SDCC 2015: Star Wars Publishing Panel Liveblog

Follow along live for a special discussion on what's coming in the world of Star Wars books! Team July 10, 201511:50 am

And that’s it! Thanks for following along! Team July 10, 201511:50 am

Cebulski says Marvel has one more Star Wars reveal — which will happen tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. at the Cup O’ Joe panel! Team July 10, 201511:49 am

Parisi is “working on things I can’t talk about it.” Team July 10, 201511:49 am

Christie Golden has a short story in the next issue of Star Wars Insider! Team July 10, 201511:48 am

What else is coming? Battlefront Twilight Company, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization, and more! Team July 10, 201511:48 am Team July 10, 201511:48 am

(Here’s a clearer shot of Chewbacca #1!) Team July 10, 201511:46 am

Will there be more Epic Yarns? “No plans…but we’ll see what happens with Episode VII.” Team July 10, 201511:45 am

Is it easier, harder for publishing to work with new authors? Heddle: “At the end of the day it’s a leap of faith…and assuming the authors would know they’d get in so much trouble if they said anything [regarding spoilers].” Team July 10, 201511:44 am

Was it a challenge for the comics with 20 years of Dark Horse comics? Parisi says it’s more “an opportunity.” Everyone comes in with a spirit of fun. Team July 10, 201511:43 am

When will trade paperbacks come out of the Marvel comics? End of August/early September! Team July 10, 201511:42 am

Audience questions! Team July 10, 201511:42 am

Lost Stars covers Episode III-VI, and “expands the saga.” Team July 10, 201511:41 am

Now onto Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens! See all covers here: Team July 10, 201511:40 am

He says most writers want to be very respectful of the characters they grew up with. “Since we’ve been working with Lucasfilm, we’ve had to remind ourselves. Push boundaries, take chances…but don’t push the boundaries too far.” Team July 10, 201511:39 am

Cebulski says the first challenge was “living up to expectations. Now it’s about taking chances.” Team July 10, 201511:38 am

In Jason Aaron’s Star Wars series, they’re playing with ideas. “In moments of emotional duress, Luke can tap into the Force” in stronger ways than he usually can. Team July 10, 201511:37 am

He notes Marvel’s Darth Vader series, saying the supporting cast is amazing and the depiction of Vader is powerful. They’ve kept him a threat. Team July 10, 201511:36 am

Parisi’s biggest challenge: “How do you create stories with a sense of risk, very powerful character defining moments…while still maintaining fidelity to the major beats of the films?” Team July 10, 201511:35 am

Wendig says that he watched Return of the Jedi as a kid, and like other kids, had a vision of where the story went. “It’s both exhilarating and terrifying…the challenges have been good challenges.” Team July 10, 201511:34 am

Golden binge-watched The Clone Wars. “I grew up with the big three, so this was all new to me. But it was so well done that I was able to pick up the rhythms of the show.” She also watched the animatics of the “Dark Disciple” episodes, helping to understand body language and character action. “It was a challenge and I did want to do well by it.” Team July 10, 201511:32 am

“At the end of the day, my job is to make sure things feel like Star Wars.” Team July 10, 201511:31 am

For Heddle, authors who write Leia, “always get a whole bunch of comments about how they’re wrong.” (She’s a big Leia fan.) Team July 10, 201511:30 am

Bray says that for Ultimate Star Wars, figuring out what to say about background characters was difficult, especially in the new canon. Plus, characters like Lando — who was reintroduced in Star Wars Rebels — meant reexamining how he views those characters. Team July 10, 201511:28 am

For Wang and Epic Yarns, it was “to both defamiliarize and have the familiar elements, as well.” Drilling each movie down to 12 words was hard, too. They had three rounds of editing. “There’s a real art to choosing 12 words.” Team July 10, 201511:27 am

What were the biggest challenges for each project? Team July 10, 201511:27 am Team July 10, 201511:26 am

The book will have “a very interesting visual language” — no word balloons or captions showing what Chewie is thinking. Team July 10, 201511:24 am

Han and Chewie get separated, and he’s off on his own. Chewie will take a girl under his wing, and won’t be the sidekick for a change. Team July 10, 201511:24 am

Chewbacca is getting his own series! Team July 10, 201511:23 am

Lando #1 was just released on Wednesday. “The books have been doing really well…and there’s a lot more coming.” Team July 10, 201511:23 am

Parisi and Cebulski are talking about Marvel’s Star Wars comics. The majority of the books take place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Team July 10, 201511:22 am Team July 10, 201511:21 am

It won’t be one book — it’s a trilogy! Team July 10, 201511:21 am

It’s set after Return of the Jedi. “It features Wedge Antilles getting into a spot of trouble…and features a group of ragtag Rebels.” Team July 10, 201511:20 am

Chuck Wending is the writer of Star Wars: Aftermath — an upcoming novel that’s part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens publishing program. Team July 10, 201511:20 am Team July 10, 201511:19 am

