Like others before it, the finished film version of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story couldn't possibly contain all the, well, Star Wars Story for every character, plotline, and relationship. Luckily, as has been done since the very first Star Wars, a novelization has been released, greatly expanding on what we see on screen.
Written by Alexander Freed and published by Del Rey, (there's also an audio book version by Random House Audio read by Jonathan Davis available now), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story novelization features the story you've enjoyed on the big screen, with more background information, more looks into the minds and hopes and fears of the characters, and an overall deeper look at the world created on screen by director Gareth Edwards and his team of writers and actors.
The book is an easy recommendation - Freed, an experienced Star Wars writer, has the world down pat; his experience in "war books" with the Battlefront novel surely helped him prepare for this one, as well. Here are five major things we learned in the novel that didn't make the film, all reasons to read the book yourself.
Admiral Raddus Went to Rogue One's Aid For A Specific (Selfish) Reason
Yes, Admiral Raddus did support Jyn Erso in her electrifying speech to the council of the Rebel Alliance, but ultimately he went to the aid of Rogue One not just because he thought they were doing the right thing. There was also some natural self-preservation in the mix.
"Mon Cala had resisted. Mon Cala had been punished. Mon Cala had, time and again, offered its warriors and resources to the Rebellion. If the Rebellion failed to stop the Death Star, Mon Cala would be obliterated. For this reason – and for a hundred others – Raddus would fight as long as the Profundity endured."
Basically, Raddus assumed that because of his planet's status - or lack thereof - in the Empire, it would be high on the Death Star target list.
Bodhi Rook's Backstory
There's a hefty amount of Bodhi Rook backstory that didn't make the cut of the film. Some people, even those who enjoyed the movie, may be saying "who?" and that shows how little the ex-Imperial pilot got built up in the movie. The character, played by Riz Ahmed, clearly had a relationship with Galen Erso and some deep reasons for defecting, but those weren't explored on screen. While there's still a lot of missing backstory, we do know now that one of the major turning points was Galen telling Bodhi, "There is nothing brave about blind obedience."
That's one of the things he recalls when the mind-reading Bor Gullet forces him to relive painful and pertinent memories, something that also wasn't shown in much detail on screen.
The Rebel Alliance Wasn't Very Allied Before the Battle of Scarif
The exact timeline of the Rebel Alliance - and what exactly that term means, has been slowly getting revealed thanks to Star Wars Rebels. On that animated series, we've learned that many of the Rebels, as recently as only four or five years before the Battle of Scarif, were operating almost completely independently. They started to come together and organize, but there's a reason the show is called "Rebels" and not "Rebel Alliance."
Well, as it turns out, the Battle of Scarif was a major turning point; before it, as hinted at in the movie, the Alliance was still a loose organization, not necessarily the machine it would become when they had a renewed sense of purpose, uniting to destroy the Death Star. Before the battle, the leadership of the Rebels are in-fighting quite a bit, with General Draven, who countermands Mon Mothma's orders in the movie, distrusting nearly every other leader for one reason or another.
There's also more Mon Mothma backstory that's invaluable in making her a much more realistic and in-depth character.
Jyn Was a Longtime Member of Saw's Partisans
We know from the film that Jyn was a member of Saw's group, and that she was a great soldier, but aside from him abandoning her to keep her safe, that's it. In the novel, we learn considerably more; Jyn is described as Saw's "adopted daughter" for instance, and she recognizes Saw's rebels - not necessarily because she knows them personally, but knows the way he trains. She also, heartbreakingly, asks after some of her old friends from the unit - all of whom, it turns out, are dead.
Galen Erso Was a Manipulative Genius
Galen Erso didn't just place a flaw in the Death Star - he simply could not have gotten that done without the other engineers and Director Orson Krennic himself noticing, after all - there were hundreds working on making the Death Star laser the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, and surely someone would've spoken up.
Instead, he actually made Krennic think it was his best option. In one of the interlude chapters of "Supplemental Data," a communicae from Galen Erso shows that he reported the problem of Waste Radiation Distribution Systems. He basically told Krennic that the build-up was a problem, and they already had an exhaust port in the plans that would do the job, though not as efficiently or as safely as other options; however, those options would require more time.
"New research and technological development is out of the question at this juncture," Krennic responded. "Work up a full proposal for the exhaust port solution."
So Krennic, who worked his whole career since the Clone Wars to make the Death Star what it was, was ultimately responsible for its own destruction. Just brilliant.
This only scratches the surface of that the Rogue One novelization has to offer to fans who want more out of their Star Wars Story.