In the Disney era, just about every piece of Star Wars media is connected and part of a singular franchise canon. The efforts of the Lucasfilm Story Group have ensured that the supplemental (read: non-film) materials have a key role to play in fleshing out the universe and perhaps teasing developments that will be explored in later projects. For instance, this summer's novel Aftermath: Life Debt details the backstory of Han Solo and Chewbacca (two years before the young Han Solo movie opens in theaters) and gave fans yet another Supreme Leader Snoke theory to consider.
The next movie on the docket is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which has been building up buzz and anticipation ever since the full-length trailer made its way online in August. It features a collection of all-new characters on both sides of the Galactic Civil War, with Imperial officer Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) serving as the thorn in the side of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her band of Rebel Alliance fighters. As part of the Rogue One marketing efforts, Lucasfilm is placing the spotlight on these fresh faces, including the forthcoming book Catalyst by James Luceno, a Rogue One prequel novel.
Stitch Kingdom got a hold of the official publisher's synopsis, which reveals a strong connection between Krennic and Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), who is Jyn's father. You can read the plot summary below:
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.
There are two major revelations here. First, Catalyst is set in the heat of the Clone Wars, with the Republic still battling the Separatists. Some had theorized that the novel would take place shortly before the events of Rogue One, but it instead is years prior. Fans will also take a great deal of interest in the notion that Krennic and Galen are old friends, which is how the elder Erso ends up working on the Death Star project. The earliest rumors about Galen's character suggested he was a scientist who became overwhelmed with guilt after he aided the Empire. This dynamic should give Catalyst a captivating element and makes Rogue One sound even more emotionally engaging. At one point, Krennic saved the Erso family from captivity, and now they're enemies in a widespread conflict.
It will be fascinating to see how much of this is alluded to in Rogue One. One of Kathleen Kennedy's objectives with the Story Group is to promote interconnectivity between the mediums, but so far none of the books that have come out could be considered required reading. In all likelihood, a line or two of dialogue will cover the broad strokes of Catalyst, so those who didn't get a chance to pick it up are brought up to speed. Lucasfilm understands that the movies are going to be consumed by a much larger audience than the novels, comics, and other materials, so the Rogue One film should still be accessible for viewers who haven't read the book. Catalyst will primarily look to give interested parties more information on the characters.
In the meantime, Star Wars fans who are following all areas of the new canon will be eager to pick up a copy of Catalyst when it hits shelves November 15, 2016. Not only does the narrative sound like one of the most compelling in any of the novels, Luceno is one of the all-time great Star Wars authors. His Tarkin was very well-received, and he's long shown an ability to craft great narratives in this universe. If nothing else, Catalyst should be a strong complementary piece to Rogue One.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Stitch Kingdom