“The scripts were excellent. It was a joy to adapt them.” She adds that the novel allowed her to do things the show couldn’t do — getting into the heads of the characters and slowing things down a bit. “It was a lot of fun.” Team July 10, 201511:18 am

“How does a good person go down a dark path?” Golden asked big questions of the characters. Team July 10, 201511:18 am

It’s an adaptation of eight unaired episodes of The Clone Wars, and stars Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos. Team July 10, 201511:17 am

Christie Golden is the author of Dark Disciple, which came out this week! Team July 10, 201511:17 am

Their ship crash lands on Ryloth, and they need to fight their way through the jungle. “It’s a swath of destruction.” Team July 10, 201511:16 am

Re: Lords of the Sith: “It’s our Vader/Emperor road trip novel,” she says. Team July 10, 201511:16 am

“It shows you how he became the first Grand Moff.” Team July 10, 201511:16 am

Tarkin stars the famous Grand Moff — “you get a peek into his childhood and backstory.” Team July 10, 201511:15 am

A New Dawn shows how Kanan met Hera, and how he changed and got involved with the rebellions. They worked very closely with the Story Group, and it was written before any animation had been done. Team July 10, 201511:14 am

Jen Heddle, Lucas Books senior editor, is discussing the new canonical novels. Team July 10, 201511:14 am Team July 10, 201511:13 am

“It was pretty exhausting working on it.” Bray worked on it morning to night for months. “I was constantly watching Blu-rays and DVDs, anything I could get ahold of.” Team July 10, 201511:12 am

It covers The Clone Wars, the movies, Star Wars Rebels, everything. Team July 10, 201511:11 am

Now Adam Bray is talking about Ultimate Star Wars, which he co-wrote. “One of the many things that’s unique about it is, it covers Star Wars in chronological order.” It’s a complete encyclopedia covering everything canon, divided between character, creatures, ships, and more. Team July 10, 201511:10 am

Read more about Epic Yarns and see behind-the-scenes photos here! Team July 10, 201511:09 am

“You can’t have Dagobah without the myst.” They used dry ice. The only computer imagery used is for lightsabers and the Emperor’s lightning. Team July 10, 201511:08 am

They (Wang and his brother) also built highly detailed sets. The hallway of the Tantive IV, for example, was handmade. Team July 10, 201511:07 am

Right now, a timelapse video shows the making of a figure from beginning to end. The first figure they made as a test for Lucasfilm was Rebel pilot Luke. Team July 10, 201511:06 am

The figures are made through “needle felting” — adding wool around a bendable needle body. Each figure takes between 20-50 hours! Team July 10, 201511:06 am

Holman Wang is the writer of Star Wars Epic Yarns books — retelling the original trilogy in 12 words and 12 images, with the yarn figures. Team July 10, 201511:04 am Team July 10, 201511:04 am

Holman Wang, Adam Bray, Jen Heddle, Christie Golden, Chuck Wendig, Frank Parisi, and C.B. Cebulski are here! Team July 10, 201511:02 am

And we’re back! Team July 10, 201510:49 am

And that’s it for part one of the publishing panel! Stay tuned for part two! Team July 10, 201510:49 am

Angleberger says he was just a fan. “I’m not that great [a writer], I just wouldn’t shut up!” Team July 10, 201510:48 am

Gidwitz wasn’t a writer as a kid, but he played a lot. A LOT, he emphasizes. That’s where he started storytelling. Team July 10, 201510:47 am

Bracken also notes that she’s written tons of Star Wars fan fiction. Team July 10, 201510:47 am

Bracken got a call out of the blue. “Their work speaks for itself…Each of them know it like the back of their hand,” Siglain says. Team July 10, 201510:46 am

How did they get the gig? Team July 10, 201510:45 am

Here are the covers! Team July 10, 201510:44 am

Angleberger enjoyed getting into Boba Fett’s head. “It’s just fun thinking about what all these characters are thinking about!” Team July 10, 201510:44 am

Gidwitz does martial arts, and channeled his own sensei with Yoda. Team July 10, 201510:44 am

Bracken says Han’s personality was really fun, but she enjoyed playing with some of the other characters. Team July 10, 201510:42 am

What was their favorite part to write? Team July 10, 201510:40 am

Gidwitz also likes The Phantom Menace, but thinks Revenge of the Sith would be fun to tackle. Team July 10, 201510:40 am

Bracken says The Phantom Menace seems to have the most potential. “Get into Jar Jar’s head,” says Angleberger. (Laughs from the crowd.) Team July 10, 201510:39 am

Which prequel would they want to do? Team July 10, 201510:38 am

Audience questions! Will they do the prequels? Siglain says they’d love to — it depends on how this first batch does and if there’s a fan demand. Team July 10, 201510:37 am

Big applause. Team July 10, 201510:36 am

One Ewok “raises his blood-drenched fist!” (Really funny and awesome retelling!) Team July 10, 201510:36 am

“The Ewoks get by on instinct. Biting, climbing…!” Team July 10, 201510:35 am

It highlights the role of the forest — “the Ewoks’ forest, which is one big trap.” Team July 10, 201510:34 am

