Brian Wood is writing Star Wars. It has no subtitle, it’s not a mini-series, it’s an ongoing comic book at Dark Horse and it’s going to be exciting.
To talk about his plans, Wood came to Star Wars Celebration VI for an intimate conversation about his new series.
Wood’s series will be set directly after the first film, Star Wars, later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope. The film leaves a nascent Rebel Alliance, a Luke who is gaining confidence, and a Leia who has been leading these Rebels for a few years.
Joined by editor Randy Stradley, Wood gave some hints to his plans for the future (past) of Star Wars.
“Everyone knows the future of the timeline. I do, readers do, but the characters don’t. I have to tread carefully; for example, you know that Luke and Leia are brother and sister, but they don’t, but I can’t push that to the point that it’s gross.
“I have to be aware of this world, this timeline, that the characters don’t know. It’s not an alternate world, or an alternate timeline. All the stuff has happened, or will happen to the characters, it just hasn’t yet.”
The story will take place in a very similar way to The Clone Wars, which fills in the blanks between episodes 2 and 3. We moved almost directly into Fan Q&A.
Wood will be introducing some new planets, locations, and characters.
“There’s definitely a core cast, and it’s large, everyone you’d recognize from A New Hope. There’s a secondary cast of pilots that start appearing about issue 3, but they’re secondary. The main cast is Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, R2, 3PO, Mon Motha, Vader, Emperor, Wedge, I really wanted to put Wedge in there, I’m a really big fan of the X-Wing novels.”
Wood made a real effort to not re-read any of the old comics or books, to not “steal from them on accident!” He has read them all before though, as a big fan himself.
As to humor, a staple of the Star Wars universe? “That’s not really my strong suit, but I wish it was. I guess there are sarcastic comments!” Stradley says there are scenes that include a lot of character banter; “not exactly funny, but not all woe-is-me.”
Wood said he wanted to make sure it wasn’t “really dark, that’s not really what Star Wars is.”
Wood says while he knows where they end up in at the beginning of Empire, the story will be “more of a day to day thing, I’m not even thinking about that. The first arc will be them searching for a new place for a base, they’re on their last legs, and searching for a place to find their roots. I don’t think there’s anything that says Hoth was their immediate next base, it’s a long ways off.” Incidentally, Wood says, “That really is my favorite place in the whole Star Wars Universe, though, Hoth.”
Wood says he’s working hard to get the tone of the voices of the characters similar to the first film.
“It’s really fun writing Han, because he’s still kind of a dick. So that’s really fun, writing Han.”
There have been some small gaps in Wood’s knowledge on the deep intricacies of the Star Wars universe, but LucasFilm has been very helpful, things like ranking on an X-Wing. He said he didn’t have to dig through a lot of archives, though, as he’s internalized a lot of Star Wars knowledge.
Working with Carlos D’Anda on art, Wood hasn’t found a groove with him just yet, but tries to be helpful; in his scripts he includes links to visuals and reference where appropriate.
“I see things very very visually. When I switched over from being an artist/writer to being just a writer, I’d get really upset when the art wouldn’t come back looking like it did in my head. I’ve since trained that out of me, it’s really unfair.”
Wood says his one rule is, “I can’t write anything that will invalidate something that’s coming. As long as I don’t do that, I can do anything.”
Why come back to Work for Hire?
“I’ve hardly done any of it. I got to this point where a lot of my creator owned books were wrapping up, and I thought, if there’s a time, let me give this a shot. I’d never really done it before, so I figured it would help make me a better writer, a more well-rounded writer. I took on Conan, I took on X-Men, so taking Star Wars was part of that, stretching my wings. I also really thought, I mean, this is a really fun job. It’s really flattering to be offered something like this, if there’s something I’d want to write like this, it would be Star Wars.
“I still sort of consider myself a creator-owned guy. That’s the identity I’ve built up over all this time, but for now I’m having fun with all these books, so we’ll see where it goes!”
While Wood is mum on most plot points, he did hint that Luke will connect with someone outside the core cast, so there will be some other pulled in throughout.
A fan asked if there will be new tech or ship models, and Wood simply said, “Yes.”
There’s a current outline for about a year of stories, but Wood wants to keep taking smaller steps. Stradley says he wants him to keep writing “until he stops!” The first arc will be three issues, but “it’s not such a hard break, arc to arc. They’ll feel more like chapters of a book.”
The editor from LucasFilm Licensing re-iterated that this is the book to give to non-comics Star Wars fans, this is the entry point to the extended universe for them.
That’s all from Wood in this late-night panel. Stay tuned for much more from Star Wars Celebration VI throughout the weekend!