The Star Wars I Know

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When I was approached for this job, I took a couple of minutes to think about what Star Wars meant to me, in order to determine if I had anything to bring to the table. I saw Star Wars in the theater; an odd decision for my mother, who tended to err on the side of caution when exposing her five-year-old to the mass media. I, of course, got a bunch of Star Wars toys, collected full sets of playing cards, and reenacted Hoth battle scenes in the snowy woods of Vermont. I was hooked, like everyone was. I realized that for the last 35 years of my life, Star Wars has been there in the background of my mind, in deep storage, waiting for something.

So I said yes to the job, thinking that if I were ever to write a Star Wars comic, this would be it, one set in the original trilogy using these characters I knew, dealing with continuity I was comfortable with, and would have the simple and iconic title of Star Wars. My original pitch document tapped into that deep storage, bringing up phrases like “the Kuat Drive Yards” and “Lancer-class frigates” and the knowledge that X-wings were built by Incom and TIEs by Sienar and that R5 astromech droids are the ones with the flowerpot heads and the bad attitudes. I didn’t know I knew all that, but I did, and I relaxed into the job.

The story I’m writing sits in the narrative space between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. It actually starts days after the end of Hope, with a homeless and rather diminished Rebel fleet searching for a world upon which to establish a new base. The Empire, also wounded from Yavin, is doing whatever they can to keep the Rebels on the defensive. One Imperial officer, a new character called Bircher, seems to have a line on the Rebels’ plans and is making a habit of deploying squadrons of TIEs right where the Rebels drop out of light speed. Leia is tasked with creating a “stealth squadron” to figure out who’s selling them out to the Empire, and why.

This is a series heavy on space battles and snubfighter dogfights. A series that gets into the emotional states of our post-Tatooine, post-Alderaan, post-Yavin characters who have lost so much yet press on in their fight for freedom. Leia, especially, a very young woman with the burden of responsibility as the figurehead of the Rebellion, finds a lot of catharsis behind the stick of an X-wing.

From Yavin to Coruscant to Tatooine to Endor, from the hangars of the Devastator and the command decks of the massive Executor, this is the Star Wars I know best, the one that I’ve known for virtually my entire life. It’s a rare honor to receive a job like this, and this fan is giving it all he’s got.

Star Wars #1, the first issue in Dark Horse’s new ongoing series by Brian Wood, is available now in print and digital formats.

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