TFA tie-in books

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo

The visual guide to the film. This book covers a great range of minutia and clarifies many details that are really too numerous to cover in any depth. Details of particular interest:

  • Establishes the goals of Kylo Ren and Hux as essentially the same (i.e. ‘rule everything’).
  • Implies that Rey has “never known” her family, which may indicate that she was separated from them in early infancy (i.e. before she was left on Jakku).
  • Explains that Snoke targeted Ben Solo because he combines light and dark side potential.

The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Phil Szostak

A book chronicling the development of concept and production art produced for The Force Awakens, which helped to shape the story during the pre-production phase. This book is the best guide to the behind-the-scenes development of the film currently available. Particular details of interest:

  • The book covers the early iterations of the characters to a limited degree (i.e. when Kylo Ren was “Jedi Killer”, Rey was “Kira” and Finn was “Sam”).
  • The book features several concepts depicting a “young Jedi Killer”, making it clear that there were originally plans to show a young Kylo on screen.
  • It shows that they entertained some pretty wild ideas at various stages of the production (including a literally two-faced Anakin/Vader).

Rey’s Survival Guide by Jason Fry

An in-universe journal purporting to be in Rey’s hand. This is a neat little volume that gives various cool and intriguing insights (this book has no page numbers to reference):

  • Rey does not remember how she came to be on Jakku or who left her. She is convinced that she was left on the planet by mistake, and that “her people” will return for her:

My name is Rey. I’ve been here my whole life, scratching out a living with the lost and the broken. I don’t know how I got here, or why. But I know it was a mistake – and somebody out there will make things right, someday.

It’s a mistake that I wound up on Jakku, and I know there are people out there who are trying to fix that mistake. When they do, they’ll find me and take me to where I belong.

  • Rumours of Imperial activity on Jakku:

There’s a story in Niima that somewhere beneath Carbon Ridge the Empire had a base, and the dead-enders are still guarding it. Is it true? Well, the dead-enders do wear scraps of old Imperial armor, and something about them does remind me of the military types. It’s like they’re always wanting to come to attention and march off somewhere. You can see it underneath all the crazy. But I don’t think there was a base. Why would the Empire have thought twice about this place?

  • Local theories about the Imperial base, and how it could be connected to the Graveyard of Ships:

Theory 1: It [all the ships being crashed in the Battle of Jakku] was to protect that secret Imperial base I told you about, the one under Carbon Ridge,

Theory 2: No, the Imperial base was beneath the Sinking Fields. And it wasn’t a base, but a storehouse filled with treasure looted from ancient civilisations and hidden on Jakku by the Emperor.

Theory 3: That’s close, but not quite right. See, the Emperor had a throne room here, from which he planned to explore and conquer the rest of the galaxy.

  • Rey had visited the Sacred Villages (one of which is Tuanul, home to the followers of the Church of the Force and Lor San Tekka), but has found that their inhabitants don’t make you particularly welcome:

I’ve been out to the Sacred Villages a couple of times, carrying messages from Unkar, but I’ve never been asked to stay.

  • How Rey learnt her languages and flight skills:

I have an old Y-wing computer display I use to study schematics of rebel and Imperial starships and run flight sims. I practice alien languages and droidspeak so I can talk to people in Niima.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Storybook by Elizabeth Schaefer

An illustrated storybook re-telling the events of The Force Awakens. While the narrative is very slim in this one, there are two distinguishing features:

  • Courtesy of Maz, an intriguing explanation for Rey’s fate on Takodana (p. 81):

Then his mind snapped to something even more important to him. “Where’s Rey?”

“Rey is where she needs to be,” Maz assured him.

  • Kylo makes his motives in the snow fight clearer (p. 113):

“I don’t want to kill you,” Kylo said, dodging a swipe from Rey’s saber.