Star Wars Day Report: Publishing Panel

StarWars.com Team | July 27, 2007

Publishing Horizon
Keith Clayton began with a quick tour of the publishing horizon from Del Rey. The Legacy of the Force series continues with the sixth installment, Inferno in September, with Fury following up in December. The last two books in the series come out in Spring and Summer of 2008. “It’s going to be a strong, powerful finish with Invincible,” said Clayton.

In October, the Death Star novel by Steve Perry and Michael Reaves tells “the ongoing politics of its creation, and everything leading up to its destruction.” In November, Karen Traviss’ third Republic Commando, True Colors comes out, with a fourth one — yet untitled — in the summer of 2008.

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In March, 2008, The Force Unleashed tie-in novel comes out, and Sean Williams is writing it directly with Haden Blackman, the author of the game. The summer of 2008 also sees Coruscant Nights: Jedi Twilight by Michael Reaves, “about a rogue Jedi living in the underworld of Coruscant doing P.I. work. Sort of Dashiell Hamett meets Star Wars,” says Clayton.

In terms of non-fiction, Mad About Star Wars comes out in October, Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force by Ryder Windham comes out in November, illustrated by Chris Trevas and Tommy Lee Edwards. In June ’08 is The Star Wars Atlas by Jason Fry and Daniel Wallace. Coming Fall of 2008 is a new edition of The Star Wars Encyclopedia by Steve Sansweet with Pablo Hidalgo. And December sees Darth Bane: Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn, which chronicles how Bane and his apprentice go about building a new Sith order.

Steve Sansweet on The Star Wars Vault
Author Sansweet described the forthcoming The Star Wars Vault from Harper-Collins, as half-book, and half-collectible. “The toughest thing about the book that Pete Vilmur and I put together was just conceptualizing it and getting an idea of what we wanted to put in it and how we wanted to put it together,” says Sansweet.

A much expanded follow-up to the Star Wars Scrapbook from a few years back, The Star Wars Vault is a much more ambitious project. It will be available in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and German) and delves through the personal collection of authors Sansweet and Vilmur, as well as the trove of materials from the Lucasfilm archives.

Sansweet had the opportunity to visit George Lucas’ executive offices. “I asked to see whatever they had in the way of handwritten scripts. George still writes his scripts on lined legal pads and write in pencil. He has very decent handwriting that you can actually read. One of George’s assistants brought out an open cardboard box and in it where all of the handwritten scripts for Episodes I-VI, a lot of the story treatments, a lot of the notes.” Sansweet ended up picking Lucas’s handwritten story treatment of The Empire Strikes Back. Of the 19 page treatment, There was some discussion about Photoshopping George’s spelling errors borne of quick writing, but they’ve kept it intact.

The book contains many legendary items that have often been spoken of but never photographed. “Pete Vilmur said wouldn’t it be cool if we can show how R2-D2 got his name?” As the legend goes, the name came from the editing of American Graffiti, when Lucas and Walter Murch were editing the film and a request came for “Reel 2 Dialogue 2″… that is, “R2-D2.” “We wondered if that reel still exists,” says Sansweet. “So we asked our film archivist, and sure enough, it existed but someone had walked away with it. We did some detective work and found it, so now it’s safe-and-sound and for the very first time, photographed.”

The book includes two CDs with great audio treasures, from old radio ads and, yes, Carrie Fisher singing the Life Day from the Holiday Special. “It’s a combination book and karaoke,” said Sansweet. The book includes the script from Leia’s ill-advised song. “You can sing along with Carrie Fisher!”

The Making of Star Wars by J.W. Rinzler
Rinzler described the genesis of the book, but the centerpiece of his portion of the panel was showing a few items that couldn’t get into the book, due t clearance issues, as well as other rarities discovered in the vaults.

  • The cover of the making of book was apparently a tough sell. “An executive described it as looking like two hobos standing outside the bar.”
  • Rinzler couldn’t get posters of Sleeper and Silent Running in the book, though the book mentions that both movies were strong influences on C-3PO (a robot butler) or R2-D2 (non-anthropomorphic helper units).
  • A possible source of inspiration for the Dia Noga was the Id creature from Forbidden Planet.
  • Photos by Edward S. Curtis of native women with ‘bun’ like hairdo signifying their status as unmarried influenced Leia’s design, as did a similar hairstyle worn by Pancho Villa’s female rebel fighters.
  • Rinzler found the original letter of agreement between James Earl Jones’ representatives and Lucasfilm to voice Darth Vader for the sum of $7,500 (of which the agent pocketed $500) with Jones’ management imploring that his name not be associated with the role.

Rinzler also took the opportunity to describe the forthcoming Indiana Jones publishing programming
The movie novelization will be a Del Rey novel written by “a big famous New York Times best selling author” (described Clayton)

  • A junior novelization will be written by James Luceno
  • There will be a middle grade-age focused trilogy
  • DK books will have an Ultimate Indiana Jones by James Luceno
  • Quirk Books will present a How to be Indy book
  • John Jackson Miller will write the new Indiana Jones adaptation comic for Dark Horse
  • Beckett and Meyer is packaging together The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones, to be published by Simon & Shuster
  • And there will be a Complete Making of Indiana Jones covering all four films by J.W.Rinzler

Jonathan Bresman and MAD About Star Wars
Jonathan Bresman is the senior editor at MAD Magazine, but used to work at Lucasfilm, pitching in during the animatic and videomatic production of Episode I by playing a stand-in Jar Jar long before any footage of Ahmed Best was ever shot. “Star Wars is MAD Magazine‘s most favorite punching bag… and fortunately George Lucas happens to be a life-long MAD magazine fan.” The forthcoming MAD About Star Wars book has 30 years of parodies from MAD, including a number of prescient gags like R2-D2 as a mailbox. “We have yet to recieve any royalties for this idea,” says Bresman.

Bresman described the fallout from the Mort Drucker Yoda cover that came out in 1980. Publisher Bill Gaines got a letter from George Lucas, praising the Yoda-as-Alfred E. Neuman art. Shortly thereafter, he got a cease-and-desist letter from Lucas’ lawyers. Weighing both letters, Gaines photocopied Lucas’ letter, wrote ‘Take It Up With Your Boss’ and sent it back to Lucas’ legal team.

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