Rogue One is in theaters right now and if you are a Star Wars fan, you are absolutely dying to see it. (If you’re not, then I think you need to re-think your life for a minute!). But before you jump in a Podracer and head off to the theater you should take some time to read the prequel novel by James Luceno. Catalyst contains a few character points that may enhance your movie viewing experience. Ok, fine you can get away with just skimming it, or better yet, just read this list and get the main points.
1. Galen And Orson Were Classmates
In the novel we are told that the main characters, Galen Erso and Orson Krennic, were once classmates in a special accelerated program. Although the two are not exactly the best of friends, it does appear that the two had an amiable relationship. This forms the foundation of Galen and Orson’s interaction throughout the novel. Their time in school serves to establish who they eventually become later on in the story. Galen is the ever curious scientist with an unbreakable focus on his research, while Orson on the other hand is a charismatic leader with an innate ability to organize and charm people. Eventually, Galen goes into private research while Orson signs up with the Republic as an engineer. However, eventually Galen’s research and Orson’s post wind up reuniting the two.
2. Galen Is Researching Kyber Crystals
Catalyst reveals that the main focus of Galen’s research is to find a source of unlimited energy to power the galaxy via Kyber Crystals. Initially, Galen uses synthetic Kyber that has to be harvested to serve as a proxy. For the most part, Galens’ research mainly uses the Kyber, or proxy Kyber, to store energy harvested from lasers and then releases the energy. However, this energy can also be weaponized. This is realized by none other than Orson Krennic, reuniting the two old school chums. Galen is initially hesitant to do anything that would associate him with the war, leading Orson to emotionally manipulate the researcher. Thus begins Orson’s long manipulative attempt to convince Galen he’s doing the world a service, while secretly incorporating Galen’s work into the Death Star.
3. Lyra (Galen’s Wife/Jyn’s Mother) Believes In The Force
The Kyber crystals are not only important to Galen; Lyra, Galen’s wife and the mother of Jyn, strongly believes in the force, too. At various points throughout the novel she is even shown to be lightly in tune with the force. Although she doesn’t seem to be force sensitive, she does seem to have a very weak connection to it. To her, the crystals are not merely a source of scientific research, but a sacred object to be treated with a certain degree of reverence. Lyra holds the Force and Kyber crystals in such high regard she wonders whether Galen should even be researching the Kyber to begin with. At various moments throughout the book, we can even see Lyra attempting to connect with the force whenever she needs guidance.
4. Orson Rescued Galen And Lyra During The Clone Wars
As mentioned earlier, Orson is the one man in the Republic that seems to recognize the weapon’s potential in Galen’s research. Although, at the beginning of the novel (literally in Chapter One) the Ersos, (Galen and Lyra) are captured by forces aligned with the Separatists. To ensure Galen’s research does not fall into the Separatist hands, Orson engineers a daring rescue plan. True to his manipulative nature, Orson reasons that, immediately following the rescue attempt, will be the best time to begin the recruitment process. Orson believes that Galen will feel a sense of gratitude and be more receptive towards working for the Republic. On the way back, Orson plans the return route to fly by Galen’s home planet, currently under siege by Separatist forces. Orson reasons that Galen will be driven to join Orson’s secret weapons project in order to end the war and protect his home.
5. Orson And Tarkin Are Rivals
Surprise! The return of an iconic character from the original trilogy. Although not a featured character throughout the novel, Wilhuff Tarkin is still a prominent figure in the Rogue One universe and Tarkin and Orson are both vying for command of the soon to be finished Death Star. Orson sees the command as his natural right since he had overseen the project since its infancy during the Clone Wars. Tarkin views Orson as a vain and incompetent officer unworthy of taking command and also believes that he should be the one to take command of the Death Star due to his own accomplishments. Orson has powerful allies high up within the imperial hierarchy, though Tarkin is closer to the Emperor. Both go to great pains to undermine the other, culminating in Tarkin flipping one of Orson’s spies and Orson sparking a minor conflict to pre-occupy Tarkin and embarrass him. It is unknown whether or not we will see this rivalry play out on screen, but if it does, we can expect some fireworks.
6. Saw Gerrera Helped The Ersos Escape The Empire
Saw Gerrera already has some notable fame as a character on the Star Wars Rebels animated series. In the trailer, we see the old man serving as some sort of mentor figure to Jyn Erso. In the novel, though, we are shown that he is actually the man who gets the Ersos away from the clutches of the Empire. Orson’s spy, the smuggler Has, gets wind that Orson may attempt to harm the Ersos in order to achieve his ends. To keep the family safe, Has tasks Saw with finding a safe place for the Ersos to lay low. In the final chapter of the novel, we see him bonding with a very young Jyn Erso. It also is revealed that he is supposed to stay in touch with the Ersos periodically. It is likely that he, along with Jyn’s parents, will be a guiding force in her development as a character.
Hopefully, by reading the novel (or this list) you can go into Rogue One with a few preconceptions about the popular story. Rogue One looks like it’s going to be a great movie, and if it can at least be as great as Catalyst, then I don’t think audiences will be the slightest bit disappointed.
Have you gotten your tickets to see Rogue One, yet?
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Featured image via The Verge
h/t Cinema Blend