Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Novel (Star Wars (Del Rey))

James Luceno
Lauded Star Wars author James Luceno returns to pen an intense tale of ambition and betrayal that sets the stage for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  War is tearing the galaxy apart. For years the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war. As a member of Chancellor Palpatine’s top secret Death Star project, Orson Krennic is determined to develop a superweapon before their enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic’s, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key. Galen’s energy-focused research has captured the attention of both Krennic and his foes, making the scientist a crucial pawn in the galactic conflict. But after Krennic rescues Galen, his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn, from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is deeply in Krennic’s debt. Krennic then offers Galen an extraordinary opportunity: to continue his scientific studies with every resource put utterly at his disposal. While Galen and Lyra believe that his energy research will be used purely in altruistic ways, Krennic has other plans that will finally make the Death Star a reality. Trapped in their benefactor’s tightening grasp, the Ersos must untangle Krennic’s web of deception to save themselves and the galaxy itself.


Reviewed: 2019-07-18
Luceno is a great story teller. He has a knack for pulling different strands together to set up the next stage of a story. And honestly, I think that Rogue One ultimately suffers from incorporating too few of these strands into the final film. The interplay of Galen and Krennic was so underplayed in the film, I can't even remember if they mentioned the kyber crystals or their connection to the Jedi in the movies, and the family dynamics of the Erso family was pretty much non-existent in the final version of the film. This novel helps to set all of that up, but the ultimate resolution of the film is still unsatisfying.

That said, the one place I feel the book suffers is that the ending feels rushed and forced. Frankly, Saw Gerrera had a bit part in the book even though the movie makes it appear there is some long back story with him and the Ersos.


To have him be there for them at the end of the book and again in the movie felt contrived. Obbit would have been far more compelling in both places, even (maybe especially) with his precarious situation.
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