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NYCC 2019: Lucasfilm Publishing Assembles an All-Star Roster of Writers to talk about Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars writers took NYCC behind the scenes of upcoming books from The Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker line.

After announcing a slew of new books and the relaunch of the monthly Star Wars comic series on Friday night, Lucasfilm Publishing assembled a murderer’s row of writing talent Saturday afternoon at New York Comic Con to shed some light on upcoming releases for Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Galaxy’s Edge.

Joining moderator Ashley Eckstein, famous for being the voice behind Ahsoka Tano, were writers Ethan Sacks (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Star Wars: Allegiance), Justina Ireland (Spark of the Resistance), Kevin Shinick (Force Collector), Rebecca Roanhorse (Resistance Reborn), Delilah S. Dawson (Black Spire), Matt Martin (Lucasfilm Story Group) and veteran audiobook narrator Marc Thompson. Before giving the writers a chance to dive into their new works, however, Thompson gave attendees a sneak peek of the upcoming Resistance Reborn with a reading from the opening pages.

From left: Moderator Ashley Eckstein, Justina Ireland, Rebecca Roanhorse, Ethan Sack, Kevin Shinick, Delilah S. Dawson, Matt Martin, and Marc Thompson

Delivered with the enthusiasm and tone-setting style that has made Thompson so beloved- one fan, in particular, shouted “I love you Marc!” just before he started reading- the reading brought the room to the edge of their seats. Out Nov. 5, Thompson’s reading of Resistance Reborn, detailed a meeting between Black Squadron and Princess Leia following the events of The Last Jedi.

Fan-favorite audiobook narrator Marc Thompson reads a passage from Resistance Reborn

Princess Leia seems to be tasking Black Squadron, joined by Shriv and Zay Versio from Battlefront 2, to track down new Resistance allies. Zay and Shriv inform Princess Leia that their allies are disappearing before Poe Dameron points out this is probably the First Order’s doing. Just as everyone debates the possibility of the First Order hunting down their allies, one General Ryker steps forward as the reading ends. While this reading didn’t offer too many details, it was a tantalizing look at how this book will fill in the gaps between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.

Thompson then brought the rest of the panelists on stage and moderator Ashley Eckstein, who immediately began prodding Justina Ireland for details about her brand new book (literally brand new, it came out Oct. Star Wars Spark of the Resistance. With a cover illustrated by Star Wars comics alumni Phil Noto, the graphic novel follows Rey, Poe, and Rose on a new adventure to the planet Minfar, who is under Siege from the First Order. When asked how it felt to be writing these characters, Ireland playfull responded “It was just a little daunting writing these three characters, so I added porgs to make it a little less daunting.”

Taking a more sincere tone, Ireland continued to divulge details about her experience writing the book, saying “It was a lot of fun- it’s a kid’s book so it’s got ti be fun. You got to make sure that your readers, who may not really like to read, want to turn that page.” That shouldn’t be a problem, given the stakes of the story, but there’s a brand new villain in the novel that should really hook readers in. Poe, Rey, and Rose will be challenged by a new First Order Officer of Ireland’s creation, one whom she said is an amalgamation of every commanding officer she had during her military career. When asked to sum the novel up the best she could, she simply quoted Bruce Springstein, “You can’t start a fire without a spark.”

Eckstein turned her attention next to first time Star Wars writer Rebecca Roanhorse, who was still taken aback by Thomspon’s reading of her forthcoming novel Star Wars: Resistance Reborn. “It’s so surreal,” Roanhorse said about Mr. Thompson’s narration and the overall experience of being involved in Star Wars. “The whole experience is awesome as you could imagine.”

According to both Eckstein and Roanhorse, Resistance Reborn will be an essential piece of storytelling to fill in the gap between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. As challenging a task that would be for any writer, let alone a first time Star Wars writer, Roanhorse praised Lucasfilm for their endless help. “The Lucasfilm folks gave me so much support. They were like, ‘Tell your own story. Bring your own love of Star Wars to the page.'”

As hinted in the reading to kick off the panel, Roanhorse wants to pull in characters from all aspects of the Star Wars universe. “We are really rebuilding the Resistance, it is being reborn,” said Roanhorse. “I wanted to bring characters from the games, from the comics, and some old faces to do this thing.” The big focus of this book, however, will be examining how Poe Dameron reconciles with his failures during The Last Jedi.

