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Interviews -
Face To Face With The Masters

Any citizen of the galaxy may be summoned to answer to the Jedi Council. Here you may read the transcripts of such sessions.

Cellblock 1138 - 1997-1999 - 2000 - 2002 - 2003+

Michael A. Stackpole

Name: Michael A. Stackpole

Aliases: -=none=-

Species: vaguely human

Homeworld: Phoenix, in the Arizona system

Political Affiliation: Definitely Alliance

Weapon of Choice: Super Star Destroyer

Vehicle of Choice: See above


TheForce.net: At the end of THE BACTA WAR, it seemed obvious that the story of Rogue Squadron was far from over. What do you have scheduled as far as books and comics?

STACKPOLE: There lots of stuff I want to do with the comics and novels, but to tell about it would be a problem, since a lot of it is very fluid right now -- awaiting approval. Suffice it to say, as long as the comic keeps selling, we'll keep turning out stories. As for the novels, I am waiting on contracts for a new one, and possibly two.

TheForce.net: Your X-Wing novels are unique in that they are almost entirely about characters that weren't in the movies. Was this premise hard to sell to Lucasfilm and did you find greater freedom with it?

STACKPOLE: I didn't have to sell it to Lucasfilm -- Bantam did. In many ways I did have greater freedom than the other authors because I _could not_ write about the major characters without special permission. This was because of how the licenses were purchased and all. As a result I was given pretty much of a free hand to create and kill characters. Working with Lucasfilm in this regard was an absolute pleasure.

TheForce.net: Corran Horn is one of the most unique, yet familiar characters in the Star Wars Universe. He seems to be his own man as well as a little mix of Han and Luke. What characteristics were you looking to give him? Did you go back to the films for inspiration? Will he become more of a Jedi or stay a fighter pilot?

STACKPOLE: I hadn't seen him as a combination of Luke and Han when I set out creating him. What I wanted was someone who had a lot to prove and who would not compromise in proving it. I wanted him to come from a law enforcement background because of the skills that would give him _and_ because everyone else from Corellia seems to have been a smuggler. Having him as someone who _hunted_ smugglers would make him different. Others have since commented on his being a combination of Luke and Han, which I take as an extreme compliment. I didn't go back to the movies to draw inspiration for Corran per se, though studying the films did give me a lot of the attitude and direction he'd need to take to fit in and survive in the universe. As for Corran's future, well, he'll have one. To say much more could ruin sales on future books. : )

TheForce.net: There has been tremendous demand from fans for either a YOUNG JEDI KNIGHTS cartoon series or a ROGUE SQUADRON cartoon series. While Lucasfilm has stated that they want to hold off these kinds of projects till the prequels, has there been any discussion on the subject at your end? Would you be interested in doing such a series?

STACKPOLE: Lucasfilm has not discussed with me (nor are they under any obligation to discuss with me) any other presenation of Rogue Squadron. That said, LFL told Dark Horse that they had to talk to me when they wanted to do the comic series. If offered the opportunity to work on an animated series (or anything else) I would be very interested, my schedule permitting.

TheForce.net: It seems like it would be very difficult to describe space dogfights in words alone. How do you get around such difficulties when writing the X-Wing novels?

STACKPOLE: Depending upon who you talk to, I didn't get around those difficulties. : )

(TheForce.net - OK, OK! So I said I couldn't follow the dogfirghts! So I'm a weak minded individual! :) Moving right along...)

In general, I tried to describe the sort of thing running on the movie screen in my head. I kn is taken one at a time. Once you like snap rolls andn that struggle, like Elscol in the first comic story, or uld havele of Mrlsst in The Phantom Affair, or Qlaern among the Vratix, you find a hook to tell the story you want to tell. and TIE Fighter) helped a lot is folks not liking the "it's another super weapon to destroy" thing that happens. Avoiding that pitfall is fairly easy, and, again, that comes from looking at things on a personal level. The threat to one person is just as tragic and nasty as the threat to a planet because we can't comprehend the death of a planet except as a statistic. When you realize where your focus must be placed, crafting a lower level story that can be thrilling isn't that much of a tall order.

TheForce.net: Do you surf the net or visit the newsgroups very often? What do you visit? Do you find the newsgroups a hostile environment or a good place for research and critiques?

STACKPOLE: I don't surf the newsgroups for two reasons: my internet provider is a freenet that doesn't cover them and it's not worth the time. The great thing about the internet is that anyone can have and share an opinion. That's also its greatest weakness because there is no way to evaluate the person behind the opinion. If I read a message that just rips my books apart, it hurts, which is no fun. Furthermore I don't know if this guy hates my books because he was the author of Rogue Squadron fan adventures that my books supercede, or because he was a kid I once knew and tackled playing football or if he was a student my sister gave a failing grade. That said, I also try to take the truly wonderful letters I get written with a grain of salt, lest my head swell up so that I can't get out of my office. Folks, both in the newsgroups and in letters and e-mail have been unbelievably kind to me and my books. There is nothing better than learning that someone enjoyed your work and wants to see more; but letting that praise make you complacent is a trap. As a writer the only way I'll grow is to push myself to be better. Fans always want more, and often more of what they found familiar and enjoyable. I want to give them more -- a dollop of what they already like and a bunch of stuff I hope they will come to like. That way neither they nor I become bored.

TheForce.net: What non-Star Wars books and comics by you or other authors would you reccommend to Star Wars fans?

STACKPOLE: Tough call, that. Of novels, I'd love for all my Star Wars readers to find/special order copies of _Once a Hero_ and look out for _Talion: Revenant_ and _A Hero Born_, which are three fantasy novels I have written. OAH is available now and the other two will be out in April. If folks like my writing and enjoy epic fantasy, they will love these books. My favorite authors are: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Rex Stout, Dennis L. McKiernan, Jennifer Roberson, Stephen R. Donaldson, Roger Zelazny, Larry Bond, Fred Saberhagen and, gee, I could go on forever. Books by any of these people are wonderful. Reading their books while waiting for the next SW book is a great idea. As for comics, I have to admit to being poorly read in the genre right now. My comic store went out of business and I don't have one close by (since I work at home, no business is convenient on my commute to work).

TheForce.net: What do you hope to see in the new Star Wars trilogy? Do you think fans expectations of Lucas are too high?

STACKPOLE: Well, some are bound to hate some of the new stuff and consider the new versions a betrayal of their faith by George. I think those folks need to remember that they're George's property, his ideas, and he can do with them what _he_ wants. Creative control belongs to the creator, and me, I'm of a mind to trust George.

TheForce.net: If Kenner made a Star Wars action figure of you, what would it look like?

STACKPOLE: Slim down Jek Porkins, fill in a full beard, and give him green eyes, and you've pretty much got me -- or as close as an action figure would get. I'm one of those guys who is euphamistically called "barrel-chested." I prefer to think of myself as having a lower center of gravity, which actually works well when playing indoor soccer, which I do weekly.

Be sure to visit Mike Stackpole's Homepage and Dark Horse Comics' Homepage!

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