[TF.N Main] [Contact Us]
[Latest News - Main]
[More...]
[TFN FanFilms Now On YouTube.com]
[Popular Stories]
CEII: Jabba's Palace Reunion - Massive Guest Announcements

Star Wars Night With The Tampa Bay Storm Reminder

Stephen Hayford Star Wars Weekends Exclusive Art

ForceCast #251: To Spoil or Not to Spoil

New Timothy Zahn Audio Books Coming

Star Wars Celebration VII In Orlando?

May The FETT Be With You

Mimoco: New Mimobot Coming May 4th

[Jedi Council Forums]
Who Doesn't Hate Jar Jar anymore?

Fans who grew up with the OT-Do any of you actually prefer the PT?

Should darth maul have died?

What plotline, character or scene in the entire Saga irritates you the most?

The misconceptions you had about Star Wars, when you were a kid
[Poll]
There are no polls
currently operating
in this sector.
Please check
back soon.

View Poll Archives



TFN Interview: The Last Jedi Co-Author Michael Reaves

Posted By Eric on March 7, 2013

Michael Reaves has written nine Star Wars novels, several of them in collaboration with either Steve Perry or Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. His latest EU book, The Last Jedi, was released a few weeks ago. I spoke to Michael about the characters and situations in The Last Jedi, from star Jax Pavan to smarmy sidekick droid I-Five to the unique issues that Reaves and Bohnhoff grappled with in the book.

Was the story of Jax Pavan always intended to have four parts, or was this book added on to address things that you felt you hadn't tackled in the trilogy?

We'd felt that we'd left Jax and his crew in a good place, but he was such a great character, he just begged for more story. Del Rey asked if I had ideas for Jax's future, because another author was looking for an existing Jedi to use and Jax seemed like a good candidate, and that got us thinking even more...and The Last Jedi was the result.

Jax has the somewhat unique experience of having been friends with Anakin Skywalker, and in the book he sometimes reflects on the darkness that he saw growing in Anakin. What was that like to develop? How did you go about analyzing Anakin's fall without going beyond what someone like Jax would know?

Jax is unique in his knowledge. He was friends with Anakin as Padawans in the Jedi Temple, and there's a bond there. We gave the two some believable but unique-to-Jax history, and then tried very hard to see Anakin only through Jax's eyes and experience, without giving him information he could know only from seeing the movies! The main concern was that Jax wasn't going to be able to share what he knows about Vader with everyone in the galaxy.

Jax is constantly unsure of himself and rattled. There's a whole subplot about how "indecision is all loss." Jax vacillates and pays the price once, and he's constantly on the lookout to avoid making that mistake again. What was it like to get inside the mind of a Jedi who thinks that he's the last one and that he carries the weight of the entire Jedi Order on his shoulders?

What was it like? This implies that we had a choice. As far as I'm concerned, those flaws are the only thing that make Jax interesting. This is Basic Writing 101, folks: Make your character human. Give him problems to overcome, and make 'em psychological, not just who's got the bigger lightsaber. It's the three basic conflicts that you need in any good story; Man against Nature, Man against Man, and Man against Himself. The first two are important, but if you want it to be memorable, you must have the last one.

There's a lot of discussion of time, the implications of nonlinear time, and the human desire to change the past. The second book in this series introduced a time-transcendent species called Cephalons. Why did you want to make the idea of time a central aspect of this book?

The great thing about science fiction is that you can take concerns that we've all had -- in this case, being able to go back and take the road not taken -- and let your character deal with them -- not just psychologically, but in an active, physical manner as well.

As far as the Cephalons were concerned, they grew out of a fascination with the illusion of free will. We think we're masters of our fate, but everything we know about the cosmos says otherwise. We're predestined, but because we can't see the particulars, we fool ourselves into thinking that we can make a difference. I wanted someone -- or more than one; the STAR WARS equivalent of a Delphic oracle -- to keep Jax on track, but not make things too easy. The best detective stories -- writers like Hammett, Chandler, MacDonald -- usually have a heavy taint of existentialism running through their characters. We tried to give Jax the same sensibility.

You briefly mentioned The Silent in this book. They appeared in the Medstar Duology and they were also mentioned in Coruscant Nights III and Shadow Games. Can you tell me what appealed to you about that group?

