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.
We got a pair of new posters this week; The first for IMAX, the second for Dolby. Both are more adventurous than the standard one-sheet, but there’s still plenty of that shiny digital smoothness that’s de rigueur these days. A late addition: New character posters from Japan, on a Spanish website because why not.
→ Rogue One’s first tie-in novel, Catalyst, came out this week and there are interviews with author James Luceno over at StarWars.com (by our own James) and The Verge (by Andrew Liptak.) You can also check out reviews at Big Shiny Robot and Tosche Station. And finally, if you just want the summary/spoilers/infodump, there’s io9. (Or Chris Taylor at Mashable.)
→ EW’s Anthony Breznican (and John Knoll) on the style inspiration for K-2SO.
→ Of course ILMxLAB has a Rogue One tie-in, too.
→ One of the new TV spots offers a glimpse of Warwick Davis’ character.
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 preview clips 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.
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.
Among the reveals at today’s publishing panel: Expanded Universe vet James Luceno is writing Catalyst, the Rogue One companion novel. We also got the cover, which is pretty neat, but no more details than that. (Still a mystery: The adaptation.)
Most of the things at the panel were kids books, but we also learned about a few new Star Wars Insider short stories. There’ll be two new Blade Squadron stories, including one in September that ties into Aftermath: Life Debt. (The Insider also had their own panel.)
There’s a new Galactic Atlas that’s written from an in-universe perspective, featuring “600-700 individual illustrations.” A new Complete Locations will cover Starkiller Base, Maz’s castle and Rey’s AT-AT home. And Jason Fry’s Weapon of a Jedi is being adapted for younger readers as Luke and Lost Jedi Temple.
Today, of course, sees the release of James Luceno’s Tarkin, our final novel for the year. If you’re on the fence, you can read the first fifty pages now, or Tosche Station has a Go/No Go.
The book seems to be receiving good reviews from the sort of folks who would enjoy a Luceno novel about Tarkin, but not being one of them, I shall abstain. I do, however, find that Mike Cooper’s review squares pretty well with my past experience of the author.
As for Wednesday, we even have a Dark Horse hardcover, the Dark Times Gallery Edition.
Author James Luceno talks about Star Wars, the new canon and his upcoming novel Tarkin with SciFiNow.
He says he’s seen the series bible for Rebels and that when it comes to the old EU:
I chose not to really reference too much EU material only because of the setting of the story, but it was still there. It was still there to pick and choose from.
Though he does point out that there’s not that much to begin with in the primary setting of the novel. (5 years after Revenge of the Sith.)
However, as far as Episode VII goes? He knows nothing. But he makes a good point as to the Story Group:
Without spilling secrets they can say, ‘I think this isn’t a good place to go with this book’ or ‘You might want to steer clear of this topic.’ This is part of an effort to maintain a so-called continuity where every book and every game and every comic will all be part of a single story going forward, and that wasn’t the case earlier on.
Tarkin is due out November 4.
Jedi News spotted that Random House has posted a longer blurb for James Luceno’s Tarkin:
He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly . . . and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.
Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel—by intimidation . . . or annihilation.
Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin—whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy . . . and its enemies’ extinction.
Tarkin is currently due out in hardcover and eBook on November 4.
Luceno’s Tarkin “beautifully amalgamates the classic trilogy incarnations of Vader and the Emperor with their prequel era counterparts,” says Star Wars Books. We’re also getting a tie-in short story for the Insider by Alex Freed, which is “a refreshing yet gritty take on the destruction of Alderaan.”