Thursday, February 14, 2013

Star Wars Expanded Universe Authors Weigh in on Episode VII, VIII & IX

Image Source's Dark Lord of everything Star Wars, Christian Blauvelt recently had the chance to speak with eight distinguished Star Wars franchise authors and asked them three simple but interesting questions.

  1. What I Hope to See from Episodes VII-IX:
  2. What secondary or Expanded Universe character I'd Like to See Get the Spotlight:
  3. How I Want to See Luke, Han, or Leia Die: 

A couple excerpted answers that I really liked:

Paul Kemp, author of Star Wars: The Old Republic—Deceived
What I Hope to See from Episodes VII-IX: What I really hope to see is love of the underlying subject matter. I think Star Wars is a phenomenon because it’s more than just a space opera or space fantasy (take your pick). It’s a mythic story and touches at something deep in the human experience. It’s built on a foundation of heroic myth and heroic transformation and that’s what makes it so appealing, generation after generation. I’d just like to see the new stories build off that foundation (because it’s a rich one, and there is lots of room for new and wonderful stories, all while hewing to the mythic structure).

Christie Golden, author of Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi—Ascension
What secondary or Expanded Universe character I'd Like to See Get the Spotlight: Vestara Khai. *coughs a little* Okay...Pocket the chitlik. No? Seriously, though, the Skywalker and Solo offspring are such terrific characters in their own right, it would be wonderful to see them brought to life.

Aaron Allston, author of Star Wars: X-Wing—Mercy Kill
How I Want to See Luke, Han, or Leia Die: You know, I actually don't want to see them die in the movies, and it's not just because of affection for the characters.

Action movie characters live pretty tortured lives. There's no chance of them appearing on-screen for 90 minutes of shopping or gossip, so any time we put them in front of the camera, it's for punishment. At a certain point, we recognize there's no way they can keep doing this and survive, so we kill them, an act so common and callous we don't even refer to it as killing them — it's "killing them off." Ellen Ripley. Bernard Quatermass. Hoban "Wash" Washburne. Sometimes characters die because their portrayers can only show up for one or two day's filming, and the director and producer decide to maximize those three minutes of screen time by whacking the character.

Me, I'm all for having Luke, Leia, and Han be in a scene showing them knocking back shots of Corellian brandy while playing cards. Then the screen can go through a 1940s-style wipe and the camera can zoom in on their descendants saving the galaxy for a new generation.
How would I answer these three questions?

What I Hope to See from Episodes VII-IX: 

Much like the Millennium Falcon, the Star Wars franchise on the surface may not look like what you would to expect to find when looking for classic mythic storytelling, but also like the Falcon, the franchise has it's thematic backbone where it counts. Star Wars is so compelling for me because it operates on multiple levels, the grand myth appeals to that primal urge for good versus evil.  Following the hero through his journey of self discovery and victory in the first trilogy and through his tragic fall in the prequel trilogy are both very satisfying and thematically fit with the greatest stories from various cultures across the world.

At the same time the lived-in futuristic universe that is layered over this mythic backbone captures the imagination like few other genre settings can. Between the space ships, lightsabers, blasters and droids, the technological setting of Star Wars is just plain cool.  

In addition to the thematic backbone and setting, the addition of compelling characters in the original trilogy is what created cinematic magic.  

So in Episodes VII-IX, I hope to see the perfect combination of mythic storytelling, a return to that lived-in futuristic universe and some new compelling characters.  Not much to ask right?

What secondary or Expanded Universe character I'd Like to See Get the Spotlight: 

This is a tough question.  I would love to see some classic secondary characters like Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson. The Rogues would provided some comedic relief in the films, they could even bring along Kettch  I think there are two Expanded Universe characters that I would really love to see on the big screen, the obvious Mara Jade Skywalker and the less obvious Corran Horn.  A bonus with a Corran Horn character in the film is that we may get a Booster and Mirax cameo. 

How I Want to See Luke, Han, or Leia Die: 

I really don't want to see any of the big three meet a violent end.  It seems like the cheap emotional play to kill off any or all of them to give Episode VII emotional weight.  I would much prefer to see Luke semi-retired teaching at a Jedi Academy or a new Jedi Temple.  I would also love to see Han and Leia enjoying some time together, Leia in semi-retired or active stateswoman role and Han getting into mischief as her semi-reformed scoundrel husband who gets into trouble when he gets bored. 

I think just about everyone agrees if Han and Leia do die, they should be together and they should be aboard the Falcon.  Luke dying in a fashion similar to Obi-Wan would be a little to much of a carbon copy. If Luke were to fall in battle, he should be fighting against the pull of death after being mortally wounded.  This struggle to survive would mirror Anakin on the lava banks on Mustafar, Luke should only submit to the inevitable when the Force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan and his father tell him it is time to let go and become one with the Force. 


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