As many Star Wars fans know by now, just about every piece of media in the franchise is now all part of the same canon. This is why there was a great deal of interest in this fall’s novel Catalyst by James Luceno, as the book serves as a prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Set years before the spinoff film, the book details the relationship between Galen Erso and Director Orson Krennic, revealing how the latter manipulated the former into working on the Death Star. A brilliant scientist, Galen believed his research on kyber crystals was being used to create renewable energy for the galaxy, but it instead laid the blueprint for the Death Star’s turbo laser.
At the end of Catalyst, when Galen discovers the horrifying truth, he flees to a remote planet with his wife Lyra and young daughter Jyn. However, he cannot stay out of the Empire’s grasp for long. The third Rogue One trailer depicted a scene of Krennic arriving with a squad of Death Troopers to bring Galen back in – what has now been revealed to be the film’s opening sequence. This encounter is the subject of the latest Rogue One clip that’s been released online. You can watch it above.
Though it runs just over 20 seconds, the clip does a very good job of establishing the contrasting ideologies of Krennic and Galen. Upon hearing that work on the space station has hit a roadblock, Galen refuses to return to his old position. Catalyst shows that he is a pacifist and does not believe in conflict of any kind. Krennic, desperate to complete the Death Star and please his Emperor, tries to sway Galen by saying that they are on the verge of brining the galaxy peace and security. The elder Erso is not convinced because he knows the Death Star is an instrument of terror that will be used to wipe out anyone who dare opposes the Empire.
Their conversation is very interesting, especially Krennic’s rationalization for building the Death Star in the first place. A number of the new canon materials have tried to approach stories from the Imperials’ point of view, painting the Rebels as extremists threatening to throw the universe into chaos. There’s no denying that the Empire is the villain of Star Wars, but it’s nice to see the creative team attempt to flesh that side out so they’re more than just mustache-twirling bad guys. General audiences may not necessarily agree with what Krennic is saying, but they can at least see where he’s coming from. Earlier films used terminology like “rule” and “order” to describe the Empire’s reign, but here it’s presented in much more amicable manner.
Marketing looks to include another scene involving Krennic and Galen, so hopefully they have a few interactions in the final product. Given the history the two share, there should be a fair amount of emotional weight to their discussions, providing Rogue One with a fascinating dynamic to explore. For those who have read Catalyst, there’s already so much to unpack just in the short clip. The novel will probably not be required reading to understand the opening of the film, but it will make the experience that much more rewarding.