Secrets Revealed from Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel – Orson Krennic, Galen Erso, & More!


With just one month left until the release
of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we have been given Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel! In this video I’m going to start with a
spoiler free review just to tell you if it’s worth your time and money, and then I’ll
get into spoilers and the major takeaways from the book. Let me start by saying that Catalyst is not
an absolutely required read before you see Rogue One. You’ll be able to go into the film and understand
everything. But I am very happy I read it. I honestly think by experiencing this story
I’ll have a much better connection with some of the characters, most specifically
Galen Erso and Orson Krennic. Most of the story follows them, their relationship,
and their involvement with the Death Star. The timeline starts about a year into the
Clone Wars and takes us through the events of Revenge of the Sith and two or three years
beyond that, it’s not quite clear. And this is the most transitionary piece of
Star Wars content we’ve had so far. It’s connected to both the original and
prequel trilogies and the Clone Wars and other books. We actually get to see the Empire phasing
out Venator-class star destroyers for Imperial-class. We get to see clone troopers in stormtrooper
armor. We hear about the first TIE Fighters to come
off the assembly line. And we get to see how the Empire manipulated
just about everyone in the galaxy to get what they want. What I think is most impressive is how engaging
the story is despite basically knowing how it will all end up. I mean these are all new characters, but we
know from the Rogue One trailers that Galen and his family go into hiding and that Krennic
finds him. So this story backtracks from there, much
like Rogue One will be backtracking from Episode IV. But James Luceno makes perfect use of dramatic
irony and takes full advantage of our knowledge of future events to help us sympathise with
or scorn particular characters. Yet at the same time, he writes Krennic to
be just charming enough. It’s kind of like those early scenes of
X-Men: First Class between Charles and Eric. You know they’re going to end up enemies,
but you can’t help but enjoy their friendship. I would say a major theme of this book is
what it means to serve the greater good. In a strange way, Galen Erso is kind of a
foil to the entire Empire. Galen believe his work is noble, and will
provide a great service to the entire galaxy. In a way, the Empire believes the Death Star
will also serve a great purpose in keeping peace and stability. But when it comes down to it, the Empire will
do anything and sacrifice anyone to achieve their goals. Galen sacrifices time with his wife and daughter
in the name of providing them with a better future, but comes to learn that future isn’t
worth having if they aren’t together. So do I think this book is worth your time? Yes I do. I think Catalyst is going to really enrich
Rogue One and give you a greater appreciation for the Erso family and a better understanding
of Krennic and his motivations. And by the way, if you want to check the book
out for free and help out the channel at the same time, there is a link in the description
to start a trial on Audible! Go to www.audibletrial.com/starwarsexplained
and you can listen to Catalyst for no charge! Okay I’m going to get into plot and spoilers
now so if you do want to read the book, you have been warned! Not surprisingly we get a lot of new information
about the Death Star and its development. I was surprised to learn how early construction
began, which was less than a year after the Battle of Geonosis, but also that it was a
Republic weapon pretty much from the start. It was my understanding that it was a Separatist
weapon and the Republic just took over when the Clone Wars ended. Well here is how all that really played out. At the end of Attack of the Clones, Dooku
takes the plans for the Death Star to his master where he claims they will be safe. Well sometime after the second Battle of Geonosis
and the capture of Poggle the Lesser, which is seen in the Clone Wars show, the plans
are revealed to a select group of people known as the Strategic Advisory Cell. Palpatine theorizes that if these plans exist,
the Separatists are certainly working on a superweapon, and the Republic had better build
one first. Krennic then negotiates with Poggle the Lesser
and secures the Geonosian workforce in exchange for his release, and voila, the Death Star
begins construction. The Strategic Advisory Cell members agree
that building the station will be a huge undertaking, but is totally possible…except for the superlaser. And that’s where Galen Erso comes in. Galen studies crystals, and he is specifically
interested in kyber crystals. He wants to harness their power to provide
sustainable energy for developing worlds, but the Jedi are protective of them, so his
