It’s tough to say if any Star Wars novel is really essential these days. With the full attention of the franchise moved back to movies, and the books firmly placed back in a supporting role, does one really need to read a book like James Luceno’s Catalyst? The answer here is a firm maybe: It entirely depends on your focus within the franchise.
Out Tuesday we have The Force Awakens 3D Blu-ray, which also includes director J.J. Abrams’ commentary. (Some of it we already know from previewclips and other media, but there’s a decent rundown over at io9.)
In books, there’s the Rogue One prequel novel, Catalyst by James Luceno. It’s our last major release before the film, although we do have Carrie Fisher’s latest memoir coming on the 22nd.
“It’s no accident that we’ve taken a look at the Manhattan project and what was happening at Los Alamos laboratories during the tail end of World War II. Being able to look at that kind of thing through history and then apply the Star Wars filter to it is really fascinating.”
I do find it interesting that Lyra seems to be a viewpoint character… Here’s hoping she gets more to do throughout the novel.
Catalyst, by James Luceno (Tarkin) is out in hardcover and ebook on November 15 from Del Rey.
In addition to James Luceno’s Catalyst, the Rogue One fiction lineup will include a young adult novel about Jyn Erso from Star Wars newcomer Beth Revis (Across the Universe.) Greg Rucka (Before the Awakening) will return for a middle grade novel featuring Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe. The preliminaryversions of the covers above were spotted earlier by Jedi Bibliotek. They’ll both be out on May 2.
Catalyst will be the first of the Rogue One books to hit the shelves, on November 15th. The second wave will drop with the film on December 16, and includes The Art of Rogue One, Pablo Hidalgo’s Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide and ebook versions of the two novelizations: Alexander Freed’s from Del Rey and the junior version by Matt Forbeck from Disney-Lucasfilm Press. Freed’s will be in hardcover on January 3, while it looks like Forbeck’s won’t be in print until March 28.
We’ll learn more about the 40th Anniversary publishing plans in the coming months, although the official site says “legendary Star Wars talent such as Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, and Tom Palmer would be reuniting” for an anniversary book from Disney-Lucasfilm Press. One component of the program would seem to be a new collection of the newspaper strips, also spotted by – you guessed it – Jedi Bibliotek.
Jedi Bibliothek spotted that the Edelweiss listing for James Luceno’s Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel has been updated with a blurb that gives us some context for the film. Stop reading now if you don’t want some (presumably) mild spoilers for Rogue One!
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.
Catalyst is due out in hardcover and eBook on November 15th, exactly a month before Rogue One debuts in theaters.
With most of the book news (for our purposes) dropping at Celebration – the authors of Catalyst and the Rogue One novelization and Thrawn – the SDCC panel was fairly light on news, but there was plenty of discussion.
There were two cover reveals, though: The Art of Rogue One and the back cover of Aftermath: Empire’s End, which you can see below.
Matthew Ruddle, marketing manager for Penguin Random House UK, dropped a few news bits on the livestream Sunday morning. Most notable is that Alexander Freed (Battlefront: Twilight Company) is writing the Rogue One novelization.
He also revealed that Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novel will be a prequel to his appearance on Rebels. “You’re going to get to see how Thrawn got to his position of power, how he became so respected in the Empire, and just what makes him such a brilliant villain and tactician,” Ruddle said.
Alas, he couldn’t share even that much detail on James Luceno’s Catalyst, which was also announced yesterday. “If you’re going to be watching Rogue One, you need to read Catalyst,” Ruddle said. “It ties in, it connects dots.”