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Timothy Zahn Facebook Q&A Recap

Posted By Eric on September 28, 2011

Timothy Zahn, author of the recently-republished Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, took some time to chat with Star Wars fans today on the Del Rey Star Wars Books Facebook page. Below is a transcript of readers' questions and his responses. For clarity purposes, questions have been edited for spelling.

Q: With the release of Revan and Darth Plagueis books, any chance of a Thrawn novel someday?
A: There's always a chance of anything in the SW universe. At the moment, though, I have no plans for a Thrawn-only novel.

Q: I like your use of first person narrators. Did you ever consider using one for a Star Wars novel?
A: Most of my SW novels involve multiple plot threads, which means multiple points of view. Mike Stackpole pulled it off in I, Jedi, but I'm not sure my type of SW story really lends itself to first-person.

Q: We know you really aren't a fan of major character deaths. But what are your thoughts on the last adventure of the "Big 3"? Would you have an interest in penning that? Either way - how do you think they should go?
A: I've always been a fan of how Conan Doyle ended Sherlock Holmes: he didn't die, but just retired to the country. I'm not sure the Big 3 *have* to die. But if they do, I'm not really sure I want to be the one to do it.

Q: Are there plans for 20th Anniversary Dark Force Rising and The Last Command novels yet? Or are we still waiting to see how Heir to the Empire sells?
A (from Del Rey?s David Pomerico): Hey guys: just to let you know, we don't currently have plans to do a 20th anniversary book for the rest of the series.

Q: How long did it take to write [your Star Wars books]?
A: My early SW books took 8-12 months to write -- I was slower in those days. Now, I can write a novel in four months; three if I'm particularly inspired.

Q: Do you have plans for any books outside the timeframe of the movies?
A: I have 4 or 5 ideas for new SW books, but none of them are outside the movie age(s).

Q: Any chance you're going to do a standalone novel on any dark-sided character besides Mara during her Empire days?
A: I would be willing to do a darker character if such an idea occurred to me, but there's no such story in the works.

Q: Tim, at SDCC you described Mara Jade as a "useful" character. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what it is about her character that makes her useful to a storyteller.
A: I think of Mara as useful because she's a former Imperial, with all the baggage that implies, a Jedi, and a good foil for Luke. All that makes her a character you can do lots of things with and put in lots of different situations.

Q: I would be interested in knowing how you came up with the concept of the great character Talon Karrde?
A: Some of my thoughts in creating Thrawn, Karrde, and Mara are included in the annotations for the special edition of Heir to the Empire. Too complicated to go into here, unfortunately.

Q: If you get to do anniversary editions of Dark Force and Last Command, do you think you will have as many annotations in those as in HTTE?
A: IF we do special editions of DFR and TLC, they will also have as many annotations as I can come up with, along with new novella-length stories. But as SWB pointed out, that decision is still pending.

Q: Have you ever thought of writing a book in the Prequel and or Clone Wars era?
A: Outbound Flight was in the prequel era, but I have no plans at the moment for anything else there. As to post-Legacy stories, again, I have nothing firm in mind. There is a possibility of a Luke/Mara/Ben story set before Legacy, but again there's nothing firm on that yet.

Q: Any chance you will show up at Celebration VI next year in Orlando?
A: We are hoping to get to C VI next year, but we haven't yet worked out the details.

Q: when you first began to explore OF as more than a throwaway line, did you already plan that Thrawn never intended to destroy it if he could help it, that it would be done with his weapons but not technically by his hand?
A: "Outbound Flight" was, as you said, a throwaway line which I never intended to do anything more with. When Del Rey asked for the story, I needed to mesh that incident with the way I'd subsequently developed Thrawn. The way it worked out in the novel was the result of that consideration.

Q: Do you watch The Clone Wars TV series on cartoon network?
A: We don't currently get Cartoon Network, and so have never gotten in the Clone Wars series, though we have seen a few on DVD.

Q: Who are your favorite movie characters?
A: Han in the OT and Obi-Wan in the prequels. Still, Palpatine steals every scene he's in.

Q: Are the knife-wielding aliens in Choices of One meant to be the Noghri in disguise?
A: No, the aliens in Choices of One aren't Noghri, but an entirely different race.

Q: When you wrote Outbound Flight, how much did Del Ray have in mind, or you yourself for that matter, of the Yuuzhan Vong?
A: In Outbound Flight I definitely meant for the unnamed threat to be the Vong. However, Del Rey (and LFL) pointed out that since Our Heroes wouldn't officially meet and identify them until the NJO series, I could never specifically say that.

Q: As a toy collector too do you have figures of your characters? And with the Fan choice poll open just a tad longer on the internet would you like to see a figure of Rukh or any of the Noghri?
A: We do have several of the toys based on my characters. As to Rukh or anyone else -- hey, the more, the merrier!

