martes, 30 de agosto de 2016

Interview with Landry Q. Walker

Landry Q. Walker is an accomplished writer who has worked on several properties, including DC and Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas, just to name a few. He wrote the excellent short stories about characters from The Force Awakens that have been compiled in Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens, Vol. 1. You can follow him on Twitter.

He was gracious enough to give us an interview, please enjoy.

Star Wars Veracruz (SWV): Please tell us something about yourself. How did you become a Star Wars fan?

Landry Q. Walker: I was six years old when the first film came out, so I was kind of the perfect age to experience Star Wars. Everyone my age loved the film, boys and girls alike.

SWV: How did you got to write for Star Wars?

Landry: One day I checked my email and there it was, a message asking if I had interest in writing Star Wars. I'm not crazy, so the answer was an immediate YES.

SWV: First of all, now that Mexican readers will get a chance to read your Force Awakens stories, what can you tell us about it? Why is it of interest to Star Wars fans and readers?

Landry: It's Star Wars! Isn't that enough? No? Well, what I enjoyed about writing it was the opportunity to meld aspects and histories and alien races from all three era's of films into one book. This isn't a book that is only about the newest Star Wars film - though there is plenty of that to find. It's a book that attempts to connect disparate era's of fiction into one setting, more or less. This way, no matter what aspect of Star Wars you love, the book should have something that suits you.

SWV: The return of the story anthologies is a great sign, we get murder mysteries, heists, uplifting tales, westerns, etc. How can the Star Wars galaxy give way to all these and more is a part of its enduring presence. What is the Star Wars element that inspires you the most?

Landry: I think you just answered the question. The diversity and flexibility of the universe of Star Wars is massive. You can tell any kind of tale within the basic framework. The galaxy is a massive place, with uncounted mysteries and alien races. If we limit ourselves to only the classic high-adventure of the original films, I think we would be cheating ourselves in the long run. The Clone Wars is a great example - that cartoon explored the diversity of the concept amazingly well.

SWV: In the story about Cookie, the chef for Maz Kanata's castle, you make a reference of Gormaanda, the four-legged chef from the Holiday Special. What is your opinion on the special and why is it important?

Landry: I saw that special when it aired. Everyone was desperate for anything Star Wars. It felt... off at the time. But it was still amazing to see. The bit about Gormaanda - why not? I love the idea that there are celebrity chef's in the world of Star Wars - particularly pre-Empire. People need to eat. People like to be entertained. Some things the Star Wars universe and our would naturally have in common.

SWV: I loved the Bobbajo story, and its relationship with the Death Star. Is this a tall tale, or why does he have so many details about the Death Star? At least, the extra step where the snee disables the ion pulse security system seems logical. Or is there after so many years, a dramatized version of the events of the Battle of Yavin, basically making "A New Hope" a meta story?

Landry: Maybe it's a tall tale? Maybe a little truth to it? Or maybe he's met someone else who was there. I wonder if there's any instance in new-canon of someone that looks just like Bobbajo in the same scene as someone who was on board the Death Star? Hm...

On some level though, I like to think the story of the Empire's defeat has spread - probably multiple versions of it. The real question though isn't Bobbajo's story about the Death Star, but maybe his connection to his animals. How does he do that? Who knows?

SWV: Jason Fry recently discussed some Crolute details that you got first, and although I'm not spoiling to our readers the details that give up the Unkar Plutt story, tell us, what kind of liberties did you get from Lucasfilm and the Story Group to create your stories? Not only the Crolute stuff but also things like the Quarren/Mon Cal hybrid, or the creatures?

Landry: I read Jason's Crolute entry. Lot's of exciting and new stuff in there, while dancing around my contribution. I thought it was a great expansion on the species - wish I had thought of the bits he added.

I was given a wide margin of freedom in all aspects of what I was developing. The Story Group has been amazing to work with. There's a tremendous amount of support without edging into restrictive control. Possibly my best experience working on a work for hire job.

With the Quarren/Mon Cal hybrid, it just seemed natural while at the same time horrifying. I had to add that in.

SWV: In the Sidon Ithano story, you basically set the return for one character from the beloved show The Clone Wars. How was this possible, storywise? I hope we get to see more of him and his reaction to the new galaxy he lives in now, in the future?

Landry: I don't want to spoil the story, but I am a huge fan of the Clone Wars. As a whole, it's probably my favorite of all the Star Wars material, including the original films. So I pitched a story that included the aforementioned character. Since my stories all take place during the Force Awakens era, and this character was last seen 50 years ago, and doesn't have a long life-span, the framework had to make sense. I pitched it, and it was approved - kind of to my surprise.

On that note, I liked bringing a short lived character into the future. Long lived characters don't appeal much to me in Star Wars. It diminishes the history a bit when half the galaxy can look back at the Clone Wars the way we might look back at the something that occurred in the mid-2000's. We're now into a third era of Star Wars. The past is sometimes best felt like a distant echo for modern characters. It helps keep things feeling fresh while allowing new perspectives shaped by old adventures.

SWV: Please tell us about your non-Star Wars work, what novels, comics or other projects could interest our Latin American readers?

Landry: I wrote a series called Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade. I also wrote a meta style superhero epic called Danger Club that is basically a commentary on the evolution of the superhero genre, told through the eyes of super hero sidekicks fighting against what is essentially their own reboot. I don't think a translated version of that has been officially released, but I seem to recall finding a translated copy someone put up for free on pirate sites. Anyone who wants to download that one and read it for free has my permission to do so. It was a labor of love, and a series I am immensely proud of - not for all ages though. Lot's of violence and blood!

SWV: Have you ever visited Mexico or other Latin American country? Do you speak any Spanish at all?
Landry: I've visited Mexico a couple times. Fairly short trips. I can read a bit more Spanish than I can speak, mostly picked up from non-English comics. Visual context is a great way to pick up language. Especially since I have poor hearing, and have trouble sometimes picking up what people say in English, let alone an unfamiliar language.

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