leader Snoke’s background, and Han Solo’s funeral.
Thanks to the novelization of The Last Jedi, written by Jason Fry, we now have answers to many lingering questions. Let’s look at a handful of moments from the novel that either weren’t included in the movie, or give greater context to scenes from the movie. And yes, it includes the makeshift memorial service for Han!
Leia remembering her son
At the moment in the film when Kylo Ren is determining whether or not to fire on the bridge of the Raddus, Leia’s ship, we see that the two can feel each other through the Force. The novel goes into great detail about the mother’s thoughts of her son.
Ben as a baby, red-faced and round. His hair had been black from birth, impossibly fine and delicate—the softest thing Leia had ever imagined.
Ben as a toddler, forever following Han. Carrying the dice from the Millennium Falcon—the ones his father had used to win the beloved, battered freighter—and promising anyone who’d listen that one day he would be a pilot, too, like his daddy.
Ben in adolescence, his face grown lean above a strong jaw. A boy who always seemed alone, a churning storm in the Force. And whose anger had begun to manifest in malfunctions and breakdowns and objects that fell off shelves and shattered with no one near.
Reading the pain that Leia feels in that moment, remembering her only son from the womb to a baby, a toddler, a confused boy, and then the twisted man who would murder the love of her life is really heartbreaking and powerful.
Next: Adding context to the love story.
Rose’s jealousy of Rey
The Last Jedi seems to force a love story between Finn and Rose that only somewhat works, with the big finale being her saving him from sacrificing his own life and kissing him. Although there are hints earlier in the movie that she may be infatuated with the idea of Finn, the Resistance hero, she later comes to an obvious realization that the stories are just that – stories. But the novelization shows some hints that Rose is developing feelings for Finn.
“Somehow the fact that this was all my idea got lost in the telling.” she said. “But if he gets us to the tracker, I can shut it down. I think it would work.”
Poe chewed it over, his gaze returning to Leia where she lay unconscious.
“Poe, this will save the fleet and save Rey,” Finn said. “We have to do it.”
Rey, Rey, Rey. Rose really wanted to stun him again.
There are plenty of reasons to criticize the Finn and Rose story, including the fact that their entire scheme creates a drawn-out second act that amounts to absolutely nothing. But at least in the novelization, we’re given a few more hints of her actually developing feelings for him. Even if it is a bit forced.
Next: Get your mind out of the gutter.
Maz didn’t mean it that way
There is a scene with Maz Kanata where Poe, Finn, and Rose are looking for help from a code-breaker. She says she could do it, of course, but she’s currently busy with another project. She suggests a different master code-breaker, detailing that as one of his many traits. When C-3PO comments that it sounds like this fellow can do everything, her retort comes off with a sexual connotation in the movie. However, it’s not intended that way in the novelization.
“Oh yes he can,” Maz said, and let herself remember some of the better capers and exploits she’d help him engineer. He really was one of her favorite beings, though she knew one of his bouts of inattention would likely be the death of him before he got truly interesting. Well, either that or his inflated ego.
But then both maladies were among the many hazards of dealing with humans. Maz had learned long ago that she had to enjoy their adventures while she could.
Although she appreciates the master code-breaker’s skills and abilities on a mission, that appears to be all she feels for him – or any human, it seems. Now Chewie, on the other hand, seems to be more Maz’s speed in the boyfriend department.
Next: Luke reveals Rey’s family … sort of!
Rey is Luke’s niece … but not really
In somewhat of a nod to the expectations that fans had going into The Last Jedi, there is a moment where Luke makes a declaration about his relationship to Rey. After Rey fires her blaster and blows a hole in the side of her hut, Luke begins speaking to the caretakers in their native language to sooth over the situation.
“What were those things?” she asked.
“Caretakers,” he replied. “Island natives. They’ve kept up the Jedi structures since they were built.”
“What did you tell them about me?” she asked.
Luke gave her a thin smile. “My niece.”
“Oh. I don’t think they like me.”
“Can’t imagine what gave you that idea.”