only option is to, get this, create synthetic ones. So synthetic crystals kind of come back to
canon, but they don’t work. I think it was still nice that they were acknowledged
though. Krennic and Galen were old friends back in
what equates to college for us, but Krennic knows he can’t just ask Erso to build him
a superlaser. So he spends months, maybe even years, slowly
manipulating Galen into a position where he will work for the Empire. Yeah, the process takes so long the Clone
Wars have ended. Well with the Jedi gone, Krennic is able to
entice his old friend with their real genuine kyber crystals. The whole manipulation plot was probably my
favorite thing to read in this book. It was fun seeing Krennic play the long game
to get what he wants. And at the same time it was kind of nice seeing
Galen get what he wants, even though it was at the cost of the Jedi. This book made me feel so vindicated because
I’ve been guessing that Galen’s work would be meant for good and that the Empire would
take his work and twist it for the Death Star. I even guessed he’d work on sustainable
energy. Sorry for the tangent, I just wanted to pat
myself on the back. Because that’s exactly what happens. Galen works in a facility made to create energy. His research is then sent to an identical
one where scientists there try to weaponize it. But they clearly don’t understand kyber
crystals like Erso, because in one test they blow up an entire city, killing tens of thousands. Of course Galen eventually discovers what
his work is really being used for, and he escapes with his family, which tarnishes Krennic’s
name a bit. I think that’s going to make for a very
interesting reunion. So that’s the plot down to its barest bones. The basics of what you’ll want to know for
Rogue One. But there is still more I’d like to talk
about. We’ve only seen one shot of Jyn’s mother
from the films so far, Lyra. She is a significant part of this book. And she’s great. I think maybe the biggest service this book
does is provide her with so much life and character, but I didn’t want to talk about
her before because I’m guessing she just won’t survive very long in Rogue One. Having read this book, assuming I’m right,
that’s going to hit me much harder. People have also guessed she might be Force
sensitive because she has what’s most likely a kyber crystal. Well those people would be right. But it’s like crazy light Force sensitivity. More of a general connection with and passion
for nature. So I don’t think we’re going to see any
Force abilities passed onto Jyn, but we could absolutely see her believing in the Force
or at least a power greater than herself. There is this whole subplot that involves
Krennic and a group of smugglers framing different mineral-rich planets so the Empire can take
over and take all their resources. Well that leads to some insurgency led by
a man named Saw Gerrera. I was pleasantly surprised to see him pop
up, and he is actually the man to take the Ersos into hiding from the Empire. So he and Jyn actually go way back! Which brings me to some speculation. Jyn is born about one year into the Clone
Wars, making her about twenty one at the time of Rogue One. In the trailers Mon Mothma says Jyn has been
on her own since the age of fifteen. But this does not look like a fifteen year
old girl. So either she’s older than she looks, or
she spends some time with someone else after Krennic finds her family. Well Saw gives the Ersos a comm card in case
they ever need his help. I’m betting Jyn was raised by Saw for a
bit. The final topic I want to cover is the rivalry
between Krennic and Tarkin. They were a lot of fun together. Krennic is pretty much in charge of the entire
Death Star project as we see it. He seems himself as confident and a real go-getter,
but everyone else sees him as cocky and shortsighted. Yet he gets results and despite his methods
being annoying, Imperial leadership forgives him time and time again. Except Tarkin. Tarkin has his eyes set on controlling the
Death Star project himself, and seeing the two of them play off each other was so much
fun. The games they play and the moves they make
to frustrate and occupy each other…it was classic Imperial officer stuff. Backstabbing and always on the lookout for
self-advancement, especially on Krennic’s side. But of course we know who wins that battle. I really look forward to seeing them interact
in Rogue One, assuming Tarkin makes an appearance. Okay I think I’ve gone on long enough about
Catalyst, and I’ve covered all of the major revelations and things you’ll need to know
going into Rogue One. Remember, if you’re interested in checking
it out for yourself, you can get it for free by going to www.audibletrial.com/starwarsexplained
and you’ll be helping the channel out! I’m sure I’ll be covering more of this
book in the very near future, but if you haven’t already please like and share this video,
subscribe to the channel to see new Star Wars videos every day, and follow me on Twitter,
Instagram, and Facebook! As always, thank you for watching and may
the Force be with you!