The Silent, if memory serves, were Steve Perry's creation. They're based on statistics he came across about people who went to hospitals, rest homes and the like to meditate. They didn't pray, or chant, or do anything overtly woo-woo; they just hung out and were mindful. According to the stuff Steve read, the overall health, longevity, and general well-being of the patients improved markedly whenever The Silent (that wasn't what they called themselves) were there. I dunno; I'd like to see the data. But they were intriguing characters and helped give a better 3d aspect to the planet Drongar -- which was all we wanted, really. That's also why we put 'em in the other books. Think of it as "background continuity."

After Laranth's death, Jax almost reaches out to the Force to see if she has become one with it like the Jedi Code suggests -- but he stops himself because he's afraid of discovering that he can't sense her. This scene and Jax's subsequent crisis of faith had very religious undertones. How did you approach writing this Jedi who was close to disillusioned, even fed up, with the Force and the spirituality that he had been taught?

In a way it's a cliché; the priest who's lost his faith. Remember that Jax had been a Knight for an extremely short time before Order 66 destroyed his entire life. He had to flee into the slums, and he couldn't use the Force for fear of detection. (Right. In a population of umpty-ump squintillion. The false positives alone would -- Ah, well. Ours is not to reason why.) Anyway, you can see why the lad's a bit bitter.

Did you always intend to transition from Lorn Pavan's story to a series of books about his son? Or did that come about following the popularity of Lorn Pavan and I-5YQ?

No, actually. I'd just been contracted to do the Maul book, and had no idea if I'd ever get to do another. I came up with the character of I-Five for purely structural reasons: Lorn needed someone to talk to. Also, I conceived of the book as a buddy story. Initially I was going to have Lorn have an alien partner. Then I woke up one day with that scene at the cantina where Luke has to send Threepio and Aroto outside playing in my head. I thought about how it would play if it was a cheeky, smart-ass droid who refused to cooperate. And I knew I had Lorn's partner.

As for subsequent books, that was pure serendipity. I knew that Lorn, Darsha and I-Five had to die, because Maul had to triumph. I thought it was just too much of a downer if everyone died, so I arranged to have Five's memory wiped. That way there was at least a chance of bringing him back. When Steve and I were tapped for the MedStar books, I knew I wanted to bring him back. From there I pitched Coruscant Nights as "Jedi Detective" with Lorn's son.

I-5 is a fantastic character. How did you go about creating him? What sources did you look to for inspiration? What was the thinking behind giving him a minor Force aura?

Like I said above; he was a smartass droid. I knew I had comedy gold in having people being unable to understand that he wouldn't take any crap about being a "toaster". And it was the best kind of comedy: the kind that could turn serious in a heartbeat. As for him having a connection to the Force -- that was just a plot point that made him different. It is very gratifying, I must say, to have him be so popular.


Big thanks to Michael Reaves for taking the time to discuss The Last Jedi with me. The book is on sale now. Check it out!


Related Stories

March 3, 2013   TFN Interview: The Last Jedi Co-Author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
February 26, 2013   On Sale Today: The Last Jedi





[Latest News - News Archives]
BBC Interviews J.J. Abrams About Trek And Wars
Posted By Eric on May 3, 2013:
Episode VII gig "once in a lifetime opportunity"

CEII: Jabba's Palace Reunion - Massive Guest Announcements
Posted By Chris on May 3, 2013:
10 new guests announced!

Fathead's May the Fourth Be With You!
Posted By Philip on May 3, 2013:
30% off Star Wars Fatheads

Star Wars Night With The Tampa Bay Storm Reminder
Posted By Chris on May 3, 2013:
Saturday, May 4th at 9:00pm!

Stephen Hayford Star Wars Weekends Exclusive Art
Posted By Chris on May 3, 2013:
Hunt down all four prints!

ForceCast #251: To Spoil or Not to Spoil
Posted By Eric on May 3, 2013:
Erik and Eric discuss a central issue of our time

New Timothy Zahn Audio Books Coming
Posted By Chris on May 3, 2013:
Allegiance, Specter of the Past, Vision of the Future!

