Star Wars has officially revealed how Rey was easily able to defeat Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. Back in 2015, there was a pretty big uproar amongst fans who were stunned to see a Force newcomer best someone who has trained in the Force for years. For many, it seemed like a copout as we were all trying to guess who Rey was, who her parents are, and where all of this power came from.
The Rise of Skywalker novelization has confirmed exactly how Rey was able to take down Kylo Ren with ease and it all has to do with Chewie. A lot of Star Wars fans had argued this point for years, stating that the Wookiee was the one who shot Kylo after he murdered Han Solo. In addition, the villain was probably more than a little shaken after taking the life of his father. In the novel, Kylo is interrogating Chewie while he is chained up. You can read an excerpt from the novel told through Kylo Ren's perspective below.
"'I have not forgotten that you shot me,' Kylo said. That wound had resulted in a defeat at Rey's hands. Had he been in top fighting form, the scavenger never would have gotten the best of him."
This makes the most sense, but one has to wonder exactly why Lucasfilm decided to go back and explain something from 2015 in The Rise of Skywalker novelization. J.J. Abrams, whether intentional or not, went through and retconned nearly all of Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi in the movie. And it appears he wanted to add some extra clarification for some of his own choices from the first installment in the sequel trilogy too. Or maybe it wasn't Abrams's idea at all.
Leaked concept art from The Rise of Skywalker reveals that in Colin Trevorrow's original version of the movie had Chewbacca chained up on Kylo Ren's Star Destroyer. In another panel, it appears that the villain is interrogating his old friend, which is very well where this idea in the novelization could have come from. This is pure speculation at this point since Trevorrow's version of the movie differed wildly from what J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio put up on the big screen.
In the end, The Rise of Skywalker felt like it had some explaining to do on behalf of the previous two installments, with an emphasis on The Last Jedi. With no other movies lined up, Lucasfilm had to have a novelization, comic books, a video game, and a Visual Dictionary to tie up all of the loose ends from the movie and even the ones that came before. Writing an official novelization for a Star Wars movie seems like a daunting task with all of the gaps that need to be filled. You can head over to Penguin Random House for more info on the novel.