Q: When you prepared HTTE, the graphic novel DARK EMPIRE by Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy was already in the works. Both entries becoming jump-starts for the franchise in their respective medium...Did you brainstorm and exchange ideas that early on (you both worked with cloning and bringing back duplicates....)
A: I had access to some of the preliminary Dark Empire material, but we didn't really work together. They did their story, I did mine, and we all trusted LFL to make sure we didn't step on each other's toes.

Q: Would you ever think about doing a reedit of the Thrawn Trilogy ala the Hobbit was when Lord of the Rings came about to fit the time line of the Star Wars Prequels?
A: I wouldn't want to reedit TTT, mainly because I see them as part of the age in which I wrote them, and that all their good parts and bad parts should be left the way they were.

Q: How much do you personally keep up with the ever-expanding EU?
A: I really don't have time to keep up with all the SW material out there these days. I have to rely on LFL, Del Rey, and Wookieepedia to keep me informed on new developments.

Q: Are you currently working on a new book, or have one coming out soon?
A: I have several books in the works. You can check the Notes section of my FB page (facebook.com/TimothyZahn) for details. No new SW books officially contracted for at the moment, but Shelly and I have one in mind that I'll probably be starting the end of this year.

Q: If you could meet one of the characters you wrote, who would it be?
A: Of all my original characters I'd probably most want to meet Mara ... unless I was in a big military struggle, in which case it would be Thrawn ... unless I had a cargo to move, in which case it would be Karrde.

Q (follow-up to above): (unless it was a hacking job to be done, in which case it would be Ghent?)
A: For hacking, slicing, or just upgrading my computer Ghent is the man!

Q: Will we ever see a book featuring the Lando and Mara adventures while searching for Car'das?
A: I've thought off and on about doing the Lando/Mara adventure mentioned in the Hand of Thrawn. I'll add it to the list of ideas to pitch to Del Rey someday.

Q: Will you be doing more on the war between Thrawn and Nuso Esva in future books?
A: No plans at the moment to do another Thrawn/Nuso Esva book, but I'll add it to the list. (If this keeps up, I may need to ask Shelly for a *ten*-book contract.)

Q: Had you seen the Holiday Special before writing about Kashyyyk in the Thrawn trilogy?
A: I have never seen, nor am I likely to see, the alleged Holiday Special. (I may have seen the opening once, but that might have been a dream.) My description of Kashyyyk came from the West End Games source materials.

Q: Any chance of learning more about Nuso Esva? I loved how you made him Thrawn's own Moriarty.
A: *Very* perceptive comment. In fact, if you shift each of the consonents of Nusoesva's name back one consonent, and shift each vowel one back (and treat "y" as a vowel) ...

Q: What is your opinion of the audiobook and Comic adaptations of your Novels, especially the Thrawn Trilogy?
A: I'm not much of a fan of abridged stories, and I've never heard the original audio adaptations of TTT. I was glad to hear that they were bringing out an unabridged Heir audio for the 20th anniversary. As to the comics, again a lot got left out, but I was reasonably pleased with the result.

Q: Will any of the Big 3 be in your next SW 2013 novel? Even if they will have minor roles? Will any of them have major roles in it? Luke? Han? Mara?
A: I'm really not supposed to talk about future SW plans, especially when my ideas haven't yet been approved by Del Rey or LFL. Be assured, though, that I'll let you all know titles and (some) details as soon as I'm allowed to do so.

Q: Have you ever watched Star Wars in other languages like German? If yes, what do you think of the different dubbings?
A: We once got to see Star Wars in Italian at a convention. It was a very interesting experience. (We also saw The Terminator in German once. )

Q: There's still so many evils in Unknown Space that Thrawn protected the galaxy from, any thoughts of doing a Chiss series, dealing with their expansion and wars they may have fought? Maybe a few years before Thrawn came in?
A: I'd love to do a Chiss series. Maybe I'll Shelly for a *15*-book contract.

Related Stories

January 22, 2013   Tim Zahn To Do Scoundrels FB Q&A
November 9, 2011   Second Paul S. Kemp Facebook Q&A Recap
November 2, 2011   Paul S. Kemp To Do Second FB Q&A
November 1, 2011   Windham & Vilmur Facebook Q&A Recap
October 10, 2011   FD4: Allston & Zahn "Ask the Authors" Q&A
October 8, 2011   Disney World To Host Timothy Zahn Signing
September 28, 2011   Del Rey Hosting Timothy Zahn Facebook Q&A
September 6, 2011   Heir To The Empire 20th Anniversary Edition
August 17, 2011   Christie Golden Facebook Q&A Recap
May 19, 2011   Shelly Shapiro Facebook Q&A Recap

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