Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker brought an end to the Skywalker Saga more than 40 years after it launched, bringing with it the conclusion to a number of characters' journeys, while the early release of the film's novelization confirms the unspoken words that Ben Solo shared with Rey in his final moments before passing. The pair's final encounter was already emotional enough, as it saw the two standing up to and defeating Emperor Palpatine, Rey's death, her resurrection at the hands of Ben, a passionate kiss, and Ben's ultimate sacrifice, with these final words adding even more power to the moment.
"A voice came to her through the Force, clear and strong. I will always be with you, Ben said," the novelization reads in the scene. "She smiled. Let the truth of it wash over her. 'No one's ever really gone,' she whispered."
Not only does this final message make the sequence even more emotional than what audiences had already witnessed, but it comes with a potentially exciting revelation for fans.
Dating back to Star Wars: A New Hope, when a Jedi died, they were able to become one with the Force, allowing them to continue to connect with those attuned to the Force to share messages and make their presence known. At the end of The Rise of Skywalker, viewers saw the Force ghosts of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa appear to Rey while on Tatooine, with Ben Solo nowhere to be found. Given that Ben's grandfather Anakin had rejected the persona of Darth Vader in his final moments and ultimately appeared in the final moments of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as a Force ghost and confirming his status as a Jedi, some had thought that Ben's absence meant his turn to the Light Side came too late.
Instead, it would appear that, despite not appearing as a Force ghost in the film, he isn't as "dead" as some fans might have thought. While we shouldn't expect to see him again in a physical form, the door seems to be open for future communications with Jedi from another plane of existence.
The book's early debut might have brought some exciting news with this interaction, but it also confirmed that the ghost never appeared in the narrative, even in novelized form.
The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelization officially hits shelves on March 17th. The film hits Digital HD on March 17th and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31st.
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