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I have acquired a copy of Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (in a game of chance) and I'm due to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on opening weekend.

Has there been any specific advice offered (by Disney) as to whether or not I should read Catalyst before going to see the Rogue One movie?

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  • You've been posting more questions lately. I smell a Socratic badge in your future ... – Rand al'Thor Dec 6 '16 at 21:12
  • @Randal'Thor - 60% the way there... – Valorum Dec 6 '16 at 21:15
  • This question appeared in the close queue as primarily opinion-based. You should probably edit it so that the close voters don't have a reason to use this flag. – Gallifreyan Dec 24 '16 at 17:39
  • @Gallifreian - it's not opinion-based. It's asking whether advice has been offered regarding whether it should be viewed before or after Rogue One. Note that the answer has addressed this point exactly – Valorum Dec 24 '16 at 17:52
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    Sigh. I've edited it for the benefit of the hard of thinking. – Valorum Dec 24 '16 at 18:02
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It doesn't seem to be really required

There are some conflicting opinions on whether or not it's strictly necessary to read Catalyst before seeing the film; James Luceno, the author of Catalyst, says in an interview with StarWars.com that he sees the book as a companion to the film, suggesting that it isn't necessary background material:

I do want to stress that Rogue One does tell the story, so I think of this book as a companion piece. This book does not set up or lead directly into the movie, but gives a much more complete picture of the relationships and how far back these relationships go, and who these characters become over the years.

However Jennifer Heddle, a senior fiction editor at Lucasfilm, wrote a piece on StarWars.com extolling why you should read the book first:

These reasons and more are why no fan should go into Rogue One without having read Catalyst first — it will greatly enhance your experience of what is sure to already be a fantastic film.

Her article lists some of the things that Catalyst sets up about Rogue One, which is mainly about the deeper relationships between assorted characters (something Luceno also mentions in the interview above). Whether or not you want to read the book first depends on how important you think those aspects are.

  • If Lucasfilm say I should then I probably should. After all, it's their baby. – Valorum Dec 6 '16 at 21:17
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    @Valorum To be frank, I thought Heddle's article read more like a marketing piece than serious advice, so take that for what it's worth – Jason Baker Dec 6 '16 at 21:21
  • “These reasons and more are why no fan should go into Rogue One without having read Catalyst first” — a real fan would read at least two or three different copies that they purchased themselves! – Paul D. Waite Dec 7 '16 at 10:11
  • @Valorum I'm curious; what did you eventually decide? – Jason Baker Jan 5 '17 at 20:26
  • @JasonBaker - I decided not to read the book and to go see the film cold. I've actually not read it yet, I decided to listen to it as an audiobook instead. – Valorum Jan 5 '17 at 20:37
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Judging by what I've learned about the relationships between the films and the books (the books always include more than the films), I'd say watch the movie first and then read the book. That way you won't be "used to" everything in the book and then be disappointed when there's something covered in the book but not in the movie.

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    You are aware that Catalyst is a prequel to the film, not an adaptation, yes? They'll be telling different stories, and from what I've read they have very little plot overlap – Jason Baker Dec 6 '16 at 21:23
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    I know, but there will definitely be concepts and events discussed in the book that the movie won't have time to touch on. – Bob Dec 6 '16 at 23:14
  • @Bob -True, but it might also explain character and motivation in a way that enhances the film. – Valorum Dec 7 '16 at 0:28
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Having read the book, I think it does a great job of setting up the main characters in the movie (Jyn, Galen, and Krennic) and therefore gives much more gravitas to the events of the movie. Also, personally - when I better understand what is going on my enjoyment increases.

Werrf's answer here is a great summary of this.

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