Women play an integral role in the Star Wars universe- whether they’re stealing Imperial plans, leading forest moon assaults, or birthing the next generation of Jedi. Nobody understands this better than the women involved in the upcoming book ‘Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy.’
The book, which goes on sale October 30, is a one-of-a-kind release that sounds like half graphic novel and half encyclopedia, though writer Amy Ratcliffe stressed during the Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy Discussion at NYCC that they did not want to make an outright encyclopedia. The book contains 75 profiles on 75 integral female characters in the Star Wars universe.
Profiling each and every character was no easy task. Ratcliffe recalled getting the call that she’d be writing this book, having said “It started with tears first, happy ones of course, but then intimidated ones.” After a moment of laughter, she continued, saying “For better or worse, I own a lot of Star Wars material. That’s my favorite thing to collect, books and reference books and such. So I pulled these all over my apartment floor and re-watched the films and cartoons for research.”
Alongside the 75 profiles written by Ratcliffe are 110 pieces of original art from 18 female and non-binary artists. The names included in this book range from well-established comic artists like Jen Bartel to relative newcomers like Sara Alfageeh, with each artist providing their own takes on iconic characters.
Panel attendees got a special sneak preview of two such takes on iconic characters- none other than Ahsoka Tano and Leia Organa. The preview images showcased a variety of styles that truly paid homage to everything the characters stood for.
When asked about her process drawing Ahsoka, Alfageeh said “I ultimately went with the scene when she was fighting the Inquisitors in Rebels, and she had this look of ‘do not do that;’ and I just had to capture that.” She went on to compliment the amount of freedom the artists were given with their assigned characters, saying “they gave us a lot of room to play around with, just saying ‘she’s fighting clone troopers’ and just letting us go, so that was a really fun part of the process”
Comic veteran Jen Bartel was given the opportunity to portray a young Princess Leia, something that came with so many emotions. “When I got assigned Leia, it was obviously an honor, but it was also such a heavy burden,” said Bartel. “To me, Leia is a serious character, but I feel she’s also the first character to call somebody out and not take any B.S. So I wanted to portray her with that calm confidence.”
While having two massive characters like Ahsoka and Leia in the book is certainly a treat, many fans will be taken-aback by just how many female characters there are in the Star Wars canon now.
“I am a child of the 70’s, and back then it was only Princess Leia,” said artist Karen Hallion. “So it’s crazy to see all these lady characters. It’s just amazing to see all this- every girl could get into this.”
Artist Annie Stoll echoed a similar sentiment, having said “What I love about this book is there are so many characters. You’re going to find your old favorites and even find some new favorites.”
Women from all eras of the Star Wars canon will be featured in the book, including recent characters like Q’ira from Solo: A Star Wars Story and Tam Ryvora from the upcoming Star Wars: Resistance. While not every single female character ever introduced will be included, readers can expect to see tons of recognizable faces and even a few new ones from the comics- like my personal favorite, Dr. Aphra.
The utter importance of this book cannot be overstated- it shows how diverse Star Wars is, not just within it’s universe but with the fans it attracts. Ratcliffe put it best: “Having a book like furthers the message that Star Wars is not for just men and boys nor just women and girls. Star Wars is for everyone.”