The Rise of Skywalker comes out on home release in March, and you know what that means: It’s time for Disney to entice fans into buying it by announcing a bunch of special features. The home release includes various behind-the-scenes segments including a feature-length documentary about the making of the film, and an in-depth look at the spaceship used by Rey’s parents. However, two popular features are missing: Deleted scenes and a director’s commentary track.
Star Wars home releases don’t always include deleted scenes and director’s commentary, but in this case, their absence will surely be over-analyzed by fans. Certain corners of Star Wars fandom are obsessed with what The Rise of Skywalker might have looked like under different circumstances, resulting in conspiracy theories about its creative process, campaigns to see a 3-hour “Abrams cut,” and speculation about (alleged) earlier drafts of the script. You can see why Disney might want to avoid stirring up further controversy by sharing scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut.
While George Lucas is known for tweaking his older movies, the Star Wars franchise doesn’t release extended directors’ cuts. The theatrical release is canon, and deleted scenes are just a fun extra detail for fans to enjoy on the side. The home releases for The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and Solo all included deleted scenes, while Rogue One did not. Rogue One famously went through extensive reshoots, so there should’ve been a lot of extra content available, but director Gareth Edwards said it was too piecemeal to be released in single coherent “scenes.” Of course, it’s equally plausible that Disney chose not to include deleted clips because they were so drastically different from the final version of the film.
As for director’s commentary tracks, some Star Wars movies have them and some don’t. Rogue One and Solo don’t have commentary tracks, possibly because both movies brought in new directors partway through, reshooting a lot of their predecessors’ material. It’s actually a little surprising to see no director’s commentary for The Rise of Skywalker, but maybe they’ll include it on a later upgrade of the home release.
The Rise of Skywalker novelization also comes out on March 17, and fans are more likely to find answers there. It’s subtitled The Expanded Edition, specifically advertised as including material that didn’t appear in the movie. Novelization authors typically work from a film’s shooting script, and in this case, there was probably a lot of direct collaboration between the filmmakers and writer Rae Carson, to make sure the book was in line with Disney and Lucasfilm’s vision for Star Wars canon.
You can expect the novelization to include more insight into characters’ motives, and hopefully clear up some loose ends, like explaining what Finn was so eager to tell Rey. Hey, maybe it’ll even clarify how Palpatine came back from the dead! This excerpt from the novel’s opening scene already reveals a lot more than what we saw on-screen, going into detail about Kylo Ren’s attack on Mustafar—a planet with great significance in Star Wars lore, but whose role wasn’t adequately explained in the film.