Now that all of Star Wars literature, starting with 2014's A New Dawn, is considered to be officially canon rather than part of the Legends line, that makes it all the more important to pick up the occasional Star Wars novel and absorb adventures set in a galaxy far, far away that aren't being told on a screen. One of the more important Star Wars books out right now is James Luceno's Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, which, in case the title isn't obvious enough for you, is the direct prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While it's not absolutely crucial to read Catalyst before seeing Rogue One, it does pull back the proverbial curtain on certain character motivations and relationships that will surely make watching the movie more enjoyable.
In case you haven't read the book yet or won't be able to finish it by the time Rogue One comes out, don't worry, we have you covered. Here are the main things you need to know about Catalyst before seeing the first Anthology spinoff.
Warning: there will be full spoilers for Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel ahead!
Galen And Orson Were Classmates
Orson Krennic didn't just pick Galen Erso's name out of a hat to draft him into the Death Star project (albeit discreetly, but more on that later). The two of them were enrolled at the same time in the Futures Program as teens, which only the most gifted of students could attend. While both men are intelligent in different ways, Orson was more the "brawn," as he defended Orson from those who gave him a hard time for his unusual personality.
Once graduated, Orson and Galen went on separate paths. Orson went the military/government route and was eventually accepted into the Republic Corps of Engineers, which paved the way for him to be involved in more sinister affairs in the Special Weapons Group. Galen opted to take the private sector route so he could continue his research. What is he studying? I'm glad you asked...