Captain Phasma Novel and Comic Miniseries, Leia YA Novel, and Ken Liu Penned Luke Book Start Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi (SWCO 2017)

Journey to Star Wars The Last JediThe Lucasfilm’s Publishing Writer’s Roundtable on Friday was a pleasant panel where we got to spend some time with various authors across various mediums and age-ranges of material discussing their process and writing for Star Wars. It all ended with a bang, as the Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi initiative was announced (a similar program was in place for The Force Awakens), where hints for the new film will be hidden in the Phasma novel by Deliah S. Dawson, the Captain Phasma comic miniseries by Kelly Thompson, Leia: The Princess of Alderaan YA novel by Claudia Gray (!!), and Ken Liu’s (!!!) The Legends of Luke Skywalker, and much more! Details within and some additional insights from the Del Rey panel Saturday as well.

UPDATE 9/30/17: Reviews galore! First, Leia – Princess of Alderaan; The Phasma novel; and the Captain Phasma miniseries! 11/13/17: And now Ken Liu’s The Legends of Luke Skywalker!

Considering The Last Jedi picks up right after The Force Awakens ends, the whole “Journey to” program almost didn’t seem like a guarantee but thankfully there’s one coming with plenty to offer. Deliah S. Dawson will be writing Phasma, which is an origin story (as seemingly accidentally revealed at the Del Rey panel that included Dawson), and thanks to her work on The Perfect Weapon short story for TFA‘s “Journey to” I’ve been hopeful she’d return and this is quite the upgrade! There’s plenty more of the chrome First Order stormtrooper captain though, as Marvel’s 4-part comic mini-series, Captain Phasma, will cover the tale of how she escaped Starkiller base from the trash compactor. It’ll be written by Kelly Thompson, the excellent author who brought us an unforgettable new character named Pash (whose nickname is bash for a very cool reason) in Star Wars Annual #2 and I’m happy to see she’s back writing Star Wars; the artist will be Marco Checchetto, whose previous credits include Obi-Wan & Anakin, Shattered Empire (another TFA “Journey to” project), and the upcoming The Screaming Citadel crossover event. Both of them were very briefly interviewed at the official site.

Claudia Gray surprised in her debut YA novel, Lost Stars, and stunned with Leia-centric Bloodline, so the moment her name is involved I’ve already thrown my cash at the correct party so I can read whatever she’s cooking next. She’s returning to everyone’s favorite Princess and General in a YA novel that takes place prior to A New Hope, titled Leia: The Princess of Alderaan and please, can I read this now? Please? I’ve always been interested in seeing more of Leia’s time on her home (adopted) planet and the Princess Leia comic mini-series’ tease of her weapons training certainly wasn’t enough. I trust that whatever Gray does with her here, it’ll be worthy of Leia and Carrie Fisher’s legacy of the character.

I’ve recently just started reading some of Ken Liu’s collected short fiction and every story seems to reach deep into my soul, even if I don’t quite understand everything that’s going on. When he was announced for the Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View 40th Anniversary novel, I was disappointed he wouldn’t get more to write but thankfully that’s being corrected with The Legends of Luke Skywalker. There are no details just yet on what it entails, though he shares his excitement for writing the book at his official blog, while the cover seems to suggest we’ll get a wide variety of tales about Luke across the ages…though which stories will be a legend or the truth about Luke could be something we’ll be left pondering when the pages end.

Other works in the JtTLJ program include everything from middle-grade readers, coloring books, and kirigami builders so everyone of any age can get in on The Last Jedi action, I guess. Also revealed was IDW’s step into Star Wars comics (which I was a little surprised about considering Marvel’s monopoly on the comics…until I heard what the series would be), where they’ll be telling all-ages stories about a variety of characters with rotating creatives working on the project, which is titled Star Wars: Adventures.

Here are my pictures from the Publisher’s Roundtable and Del Rey Panels:

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Here are a few other things:

  • The Publisher’s Roundtable spent a considerable amount of time on Q&A from Twitter, with answers that frequently included tidbits of advice for writing or personal stories from authors about their connections to Star Wars. Even if they hadn’t announced the JtTLJ stuff, the knowledge we gained about the writers and their process was enjoyable, entertaining, and informative. Same goes for Del Rey’s panel, where they had fun questions like “which two characters would you take on a road trip with you?” with Chuck Wendig answering about Ewoks since they’d murder anyone who threatened him (and then provide dinner) or “which profession if you have if you lived in a GFFA?” with Senior Editor of Lucasbooks Jen Heddle saying thanks to books being seen in The Last Jedi trailer, she’d still be an editor in the GFFA.
  • At the Del Rey panel, Dawson said she loves writing “violent women,”  while her desire to explore what wearing a mask means for a person lead her to make this hilarious statement about Phasma’s chrome suit: “…when she kills you, you have to watch yourself die,” (she said this at the panel but later tweeted it). She also makes playlists for her books and she revealed three items on her Phasma one: 1. Rogue One soundtrack; 2. The Force Awakens soundtrack; 3. Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack!
  • Timothy Zahn enjoyed writing Arinhda Pryce a lot, something I’ve noticed while reading Thrawn (review on that still incoming) and it’s been just as illuminating about the character as I guessed/hoped.
  • I’ll have more details in my full Battlefront II panel impressions, but upcoming novel Inferno Squad has been revealed as a tie-in for the new game’s single-player mode; I like that they mentioned this at the video game panel as a way to show they are taking the story seriously.

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

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