This week we got the curious, but welcome news that we are to get what will be known as an Expanded Edition novelization of The Last Jedi. Written by Star Wars favourite Jason Fry, with input from director Rian Johnson, the official novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi will expand on the film to include scenes from alternate versions of the script and other additional content.
One of those scenes will see the funeral of Han Solo, an event which was reported as a potential key plot element of The Last Jedi back in 2016. I remember craving this scene when it was reported and thought that it would have been a fitting way to say goodbye to a much loved character. The partisancantina.com was quite disappointed that the old scoundrel never got the send off he was due in The Last Jedi (we even tweeted about it a few weeks ago…because…well we thought someone should moan about its absence!). The news that he will get a send off in some form is therefore a welcome one.
The new novel’s script was overseen by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who also wrote the movie script. The additional extras come from sections originally intended for the film that didn’t make the cut due to story and running time considerations.
In an interview with The Star Wars Show, Rian Johnson revealed that he helped New York Times bestselling author Fry develop some interesting deleted scenes from the film. “Rian Johnson and I had an amazing conversation,” says Jason Fry. “We got to write entirely new scenes for the book: Han Solo’s funeral, Rose and Paige Tico together, and further explorations of the fascinating world of Canto Bight, to name just a few.”
Director Rian Johnson also commented on the additions stating that, “That’s kind of the fun stuff you can get into a novel that you can’t always get onto the screen”. While this is interesting news it is a story that will no doubt bring up the old chestnut of “will the additional elements be canon”? We aren’t canon-junkies on this site, but in the past Del Rey stated that film novelizations, film junior novelizations, and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film novelization “are canon where they align with what is seen on screen in the 6 films [at the time of writing] and the Clone Wars animated movie.“
The other main point of interest is that the story shows that there was some element of truth (from a certain point of view) in the rumours a few weeks back that an expanded edition of the film’s story would be coming out in book form to “fill in gaps” in The Last Jedi. It does seem strange that the novelization is published in March – a significant period of time after the film was released. Certainly, the novelization of The Force Awakens was published in and around the release date of that film, and despite having additional scenes that book wasn’t billed as an “expanded edition”.
The change in tact does leave one wondering if the adverse reception of The Last Jedi in some quarters perhaps stung Disney and Lucasfilm a little bit more than they have admitted. Likewise the publicity machine swinging in behind this news is consistent with the full-on defense of the film being rolled out by Johnson, Hidalgo and the handful of online commentators outside official “Star Wars-dom” who can always be relied upon to stay “on message”. There seems to be more than an element of “thou doth protest too much” about the reaction for comfort: personally we don’t see a need to defend the film and feel fans are capable of evaluating the content for themselves.
Regardless though, it is fantastic news that Solo is getting the send off he deserves in novel form and that is enough to keep us Cantina patrons happy. Looking forward to March to say a proper goodbye to our old friend Han.
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The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition will be published in the U.K. by Century on 8th March 2018.