Pablo Hidalgo: The Expanded Universe will always be ‘part of the Star Wars experience’

Pablo HidalgoThe Star Wars Books Facebook page held a chat with Pablo Hidalgo today, one of Lucasfilm’s resident continuity experts and author of The Essential Reader’s Companion.

So his most popular answer, naturally, addressed the relationship between the movies and the rest…

I think the EU will always continue to be part of the Star Wars experience, in that there are stories that are best suited for books, comics, games. etc.. The relationship between cinematic content and expanded universe content will continue to be what it is today and has been in the past. What happens on screen is one thing. What happens in the books is another. How they connect and interact is something I’m really eager to see.

More answers below the cut!

On what if he’s working on anything that hasn’t been revealed yet:

I guess I can say yes to that. But that’s always true. We’ve always got stuff cooking, mores so nowadays. Specific to publishing, there’s at least one more fun young reader project that I don’t think has been announced.

On what information Disney asked for during the sale process, as mentioned in the Businessweek article:

Folks like Leland and myself do a lot of distillation and summaries for people who have questions — so this is interaction that continues and will continue. That incident cited in the Bloomberg article, a lot of it had to do with tracking down where things originated from, so it was a clear picture of how LFL created a character, location, and concept. So it was a mix of behind-the-scenes history as well as in-universe context.

On the ‘Save The Clone Wars’ campaign:

I will say that people are very deeply moved at how much the show meant to so many. It’s inspiring to everyone, especially the dedicated team that is hard at work wrapping up the final pieces to the series. I recently saw some of the upcoming bonus episodes, and they are truly amazing.

On the wackiest issue he’s had to deal with:

Ewoks. It always comes down to Ewoks. Identifying individuals. Debating when the live action movies take place in comparison to the cartoons. A lot of impassioned Ewok debates here.

Are the Ewok cartoons canon?

Not in the same way Clone Wars and the movies are. But we do consider everything to some degree.

On interviewing Ian McDiarmid in 2005:

He was such a gentleman. Meeting him and seeing him perform was definitely such a highlight during Episode III. A very thoughtful and eloquent man. He had such a love of music, it was great just talking to him about the scoring sessions that were happening at the time of that interview.

On Scourge and other standalone novels:

I can’t speak specific to the content, but I do know that standalones and shorter series are definitely more of a focus now than multi-parts. I especially enjoyed Scourge for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it came from an RPG source.

On Hyperspace content:

I am always trying to find a home for these things, but Hyperspace was such a unique proposition that its content doesn’t always naturally transfer to other places. It was a lot like the old Adventure Journal in that way. I am still trying to find the best home for it.

Starting in the EU…

Honestly, my preference is to go in publication order, because that’s how I’m wired. But another approach is to take the individual era/chapter breaks in the Reader’s Companion, figure out which one is most appealing, and start at that chapter. So, not necessarily chapter 1. Eras feel like they have good starting-on points.

How he got into publishing:

An important lesson here. I wrote back a snarky reply to a rejection letter, starting a conversation with that editor, and they changed their mind and hired me.

(I suspect this is West End Games, not Lucasfilm.)

On whether writers are required to have published elsewhere before tackling Star Wars:

All the authors are already published authors. No one’s first novel is a Star Wars novel. (that sounds like a bummer, but it’s important to have experience under your belt!)

On the effects of social media on story:

I think that’s up to individual writers to comment on, but in general, I don’t think it will. It definitely builds community and gives a way of connecting creators and audience, but I think story comes from someplace else entirely.

On Sith Force ghosts…

I’d say you’d be very unlikely to see a Sith spirit in a cinematic story unless it had a very exceptional origin. The whole point is transcendence of death is a very, very rare and special thing.

On the possibility of him doing Episode VII set diaries:

It is quite a bit removed from my current day-to-day, and to be honest, if that is an approach that’s going to be taken going forward, I’d love for some new kid to get a big chance the way I was given a chance 10 years ago to be the on-set voice on Episode III. No matter what, I’m sure I will continue to be involved in spreading the word of the making of future Star Wars stories.

Thanks to Pablo for answering our questions!

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