Tim Zahn chats Star Wars and Heir to the Empire

Today’s Star Wars Books Facebook chat with Tim Zahn was… Well, a Star Wars Books Facebook chat, which means a lot of the same questions that Tim has been patiently answering over and over again on his own page. (Mara’s death, DFR/TLC reissues. ) A lot of them. But thankfully, a few other topics also got some play. Here are the high points:

Timothy Zahn with Choices of OneOn attending Celebration 6.
“We are hoping to get to CVI next year, but we haven’t yet worked out the details.” Zahn hasn’t been at a Celebration since 2005… I hope that Reed can bring him out for 6. If Dragon*Con was any indication, there’s still plenty of interest.

On the possibility of annotated versions of Dark Force Rising and Heir to the Empire.
“IF we do special editions of DFR and TLC, they will also have as many annotations as I can come up with, along with new novella-length stories. But as SWB pointed out, that decision is still pending.” Again, as we’ve been saying: Buy the new Heir! if you want the other two!

On actually reediting the Thrawn Trilogy.
“I wouldn’t want to reedit TTT, mainly because I see them as part of the age in which I wrote them, and that all their good parts and bad parts should be left the way they were.” Agreed.

On the audio and comic adaptions.
“I’m not much of a fan of abridged stories, and I’ve never heard the original audio adaptations of TTT. I was glad to hear that they were bringing out an unabridged Heir audio for the 20th anniversary. As to the comics, again a lot got left out, but I was reasonably pleased with the result.”

On Outbound Flight.
Outbound Flight was, as you said, a throwaway line which I never intended to do anything more with. When Del Rey asked for the story, I needed to mesh that incident with the way I’d subsequently developed Thrawn. The way it worked out in the novel was the result of that consideration.” At Dragon*Con, Zahn said that if he had originally planned to do more with Outbound Flight, he would have given it a better name.

Also, “in Outbound Flight I definitely meant for the unnamed threat to be the Vong. However, Del Rey (and LFL) pointed out that since Our Heroes wouldn’t officially meet and identify them until the NJO series, I could never specifically say that.”

Nuso Esva as Thrawn’s own Moriarty?
Exactly. Tim revealed that even Nuso Esva’s name was chosen as a coded version of “Moriarty” (move each consonant back one consonant, and each vowel (or y) back one vowel, and Nuso Esva spells Moriarty.)

On The Clone Wars.
“We don’t currently get Cartoon Network, and so have never gotten in the Clone Wars series, though we have seen a few on DVD.”

On Mara and her ‘usefulness’ as a character.
“I think of Mara as useful because she’s a former Imperial, with all the baggage that implies, a Jedi, and a good foil for Luke. All that makes her a character you can do lots of things with and put in lots of different situations.”

On doing a Thrawn-centric novel.
“There’s always a chance of anything in the SW universe. At the moment, though, I have no plans for a Thrawn-only novel.”

On character deaths and the Big 3.
“I’ve always been a fan of how Conan Doyle ended Sherlock Holmes: he didn’t die, but just retired to the country. I’m not sure the Big 3 *have* to die. But if they do, I’m not really sure I want to be the one to do it.” Nobody wants to kill the Big 3, folks. Deal with it.

On Dark Empire.
“I had access to some of the preliminary Dark Empire material, but we didn’t really work together. They did their story, I did mine, and we all trusted LFL to make sure we didn’t step on each other’s toes.” Should been Infinities, LFL. Sigh.

On more SW books and ‘darker’ characters.
“I have 4 or 5 ideas for new SW books, but none of them are outside the movie age(s). I would be willing to do a darker character if such an idea occurred to me, but there’s no such story in the works.” Meh. We’ve got enough ‘dark’ characters.

On more books in the prequel era.
“Outbound Flight was in the prequel era, but I have no plans at the moment for anything else there. As to post-Legacy stories, again, I have nothing firm in mind. There is a possibility of a Luke/Mara/Ben story set before Legacy, but again there’s nothing firm on that yet.” IMO, Zahn’s wasted on the prequel era.

On future projects.
“No new SW books officially contracted for at the moment, but Shelly and I have one in mind that I’ll probably be starting the end of this year.”

“I’ve thought off and on about doing the Lando/Mara adventure mentioned in the Hand of Thrawn. I’ll add it to the list of ideas to pitch to Del Rey someday.” Sounds familiar, no?

On doing a first-person novel.
“Most of my SW novels involve multiple plot threads, which means multiple points of view. Mike Stackpole pulled it off in I, Jedi, but I’m not sure my type of SW story really lends itself to first-person.” I’m always super-wary of first-person in Star Wars novels myself…

Anyway, that’s most of it! If you’re in the mood to slog through Facebook’s bird-brained comment formating, head on over.

2 thoughts on “Tim Zahn chats Star Wars and Heir to the Empire

  1. Chris

    Though, Matt Stover has made it clear he would love to write the final adventure of the Big Three – whether that would involve their deaths or not, who knows.

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