And I think I’ve managed to survive without getting con crud! Of course, now that I’ve said that…
Dragon*Con, held every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, was a great time, and the SWatDC track did a great job with all the Star Wars programming. They showcased the EU during several panels, including an Introduction to the Expanded Universe, an Heir to the Empire retrospective with Timothy Zahn (don’t forget the 20th Anniversary Edition was released on September 6!), Ask the Authors with seven different Expanded Universe writers, and a fan panel on The Clone Wars.
Dragon*Con focuses more on fans than the entertainment industry, a la Comic Con, and therefore usually not a lot of news comes from Labor Day weekend in Atlanta. However, there were a few nice pieces of information that the authors revealed. If you follow me or EUCantina on Twitter, you’ve probably already borne witness to my flailing, but here’s a round-up.
Aaron Allston’s new Wraith Squadron book, entitled Mercy Kill, will feature fan favorite Face Loran as well as Myri Antilles as a second-generation Wraith. It is scheduled for release in July 2012.
Timothy Zahn has been researching timeline issues for his next Star Wars project, which has not yet been officially greenlighted by Lucasfilm. However, assuming everything is approved, the next open spot in Del Rey’s publishing schedule will be November 2013. He also stated that he needed to speak to Aaron Allston about “borrowing a Wraith,” but no word on whether that is for this next project or one further down the line. (He stated that, going by his current writing schedule, he currently has five to ten years of Star Wars book ideas semi-approved.)
Michael Stackpole stated that he has no plans to write another Star Wars book, but would be more than willing to return to the Expanded Universe if asked by Del Rey. (I, for one, think this is the perfect time to sign a petition! Or letter-writing campaign. Or just groveling on Twitter and Facebook and other social media. Whatever it takes.) He received a lot of support from fans during the Ask the Authors panel, and got visibly emotional when talking about one of his most memorable scenes (the death of Elegos in Dark Tide: Ruin). Considering the character he’s most proud of creating is Baron Fel, would he perhaps be interested in writing a story about the Fel family? Or perhaps the continuing adventures of a sane Valin and Jysella Horn? The possibilities are endless!
During the Ask the Authors panel, a fan asked about how decisions are made during long series. Allston gave a very insightful answer about the process, describing how the authors meet at Lucasfilm to plot out the series with the editors, and how then the authors work together when writing their individual novels. Stackpole added that big plot decisions, such as killing off characters, are usually made at a much higher pay grade (at least that was the case during the New Jedi Order series when Chewbacca and Anakin Solo were killed off).
The folks at the Star Wars Report were awesome enough to record several of the panels, including Ask the Authors and Heir to the Empire. After those are uploaded, we’ll be sure to point you in their direction and provide a summary of the EU panels. You can read/listen to their daily summaries of the con on their webpage.
Overall impressions: the authors are very gracious individuals. They got along very well during the Ask the Authors panel and provided insightful answers to all the questions. Both the Ask the Authors and the Heir to the Empire panels were nearly filled to capacity, which is very impressive for EU panels at Dragon*Con. Fans were particularly excited about the news on Mercy Kill (fans cheered for Face Loran!) and Timothy Zahn’s next project, as well as his Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary Edition.
I had a great time at the con, and hope to do it again next year – if Celebration VI doesn’t kill me first!