“Poe has royally messed stuff up. His mutiny [during The Last Jedi] has gotten a lot of people killed. He’s carrying a lot of that shame. He went from a cocky guy talking smack to the First Order who thinks he has everything under control to a leader who got people killed,” said Roanhorse. “We don’t want to wipe the slate clean and let him be a hero again- he has to earn it. Not a lot of room in the Resistance to sit in the corner and feel sorry for yourself.” Star Wars: Resistance Reborn will be available on Nov. 5.

Writer Ethan Sacks discussing Star Wars: Allegiances

Moving right down the panel, Eckstein began picking Ethan Sack’s brain about the forthcoming Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker tie-in comic Star Wars: Allegiance. Talking about how the comic follows The Last Jedi, Sacks told attendees “Obviously a significant amount of time has passed between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, but when we last saw the Resistance they were not in great shape- on the run, decimated.”

Sacks explained the book will follow General Organa and her team of Resistance fighters, including Rose and Rey, as they head to Mon Cala to once again seek the help of the Mon Calamari in the fight for galactic prosperity. Finn and Poe, meanwhile, are sent elsewhere to try and replenish the Resistance’s dwindling weapons supply- splitting what little forces the Resistance has left into two.

Marvel

Sacks reveled in the opportunity to explore the relationship and dynamics between Rey and Rose, who until this book have had no interactions. Sacks also laughed at being allowed to create and subsequently eradicate a new Star Wars species within the first pages of this series, which opens with a massive display of firepower from the First Order. Star Wars: Allegiance hits comic shops on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

With Sacks wrapping up his thoughts on Star Wars: Allegiance, Eckstein gave writer Kevin Shinick the spotlight to discuss his upcoming novel Star Wars: Force Collector. “It’s hard to imagine a world where Star Wars does not exist, but I still remember in March ’77 this trailer coming to television and it blew my mind,” Shinick said. “I thought, according to the trailer, this was about a bad guy in black who kidnaps a princess, takes her to his desert castle that is guarded by sand people, and the young farm boy saves the princess.” It’s that innocent misunderstanding of the saga that inspired Shinick to write this story.

Writer Kevin Shinick discussing Star Wars: Force Collector

Described as Star Wars meets The Dead Zone, Star Wars: Force Collector will follow a young boy who discovers his own force sensitivity and ability to witness events from the past once he comes into physical contact with them. These events will teach him more about the force and clear up any misunderstandings he may have about the history of the galaxy’s various conflicts. The moments he will experience span the entire saga- from comics to movies to games to books. Shinick’s initial draft was so expansive that he was actually told he had “inadvertently wrote a massive chunk” of episode nine, forcing the book to undergo rewrites. Star Wars: Force Collector will be available, free of The Rise of Skywalker spoilers, on Nov. 19.

Last of the writers on stage but certainly not least, Delilah S. Dawson, was given some time to dive into behind the scene details of the creation of her recent book Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire. Released earlier this summer, the book focuses on the PTSD afflicted Vi Moradi, who after being tortured during her captivity at the behest of Captain Phasma is sent to Black Spire Outpost by General Organa to build a new Resistance cell. “Vi Moradi is a spy, she likes to do spy things and she is like a female James Bond,” Dawson said of her creation.

Vi is not a character who only lives within the pages of Dawson’s novel- she’s a living, breathing character who can be found at Disneyland and DisneyWorld’s Galaxy’s Edge parks. “I did not know she would be a live character running around the park,” Dawson said. “But she is the heart of Batuu- she draws you in.” It’s because of Dawson’s book, too, that Vi has such an intricate back story. If you approach Vi in Galaxy’s Edge and ask her questions related to events in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire, she’ll have all the answers.

Writer Delilah S. Dawson speaking about her novel Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire

On top of inside knowledge to the outpost’s Resistance spy, Dawson also joked that those who read her book will basically be experts, equivalent to tourists who thoroughly read and memorized guidebooks to various destinations. She even hinted that this novel heavily ties into the upcoming Rise of the Resistance ride at Galaxy’s Edge.

While live-action Star Wars stories like The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian may be at the forefront of fans’ minds, it is clear from Lucasfilm Publishings’ New York Comic Con panels that there will be no shortage of Star Wars literature for fans to read while they await the new film and series.

For all your New York Comic Con news keep checking AiPT!

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