100 thoughts on “Secrets Revealed from Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel – Orson Krennic, Galen Erso, & More!

  1. Question for your next Q&A: If there are force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan or Anakin in Episode 8, do you think we will see them in any promo material or even in a trailer?

  2. I had a long journey today and listened to the entire audio book! I LOVED the amount of Clone Wars connections, especially the explanation of what happened to Poggle after he was captured and even a small tertiary character from one episode of Clone Wars that's on the Death Star project. Love to hear more about what you thought about it dude, so happy I gave the audiobook a go

  3. I'm only 2hours in to the audiobook, you must have spent most of yesterday reading (listening?) this straight! So far I really like the book and can't wait for Rogue One!

  4. Hey dude, have a question for you.
    Do you think we will ever get rid of overwhelming numbers of family themes in Star Wars?
    Let's be clear,this obsession started with "No, I am your father." In the original SW, family was not a theme in the center on the story. Yes it was used, but only later to interestingly connect the protagonist with the antagonist. No one else was anyone's father or mother or sister (ok, Leia, but that had virtually no impact on the story and was a stupid decision).
    I don't remember family being a huge part of my favorite Legends material. Revan, Mandelorian wars, Bane, Jedi Exile Surik, no family themes whatsoever. (I am not a big fan of Zahn's trilogy, so there might be something there)
    But the new canon is swarmed by it. Rey's parents, Kylo being a son, Erso's family in the center of the new movie. Will this ever stop? It's annoying!

  5. You mention that a test with kyber crystals blew up a city. Is it possible this will also be the explanation for why Anaxes is destroyed?

  6. My question is why the Empire named their battle station the "Death Star"? It just sounds like something the bad guys would have. Did it originally have another name?

  7. i'm on chapter 12 and krennic is such a good character. i love it every time
    he talks. He has got some Palpetine in him the way he elegantly speaks and plucks the strings to his plan so eloquently.

  8. Sounds like in making the first Death Star a Republic still led by the Senate not Emperor Palpatine, Disney/LucasFilms is trying to make it look like USA making Atomic weapons before Germany or in the race with Russia China on most missiles.

  9. OMG I love this review. Thank you so much for doing it. I will checkout the Audible Trial for the book. Outstanding Job.

  10. So i understand it right… The Films starts likely at sometime in the Clone Wars and stuff is going on in the novel too that is prior Rouge Óne… Man whatever people say about Lucasfilm killing the old canon(which was awesome but a mess) it gives me more in the new Canon. And we see that things come back into Canon from the Ashes of the EU.

  11. Spoilery speculation, you have been warned:
    So I bet the whole reason they go to Jedha is because of Jyn. The Rebels receive a message from Galen, they go to Jyn to help find him, and Jyn figures that the best man to help them find Galen is Saw Gerrera. They go to Jedha because he's been active there recently–and they only discover its connection with the Death Star by accident (although Saw knew something was up, that's why he was there). Saw's been planning a revolt in Jedha's capitol, he sets it off with the help of Jyn and Cassian–only for the Death Star to show up and blow the city to Malachor. Saw dies, but Jyn and Cassian leave with a few of the rebels from his cell–including Baze and Chirrut.

  12. Whhyyyyyy… I just started last nighhttt.. why does no one give some time before they put out reviews???????!!! waaahh

  13. good video. smooth. the audiobook trial doesn't work here tho. gon' watch without it. fine fine. just the movie is great too. ^_^

  14. One month to go and this film feels like the real thing. Star Wars came out when I was 9 years-old yet I can't even stand outside of an evening now watching the first stars come out without still feeling the impact Star Wars had on me in 1977. I want Rouge One to give me back the galaxy I can be proud of again. And I think it will…

  15. Anyone else think James Luceno is at the top of the mountain of Star Wars writers? I love the internal dialogue of many of his characters. His ability to sneak in the science of cyber crystals was on par with rationalizing midichlorians in his novel Darth Plagueis. My only complaint, much like Plagueis, is the so so ending.

  16. I think it is important to note that the Empire rationalizes the construction of the Death Star as a arms race against the Separatists' construction of a rumored super weapon. Could it be possible, that the second Death Star in ROTJ was began by Count Dooku and the Separatist army?