SDCC: Exclusive Black Series Boba Fett With Han In Carbonite Set
Posted By Chris on May 3, 2013:
USA Today reveals Hasbro's offering

Star Wars Art Exposition May 4th
Posted By Philip on May 3, 2013:
It's Happening In Houston

Star Wars Celebration VII In Orlando?
Posted By Chris on May 3, 2013:
Story updated inside

The Force Within Us Celebrates May The 4th Be With You!
Posted By Jay on May 3, 2013:
Amazing freebies!

The Clone Wars Takes Home Voice Acting Trophies
Posted By Eric on May 2, 2013:
Series wins People's Choice for Best TV Vocal Ensemble

Star Wars Origami Free May 4th Download
Posted By Dustin on May 2, 2013:
Workman Publishing Posts Fun Freebie

May The FETT Be With You
Posted By Dustin on May 2, 2013:
The Dented Helmet / MIMOBOT giveaway!

Mimoco: New Mimobot Coming May 4th
Posted By Chris on May 2, 2013:
Who will it be?

WeLoveFine Loves May The 4th
Posted By Dustin on May 2, 2013:
Contest winners and t-shirt sales all weekend!

May The Fourth Grant You Savings On A Great Book!
Posted By Dustin on May 2, 2013:
Gus and Duncan's Comprehensive Guide to Star Wars Collectibles

Star Wars Island In Geoffrey's Jungle
Posted By Dustin on May 2, 2013:
Toys "R" Us Celebrates May the 4th

Catalog Details For New Essential Characters Guide
Posted By Eric on May 2, 2013:
Synopsis, quick facts, and rough release date

Synopsis Posted For Star Wars: Kenobi
Posted By Eric on May 2, 2013:
"The Republic has fallen. Sith Lords rule the galaxy."

The Empire Circulates Propaganda Video
Posted By Dustin on May 1, 2013:
Say Yes to the Empire! Say No to May the 4th!

Zen Studios Celebrates May 4th With A Star Wars Pinball Sale
Posted By Dustin on May 1, 2013:
50% off Star Wars
May The 4th Be With You At Coagula Curatorial
Posted By Dustin on May 1, 2013:
Costume contests, games, screen-printing, puppets, & more!

Jedi Journals: May 2013
Posted By Dustin on May 1, 2013:
Chris & Jay discuss their May The 4th (Be With You) plans!

The Making Of Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi Cover Revealed
Posted By Chris on May 1, 2013:
EW.com also posts five exclusive images

Her Universe Unveils New May The Fourth SW Products
Posted By Eric on May 1, 2013:
Six new items go on sale on May 4th

Why Is May The 4th Called Star Wars Day?
Posted By Dustin on May 1, 2013:
Learn some of the history behind the day

The Clone Wars Nominated For Daytime Emmy Awards
Posted By Eric on May 1, 2013:
Cast and crew honored by National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

OfficialPix May The 4th Exclusives
Posted By Chris on May 1, 2013:
Two new photos for Star Wars Day!

Toledo Mud Hens Feel The Fourth With Wookiee Jersey
Posted By D_Martin on May 1, 2013:
Toledo Mud Hens Feel The Fourth

Christopher Lee Celebrates May The 4th With Cool Print
Posted By D_Martin on May 1, 2013:
Celebrate May The 4th With An Awesome Print

Celebrate Star Wars Day And Save At HasbroToyShop.com
Posted By D_Martin on May 1, 2013:
20% Off At HasbroToyShop.com

Stride Rite Celebrates May The 4th
Posted By Dustin on May 1, 2013:
Get 25% off this weekend!

[TF.N Newsletter]
Enter Email Address:
Find Out More...
[All Posters]
Star Wars - Episode III - Revenge of the Sith - Jedi
AllPosters.com
Search For Posters, Cardboard Stand-Ups & T-Shirts!
[Rebelscum.com - Star Wars Collecting]
[TheForce.Net - FanFilms]
[TheForce.Net - FanForce] [TheForce.Net - Fan Art]
[More News...]
TheForce.Net - Your Daily Dose of Star Wars
THEFORCE.NET IS NOT ENDORSED BY LUCASFILM, LTD. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLAIMER. © 2014 COPYRIGHT TF.N, LLC
The Galaxy is Listening
[TF.N Main] [TF.N FAQ] [Contact Us]