The premier of Rogue One is less than a month away and fans of all ages are getting hyped. The trailer looks fantastic and so far, it has all the makings of a movie with potential. However, in the midst of all the Star Wars hype you may have not noticed the release of the prequel novel to Rogue One. While not exactly a classic piece of science fiction literature, James Luceno’s Catalyst fleshes out the characters that may be present in the new movie, as well as the state of the universe during the beginning stages of the Empire.
Catalyst also gives us a great depiction of the transition between the Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The main characters have to find a way to deal with the newly formed Galactic empire and what the implications are. We also find out the ways in which the Empire used a misinformation campaign to smear the Jedi and explain the reasons for the political reconfiguration.
The novel mainly follows Galen Erso, a scientist whose main goal in life is to provide unlimited energy, and Orsen Krennic, an ambitious officer who is assigned to a special weapons project. The two find their paths intertwined when Krennic recruits Erso to a top secret regarding crystal energy. Unbeknownst to Galen Erso, he isn’t actually working on a source of energy for the galaxy, he is designing the main weapon for the Death Star.
From there on, readers watch as Krennic attempts to manipulate Erso into becoming a puppet of the Empire. Thus begins an entire game of cat and mouse between Krennic, Ero, and Ero’s wife, Lyra, for the Galen’s soul.
Catalyst is a must read for those looking forward to Rogue One for a number of reasons. One being, it solves the mystery of Jyn Erso’s connection with the Death Star seeing as her father, Galen helps to design the main weapon. It also confirms that the Death Star is powered by Kyber crystals, the source of power for the Jedi’s lightsaber.
There is also some emphasis on the ways in which the Galen and Lyra Erso influence the behavior and personality of Jyn, the protagonist of Rogue One. From Galen and Lyra’s personalities, the reader is able to ascertain what Jyn may be like on screen. Perhaps it is the combination of her father’s distaste for the Empire, and her mother’s belief in the Force that drives her to join the rebellion.
A pleasant surprise in the novel is the appearance of Grand Moff Tarkin. Tarkin takes on the role of being rival to Krennic, perhaps hinting that we will see the two engage in a battle of wits on the big screen. Although Tarkin has not appeared in any of the trailers, his semi-prominent role in the novel may suggest we may be seeing more of him come December.
Overall, the novel should leave Star Wars fans even more excited for the upcoming movie. If for no reason other than we now kind of have some sort of expectation for the universe of Rogue One. Given that we haven’t really had an established expanded universe yet, it was difficult to tell to what degree people were supportive of the Empire. Catalyst shows that, for the most part, it seems people are fine with the Empire unless it directly affects them. Even Lyra Erso appears to be initially receptive towards the new regime, even if she doesn’t believe that the Jedi attempted to kill the Emperor.
The best part about all of this is that Catalyst doesn’t appear to be much of a spoiler for the movie. Apart from Galen Erso, Orsen Krennic, and Saw Garrera there aren’t any other characters in the novel that are guaranteed to be in the movie. This allows you to dive straight into the world James Luceno crafted without having to worry you’ll know too much going into the movie. Really, this book seems to be geared at people who want a deeper understanding of the new Star Wars expanded universe.
Rather than approach this as a novel that only has to connect to the movie, it seems James Luceno has constructed it to fit the greater Star Wars universe. In doing so, Catalyst is a more adaptable read for those looking for something connected to the movie or just more information on the new Star Wars expanded universe.
What did you think of the novel? Are you looking forward to Rogue One? Comment below!
YouTube Channel: Star Wars
Featured image via CNN