John Jackson Miller Dark Horse Live Chat

A cleaned up transcript of the January 10th John Jackson Miller live Twitter chat hosted by Dark Horse Comics for the release of Knights of the Old Republic: War #1.

JJM: Glad to be here, folks! Ask away… secrets revealed (sorta)

JJM: Happy to be doing this #KOTORWarChat, promoting tomorrow’s Star Wars comics debut, Knights of the Old Republic War.

JJM: I also have a quick primer up about the KOTOR series and what it’s about: http://blog.farawaypress.com/2012/01/quick-kotor-comics-primer.html

Will the comic feature appearances from the characters of the game?

JJM: At this point in the war, Revan has successfully urged other Jedi to join the war — so his presence is felt. There are other figures who will be popping up, as well. The frigate that Zayne Carrick is attached to once belonged to Saul Karath. And Karath’s former junior officer, Morvis, commands now.

Is this going to be a mini-series or a full ongoing series like the original KOTOR was? Where does this “War” series fit into the Knights of the Old Republic Era?

JJM: The series takes place weeks after the end of the last volume of KOTOR, and 6 years before the 1st game. This is a five-issue arc, that fits between Knight Errant: Deluge and Knight Errant: Escape in my release schedule but of course there could always be more beyond the horizon! Always in motion in is the future!

Hello, Mr. Miller. Can I ask you only about the KOTOR series or about comics overall?

JJM: I’m happy to answer anything. I even do TV trivia! #dontgetmestarted

Hahaha!! “–from far far away”. Love it. (in relations to John’s blog and Twitter callsign)

JJM: Ironically, actually, I started using the “Faraway” tag long before I wrote Star Wars comics. “Faraway Looks” was the title of a comic I did years ago that no one saw! farawaypress.com/comics/faraway

How long did you work with this series? Did you write the story in one breath or thoroughly thought through it for a long time?

JJM: I started work on KOTOR comics in early 2005. The seeds for “War” were laid pretty early — wow, back in 2007. I’d started developing stuff about Morvis & the ship Reciprocity. And then in the Wizards of the Coast KOTOR Campaign Guide. I wrote the Mandalorian and Republic sections of that book, and laid more foundation for this comics story. Sadly the KOTOR Campaign Guide is out of print and expensive now — read more here: farawaypress.com/games/swkotorg

So I am just getting into Dark Horse and Star Wars comics. Do I need to read KOTOR before I read any of “war”?

JJM: No, I think we tried to make it a jumping on point. The series stands alone, but there are ties back to familiar events for readers of the earlier stuff. Easter-egg style, not burdensome, I hope. Hopefully it will inspire folks to check the other stuff out, too. A little series primer: http://blog.farawaypress.com/2012/01/quick-kotor-comics-primer.html

Dear Sir, Star Wars: The Old Republic has a Carrick Station, will this be touched upon in any way? And will it stick to the original 6 volumes of KOTOR?

JJM: I talk about Carrick Station here: blog.farawaypress.com/2011/11/carric, it’s a LONG time between comics and SWOTR, so they may be related or they may not be. Time will tell.

How accessible is this series to those who have not read and Old Republic era comics?

JJM: No need to read other comics first; the TOR-era ones come much later in the timeline anyway…and as to past KOTOR comics, Zayne has been drafted into the militia alone, so there’s no entourage along. Yet.

Hahaha! Excellent. I like your style and am resisting the urge to make any Force prophecy jokes.

JJM: We made a trademark of ironic ways of saying “May the Force Be With You” in the old series. “May the Force Be With You.” “Maybe next time it should be with someone else! Etc.

Do you get approvals from Lucas on pre-story ideas or after you’ve already drafted a script?

JJM: Lucasfilm makes approvals at every step, from plot, script to character design to final art. All very streamlined.

Second is about characters. Whether they have any real prototypes?

JJM: Real prototypes for characters: I probably use real historic events for prototypes more. My farawaypress.com site is full of details on inspirations — I have pages up for every individual issue.

I know about 11th of September and bombarding of Serocco…

JJM: Sept. 11 and Serroco: Yeah, my essay on that is here farawaypress.com/comics/swknigh, not a real connection in any way, but I just used my feelings from that day in writing the story. And my Iron Man and other Marvel stuff was very much inspired by real life events. farawaypress.com/comics/ironman, I probably brought more of my political history studies into the Knight Errant novel & comics http://www.farawaypress.com/fiction/books/swknighterrantnovel.html

How will your characters and era feel different from others?

