Monday, December 12, 2011

Interview with Star Wars writer John Ostrander

Cover by St├ęphane Roux
Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics
Through the awesomeness of Dark Horse Comics, I got the opportunity to read an advance copy of Star Wars: Agent of the Empire.  This introductory issue gives us a view of the day-to-day workings inside the Empire.  I have never read Star Wars before, so this was a great learning experience.  So when Dark Horse gave a chance to interview the writer John Ostrander, I jumped at it!

I just want to say a big thanks to Mr. Ostrander and Dark Horse Comics for making this happen.

If you keep reading, you will be exposed to very MINOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: Agent of the Empire #1!






Q: AotE gives such an interesting behind the scenes of the empire.  How are you going to bring a new feel and look to something so evil?

A: Telling a story depends, as Obi-Wan said, on “a certain point of view”. That’s very much what we’re doing here. We predate A NEW HOPE  (aka Episode IV aka the ORIGINAL SW movie) by about three years, so we’re in the same time frame and can use some of the same characters in supporting roles.

Something can be evil and still have relatively good people in it. People generally don’t belong to something they think is evil; they believe it’s necessary or is accomplishing something important. We might say they are mistaken and perhaps they are. Doing a book from an Imperial standpoint gives us a glimpse into their way of thinking. And let’s us experience a story we know so well in a new way.

Q: How much inspiration did you take from James Bond in creating Jahan Cross?


A: A lot, obviously, but not exclusively James Bond. I’ve been a big fan of spy fiction going back a long ways, and it has shown up in a lot of my work such as SUICIDE SQUAD and GRIMJACK, as well as STAR WARS: LEGACY. There are tropes between the Bond movies and Star Wars that are very similar – multiple exotic locales, frequent fast paced action, charismatic central characters, high speed chases, oversized villains and so on. It’s really amazing how well they fit together.

However, I’m widely read in spy fiction and attendant spy movies. The Jason Bourne movies, Secret Agent, Mission: Impossible, John Le Carre and so on and they’ll all influence what we’ll be doing in AotE.

Q: One of the themes in Agent of the Empire is racial tensions between humans and aliens.  Are the Sith spreading this type of hate or was it already present?  Do you plan on exploring that further?

A: The Empire was very human-centric. That is an already established given. The claim is that it came from Palpatine himself and reflected his views. It’ll be part of the ongoing story. Our lead, Jahan Cross, is not himself phobic but he DOES work for the Empire which is.

Q: We know that we will get to see Han Solo and Chewbacca; what other Star Wars favorites will make an appearance?
A: I do have plans for other characters but, until the stories are approved, I really can’t say. In all cases, it will depend on the needs of the story. I won’t put in characters just to put in a certain character. There has to be a need in the story for that character to be there. In the first arc, for example, we get Han Solo, Chewie, and the Millennium Falcon. Their appearances are legit for the time and place of the story, and I’d be stupid NOT to use such popular characters. There are others that I would LIKE to see show up – Boba Fett and Darth Vader and so on – but, again, it will depend on whether a given story justifies that appearance.

Q: Last chance to share any juicy spoilers....please?

A: Well, I COULD tell you. . . naaaaah. Gotta read the book.

Q: Star Wars Pride / Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars Day is Dec. 16th.  It was started last year because of Katie, a girl who got teased for liking Star Wars.  What message do you have for Star Wars fans who just happen to be girls?

A: I think there have always been strong female characters not only in the movies but in the Extended Universe as well. Jan Duursema (who was my artist on SW REPUBLIC and SW LEGACY and is my partner for the upcoming DAWN OF THE JEDI) and I have always worked at including strong female characters of all types in our stories. There’s a lot of female Jedi running around in SW with lightsabers and mad force skills.

Jan, by the way, is female and there is NO bigger Star Wars fan AND she’s getting to draw Star Wars. AND she knows how to use a sword and do martial arts and if someone felt like teasing HER about it – well, I’d feel very very sorry for them.

Q: As the co-creator of Oracle, how do you feel about how Barbra Gordon is progressing as Batgirl?  Do you think we will ever see another Oracle?

A: Well, that answer is out of my jurisdiction, I would say. But my great friend Gail Simone is writing the book and she is a terrific writer, one of the best today IMO, and she loves Barbara Gordon in ANY incarnation, so I think you couldn’t be in better hands.

Q: Are there any other projects that you have coming up you would like to share?

A: Well, there’s the aforementioned DAWN OF THE JEDI that Jan Duursema and I are working on and that’s going to be amazing. It’s about the start of the Jedi Order and it has. . . naaaah, that would be telling. 



Star Wars: Agent of the Empire is available on Wednesday, Dec. 14th!


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