Recap: Timothy Zahn talks Star Wars books past, future and fridged on Reddit

Timothy Zahn and a Rebel TrooperAlthough Timothy Zahn’s Reddit AMA today was not specifically for his Star Wars work (unlike Jeremy Bulloch this morning, who was promoting A Force For Change.) Tim’s is for the Humble Sci-Fi eBook Bundle 3, which contains his novel Blackcollar But of course there were , there were still plenty of Star Wars questions, recapped below.

First off, no Star Wars is currently on his plate. When asked about his current projects:

So far, nothing new with Star Wars, but they know where to find me if they want me.

On what he’d like to write in the new canon:

I would certainly be interested in writing more Star Wars. I presume LFL wouldn’t simply give me carte blanche, but would want something specific (a spin-off from Ep 7, maybe, or some backstory filler).

If they really let me do whatever I wanted, I have a couple of ideas (all right: 20-30) in mind. But all of that depends on them.

His thoughts on the noncanon/Legends status of the old Expanded Universe.

I wasn’t going to address this topic. But since so many of you have asked:

What the “non-canon” announcement by LFL means is that they aren’t going to be bound by the Expanded Universe books, comics, and games as they plan their new movies. Realistically, that’s something they had to do — the EU is just too big, complicated, and occasionally contradictory for them to have to deal with.

However, I’m guessing that EU stories that aren’t referenced (or contradicted) by the sequel movies will still be considered sort-of alive, in the same way that most Clone Wars-era stories (like Outbound Flight) were mostly unaffected, with the exception being all of the previous material on Boba Fett’s backstory.

Alternatively, if the new movies do contradict my books in some way, I can probably come up with some hand-waving story that will explain the apparent discrepancy. If there’s one thing we authors are good at, it’s hand-waving.

On that Chewbacca moon-dropping nonsense:

Nope, I had nothing to do with dropping that moon on Chewbacca. (Peter Mayhew’s a friend — I’d never do that to him!)

Still, given that Peter’s in the new movie (presumably as Chewie) it would appear that the folks who dropped that moon missed.

On the Mara-killing nonsense:

Not only was I given no input to Mara’s fate, I wasn’t even told about it until a couple of months before publication.

If I had been offered a say, though, I’d have argued against it. My vision of Star Wars is good vs evil, with the heroes struggling to win, and the major characters making it through. (Otherwise, either Lando or Wedge would have died inside the second Death Star.)

For the record, this isn’t just because Mara was my creation. I’d have argued against killing Chewbacca for the same reason.

Also: On his stuff making it to the screen; where the idea for Thrawn came from and if he had been in command at Endor and against the Vong; his unpublished stuff; what about more Imperial Mara? Karrde’s face/accent; on the alien invasion hints that eventually lead to the NJO; on ‘just for the paycheck’ and if he feels any resentment for being known for franchise work; on the ‘perks’; his formula for hyperspace; on continuity.

5 thoughts on “Recap: Timothy Zahn talks Star Wars books past, future and fridged on Reddit

  1. Aaron

    Well, it’s always easy to say: I wouldn’t have done this or that. Killing off Chewie served a purpose. A debatable one, for sure, but it set the tone for the entire series, and it did so effectively.

    Mara’s death, on the other hand, served no purpose whatsoever, since everything after the NJO – minus Mercy Kill, perhaps – was just utterly horrible (okay, that’s an IMO, but seriously: insects? Darth Caedus? An endless loop of torture/death phantasies? Come on!).

    I hope that the sequels will do better. As far as the death of heroes is concerned, I’m rather torn. The one thing I never liked about any kind of post Endor EU story was that it deprived the Big Three (and their allies) of their well-deserved happy ending. George Lucas’ “vision” for Han and Leia – building a home and barbecuing – might not have been particularly enticing, but isn’t that what these guys deserve? Yes, I’m looking forward to Episode VII, but it would still be nice if the heroes of old could enjoy their retirement at some point. Maybe after Episode IX if any of them ever get there… :-o

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    1. Dunc Post author

      Though I’m kind of ‘eh’ on the Chewbacca thing, because no one in the books was really using him effectively to begin with. NJO had a lot of issues, and VP kind of set it off with a whimper, but that’s more me finding Salvatore not a very good writer than what the book actually did.

      On Mara, yeah. I was willing to wait and see at the time, but LOTF just couldn’t pay off that investment. I mean, you killed off one of your rare female characters that people actually like for THAT? What a waste.

      There’s a big difference between killing off one of the Big 3 in a book, and killing off one of the Big 3 in a movie. The problem the EU had, though, was selling the next generation, even before they started killing them off. (I roll my eyes at people bitching about not getting SOTJ, because something like SOTJ should have happened nearly a decade ago, when there was still something of the EU to salvage.) But I don’t think the movies will have any of those problems, because there’s absolutely no question of their importance. (I mean, yes, they may have problems. But different problems.)

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  2. Richard

    Not sure if it’s covered in the AMA (i’ve only managed to read some of it so far), but I spotted a German-language edition of what looks (from the cover design) to be a special-edition of ‘Dark Force Rising’ available for pre-order on the iBookstore and Amazon:
    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/star-wars-die-dunkle-seite/id897448908?mt=11
    Has anyone heard anything about this/have I missed the announcement?
    It’s due for release in the Autumn…

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    1. Dunc Post author

      He says there are still no plans for further special editions of the Thrawn trilogy.

      Maybe it’s just a cover change for the whole Legends thing? Do they usually use different covers in the foreign markets?

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      1. Aaron

        The German editions (there’s one for The Last Command, too) aren’t special, they’re just the regular novels re-released in the overall cover style of the Heir to the Empire anniversary edition. Basically it’s something in between fan service (the whole trilogy in one and the same style) and fan deception (the annotated first book followed by two regular ones).

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