Rogue One introduced Star Wars fans to Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso, the daughter of Imperial scientist Galen Erso, and the events that led her becoming a member of the Rebel Alliance.
But in doing so, the standalone Star Wars film skipped over her more formative years, after Saw Gerrera took her in, but before her rescue midway through the story. Lucky for any fans craving Jyn’s backstory, Beth Revis’ new novel, Rebel Rising — of which they can read an exclusive excerpt for below — follows the rebel-to-be adventures, delving into her complicated relationship with Saw and allowing readers to see just how the resourceful young woman became the reluctant hero fans have come to love.
Rebel Rising is currently available for purchase. Order it here.
Excerpt from Rebel Rising by Beth Revis
Jyn sat beside Saw in the cockpit of his ship. She stared straight out the window, watching as they soared through the clouds of Lah’mu. The ring that circled the planet in a constant white rainbow arched over- head, and then they broke atmosphere. The sky turned black, speckled with white stars, a glow of light om the re ected sunlight on the planet’s belt just visible.
Saw glanced where she was looking and nodded grimly. A Star Destroyer hung in the blackness of space, the sun illuminating the underbelly of the ship.
They’d sent a Star Destroyer for her father.
Papa is on that ship, Jyn realized, her eyes widening. He was somewhere, somewhere there, just out of reach but so close.
Saw was busy at the controls. His ship was so tiny compared with the Star Destroyer, a flea next to a giant, but his mumbling curses informed Jyn that he was worried about being spotted. Within seconds, they were well past the Destroyer, and in minutes, they’d lurched into hyperspace. The blue-gray stream of lights out the window made Jyn blink, hard, her sight blurring not just with the light but with the unshed tears that were building in her eyes.
“Hey, kid,” Saw said, swiveling his chair so he could see Jyn fully. “I . . .”
He stopped. Jyn knew he was going to say he was sorry, but there was something in his eyes that made her realize he knew just how futile those words were.
She stared at his face, wondering at her memories of him being funny and kind. His dark skin made the puckered scars near his le eye stand out. He looked angry. Except for his eyes.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Jyn said, pulling her knees up to her chin and wrapping her arms around her legs.
Saw’s expression grew hard. “Too bad,” he said, “because I need to know why the Empire came after your father like that.”
“You knew why my parents went into hiding,” Jyn said.
“I knew bits. But I had no idea they’d send a Star Destroyer after him.”
Jyn had to admit she was a little surprised, too. She knew her father was important and that he’d worked as a scientist for the Empire before fleeing Coruscant and going into hiding on Lah’mu. She knew some of what he did. Mama and Papa had said never to tell anyone about Papa’s research, but she could trust Saw. Mama had.
“He studied crystals,” Jyn said, pulling the necklace her mother had given her om under her shirt. She slipped it over her head and handed it to Saw when he held out his hand.
He turned it over in his palm and held it up to the light, squinting at the clear crystal. It was, Jyn knew, a kyber crystal. Not a very good one, not worth a lot of money. Papa had worked with very good kyber crystals when he worked with the Empire. He liked rocks.
“I know about the crystals,” Saw said, handing the necklace back to Jyn. “But your father must have been working on something else, something more concrete. Something they want. The Empire doesn’t just come down like that for crystals.”
“That’s all he worked on,” she insisted.
“That you know of,” Saw said darkly. “Did he say anything when the Empire came? Anything at all— maybe he told you something that could be a clue.”
Jyn closed her eyes. She could still hear her father’s voice. Jyn, whatever I do, he’d said, I do it to protect you.
And then he had gone with the man who killed Mama.
“No,” Jyn told Saw.
Saw turned to the window and stared at the blue-gray light of hyperspace. “There’s something more here,” he said, mostly to himself. “Since Coruscant, Galen has been working on something big, I know it. We have to figure out what it was.”
Jyn felt tears burn in her eyes. Her father had been working on a broken harvester droid the night before the Empire came. Not some big secret. But she knew Saw was right. Mama and Papa talked about it, late at night when they thought Jyn was asleep. Research and crystals and fears. She wished she’d paid better attention. She wished she could at least understand why all this was happening.
She forced herself to remember the way things used to be. On Coruscant, when her father had openly worked for the Empire. She had been littler then, and easily distracted, but even she knew that her parents weren’t happy. When they’d moved to Lah’mu, things seemed better. More relaxed. Mama taught her every day, math and science and literature and history. Papa worked in the fields, and at night he continued his research, but it wasn’t like on Coruscant. He didn’t work until he collapsed, mumbling to himself, ignoring her. Things were better.
But there had still been that undercurrent of fear. It spiked occasionally, when the comm tower picked up static, or when Mama and Papa insisted they have a safety drill. They invented scenarios of bad things that could happen and told Jyn what to do. Papa liked to pretend it was a game, but Jyn knew better.
There wasn’t a scenario for if Mama died, Jyn thought. They had a lot of plans, but none of them ended with Jyn alone. They would hide, run, survive. Together. Mama had never thought about what would happen if she died and Jyn hurtled away from home through hyperspace.
But when she looked at Saw, she knew that wasn’t true. He was her parents’ plan if the worst happened. They hadn’t wanted to tell her that; they hadn’t wanted her to think about just how bad things could get, but Jyn knew it to be true.
Saw was her last hope.
His eyes were red-lined, and he sighed heavily as he ran a hand over his smooth head. As if he could feel her eyes on him, he glanced down at Jyn, and he tried to shoot her a reassuring smile. But then he said, “I don’t know what to do with you, kid,” and any comfort she’d felt disappeared.