Star Wars: A Certain Point of View is a collection of short stories written by veterans and newbies to the world George Lucas created to celebrate the series’ 40th Anniversary.
Each of the writers chose character in the Star Wars world and wrote a few thousand words from their POV. On Saturday morning of New York Comic Con, 19 of the 40+ authors featured in the anthology gathered in Hudson Mercantile to talk about how and why they chose each character. Thankfully, moderator Pablo Hidalgo (who has a story in the collection called “The Verge of Greatness” from Grand Moff Tarkin’s perspective) didn’t bring everyone out at once, but in three groups instead.
The first featured writers who wrote from villains’ perspectives, including former Darth Vader and current Doctor Aphra comic writer Kieron Gillen and Mallory Ortberg, who co-founded The Toast. Though Gillen said he was nervous about publishing his prose for the first time since he got involved with comics, being so familiar with Aphra was reassuring. In his story, “The Trigger,” Aprha has to come to terms with the Empire’s plans for “planetary genocide” despite being horrified by the prospect. “She’s an Empire apologist,” he explained.
Ortberg’s story, “An Incident Report,” by contrast, is a bit lighter. It’s told from the perspective of Admiral Motti, who Darth Vader chokes using the force in A New Hope and it’s structured like an HR complaint about the incident. Ortberg said she viewed the character as someone who is “evil and banal” and that he’s not so much angry about the choking as Vader’s “private religious beliefs interfering with our meetings.” “He’s such a dirtbag and I love him,” she added.
The second group’s writers chose good guys and included Princess Diaries writer Meg Cabot and author of the recently-released novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan, Claudia Gray. Though “Beru Whitesun Lars” is Cabot’s first official outing in this world, she quipped, “it’s not my first foray into writing Star Wars, I wrote a lot of fan fiction.” She went on to explain that she chose to write from the perspective of Aunt Beru, Luke Skywalker’s surrogate mother, because there aren’t enough stories about caretakers. It takes place after Beru’s death and Cabot imagined her telling it in front of a fire to someone–possibly Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ghost–at the party at the end of Return of the Jedi.
As it happens, Gray’s story, “Master and Apprentice,” is also Beru-adjacent and takes place between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn when Luke is running back to find his Aunt and Uncle dead. “I wanted them to admit that mistakes were made,” she explained of their conversation, pointing to the fact that taking Anakin away from his mother to become a Jedi may have been the wrong move.
Before the final group came out, Hidalgo plugged the audiobook version of the collection, teasing that Neil Patrick Harris recorded a story and John Hamm recorded a Boba Fett-led tale. The audience was also treated to a live reading of an excerpt of Gary Schmidt’s story, “There is Another” in which Obi-Wan tries to convince Yoda to train Luke while Yoda argues that Leia is more suited to being a Jedi.
The final group was also made up those who wrote good guys’ stories and included current Vader writer and former Lando writer Charles Soule. “The Angle” is told from Lando’s perspective and Soule was thrilled to write him again—though that wasn’t the main reason he wanted to do a prequel to his original limited series. “Even more than wanting to write Lando again, I wanted to write Lobot,” he explained.
Though Soule didn’t go into the story’s content much other than to say Lando and Lobot are like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid in it, he did say he invented a card game called “Click Clack” for it. The basic premise is that each player picks a card and then after a conversation, they bet on whose card is highest. The goal is to see who’s better at bluffing, something Lando knows very well.
Star Wars: A Certain Point of View is now available in hardcover and audiobook.