Of course, Rey does not turn out to be Luke’s niece, which would’ve made her the daughter of Han and Leia, Ben Solo’s sister. At least, that’s what we’ve been led to believe. In the original Star Wars trilogy, George Lucas wasn’t afraid to throw a curveball. You’ll recall that nobody suspected that Luke and Leia were twins until the reveal in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. We’ll have to wait for Episode IX to see what J.J. Abrams decides about Rey’s story.
Next: Rey’s final lesson is a hard truth.
Rey’s third lesson
So, uh, remember in the movie when Luke said that he had three lessons for Rey? He only actually did two of them, which felt kind of like a ripoff. Apparently, there had been scenes filmed for this but cut because the movie was already way too long. It features a moment in which Luke lies to Rey to teach her a lesson in keeping the balance of the Force. Here is what Luke tells her regarding six ships headed toward the island.
“It’s a tribe from a neighboring island,” Luke said from behind her … “They come once a month to raid and plunder the Caretakers’ village,” he added.
Rey hurried to the ledge, seeking to trace their course. Her heart began to pound. The ships were indeed bearing slightly north of them, perfectly positioned to skirt the headlands and land in the bay where the Caretakers’ huts huddled by the sea.
“Well, come on!” she urged Luke. “We’ve got to stop them!”
“Do you know what a true Jedi would do right now?” Luke asked, as if they had all the time in the world. “Nothing … If you meet the raiding party with force, they’ll be back next month—with greater numbers and greater violence. Will you be here next month?”
Rey refuses to heed Luke’s advice, running down to the bay with her lightsaber out and the intention of stopping the raid. What she actually burst in upon was a party being held by the Caretakers, complete with Chewie and R2-D2 as guests. Luke apologized, explaining that it was only a lesson and that he didn’t think she’d run off so fast. The event only further drove a wedge between Rey and her teacher.
Next: More about Supreme Leader Snoke’s rise to power.
Finally, we learn who Snoke is … kind of
One of the biggest mysteries of The Last Jedi was Supreme Leader Snoke, who was seen only as a massive hologram in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Who was this leader of the First Order, the one that looks so decrepit and frail but commands the respect of Kylo Ren and General Hux? And then Rian Johnson killed him off like a meaningless plot device, with no explanation. Thankfully, the novelization helps to a degree.
Snoke knew he himself was an unlikely fulcrum, just about the furthest thing from what the tattered remnants of Palpatine’s Empire had imagined as a leader … Though galactic history would record it differently — Snoke would see to that — the evolution of the First Order had been more improvisation than master plan … The rebuilding was to take place in the Unknown Regions, secretly explored by Imperial scouts and seeded with shipyards, laboratories, and storehouses — an enormously expensive effort that had taken decades, and been kept hidden from all but the elect … And so Snoke had drawn upon his vast store of knowledge, parceling it out to confuse Skywalker’s path, ensnare his family, and harness Ben Solo’s powers to ensure both Skywalker’s destruction and Snoke’s triumph.
Piecing this all together, it’s clear that in the wake of Palpatine’s death the Empire retreated to the Unknown Regions on a contingency plan. It was there that they discovered Snoke, who used his vast knowledge and resources to forge his way into power with the First Order. It’s not a complete biography, but it will suffice until we can get more information at least.
Next: A funeral for a scoundrel.
Leia speaks at Han’s funeral
Near the beginning of the novel, Leia agrees to do a memorial service for Han only if the Resistance can otherwise continue evacuating during the break. In the timeline, the funeral had already taken place by the time the movie actually begins. Leia, Admiral Ackbar, and several others took a few moments on D’Qar to remember the scoundrel that always ended up doing the right thing — even when it got him killed.
“Han fancied himself a scoundrel,” Leia said, smiling at that last word. “But he wasn’t. He loved freedom — for himself, certainly, but for everybody else in the galaxy, too. And time after time, he was willing to fight for that freedom. He didn’t want to know the odds in that fight — because he’d already made up his mind that he’d prevail. And time after time, somehow, he did.”
Leia, in her own special way, managed to turn her eulogy into a motivational speech for the leaders of the Resistance, reminding them that the time for sorrow was over and that she needed them to focus on the task at hand. The First Order would be arriving any moment, looking to take their chance to finally snuff out the Resistance and the last remnants of the Republic.
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