A new synopsis for the official Rogue One tie-in novel — Catalyst — has just revealed exactly how and why Galen Erso (Jyn’s father) designed the Death Star. Basically, he owed Orson Krennic some favors and totally believed his research would be “used in purely in altruistic ways.”
Though Rogue One will take place just before the original Star Wars film — A New Hope — this prequel novel will be set decades before, largely during the Clone Wars. It also focuses on the fact that Galen Erso and Orson Krennic were actually buddies before the latter presumably started wearing a big white cape and running death squads for the Empire. For the most part, this sounds like Jyn Erso will be a child in this novel, but that we’ll definitely get more details as to why the trailers tell us she’s been “on her own” for so long.
Revealing Jyn’s father is responsible for helping create the Death Star isn’t really a surprise, considering we already had a direct reference to Mads Mikkelsen’s character sending messages to the Rebellion in the international trailer for Rogue One. But this synopsis totally confirms this to be true, as well as asserting the detail that “the Erso family is deeply in Krennic’s debt.”
As with all prequel shenanigans, matching up plot points with existing media is a little tricky. In Attack of the Clones, Count Dooku already has some blueprints for the Death Star. Does that mean Galen Erso was buddies with Count Dooku, too? In fairness, the writer of this tie-in book is James Luceno, who is a longtime Star Wars novelist and totally excellent at walking these kind of continuity headache-creating tightropes. Though, his biggest challenge will probably to convince the reader that a scientist in the Star Wars galaxy was just randomly developing “energy research,” which he weirdly believed wouldn’t be turned into the Death Star.
Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Novel will be published by Del Rey on November 15, just a month before Rogue One hits the theaters.