Last month I discussed how the time period between Episodes III and IV is my favorite era in all of Star Wars and that there has been a huge expansion in canon material around that time. In this new monthly series, I will be going through all the books, comics, and movies there within. This month I’ll be looking into what makes Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel so essential.
Written by veteran Star Wars author James Luceno, Catalyst starts off by taking place during The Clone Wars while the vast majority of it takes place and has farther reaches into the Dark Times. The novel introduces us to the Erso’s and Orson Krennic, while also featuring Saw Gerrera. The story chronicles the lives of the Erso’s and Krennic through the end of The Clone Wars into the formation of the Galactic Empire as Galen and Orson work on the development of the Death Star. Krennic is brilliantly written as a foil to Galen throughout while sowing the seeds of the character that is seen in Rogue One. He is a man with limitless ambition and will manipulate and use anything or anyone in his purview to achieve his goals.
It’s not a surprise that most of my favorite parts are focused around Krennic. Early on in the story he is part of a group of scientists and engineers that are focused on weapons development for the Republic. Here they are shown to be using the schematics given to Count Dooku by the Geonosians in Attack of the Clones. Krennic comes to work with Poggle the Lesser after he is captured and the two of them begin construction on the super-structure of the Death Star. Krennic knows that mostly anyone smart enough in the Empire could complete the construction, he is the one who has the keys to making the system actually matter, which is the weapon itself. Obviously it’s Galen Erso and Krennic knows just what to do to make it work.
There are plenty of other characters that come through the book that have been featured in other Star Wars stories and play sizable roles. Luminaries of the Empire, Tarkin and Mas Amedda, are included with the latter playing a substantially large part as Krennic’s overseer in his development of the super-weapon project. Amedda has gotten quite a glow up in canon by appearing in three other novels besides Catalyst. The big-blue Chagrian has been one of the longest running characters in the Star Wars canon despite playing such a small role. Appearing first in The Phantom Menace and lasting all the way up to Empire’s End in the Aftermath trilogy, Amedda is one of those characters that broaden the depth of the Star Wars mythos with their longevity.
Also appearing in Catalyst is “everyone’s” favorite Rebel leader, Saw Gerrera. The history of Saw, both in-universe and out, is well-known by most and his placement in the novel is vitally important to the development in Rogue One. What Catalyst does best is provide a level of richness to supplement the film that all tie-in fiction should do. Reading the book prior to my first viewing of the movie on opening night gave me so much more enjoyment of the film than if I had waited to read the book afterwards. The story of the book gives the prologue of the movie so much more of an emotional punch because you know what it means for those characters.
Ultimately that is what all supplementary tie-in stories to the films should do.
Have any thoughts on Catalyst or any of the stories you want to see covered during the Dark Times? You can comment below or send an email.
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