Since the author of the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization was announced at New York City Comic Con last October, Star Wars fans have been eager for a first look at Rae Carson’s book. Like previous sequel trilogy novelizations, Carson’s will include bonus material and extended scenes not seen in the film.
Today, a first excerpt has been released on StarWars.com. The passage describes the film’s evocative opening scene on a red-sky planet with Kylo Ren dispatching opponent after opponent. Carson provides rich descriptions and gives us insights from other characters that we didn’t get to experience in the theatrical release. In fact, we learn that Kylo Ren was not alone when he tore through cultists on Mustafar in search of Darth Vader’s Wayfinder 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 ar¬chaic halberds and broadswords were no match for the technical superiority of a good blaster, or even, Hux had to admit, a light-saber.
Ren was a blunt instrument, a mindless dog, whose current ob¬session 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 else¬where. 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 some¬thing 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 dis-appointment 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 myste¬rious 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 some¬one, someday. He just didn’t realize it yet.
Kylo Ren showed mercy to nothing and no one, but he had a grudg¬ing 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.