Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker showed that Rey was the key to Kylo Ren’s redemption in a fight that took place on the ruins of the second Death Star. However, in Rae Carlson’s novel, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition, hints that the first spark of redemption was through his “uncle” Chewbacca.
In the movie, Chewie was captured by the Knights of Ren when they were on Pasaana. Though the film didn’t reveal what happened on the ship, the novel reveals that Kylo probed Chewbacca’s mind to find out where Rey is as well as the rest of the Resistance.
When the Supreme Leader mind-probed the Wookiee, it was a foreshadowing of his path to redemption. “He saw flashes of the Wookiee laughing with a much younger Han Solo than he himself remembers,” Carlson wrote. “Felt Chewbacca's joy when his best friend married the woman he'd come to love like a sister.”
Kylo also saw Chewie “cuddling” a baby, teaching an “older boy to fly a speeder,” and target practice with the “young man.” The Supreme leader also was able to scour around the Wookiee’s quarters, discovering that Chewie kept pictures and memorabilia of the young Ben Solo instead of those of his fellow Wookiees.
The scene shows just how much Chewie, his “uncle,” loves Kylo Ren despite all the things he has done since he has turned to the Dark Side. He never hated the Supreme Leader, which resulted in Kylo having a glimmer of hope, grasping the very concept of it through Chewbacca’s mind.
The sequel trilogy didn’t show more of Ben Solo’s past, especially his memories with his family. The scene from the novel could have been a very touching and emotional one, but unfortunately, it didn’t make it in the final cut.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Digital HD and hits 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31.