Ever since it was announced that Episode VII would be coming to theaters on December 18, 2015 has been the year of Star Wars. Back in January, Marvel Comics launched several Star Wars comic series that would tie into the rewritten canon of the official expanded universe. Now, this November, both the Star Wars and Darth Vader titles will cross over into an epic event known as Vader Down. We had a chance to chat with Marvel superstars Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen about their respective books and this new Vader Down event.
Nerdist: As always, gentlemen, thank you for talking to us today.
Jason Aaron: Not a problem.
Kieron Gillen: Thank you.
N: The new Star Wars books have required a lot of communication between all of the creative parties at Marvel. Who was it that brought up the idea of doing the Vader Down crossover?
JA: Probably Jordan White, our editor. Do you remember, Kieron?
KG: I think so. It was one those things that kind of felt natural. We originally had it that we were going to do something big at the end of the year because that felt natural. The first arcs were kind of tied together, our second arcs would follow their own paths, and then we would come back and tie them together into a big event. Does that make sense Jason?
JA: Yeah. Our books launched at the beginning of the year, and we were the first big Star Wars things this year. We both launched with a bang, and the response to them took us both by surprise. We’ve had fun along the way, and done big moments, and excitement for all things Star Wars is at an all-time high this year so we wanted to do the biggest story for our books, and join our cast together to do, what is sort of our movie.
KG: A big thing about the story is [that] it is accessible. It’s called Vader Down, it’s about Darth Vader facing off against this enormous Rebel Fleet. There isn’t a need for too much explanation, I can get on the phone and describe that to my mum and she would know why she’d want to watch that, or read that.
N: The comics take place between New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. Did you guys ever feel a self-imposed restriction to your story to not try to be bigger or more outrageous than the movies that bookend it?
KG: I think Jason will agree with me, but we don’t limit ourselves. We work very closely with the [Lucasfilm] Story Group, so if we go too far the Story Group will tell us. They are the caretakers of the larger canon, and they have to think of the scale of the whole Star Wars universe. There are times where we may get more aggressive and argue for a part of our particular corner, and the two camps we will reach a balance. At least, that is how I see it. I don’t self-censor; I will ask for things that I know I will be told no for.
JA: Yeah, I absolutely agree. Coming into this, I figured if we weren’t going to shoot for the moon, then why bother? I wanted to grab for the biggest moments possible and I wanted to make this book feel important. I didn’t want to do a book that was adventures the characters went on between films, but none of them really matter or are important. I wanted this to feel like the next chapter of the bigger story. There are a lot of big beats that have to happen between those films, so I wanted to grab for as many of them as possible.
KG: Yeah, and for me there has always been an implied story between the two movies. It is the fall and rise of Darth Vader. Vader is the through-line of all six movies, and I felt that this was important material. I didn’t want to scribble in the margins; I wanted to take the characters where they needed to go, and as hard as we can.
N: The end of Vader’s first arc sees him discover Luke’s true identity as his son. Will he be learning about Leia, and will that play into the events of Vader Down at all?
KG: The second arc for Darth Vader, which is currently being published, is about Vader’s response to discovering he has a son. That is really all I can safely say right now. There may be some nods or allusions in terms of Leia.
JA: Leia will play a rather big part in Vader Down, though. What she has been through in her own series, with the destruction of Alderaan and how that has affected her, and drives her, and her drive to take down Vader, is a big part of the story.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Vader Down, which will be hitting shelves in November this year. You can also catch up on all of the Marvel Star Wars books available now.