  17. Just finished the audiobook today. Lots of Clone Wars references and Tarkin stuff too. Great Writing even with all the political intrigue. Cant wait to see how it ties up to the film in a month. I'm REALLY wondening how much Tarkin We might get in Rouge One, since he's such a big part of the novel and Krennic's rival.

  18. Will we get a follow-up to Catalyst set between the book & the movie fill in small gap in reference to the relationship between Saw & Jyn?

  19. 5 hours into Catalyst… Great piece of art. One beef with the audio book: male dominated voice over through & through. It doesn't have to be a man in his ~50s doing all the voices. I personally don't like that. Star Wars is diverse as its species. Certainly gender as well. If we can hone-in sound effects and music to close chapters, sure as hell we can get ladies to voice..female roles. May the force be with you…

  20. Great review. Rogue One : Catalyst was awesome, and the character development was very good. I'm already excited about seeing Rogue One, but after listening to Catalyst on Audio, has me even more excited to see the movie.

  21. Just a note on the free trial. I'm in England, redirects you to their UK site and then you can sign up for the free trial but have to give them your card details and then cancel at the end of 30 days

  22. i think Jyn could be more force sensetive… untrained one instincutal skill may be stronger then with training.. this may elevate at least one ability to be usefully powerful… like possibly jedi level reflexes… maybe just maybe she could be trained as a light sabre dulist if she ever had someone training her…

    But she would probably never be able to do anything beyond that… or she may have a increased awareness of her surroundings able to sneak about better… and sense presences..

    even low force sensitivity can give a major advantage.. but she probably could not get the full range of a jedi…

    i bet she might see some training at that area where various force mystics hang out they are supposed to visit… she may get some instruction on how to use the little she has and there likely will be similar sensitiveness there too I imagine.

    nothing a inquisitor would give a rats ass about unless they where recruiting for some kind of special purpose…
    even a bit of force sensitivity makes for a better pilot and i dont think the empire really had anything against that…

    especially given that the tie fighters where inspired by how the jedi piloted… I.e using what amounted to a glass cannon…

    Sure the empire added numbers to make up swarms of glass cannons but Tie fighter pilots had to be pretty good…

  23. I think Krennic is going to give the rebels the plans to spite Tarkin who has clearly beat him in the political game. I can a see a scene where Krennic tells Galen "You once offered me an opportunity that you thought would save me. Turns out I have an offer for you…"

  24. Also the "on your own since the age of fifteen", that was the teaser filmed before the reshoots were announced, so it might not be in the movie. Like Saw and his hair or lack thereof.

  25. Just finished the book today!!! I'm so glad I have! This is going to totally enhance my movie experience now that I have a lot of back story on the Death Star construction, the Ersos and Krennick, and the inner workings of imperial hierarchy….aka…Tarkin and Vizier Amedda. Those interactions were awesome, classic imperial stuff as you said.

    But yes, the fate of the Erso's, ESPECIALLY Lyra, will hit me hard

  26. This book was surprisingly good. It was captivating from the get-go, which is rare with most books. I feel like this whole book was a setup for Lyra's death by Krennic's hand. Saw's appearance towards the end was the shining light to save the day. The Empire hated Krennic, because Krennic played their game better than them. He held the mirror up to them, in a way.

  27. But what becomes of Rogue One!!?? I always wondered about the spies who managed to steal the plans – but obviously they weren't a threat anymore and Vader was just tracking down the last transmitted copy when he found Leia. Will Rogue One be wiped out? Why did we never find out who they were until now? Are they frozen in carbonite? Please, please, I want to know! I bought my ticket – but I don't want them all slaughtered!

  28. I can't image Tarkin not having a big part in Rogue 1 especially considering his part in Catalyst. I think there was a little too convenient plot point near the end of the novel though that might have put him out of the picture though I can't remember the details…

  29. I just noticed something about the last dinner they had with Krennic. If you think about it, the dinner basically boiled down to: "We know you are using my research to build a super laser, and we don't want to help you anymore."

    Krennic: crys "My feelings are hurt."

