An interview with co-authors Tricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace, and Ryder Windham
RW: I suspect many reluctant readers associate reading with homework, a chore instead of a pleasure. I also suspect that most see the cover of any Star Wars® book as a welcome invitation to reading. Anyone who dismisses Star Wars® books as mere escapist entertainment is overlooking how the books inspire and fuel imaginations, making kids want to read more.
AB: Star Wars® is a compelling topic for readers of all ages. In an age of not just television but video-on-demand and the instant accessibility of social media, it is more important than ever to foster the rewards of patience and a stimulated imagination through the reading books. Star Wars® is a great hook to entice reluctant readers, particularly because of the large size of the universe, which allows readers to explore the niches that most speak to them.
TB: Reading is a way to educate ourselves; it’s an exercise for the mind. Add Star Wars® into the mix and the exercise feels less like work and becomes something that is enjoyable and entertaining.
DW: Whenever I speak at schools or talk with kids at appearances, I try to emphasize that there’s no reason to feel bad about reading Star Wars® —or Pokémon, or video game guides, or anything like that—just so long as you’re reading. We can’t always choose where our passions lie, and if your passion is Star Wars®, then see where it can lead you! It’s a shame when someone thinks they should be reading “serious books” but instead they lose their passion and don’t end up reading at all!
RW: I was the first writer conscripted for the project, and I helped select all the entries. The designers provided me with layouts, which sometimes required adjustments, and I wrote text to fit the layouts.
AB:Ultimate Star Wars® presents such a large volume of fresh content. Writing it was a bit like running a marathon, only much more fun! The necessary research, however (in contrast to the actual writing), comprises the largest portion of the work involved. It was really a matter of pacing myself and meeting daily goals, sometimes at the expense of other activities (or sleep), to stay on schedule.
TB: Like my fellow fans, I have bought hundreds of Star Wars® books, so I really appreciate what they mean to people. With that understanding, I paid attention to detail, researched my assignments using every resource available, and poured as much passion into the process of writing as I could. Hopefully I have lived up to the expectations of Star Wars’® amazing fans.
DW: Lots of research! Because I’ve written many Star Wars® books prior to this one, I’ve gotten to the point where I rarely need to re-watch the movies because I can practically replay them in my head. But Ultimate Star Wars® is very comprehensive and I definitely spent a lot of time getting deep into the details of Star Wars®.
RW:I’ve always identified with Jawas because they’re notorious scavengers and packrats, habitual collectors. My family gives me grief over my large collection of kitchen gadgets, among other things.
AB:As a child I most related to the Ewoks. They were the most accessible characters, not only in terms of their small size, but also their fun personalities and sense of humor and adventure. I think a lot of kids would like to go live with the Ewoks in their tree villages on Endor. Best of all, since Ewoks like in temperate forest environments, it is easy for kids to have their own pretend Ewok adventures in any cluster of neighborhood trees.
TB:Without a doubt, Ahsoka Tano. We see her grow up during The Clone Wars™ and now step into a leadership role in Star Wars Rebels™. For a young woman who was raised on Star Wars®, then later moved into a mentor role for female fans who have come behind me, that makes Ahsoka’s character very relatable.
DW: On a day-to-day basis I’m probably the most like See-Threepio in real life—uptight, detail-oriented, not particularly brave. But the character I most admire in the Star Wars® universe is Lando Calrissian. I think Lando combines the best qualities of a rogue like Han Solo with the suave nature of someone like James Bond.
RW: I’m excited about the entire book, that readers can use it as their go-to source for information while watching the Star Wars® movies, The Clone Wars™, and Star Wars Rebels™.
AB: Star Wars Rebels™: is quite close to me after writing Star Wars Rebels™: The Visual Guide. It was a joy to return to this material for Ultimate Star Wars ® and expand upon it here with new characters, creatures, technology, and background information. I think fans will be pleased with new insight into the Disney XD series.
TB: In addition to writing up Luke and Leia, I had a blast pulling together the pages for the Millennium Falcon and Red Five. These ships take on a life of their own. Beyond that, the Key Moments from the saga are some of my favorite pages, when the events are tied together into impactful beats from these amazing stories.
DW: This is it—this is the new canon! A lot of different Star Wars® spin-off stories were published in the past, but under the new direction at Disney/Lucasfilm, the official Star Wars® universe is more streamlined and a lot easier for fans to understand. Everything that’s in Ultimate Star Wars® is part of the new, official storyline.