Metaverse 2020 – What We Learned from the Lucasfilm Publishing Star Wars Overview Panel

New York Comic Con’s virtual online convention Metaverse continued this morning with two additional back-to-back presentations from Lucasfilm Publishing, the first of which featured current Star Wars authors Daniel José Older (Star Wars: Last Shot), Preetei Chhibber (Star Wars: A Jedi You Will Be), Phil Szostak (The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian), Katie Cook (Star Wars Galactic Storybook), and Zoraida Córdova (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – A Crash of Fate), while the second focused on Amy Ratcliffe’s Star Wars: The Jedi Mind.

In the bullet-point list below, I’ve collected some of the more interesting tidbits and factoids that came out of this Lucasfilm Publishing presentation.

  • Lucasfilm’s Kristen Baver (host of This Week in Star Wars) served as moderator and introduced the panelists.
  • Preeti Chibber and Zoraida Córdova talked about how they respectively wrote for the light side and dark side of the anthology short-story collection Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Stories of Light and Dark, and whether those two sides aligned with their personalities.
  • Zoraida got to write from the perspective of Asajj Ventress, and wanted to see the trauma that character had after the murder of her fellow Dathomirian Nightsisters. She says it was refreshing to get into Ventress’s mind and think of her as a survivalist rather than someone who was trying to do good.
  • Preeti enjoys the romance between Anakin and Padmé, and she loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars because it offers an opportunity to see that romance build between movies. The “Hostage Crisis” episode she adapted for the book really brings the romance front and center.
  • For A Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back, Amy Ratcliffe wrote her first original Star Wars fiction. She was excited and overwhelmed to be able to get to make up things like character names.
  • Daniel José Older wrote about Zuckuss and 4-LOM for FACPOV: TESB. He says it was a great honor to take on “the most important characters of that movie.” He loves Star Wars underworld stuff, as it’s one of his happy places and he likes that Zuckuss refers to himself in the third person. His story takes place in a diner first introduced in Last Shot.
  • Zoraida finds masked characters appealing and also loves the underbelly of the Star Wars galaxy. She is always aware of the perspective she is writing from, and the target audience she is writing for. She delved into Boba’s character and how his thought process goes for FACPOV: TESB.
  • Katie Cook wrote and illustrated an extended comic strip for her story in FACPOV: TESB. As a focal point, she picked the dragonsnake that tries to eat R2-D2 on Dagobah, and she says she likes to gleefully poke at the Star Wars universe.
  • The Art of The Mandalorian is by Phil Szostak (creative art manager at Lucasfilm), who does research for Doug Chiang’s art department, pulls concept art and reference photos, does research of real-world things for various projects, and shares his behind-the-scenes expertise. This book differs from earlier art books because there’s a lot more ground to cover– The Mandalorian season one runs five hours and 23 minutes instead of the usual 2 or so hours of a feature film. Each design for the series did not go through a lot of iterations because of the time constraints of making television and showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni already mostly knowing what they wanted.

Watch Lucasfilm Publishing | Stories from a Galaxy Far, Far Away:

  • The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge peeks behind the curtain at Walt Disney Imagineering. Ratcliffe couldn’t contain her excitement and really respects WDI because they got down to every little detail in the design of the land. She says conducting the interviews for this book was a delight and Imagineering generates a ton of art for everything that the public doesn’t always get to see. Everyone working on the land had connections to Star Wars and she was impressed by how thought-out the history of the city of Black Spire Outpost was.
  • Star Wars: The Jedi Mind is a mindfulness book. Ratcliffe wants fans to know that mindfulness isn’t just meditation, and she wanted to draw parallels between the concept and the Force, including practices that people can try out to help them be in the here and now.
  • Katie Cook’s Galactic Storybook covers major events from the entire Star Wars saga for a new generation of fans. She was excited to draw all these scenes that she loved growing up, but her favorite was the chase scene on Pasaana from The Rise of Skywalker. She uses her family as Star Wars reference for questions like “What do Mon Calamari eat?”
  • The Star Wars Book of Monsters, Ooze and Slime is another children’s book by Katie. It’s a guide to the most disgusting things in the Star Wars universe. She had to sit down and think about things like the viscosity of Rancor spittle and then draw them.
  • A Jedi You Will Be celebrates Luke’s training on Dagobah. It was written over a year ago. Preeti says Luke is her Sweet Babboo and loves Mike Deas’s adorable illustrations. There’s no underlying tension and Yoda looks like a little old Grandpa. She is a sucker for Force lore and finds it very tied to her own religion.
  • The High Republic Adventures for IDW deals with young Jedi in a time when they’re not doomed, so we get to enjoy these characters without worrying about Order 66. They’re running around the galaxy with Yoda and terrible things happen as the real world infringes on their fun and learning. Older gave a quick breakdown of the Jedi Padawans we meet in this comic book. We also learned more about the chihuahua-like pet named Cham-Cham and his species the Cru.
  • Baver then gave a quick rundown of other upcoming comics and books like Star Wars Adventures: Shadow of Vader’s Castle, the collection Star Wars Adventures: Beware Vader’s Castle, the continuation of Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader, and the coffee-table book The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.