I bought a copy of the novelization of The Force Awakens last week. Unlike the rest of the world, I did not receive a review copy. Yeah, I know: Boo frickin’ hoo. I got the Barnes & Noble edition because it includes picures! I was worried they would be sold out by the time I got there, (much like Best Buy and the steelbook versions of Marvel films) but there were six copies left on the display at the front of the store. Yay! It wasn’t until I arrived back home that I realized it was a second edition. What!? Those things must be selling like hotcakes. Or should I say like Unkar Plutt’s portion packs?
I can hear some of you asking, “Who in their right mind would want to read the novelization of a movie?” The answer is simple: Nerds. Another answer is that The Force Awakens is not yet available on blu-ray. A third answer is that there may be some people who cannot see the film in a theatre, for whatever reason, and they will borrow it from their local public library.
The novelization of The Force Awakens was written by Alan Dean Foster, who also wrote the Star Wars novels The Approaching Storm, and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. Some have criticized Foster’s writing style, saying he made full use of Thesaurus.com. I didn’t find it as disconcerting as some, but I am not a pedant. As someone with conspicuous verbal tics and crutches, I find the thesaurus to be an ultraconvenient instrument.
It’s one thing to turn a novel into a film; and another to reverse engineer the process. It’s not like Foster transcribed the script and added prose–but I guess he kind of did. When I read a book, I often picture the events in my head. If the novel is turned into a movie, it is interesting to see if the images on screen live up to my imagination. By now, millions of people have see The Force Awakens, and it’s Foster’s responsibility to describe the events as we saw them. I think he did a very good job. By that I mean he didn’t overdo it.
I don’t know if Foster was working from an early draft of the script and/or saw a rough cut of The Force Awakens, since there are scenes in the novel that weren’t in the film. The same thing happened in 1977 when the Marvel Comics adaptation of Star Wars included the Jabba the Hutt scene.
I have no idea if any of the stuff that is the novel will be included as deleted scenes when The Force Awakens is released on blu-ray. Then again, some of the new or changed parts in the novel may fall under the heading of “artistic license.” Either way–it’s all canon. Except for what isn’t.