Jason Fry Facebook Chat Recap
Here is a recap of the chat with author Jason Fry from earlier today at the Star Wars Books Facebook page. Jason Fry is the author of the recently released Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare. Jason answers most of the questions with some input from Paul Urquhart who was the co-author of the book. Erich Shoeneweiss also had a couple things to say.
Question: Loved the Battle of Kashyyyk illustration with gorgeous StealthXs, and the female stormtrooper retrospective. How did you determine how much space to give to each element and era of Star Wars history?
Jason Fry: Hey Ian, not an exact science. Mix of things designed to appeal to fans of the movies/TV show, hardcore EU fans and fun stuff I’d just always wanted to tackle.
Jason Fry: Re endnotes, Dan Wallace and I did em for the Atlas and thought it was a lot of fun. As a reader, I always liked getting to peek behind the scenes and think along with the author(s).
Question: Was there a particular era or battle that you personally wanted to explore in more detail?
Jason Fry: Hey Joe, I’m a huge fan of early galactic history and Xim, but that’s a bit too esoteric for lots of fans, so we dialed that back. I love the early days of the Empire, and we got to do tons of stuff there. That was really fun.
Jason Fry: Re the Intimidator, we’ve steered clear of the Empire of the Hand in the Atlas and Warfare because I sense Zahn will have more tales to tell there and he should have a free hand.
Jason Fry: Art and text is an interesting collaboration. I gave Ian Fullwood and John VanFleet notes and some really bad sketches for the Xim ships, but mostly leaned on Erich Schoeneweiss to make all the trains run on time.
Jason Fry: Paul chips in by saying that the things he had most fun getting his teeth into were Ruusan and the NJO.
From Paul Urquhart: Ackbar’s first name is the name of Mon Cal Senator Gial Gahan in the Legacy comics. So he’s named after a character who’s named after him
Jason Fry: Trench was an obvious choice for CW fans, plus I like the character and his species background, and wanted to do a little retcon involcing Yularen and how the two faced each other.
From Paul Urquhart: re Sadow: Yes, there was a specific intention with using the name Darth Naga Sadow. It’s meant to indicate Sadow’s ambition, and his status as “supreme viceroy” (i.e. top Dark Lord). The context needed a title that wasn’t Sith’ari. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a contemporary usage.
Jason Fry: Paul did the bulk of the NJO material, because he’s a huge fan of the series. I think he did an awesome job.
I was able to get in a question that has been bugging me…
Aaron Goins: On page 44 of the Guide to Warfare you reveal that the Old Republic era Jedi Valenthyne Farfalla is “Half-Bothan”. His species before this was never confirmed although he was called an “Equine”. What was the thought process behind making him half-Bothan? Can we assume the other half is human?
From Paul Urquhart re Farfalla: “Half-Bothan” was because they’re the most prominent near-human equine species. As to what his other half is, I wanted to leave it ambiguous: he might have some Sephi ancestry, or maybe his people were originally the products of Sith Alchemy.
He revisits the subject of Farfalla and Bothans later in the chat…
From Paul Urquhart re Farfalla again: Bothans are very confusing and inconsistent, which is part of the reason for choosing them! My favourite picture of Borsk is the kangaroo one on the front of “Specter of the Past”. And Farfalla isn’t a character whose appearance can be explained rationally outside Narnia – hence leaving the option open that his ancestors were warped by some Sith with a sick sense of humour.
Jason Fry: Re other Essential Guides, I’m up for most anything. Really looking fwd to the new EG to Characters. I love telling stys or explaining most anything about the galaxy far, far away.
From Paul Urquhart Re ranks: The primary motivation was the desire to be as faithful to the movies and Expanded Universe as possible. You never know when old WEG ranks might pop up in Zahn’s next novel.
Question: It may seem obviously, but is the name “Skere Kaan” (where you first introduced his forename) to the tiger Shere Khan from “The Jungle Book”.
Jason Fry: Yep, Skere Kaan is a Jungle Book nod. That was Paul. Made me smile.
Jason Fry: Joe, I’ll destroy you if the trivia is geography. But with other stuff it might be a pretty fair fight. The EU is just so gigantic. I tip my cap to Leland Chee every day.
Jason Fry: Someone asked favorite light side/dark side character. Um, I’m a Han Solo guy. Can’t move anything with my mind, but like to drive fast and shoot my mouth off.
