Jedipedia:Interviews/Michael Kogge (Februar 2015)
Die Jedi-Bibliothek hat ein Interview mit Autor Michael Kogge gemacht, bei dem es um seine Romane zu Star Wars Rebels, die Xim Week im Hyperspace sowie die Arbeit an weiteren Projekten wie seiner eigenen Serie Empire of the Wolf geht.
Wir präsentieren euch hier in der Jedipedia exklusiv die englische Originalversion des Interviews. Die deutsche Übersetzung findet ihr bei unseren Partnern von der Jedi-Bibliothek unter folgendem Link:
When writing the Star Wars Rebels Chapter Books and The Rebellion Begins, how much freedom did you have? Were you allowed to add your own scenes or other things?
I did have freedom to expand on the stories and characters seen in the show, particularly in the novel based on the television movie, The Rebellion Begins. In that book, I added a prelude of sorts that helped connect some elements of the plot and also gave individualized introductions to the characters, much as Alan Dean Foster’s novel of the original Star Wars film did. I enjoyed describing the Wookiee cruiser—to my knowledge, the interior of a Wookiee vessel had never been explored in Star Wars fiction before. The chapter books — Rise of the Rebels, Droids in Distress, Ezra’s Duel with Danger, and Battle to the End — are by nature shorter in length and leave less room for expansion. The challenge when writing them was to find the key moments of the assigned episodes and weave them together in a strong, coherent narrative. But careful readers will find little additions, expansions, and scenes not seen on TV. The books also showcase the point-of-view of the main characters like Ezra, Kanan, Hera, and Agent Kallus, revealing their inner thoughts and motivations — the audience can read characters’ minds so to speak.
Were you able to watch the episodes in advance?
During the writing process, Lucasfilm invited me to the Presidio and screened the television movie for me, which was an absolute treat.
How were your experiences with the Lucasfilm Story Group?
Fantastic. Their suggestions made the book stronger.
It is a common criticism that movie or TV novelizations are not necessary, for you could just watch the movie or TV episode. What would you say to those critics? Do you think novelizations enhance the experience and if so, how?
I think reading versus watching are two distinct experiences, so it’s tough to compare. While prose and cinema can relate the same essential plot, the narrative devices used can create a story that works on different levels and offers unique insights only suited to the medium itself. For those interested in this subject, the November/December 2011 issue of Film Comment published an extensive article on this debate, examining the „novelizations“ of the 1960s and ‘70s—some of which offer truly radical takes on the „original“ material.
We know there are going to be Chapter Books and a junior novel for Star Wars Rebels Season 2. Will you be involved with those as well?
I’d love to be asked! It’s always a privilege to write for Star Wars.
In 2009, the Xim Week: The Despotica web series was published in StarWars.com's Hyperspace section. You combined various genres for this: poetry, epic, drama. Did you have any experience with that? Was it difficult?
I’ve been writing drama and poetry since I first began writing prose, so I’m always overjoyed when I can exercise those creative muscles in a professional capacity. And where else, except for starwars.com’s Hyperspace section, could a writer be commissioned to write a Greek tragedy and a radio play? It was truly an amazing opportunity. What I loved most about writing The Despotica was that I had free reign to imagine what the Star Wars universe would be like 25,000 years before the classic films. Other than a passing references in Star Wars books to Xim the Despot and the Battle of Vontor, this era was virtually unexplored, and my imagination could run wild in a time period before the Jedi. And though everything in The Despotica was meticulously researched, down to the inclusion of tidbits of forgotten lore and continuity, I made a point of stating that the web-series wasn’t „historical“ or „canonical“, if such a thing could be said about a work set in a fictional universe. I wanted readers to enjoy The Despotica for what it was—a story, a legend — and not a definitive backstory of some obscure ancient despot. I fear that in the debate over what is „canon“ and what is „not“, it’s easy for readers to forget why they fell in love with fiction in the first place: that they were moved by the language of stories.
Your other current Star Wars job is the „Authors of the Expanded Universe“ section in Star Wars Insider, which recently focused on Tales of the Jedi. What is your relationship with the Expanded Universe/Star Wars Legends, apart from your own contributions?
My relationship with Star Wars expanded universe is much like the other authors I profile in the magazine. Ours is a professional relationship first and foremost, as it’s part of how we make a living — but it’s also job we dearly love. What astounds me is how long I’ve been writing for Star Wars — over two decades — since The Business of Bacta was published in Star Wars Adventure Journal #3. So much has changed in that time period and the fanbase has expanded exponentially in tandem the universe. Today we’re getting more Star Wars stories than ever before. It’s such an exciting time to be involved.
With Tales of the Jedi, was it hard to track down the makers of this legendary comic series? How did you go about your research?
Finding the authors and artists for Tales of the Jedi required some internet sleuthing. Once contacted, however, all were quite excited to speak about their contributions, since the Tales of the Jedi seemed to be a highlight in everyone’s careers.
Star Wars Insider 153 featured the final Tales of the Jedi retrospective and German readers will be able to enjoy parts 2 and 3 in the January and April issues of the Official Star Wars Magazine. Any hint what's next for the Authors of the Expanded Universe section?
I’m very pleased some of the articles have been translated (so excellently, I hear) and I hope that German fans like them. As for future articles in the series, I don’t want to steal the Insider’s thunder. But stay tuned, there are some fascinating features coming up.
You are quite active in your social media accounts and very accessible for your readers. What is your relationship with the Star Wars fandom? What are things you like about it and are there also things you dislike?
Perhaps the most incredible sign of the success of Star Wars is that it’s created this global community of brilliant, passionate people of all ages who share a love for a common, popular mythology. And it’s always great to hear from fans who have picked up an author’s original works or have interests in other genres. Star Wars can be a portal for fostering an appreciation of the many treasures cinema and fiction have to offer, as it was for me growing up.
Your other work besides Star Wars includes your original comic series Empire of the Wolf by Alterna Comics. Can you tell our readers what it's about and why they should read it?
Werewolves in ancient Rome — that’s the essence of Empire of the Wolf. It takes a lycanthropic spin on the myth of Romulus and Remus, and re-constructs the legend of how Rome was founded—and how Rome was burned. Star Wars fans will notice two very familiar names involved in the project: Dan Parsons, an artist on 100+ Star Wars comics for Dark Horse, penciled issues #1 and 2, while David Rabbitte, who’s illustrated stories for the Star Wars Insider, drew issues #3 and #4 and colored issues #1 and #4. One could say our collaboration happened because of our work in Star Wars — it brought us together as a team. The graphic novel was published by Alterna Comics and is available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other retailers, including your local comic book store. comiXology and Amazon also offer digital versions. Check out the book’s website at empireofthewolf.net. We think fans of Star Wars and mythology will love Empire as much as we did producing it!
Any idea if Empire of the Wolf will also get a German translation?
We’re about to do the rounds with European publishers, so fingers crossed.
And finally, what do you prefer and why: Writing for a franchise like Star Wars with all its rules and oversight or creating your own story?
I’ve been a writer and storyteller all my life, and I love creating characters and stories that have the potential to move readers’ emotions through language and image. Star Wars is a global, cultural touchstone, so it’s fun to play in a universe we all share. But there’s nothing quite like creating something original from the ground up, atom-by-atom, word-by-word—this is the reason I became a writer.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview! May the Force be with you!
And with you too, Florian!