The writer for the new Marvel series shares his love of Star Wars and exclusive preview pages from his new comic book series that connects to the larger galaxy.
Some of the most notorious bounty hunters, the scum of the galactic underworld, are now the stars of a new Marvel comic book series featuring the likes of Boba Fett and Bossk.
In Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, writer Ethan Sacks and artist Paolo Villanelli will take us on a journey through the seedy underbelly of the galaxy far, far away as seen through the cybernetic lens of one Beilert Valance. Recently, Sacks sat down with StarWars.com to talk about how the hunters featured in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back captured his imagination and why he's so excited to translate that childhood enthusiasm into modern-day storytelling. Plus, StarWars.com is thrilled to share a sneak peek at a few pages from the debut issue below!
StarWars.com: Your new series gets to play in the sandbox of Star Wars storytelling in a time period just after the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (which is my favorite!). When you were a seven-year-old kid meeting the bounty hunters on film for the first time, what was it about the motley crew that captured your imagination?
Ethan Sacks: Maybe Admiral Piett didn't have any use for bounty hunters' kind of scum, but I sure did. I remember being fascinated by Bossk in particular in the way that scene was shot, looking up at the Trandoshan who was looking down at us. And that bug-eyed droid, whose name I would not know until I was gifted a 4-LOM action figure months later. These hunters didn't even seem to be particularly intimidated by Darth Vader, as if being on that bridge was just another day at the office. I wanted to know more about their stories. (Even Dengar!) And now I get to tell some of them. It's a wonder I didn't spontaneously combust... especially after I saw some of the covers by Lee Bermejo.
StarWars.com: I'm also very excited to see Bossk made the cut!
Ethan Sacks: There was no way Bossk wouldn't make the cut!
StarWars.com: It's a lucrative time to be a bounty hunter. Can you tell us a little bit about your goals for the series when you first started writing for the project? What was your initial elevator pitch for the story and how much did it change as you worked on it?
Ethan Sacks: My editors Mark Paniccia and Tom Groneman came to me with the genius idea (they being the geniuses, not me) of doing Bounty Hunters with us getting a glimpse of this underworld through the cybernetic eye of Valance. For the first arc, I thought a great way to wade into those glorious dark corners of the Star Wars universe was to chronicle a botched mission from the shared past of a number of major bounty hunters — a betrayal that has consequences years later. And not all of these great bounty hunters will end up on the same side, which of course will lead to a lot of blaster fire. That's all I can say right now without my editors reversing their no disintegrations of writers policy.
StarWars.com: The creed of the Mandalore has been on a lot of fans' minds lately with the new live-action series, The Mandalorian, featuring a different helmeted warrior. But in this issue, Boba Fett makes an appearance with a reference to his beskar armor. What was your approach to bringing in such an iconic character who is at such a pivotal moment, literally making a pit stop on his way to deliver Han Solo frozen in carbonite?
Ethan Sacks: Boba Fett is such a cypher, having grown up from a hot-headed kid to this just ice-cold killer. What I love visually is that you can't really tell what he's thinking and that makes him so much scarier both visually and from a storytelling perspective. In our first arc, he's motivated enough to chase down a figure from his past that he literally pauses on his journey to deliver Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt to take this new bounty. Imagine the most fearsome bounty hunter in the galaxy being that ticked off at you. And I can't wait until readers get to see how my amazing partner Paolo Villanelli draws him — all kinetic energy.
StarWars.com: You're also including a more recent fan-favorite -- Doctor Aphra! I was a little surprised to see her pop up. Why was it important to you to include her?
Ethan Sacks: I'm proud to say we got to answer the definitive question of, "Who would win in a fight, Doctor Aphra or Bossk?" Actually, Aphra is a guest-star in the arc, which gave us a chance to really show that Bounty Hunters is connected to a larger Star Wars tapestry. Fans are in for an amazing treat now that the great Alyssa Wong is writing the new Aphra series.
StarWars.com: Beilert Valance has a looong history as a bounty hunter in the Marvel comics, dating back to 1978 and more recently in Target Vader. What was your first introduction to the character? And what do you find most intriguing about the cybernetic hunter?
Ethan Sacks: I am old enough to remember him from the first time around, back when I was collecting the comics as a five-year-old eager to devour anything connected to Star Wars. But honestly, I didn't gravitate to him as a misunderstood hero at the time, kind of disgusted by his anti-droid bigotry. By contrast, I really dug what Robbie Thompson and company did in Target Vader, really leaning into his struggle to find what's left of his humanity. What I love about him is his whole worldview was blown apart when he was cast aside by the Empire and he is gradually trying to piece himself together -- both literally and figuratively. Plus the dude is a badass. I couldn't wait to pit him against Boba Fett. I'm not going to tell you who wins.
Check out the preview pages from Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 below!
Preorder your copy of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 now before it hits comic book shops March 11.
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.
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