- "First comes the day
Then comes the night.
After the darkness
Shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight."
- ―Journal of the Whills, 7:477
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the canon novelization of the film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. The novel, written by Alan Dean Foster, was released on December 18, 2015 as an eBook, published by Del Rey, and as an online and physical audio version narrated by Marc Thompson. The hardcover version of the book was released on January 5, 2016. The paperback version was released on September 27, 2016.
The official novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the highly anticipated blockbuster film directed by J. J. Abrams, hitting theaters in December 2015.
More than thirty years ago, Star Wars burst onto the big screen and became a cultural phenomenon. Now the next adventures in this blockbuster saga are poised to captivate old and new fans alike—beginning with the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And alongside the cinematic debut comes the thrilling novel adaptation by New York Times bestselling science fiction master Alan Dean Foster.
Set years after Return of the Jedi, this stunning new action-packed adventure rockets us back into the world of Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2,and Luke Skywalker, while introducing a host of exciting new characters. Darth Vader may have been redeemed and the Emperor vanquished, but peace can be fleeting, and evil does not easily relent. Yet the simple belief in good can still empower ordinary individuals to rise and meet the greatest challenges.
Regarding the project, Foster stated that "working on the book has been as much fun as the script itself, which harkens back to the spirit of the first three films" and that it feels as if no time at all has passed since he novelized the first film and then wrote Splinter of the Mind's Eye.
The novel contains several scenes that do not appear in the final film.
- The novel opens with a scene of Leia thinking about the events of the past and about having sent an exceptional Resistance pilot (Poe Dameron) to try and find her brother, Luke Skywalker. This is followed by the opening scene of the movie (the First Order forces on approach to Jakku).
- FN-2187's failure to shoot the villagers is thought by one of his fellow troopers to be due to a "blaster jam," explaining why Captain Phasma orders him to turn in his weapon to be checked by technicians.
- At Niima Outpost, rather than refusing outright Unkar Plutt's offer of 60 portions for BB-8, Rey instead bargains up. She ends up agreeing to sell him for 100 portions, but then retracts the deal and gives Plutt a piece of her mind. This burns her bridges with him, but earns her respect from many of the villagers.
- Leia is seen sending her personal envoy, Korr Sella, to persuade the Senate of the New Republic to act against the First Order, revealing that the Resistance is not a formal part of the New Republic armed forces. Sella is later noted to be one of the victims of the first firing of the Starkiller Base superweapon.
- A scene depicts Poe Dameron's encounter with a scavenger on Jakku and his escape from the planet following the crash of the stolen TIE fighter.
- At Maz Kanata's castle, just after Finn's decision to try and flee the conflict, Unkar Plutt and some of his henchmen arrive and attempt to abduct Rey and BB-8. Rey tries to shoot him with the blaster Han gave her, but she has not taken the safety off, and is quickly disarmed by Plutt. This may explain why in the movie she is shown taking the safety off before attacking a group of stormtroopers. Rey is rescued by the intervention of Chewbacca, whom Plutt unwisely aggravates by poking at his wounded shoulder. Chewbacca responds by ripping off Plutt's arm.
- During a conversation between Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke, they discuss Darth Vader and his downfall, which they agree was due to "sentiment."
- A scene depicts Finn and Rey stealing a snowspeeder while on Starkiller Base. This starts a snowspeeder chase sequence.
- Kylo Ren leads a small group of stormtroopers to the crashed Millennium Falcon while on Starkiller Base. Ren boards the Falcon and reflects on his life before he turned to the dark side.
- Before the start of their lightsaber fight, when Rey Force pulls Skywalker's lightsaber, Kylo Ren says to her quietly, "It is you".
- A Resistance medic informs Rey that Finn will be okay despite his injuries at the hands of Kylo Ren.
- Rey and Poe Dameron meet and introduce themselves to each other after the map to Luke is completed.
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The release of the title as an eBook on the same day as the film itself, with no print copy available until January 5, marks the first time that a novelization of a Star Wars film was not released before its respective film. The novelization of the original film was, in fact, released some five months before the film.
The unusual publishing schedule was arranged directly by The Walt Disney Company with Del Rey, who reluctantly agreed to forego the possibility of massive holiday sales of print copies of the novel. The decision was motivated by Disney's concern that print copies of the novel, if released at the same time as the film, might be purloined and used to leak plot details to the Internet. David Moench, a spokesperson for Del Rey, expressed that the publisher would have preferred to put out the hardcover edition on the same day as the film, but understands the importance of preserving the secrecy. J.J. Abrams, the film's director, when contacted by the Wall Street Journal regarding the story, stated that he was not previously aware of the decision, but looked forward to reading the novel.