The scene is told from the Ewoks’ perspective, detailing the intricacies of the battle. Team July 10, 201510:34 am

In his reading, the Ewoks sound their battle horn — the crowd yells “yub nub!” It’s the start of the Battle of Endor. Team July 10, 201510:32 am

Angleberger is asking the fans to be his Ewoks for his reading. Team July 10, 201510:32 am

Gidwitz reads from the book — it’s all from Luke’s Jedi training. Team July 10, 201510:31 am

The book is balanced! Team July 10, 201510:28 am

His Padawan is doing meditating exercises…and will now balance a book on his head. Team July 10, 201510:28 am

Gidwitz calls up a fan from the crowd! Team July 10, 201510:26 am

Gidwitz comes down to the floor for his reading…Jedi training! Team July 10, 201510:25 am

There is a chapter sampler here — booth 1129. At 1 p.m., the authors will be signing a poster featuring the series’ covers. Team July 10, 201510:24 am

And her escape is looking good…until she runs into Darth Vader. Applause from the crowd. Team July 10, 201510:23 am

Bracken’s sample is from a Leia scene, during her time on the Death Star. She tries to make an escape! (Very cool — it’s like an event from the movie that happens offscreen.) Team July 10, 201510:21 am

Now the authors are going to read from each of their books! Team July 10, 201510:21 am

“I had to try to mesh things together…that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it was so much fun.” Team July 10, 201510:20 am

For Angleberger, the biggest challenge was capturing the excitement of the finale. Team July 10, 201510:19 am

Gidwitz says that his first try didn’t feel “close” enough. When he watches the films, he feels very close to Luke, almost like he is Luke. That’s what he wanted to capture. Team July 10, 201510:18 am

Bracken: “Mine was the mental hurdle of not crawling under my desk and shaking.” There was lots of pressure — the way she got over it was handwriting the manuscript. Team July 10, 201510:17 am

What was the biggest challenge? Team July 10, 201510:17 am

Angleberger says that his books are informed by everything that has come since the original trilogy — it will mention Ahsoka, Padme, and more from The Clone Wars and prequels. Team July 10, 201510:16 am

Gidwitz: “We went to Lucasfilm, we went to Skywalker Ranch, we met with the Story Group guys…Because my background is in fairytales, I said ‘Yoda is going to tell a fairytale.'” 

It was about chickens, but he wasn’t sure if Star Wars had chickens — Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo confirmed instantly that yes, there are chickens. They’re in the script for Return of the Jedi. Team July 10, 201510:13 am

Still, they were all respectful of the films. Though Bracken notes she pointed out when Gidwitz changed Leia’s hairstyle in a scene. Team July 10, 201510:12 am

Siglain: “We didn’t want these to be straight adaptations of the films, because we have the films.” Team July 10, 201510:11 am

Some elements she couldn’t use — like Han’s backstory — but they worked with the Story Group on what was fair game. “I got permission to adapt from the radio drama,” she says. “That was so special.” Team July 10, 201510:10 am

Bracken read a lot of the Expanded Universe, and wanted to sneak elements in and reestablish them. Team July 10, 201510:09 am

How did the writers prepare for these books? Team July 10, 201510:09 am

He adds that the movie doesn’t pass the Bechdel test — so he got permission from Lucasfilm to add a scene that corrects that. “Leia chokes [Jabba] to death…” and doesn’t get a moment to reflect. She’ll get it in his book. Team July 10, 201510:06 am

He is also adding to the canon. “Jabba has parasites living in his nostrils,” he says. Big laugh from the crowd. Team July 10, 201510:06 am

“I think mine will be the first Star Wars novel ever that has footnotes, because I didn’t want to leave anything out.” Team July 10, 201510:05 am

Angleberger says he knew he wanted to do Return of the Jedi. “I immersed myself in Star Wars for a couple of months and it was awesome…I wanted more of everything in the book. It may have gotten out of hand…” Team July 10, 201510:04 am Team July 10, 201510:04 am

Gidwitz wants to put readers in Luke’s shoes. Every other chapter is in the second person. “I want the reader to feel like YOU are training with Yoda. YOU are facing Darth Vader.” Team July 10, 201510:03 am

“I wanted to give everyone equal screentime.” It starts with Leia, moves to Han, then Luke, telling A New Hope from their perspectives. Team July 10, 201510:03 am

Bracken says she thinks A New Hope is “perfect,” storytelling-wise. So she wanted to look at it from a different perspective. “I pitched it as the Star Wars Breakfast Club.” Team July 10, 201510:01 am

Alexandra Bracken (the Darkest Minds series), Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark and Grim series), and Tom Angleberger (The Origami Yoda series), in conversation with Lucasfilm’s Mike Siglain about the new Star Wars retellings for a younger generation of fans. Team July 10, 20159:59 am

The panelists take the stage! Team July 10, 20159:59 am

This is a two-part panel — we’ll cover the whole thing in this post. Team July 10, 20159:58 am

Welcome! We are here at San Diego Comic-Con and about to begin a day of liveblogging with the Star Wars publishing panel!