When Mads Mikkelsen was cast in Rogue One most people got pretty excited. We figured him for a prominent role most likely a villain. We have learned that this isn’t true, he is not a villain and it is unlikely that his role is very large. It will still be very important though. Lets look into who he is and what we expect in this year’s Rogue One.
First we need to look into Galen Erso’s backstory which we will get a full load of in Rogue One, Catalyst. Recently Del Rey released this synopsis:
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 of 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.
This tells us a few things, first that Krennic and Erso were friends and that friendship eventually soured once Galen understood what Krennic was doing. I suspect that at the end of this book Galen and his family have escaped Krennic’s grasp and secluded themselves on a remote backwater planet. Which is where we will meet Galen in Rogue One.
This is our only official shot front shot of Galen and you will notice that it is on the planet with black sand. We have also seen this planet hosting Death troopers in various shots (see above). I believe Starwarsnewsnet.com got it right when they suggest that these shots are from a flashback. Since this is a flashback and we know that Galen was attempting to get out of the tightening grip of Krennic according to our synopsis above we can also assume that Galen’s participation in helping the construction of the Death Star is forced. Perhaps they tell him his daughter is being held hostage or they have his wife or both, no matter what we can assume that he leaks the information on purpose and at the first chance he had.
This is why his daughter is pulled into action by the Rebellion. I believe she thought he was dead at this point and her goal is not only to get information but to save her father. I don’t believe she will be successful. In fact I suspect we won’t ever see a “present day” Galen (at the time of the main events of Rogue One), he will be killed or sacrifice himself before a reunion with his daughter can happen. Rogue One is setting up to be the most tragic of Star Wars stories, its a war movie through and through and I can’t wait!