This issue was remarkable, because as it was coming together, the news about the Disney acquisition and the new Star Wars trilogy was just about to break. I wouldn’t call myself an editor of the magazine – I just advise when and where I can – but this time, I got to channel the ink-fingered editors of yore and put a call out to HOLD THAT FRONT COVER!
I had gotten wind that these announcements would soon be public while I was at New York Comic-Con, which made for some very cagey phone calls with Lucasfilm while I was at a very public venue (oh, if only the people within earshot had any idea what we were talking about!). As soon as I got back to California, Howard Roffman led us in hammering out a plan on how this news would be announced on StarWars.com. It was kept to a very small group of people at first, and I didn’t want Insider to miss what would be the biggest Star Wars news in years.
On October 25, I emailed editor Jonathan Wilkins at Titan Magazines, requesting that every effort be made to accommodate an upcoming major announcement that was brewing at Lucasfilm. “This could end up being the most important issue you’ve published to date,” I wrote, but I could not give him any specifics. I just said to hold the cover (and never advised what to run instead of a planned Clone Wars cover) and said that I have about 4,800 words of story coming his way, so that he had to move editorial around to make room. To his credit, Jonathan responded exactly the way a Star Wars fan should: he was excited to hear what was coming.
Now, per schedule, the content for issue #138 – which arrives at newsstands tomorrow – was supposed to be delivered by mid-September. Here we were, way past that deadline; we had to move fast. George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy had sat down to record their video conversation with Lynne Hale on October 19th. A few days later, I got to review the video in its entirety to help advise where individual featurettes could be cut from this longer piece. I figured while StarWars.com got to run the shorter video chapters, the Insider could present the entirety of the interview for those who prefer reading their news and having this content in textual form for easy future reference, without fast-forwarding and rewinding. (Full disclosure: I’m a text guy. I’m not a video guy. I prefer to read on the Internet. And if you’ve made it this far, maybe you do too!)
So I quickly transcribed the text by the 24th, a 4,800-word document (turns out, I’m really good at estimating word counts), and reformatted the text by topic and turned it into a feature article for Insider. Issue #138 communicates this major news in the world of Star Wars in a format worth preserving in print, and also has some content that has not yet made it online or will never make it into the web series.
Of course, that’s only one of the features in this issue of the magazine. There’s plenty more filling out Insider #138.
Scoundrel Days. The deep mining of some never-before-published gems continues with the surfacing of a Harrison Ford interview from January 1977. This is before Star Wars exploded into a worldwide phenomenon, and is based on a discovery made by JW Rinzler of interviews done by Charley Lippincott during the making of Episode IV. This completes a trilogy of rare interviews; issue #137 featured a similar article with Mark Hamill, while issue #136 featured Carrie Fisher.
Scoundrels: We Like the Sound of That. Speaking of Scoundrels, this is the issue that pays tribute to Timothy Zahn’s forthcoming heist novel. Tricia Barr interviews Zahn about the making of this eagerly anticipated book that takes Han, Lando, and some other checkered rogues and put them firmly in their underworld element.
Heist: Zahn supplies the exclusive fiction in this issue, with a short stories that stars two of the scoundrels from his book, the beautiful and resourceful cat burglar twins Bink and Tavia Kitik. Brian Rood (who illustrated the portraits in The Essential Reader’s Companion) provides the artwork.
The Art of Tsuneo Sanda: On the subject of art, one of the nicest and most talented Star Wars artists is profiled in this issue by Mark Newbold. Sanda-san has been illustrating Star Wars for over ten years, including some striking pieces that have appeared in previous issues of Insider as well as Star Wars Celebration.
Celebration VI Through the Eyes Of… Celebration VI continues to be a subject of discussion – no surprise, given an event as big and exciting as that convention. In this feature article, some of the guests themselves offer their inside look at what made the event so memorable. Mark Hamill offers his perspective, as does James Arnold Taylor to interviewer Amy Ratcliffe. My particular favorite is the piece penned by Samantha Roberts, the daughter of Tom Kane. She describes how she would not let her battle with Hodgkins Lymphona get in the way of appearing at Celebration VI in costume as Asajj Ventress. It’s an inspiring and heartwarming tale that shows the power of Star Wars and its fans.
And More. Bantha Tracks celebrates the Season of Giving, Catherine Taber shows off an impressive knowledge of blaster types, the comics column looks at the latest arc in Dawn of the Jedi, Incoming is filled with Angry Birds while Rogues Gallery profiles some pigs – Ugnaughts and Gamorreans – and the sexy Black Milk models make this issue’s cover of Blaster one to remember.
Pablo Hidalgo is paid to know the difference between Romba and Lumat and dies a little bit inside when you misspell Wookiee or Lucasfilm. He lives in San Francisco and also on Twitter as @infinata.