Our friends over at Roqoo Depot got in a question…
Roqoo Depot: There was some interesting things about the Hutts and there move toward a more militaristic stance after the NJO. Where did that idea come from?
Jason Fry: Roqoo, I’ve always loved the Hutts, so anything I do with them is a ton of fun. Hutt Space was the first area I detailed for the Atlas. Love it and them.
Question: Do authors currently writing get drafts of the new Essential Guides, and most recently published similar works for reference and research?
Erich Shoeneweiss from Star Wars Books: Ian, yes. We’ll send copies of the Essential Guides to the authors writing novels and we send the novels to the authors writing Essential Guides. Jason actually stays up to date with all of the SW novels. He walked out of her with a copy of Scourge just last week.
Jason Fry: Hey Glenn, Wookieepedia is a fabulous resource. Love it and use it a lot. But it’s always a starting pt for further verification, not an endpoint.
Jason Fry: More on the Hutts — the new stuff came abt after their activist role in the Legacy of the Force series. Which surprised me a bit, but ran with it….
Question: Hi Jason, I would have loved to see a pilot roster for the Battle of Endor for the Alliance. Wasn’t this part of the plan to include it?
Jason Fry: Hey Tim, had to cut back pretty drastically, and thought there were more interesting things to tackle than the Endor roster. But yeah, on further review it would have made sense to complete the trilogy. Did a Rogues roster for Brentaal, but it was lame and I cut it.
From Paul Urquhart re Keith K’s Q: The exact evolution of the Governors-General before they take full control in the last days of the Republic is deliberately left ambiguous, but most are Judicial officers (compare them to the Clone Marshal Commanders who also pair with the Jedi Generals). Black Sword is definitely intended as the original of the Black Fleet command – Moff Gann and Sector 5 are also referenced there.
Question: On page 125f., you introduced the story of Isila Drutch, a female Stormtrooper. On the accompanying image, you can see two women, a black-haired and a blond one. Is one of these women Isila and if yes, which of them?
Jason Fry: Hey Johann, don’t think either of those is Drutch. She’d probably punch the photographer.
Jason Fry: Tim re chronology, I think it’s a straightforward way to tackle such a huge subject: It’s galactic history through the lens of war, if that makes sense. Did make it challenging to figure out just where to put the details abt technologies, etc.
Question: ’Warfare’ revealed some new names. This will open some possibilities to retcon some unnamed characters in the movies, don’t you think?
Jason Fry: Tim, there are some cool blanks filled in re movie characters in an upcoming Star Wars Insider magazine. More would be cheating. Gonna be fun.
Jason Fry: Aaron, biggest challenge was I felt far more confident in my geography knowledge for the Atlas than I did re military and Warfare. To address that I a) brought in Paul b) leaned on LFL for help c) crowdsourced stuff with fans on TheForce.net and d) worked as hard as I could. I think/hope it worked out OK….
Question: I especially liked the little Lord Hoth profile and the artwork was phenomenal. Some of the stuff boggled my mind that you were able to pull together such diverse sources. Of course, such a concatenation must have some holes. What percentage of the the guide would you say is information that is found only there versus the information that you put together from an amalgam of other sources?
Jason Fry: Charlie, hmm. Hard to say because sometimes the info’s established but the connecting framework that forms a new/never-before-explicated narrative is new. You try for a mix.
Jason Fry: Paul worked out a full development sequence for all the Z-95 variants, but then the Clone Wars version showed up. Best to leave it to one side and avoid snafus.
Jason Fry: If you’ll forgive a personal note, I can’t note enough that books like Warfare are a huge collaboration — there are no empty gestures on that acknowledgments page. From Erich to the awesome artists to LFL to the test readers to the designer to the smart fans … a lot of people worked super-hard to make the book what it is. Really grateful to all of them. And equally grateful to everybody who reads it, asks Qs, raises pts, says hi at signings. Really appreciate it.
I was able to get in another quick question…
Aaron Goins: No new Ben Skywalker or Cade Skywalker images. Any particular reason?
Jason Fry: Hey Aaron, just finite space.
Question: Jason! I have a great idea! How about more about the KotOR and Jedi Crusader military assets? 😉
Jason Fry: Michael, great idea — would leave that to JJM’s (Jon Jackson Miller) fertile imagination, though!
Erich Shoeneweiss: Look for Jason on the DK West Coast Tour and at San Diego Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration VI this summer.