inspired by DVK's comment on this question.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has received an official novelization from Alan Dean Foster.
What significant scenes are there in the novelization that are missing from the film?
Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Leia sending off the envoy Korr Sella to New Republic Senate to ask for money and support.
You need to go to the Senate right away. Tell them I insist that they take action against the First Order. The longer they bicker and delay, the stronger the Order becomes.” She leaned toward the other woman. “If they fail to take action soon, the Order will have grown so strong the Senate will be unable to do anything. It won’t matter what they think.
Seriously, the entire Star Wars "first films of the trilogy" set is one big entire financial tale. First, they destroy an entire Death Star because Han's hustling for 17,000 credits in Episode IV. Then, entire Galaxy erupts in a civil war over trade route taxation in Episode I (oh, and the future Sith Lord Darth Vader gets set loose on the galaxy because dumb Jedi didn't have real money to pay for ship parts). Then, both Han and Leia are hustling for money in Episode VII - the former being the only reason the entire plot happened. If Han hadn't met Rey, she'd get caught.
Oh, and Leia thinks she'll be assassinated by New Republic.
I would have a terrible ‘accident,’ or become the victim of some ‘deranged’ radical. Or I would eat something that didn’t agree with me. Or encounter someone who didn’t agree with me.
A discussion of the exact planned proposed Starkiller use strategy/tactics, once they lose the droid:
The redheaded officer spoke up immediately. “I do have a proposition. The weapon. We have it. It is ready. I believe the time has come to use it.”
“The Republic. Or what its fractious proponents choose to call the Republic. Their center of government, its entire system. In the chaos that will follow, the Resistance will have no choice but to investigate an attack of such devastating scale. They will throw all their resources into trying to discover its source. So they have no choice but to investigate fully, and in so doing…”
Snoke was clearly pleased.
“And if they don’t… we’ve destroyed them.”
“Yes,” Snoke said in satisfaction. “Extreme. Audacious. I agree that the time for such measures has come. Go. Oversee the necessary preparations.”
Technical specifications of the Starkiller and especially how it uses power of the sun. Not so much as simply "missing" as "extremely different". Details here and even better comparison between novelization and WGA script here.
Detailed conversation between Snoke, Ren and Hux about firing at Ileenium. This is very important as it provides evidence that First Order is rather small and resource strapped, as they need to care about occupying - vs. destroying - 2 or 3 planets.
Though visibly angry, Snoke’s tone remained unchanged. “Have we located the main Resistance base?”
Hux was clearly gratified to be the bearer of good news. “We were able to track their reconnaissance ship back to the Ileenium system. We are coordinating with our own reconnaissance craft in the area in order to lock down the specific location of their base.”
Snoke replied with cold satisfaction. “We do not need it. Prepare the weapon. Destroy their system.”
Collected and composed as he was, Hux was not immune to surprise. “The system? Supreme Leader, according to the most recent galographics, at least two and possibly three habitable worlds circle Ileenium. Following the destruction of the Hosnian worlds, would it not be worthwhile simply to destroy their base and claim the remainder for the Order? We will have the location of the base within a matter of hours and—”
Rey being dropped off on a forest world -- before she gets dropped off with Plutt on Jakku - in her Force Vision. Details here
Once more she climbed to her feet, her chilled breath preceding her. From in front of her, not far away, came the sounds of battle: the cries of the wounded and the clashing of weapons. Then behind her, another voice. That voice.
“Stay here. I’ll come back for you.”
She whirled, glazed eyes desperately scanning the dark gaps between the slender trees, trying to penetrate the darkness. “Where are you?” She started running toward the voice.
“I’ll come back, sweetheart. I promise.”
The whole discussion between Ren and Snoke on why Darth Vader failed (which also importantly mentions Snoke's age).
Kylo Ren, I watched the Galactic Empire rise, and then fall. The gullible prattle on about the triumph of truth and justice, of individualism and free will. As if such things were solid and real instead of simple subjective judgments. The historians have it all wrong. It was neither poor strategy nor arrogance that brought down the Empire. You know too well what did.” Ren nodded once. “Sentiment.” “Yes. Such a simple thing. Such a foolish error of judgment. A momentary lapse in an otherwise exemplary life. Had Lord Vader not succumbed to emotion at the crucial moment—had the father killed the son—the Empire would have prevailed. And there would be no threat of Skywalker’s return today.
... and of why Kylo Ren is supposed to be special unique snowflake
It is far more than that. It is where you are from. What you are made of. The Dark Side—and the Light. The finest sculptor cannot fashion a masterpiece from poor materials. He must have something pure, something strong, something unbreakable, with which to work.
Much more expanded dialog between Han and Leia - showing their feelings for each other (Well, Han's for Leia) but also, more importantly, that Snoke targeted Ben for recruitment very young.
He had trouble believing what he was hearing. “So Snoke was watching our son.”
“Always,” she told him. “From the shadows, in the beginning, even before I realized what was happening, he was manipulating everything, pulling our son toward the dark side. But nothing’s impossible, Han. Not even now, at this late time. I have this feeling that if anyone can save him — it’s you.”
The story of how Poe hitchhiked his way back to Resistance with only a towel.
C-3PO realizing BB-8th long range comm is accidentally off, and polling Resistance clandestine droid spy network (which is how they learn to go to Takodana)
Chewbacca finally ripping someone's (Plutt's) arm out of their socket. Literally. I've been waiting to see it ever since Paradise Snare. Details here
Leia and Rey having a weird conversation that might be meaningful (or not) visavi Rey's parentage:
“I’m proud of what you’re about to do,” she told the girl. Rey replied in all seriousness. “But you’re also afraid. In sending me away, you’re—reminded.” Leia straightened. “You won’t share the fate of our son.” “I know what we’re doing is right. This is how it has to be. This is how it should be.” Leia smiled gently, reassuringly. “I know it, too. May the Force be with you.”
Details of Han's business plan
“I got three going to King Prana. Kings not only like to collect, they like to boast about their collections. Seems Prana’s in competition with the regent of the Mol’leaj system. The regent doesn’t have a rathtar in his private zoo. Neither does anybody else.”
Doctor telling Rey that Finn will survive
When Dr. Kalonia finally emerged from the intensive care section, Rey nearly fainted at seeing the smile on her face. The physician’s words confirmed Rey’s hope. “Your friend’s going to be just fine.”
Some details on Lor San Tekka's past
A bit more backstory on political situation, via Leia's internal thoughts
They had thought that with the fall of the Empire it would all be so easy. That people would understand the need for patience, that time would be required to rebuild that which the Empire had taken away. Cities, communications, trade: All these could and were well on their way to full restoration. It was the intangibles that proved so much more difficult to re-establish throughout galactic society.
Freedom, for example. The freedom to speak one’s mind, to object, to dispute. She sighed. Those who had led the rebellion had under-estimated the deeply buried desire of far too large a proportion of the population who simply preferred to be told what to do. Much easier it was to follow orders than to think for oneself. So everyone had argued and debated and discussed. Until it was too late.
A lot more detail on Finn's inner thoughts and feelings while a stormtrooper.
Unless I'm mistaken, there's far more flirting between Rey and Finn.