Author Cavan Scott sat down with IGN.com to discuss how he helped build Star Wars: The High Republic through novels and comics, and what it’s like writing for one of the biggest franchises in the world.
Once you’ve read this article don’t forget to check out our interview with Cavan on the latest RADIO 1138.
IGN: As far as Star Wars book titles go, The Rising Storm sounds pretty ominous. Would you say that describes the general tone of the story as the Jedi and Republic deal with the immediate aftermath of Light of the Jedi?
Cavan Scott: Oh, absolutely. I had three words written on my white board throughout the writing process – SENSE OF DREAD. We’ve definitely been building towards this in all the books since Light of the Jedi.
IGN: How closely did you work with [Light of the Jedi author] Charles Soule in developing this story and making sure his book would lead seamlessly into yours?
Scott: We’ve all worked together on this story from day one, so we knew exactly what beats had to be both in Light of the Jedi and The Rising Storm. I think I started writing Rising Storm while Charles was on his last draft of Light of the Jedi, so we talked about what changes he was making so I could follow that through into my novel. Plus, I was dropping in things to foreshadow events from both Justina Ireland’s Out of the Shadows plus the next wave of High Republic novels.
Everything is connected. Everything means something
IGN: Does The Rising Storm largely focus on the same cast as Light of the Jedi? Are there any newcomers fans should be on the lookout for?
Scott: It’s mainly the same cast, although Avar Kriss has now moved off into the Marvel High Republic series. Rising Storm brings Stellan Gios into the mix, a Jedi who we’ve heard a lot about but not met. He’s recently been elevated to the Jedi Council and is feeling the pressure of being the poster boy of the Jedi.
There is also Ty Yorrick, the so called ‘Saber-for-hire.’ She’s a mysterious character when we first meet her, a former Jedi who now acts as a mercenary and monster hunter.
IGN: The previous book gave us our first look at the Nihil. Will we learn more about these pirates and their plans for the galaxy in this chapter?
Scott: Yes, we delve deeper into the politics of the Nihil, especially its leadership. I had a blast building on what Charles first introduced about Marchion Ro and his Tempest Runners. We spend a lot more time with Pan Eyta and Lourna Dee in particular, the latter of which has become a bit of a fan favourite. For those who don’t know, Lourna is a murderous Twi’lek who can never be trusted. I’ve really enjoyed delving more into her character, both in this and my upcoming Star Wars: The High Republic audio drama, Tempest Runner.
As for Ro, The Rising Storm really gets into his head, which we find out is the most terrifying place in the galaxy!
IGN: This is your first full-length Star Wars novel aimed at the adult market rather than YA-focused books. Was that a challenging transition to make for you? Did it force you to rethink how you approach your storytelling at all?
Scott: Not particularly. For me, basic storytelling is the same, whoever you’re writing for; it’s just the lens that’s different. Writing for a slightly older reader in The Rising Storm just meant I could lean more into emotions and events that we wouldn’t show in a kid’s book. In my heart, I’m a horror writer, so this is probably my darkest Star Wars work so far. Our Jedi go through a lot on Valo and beyond
IGN: How different is it exploring the High Republic era as a comic versus novels? Does having that visual element help you connect with the characters or visualize the action in ways prose doesn’t?
Scott: For me Star Wars started with comics. I read the original Marvel run in the late 1970s long before I saw the movies, so Star Wars just feels like a comic for me. That’s often what I see in my head when I think of the franchise: images from that original run, from the incredible Dark Horse series of the ’90s and beyond (Star Wars Republic is still one of my all-time favorite Star Wars series) and the recent canon comics published again by Marvel, especially the incredible Darth Vader runs by Kieron Gillen and my fellow High Republic creator, Charles Soule.
Comics can hit us between the eyes with epic action one moment and then bring things so close and personal the next. That’s definitely what I’ve been trying to do in the High Republic comic, especially when dealing with the relationship between our main character, Keeve Trennis and her former master, the Trandoshan Jedi Sskeer.
IGN: Ario Anindito launched the series with you, and now Georges Jeanty is coming onboard. Jeanty is an interesting choice of artist for Star Wars, and one who seems to bring a more human touch to the franchise despite the larger-than-life imagery. Is that the balance you’re trying to strike?
Scott: Absolutely. I’m not interested in Jedi being untouchable gods. I want to see what it’s really like to live this life, to have the pressure of being a beacon of light to the galaxy. There was a lot of talk when we started this story that our Jedi were the best of the best. Yes, that’s true, as far as the galaxy is concerned. But just as those early character descriptions were teasers, place-holders even, the truth of the matter is far more complex. I’m interested in looking at where the stress points are for our characters, the cracks that moments like the events of The Rising Storm and The High Republic comic can break open. Avar Kriss for example is someone who deeply believes she should be the best, that she should shine brighter than everyone else. But what does that mean for her when the galaxy around her gets darker? Both Georges, and Ario Anindito who was the artist on our first arc and will be returning for issue eight, are so good at capturing those moments when, just for a moment, we glimpse the person behind the saber and the robes.
IGN: The cover to issue #6 paints quite the picture. Is this image of a Jedi riding a Rancor a chance for you to unleash your childhood Star Wars fantasies?
Scott: Absolutely. The first Star Wars film I saw in the cinema was Empire Strikes Back, but the film that made me a life-long fan was Return of the Jedi with all the wild and crazy creatures of Jabba the Hutt’s palace. I adore monsters and so fell instantly in love with Star Wars’ very own kaiju, the Rancor. And then came the Rancor riders of the older Star Wars Expanded Universe. That was a tradition I wanted to continue the moment I joined the High Republic team.
IGN: The High Republic stories have begun to shed light on the Great Progenitor and the Drengir. Will these characters play a big role in this upcoming story arc?
Scott: The Drengir are a massive threat to the galactic frontier at this point, enough to keep Avar Kriss, the hero of Charles’ book, from rushing to help when the Nihil strike the Republic Fair. They are a very different villain to the Nihil themselves and will play a major role in the future of the High Republic too.
IGN: This arc features an unlikely alliance between the Jedi and the Hutt cartel. How much conflict does that alliance create among the Jedi protagonists?
Scott: Let’s just say there are plenty in the Order, and especially the Council, who aren’t happy with the alliance between Avar and the Hutts. And the ramifications are going to rumble on for years to come. For me, I wanted to see Hutts in battle. It all comes back to Jabba!
Read more of the interview at the link below.
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