  30. IF you want some addition backstory elements to Star Wars: A New Hope to tie Rogue One and it together –
    May I suggest everyone give a listen to "Points of Origin" from NPR's 1981 Star Wars Radio Drama Series:
    https://www.twine.fm/saiyanswedenoutlook/cnymu0/star-wars-the-radio-drama-episode-two-points-of-origin

  31. Finished the book today and I was so engaged the whole time. I loved the connection it had with all the material thats out there with the show and the movies, it was balanced very well.

  32. As someone who sat in a darkeded theater as a 6-year-old in 1977 and watched Star Wars the first week it came out, I love what you're doing and hope you continue for a long time

  33. I know reading Catalyst before I saw Rogue One made me enjoy watching Krennic a lot more – especially his scenes with Tarkin and Galen. However, the book didn't really make me feel Lyra's death more because I expected her to die going in, so I was already mentally prepared for that. It did have me really hoping that Galen would somehow survive the scene where he dies, though. Overall, I'm glad I read it, and I think I enjoyed Rogue One even more than I would have because I read it.

  34. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2017 to Everyone, Especially to
    the regions of Real STAR WARS Fans out there to the
    furthest Outer Rims! Saw the 2nd time of Star Wars Rogue One, and you
    are right, no uncut version! I still rated it as 2Star from the initial
    5Star ratings! If this is another movie, i don't even bother to write
    in, but This Is STAR WARS man, since 1977 until now and still continuing
    hopefully after i have joined Michael Jackson… The pains of STAR WARS
    Fans are that, Mr Gareth Edwards was already Screen Played, Scripts
    Checked, Castings Done, Great Trailers made , Then to our Surprise,
    Disney-Lucasfilm agreed and spent another USD$5Million to omit All Those
    Stylish Scenes which already made and as a result plummeted the 5Star
    Ratings to 2Star Ratings by STAR WARS Die Hard Fans! After consultations
    with other STAR WARS Die Hard Fans, i think Disney-Lucasfilm has
    commited a Fraudulant Advertisement Infringement! We love and care about
    Disney-Lucasfilm, that is why we do not wish to see any Fraudulant
    Advertisement Infringement been commited in future Disney-Lucasfilm
    films or merchandises! Consumer Watchdog Groups may be notify and see
    what are those Expensive and Hungry Lawyers out there can proceed with
    the Law Suite?! Let see USD$300Million to make and another USD$5Million
    to omit those Die Hard Fans Pulling Trailers Sylish Scenes, 30 percent
    of the Worldwide Gross Receipt?! Yes, this is Serious, Fraudulant
    Advertisement Infringement! Fans been cheated man! Fans who supported
    your Movies, Merchandises, pay for your salaries, Allowances, Bonuses,
    Stock Options! Disney-Lucasfilm should think about us Before dare to
    cheat us The STAR WARS Die hard Fans Worldwide, Again!

  35. The shit going on between Tarkin and Dude I enjoyed in the movie…crazy what ambition and all that will do to a person..how far they will go

  36. It's weird how the antenna of the Death Star can be seen being built on location at the end of The Revenge of the Sith, whereas in the Rogue One it is "lowered" into the structure after seemingly already finished.

  37. These Audio books are a scam, after 30 days It charges you money to have an Audible account. I'm so disappointed.

  38. Terrific review! You read my thoughts on it exactly.
    I read both this and the Rogue One novel AFTER the movie came out, but get so much more out of them now.
    I would have loved to see the look on your face when you saw Tarkin on screen. 🙂

  39. My copy of Catalyst arrived in the post today, but it had a rip down the spine, and was tattered in various places, which is a shame because I value the condition of my books very highly. I'm just going to go to my local target and get the book for an extra 10$.

  40. In fact, Lyra is the one who first gets onto what Krennic is really doing, which she then has to convince Galen of. It turns out that Galen has been quietly doing some research of his own, and has also figured out that the Empire has been lying to him about what his research is being used for. He and Lyra stage an argument for Krennic's benefit, then arrange with Saw Gerrera to go into hiding far from the Empire. Krennic, however, vows to find them no matter what.

  41. This book was okay. It did give me a deeper connection to the characters in Rogue One and I appreciate Galen and Kreeic a lot more. But the whole subplot with the smugglers I found to be boring and I got lost in it all. It was also kind of boring at some points but overall it was ok.

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