Much of the buzz surrounding the upcoming film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” revolves around the character of Mads Mikkelsen. Named Galen Erso, the scientist who supposedly helped build the Death Star, is also the father of the movie’s main lead, Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso. However, he has yet to pop up in any of the promotional materials for the stand-alone film. This understandably piques the curiosity of die-hard fans who speculate that his history with the Empire will take up a huge chunk of the flick’s narrative.
Fans already know that the Rebellion was able to find out about the plans for the major weapon through intercepted codes sent by Galen, thanks to “Rogue One’s” international trailer. Other than that, not much is known about his affiliations or his real story. Now, a novel set to drop a couple of weeks before the film hits theaters hints that the Erso patriarch is shackled to the Empire via a life debt to Ben Mendelsohn’s Orson Krennic.
Titled “Star Wars Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel,” the prequel to “Rogue One” will narrate the how Galen ended up working on the Death Star. As it turns out, it was Krennic who saved the Ersos from a previous predicament including his wife, Lyra, and Jyn. The Imperial executive then offered him an opportunity to further his experiments “with every resource put utterly at his disposal.” In return for saving his family’s life, Galen accepted Krennic’s offer not knowing that he would be ultimately working on a weapon that can destroy planets in one blow. He tinkered on the project which of course worked perfectly before Mark Hamill’s Luke destroyed it in “Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.”
Based on the book’s brief summary, it appears that for quite some time, Galen was not fully aware that his knowledge was already being used only for the Empire’s cause. What is more interesting is that it also details that upon realizing Krennic’s plans, the Ersos tried to leave their post but as “Rogue One” insinuates, Galen was seemingly left behind. With Jyn wandering on her own before the Rebel Alliance recruited her for the retrieval mission, it can be assumed that the family’s matriarch turns up as a casualty.
What is interesting now is the question of whether Galen purposefully sent the codes to the Alliance or it was just really seized as it will ultimately reveal which side he is on. Mikkelsen previously shared that he does not treat himself as a villain which only makes his character more controversial given that as far as “Rogue One’s” narrative is concerned, he is working with the bad guys.
The novel is written by veteran “Star Wars” author James Luceno and will be available this Nov. 15.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” follows a small group of rebels trying to get a hold of the plans for the first Death Star. The stand-alone film directed by Gareth Edwards blasts through cinemas on Dec. 16.