JJM: There aren’t really any Sith of note in this year (that we can see) so it is more Republic versus Mandalorians and the Mandalorians aren’t evil, just driven by their own set of goals. So that lends a different texture. Plus Zayne is far from a super Jedi type, so he has to solve problems with cleverness. Gives it a different feel.

I tend to be more a fan of star wars movie story lines, what things would I like about KOTOR stories?

JJM: There’s a lot of humor in the movies, we try to capture that, too. Maybe not so much in #1, but there will be humor, and certainly there is a LOT in the nine volumes of KOTOR that are already out, Zayne’s master once said he was “living proof the Force has a sense of humor.” And to all, you can find those books at your local comics shop. My own link page is here farawaypress.com/shop.html and my Amazon profile with all my books is here amzn.to/jjmiller

How would you sell this series on more casual Star Wars fans, those who only look at books with movie characters?

JJM: There are some callbacks to the traditional movie characters — some familiar types — that you should like.

Were there any ideas you put forth that didn’t make the cut that you can share?

JJM: Not really. Policy is not to say what things we can’t touch on, anyway but really it wasn’t a problem this time around. This point in the timeline has lots of room to move around without colliding with stuff. Just like Knight Errant, which is set much later — the field is wide open.

But was it long ago or long, long ago?

JJM: Long ago or long long ago? Long enough ago, I guess!

JJM: By the way folks, I will try to get to everything — refreshing the feed as I go. Patience, Yoda says..

I am working with my own comics now and I want to ask you for some tips. Do you mind?

JJM: Sure. My site really is kind of a diary of my work in comics, that I kept as I went along.

How often do you find yourself influenced by the original Star Wars Trilogy characters when writing?

JJM: All the time. Love watching how the characters bicker all the time, even during firefights we really built that into the original KOTOR series, and have some of that here in later issues of War. Early on, Jarael tried to throw Gryph out the airlock while they were being pursued through an asteroid belt so we had the bickering thing down early on in the last series!

Thank you again for a character like Zayne Carrick. Nice to have someone with the heart of a Jedi through it all.

JJM: Thanks. Ironic thing is that he is NOT a Jedi officially, which is how he gets drafted. Zayne’s luck is pretty rotten like that — but it is also regular, which we explained in the last series so he knows to plan for trouble now!

How long after the original series is war set? And will there be an expansion on his relationship with Jarael?

JJM: We’ve said “just a few weeks” after the end of KOTOR #50. 3963 began in KOTOR #8 on the day of the Mandalorian invasion of the Republic. #50 was the 1 year anniversary of Zayne/Jarael meeting and our series opens on first day of 3962. So the amount of time between #3 and #7 is between #50 and War. So we’re looking at a few weeks — no more than two months for sure. Enough time for Zayne to have a breather. And Jarael is in the picture, although we find out what happened to other characters as we go along.

Do you feel you have an opportunity with Zayne to make Jedi more dynamic? As opposed to just Jedi-good Sith-bad?

JJM: Zayne is really his own person. He doesn’t think the Jedi are always right; he has experience that shows otherwise. In many ways, not being part of the order and its politics allows Zayne the freedom to keep to their tenets better. In a way, Zayne fits the tradition of “Knight Errant” more closely than Kerra Holt, star of my series of that name. And KOTOR War delves a lot into the relationship between the Jedi Order and the Republic. Revan led Jedi to war but is that the right decision? Especially when Mandalorians aren’t evil (tho some leaders could use a talking to), so, yes, the series will get more into questions about how the Jedi and Republic relate.

How do you write the script? Do you comment every action of any character on a page? How do you arrange story strictly in a 22 pages?

JJM: Yes, Star Wars comics are written full script style. I say most of what is on the page, but artists add ideas. As to 22-page stories, it is a matter of just pacing. Having done a hundred-plus of these, you get used to it. Not sure how many comics I have done, but they’re all here, with notes on each farawaypress.com/comics.html

Any plans for another Vector style series that ties together Dark Horse Star Wars stories? I discovered KOTOR through Vector.

JJM: Vector was fun. No plans that I know of for something sweeping like that again — it was years in the making.

Any chance you will write any more KOTOR or Knight Errant prose fiction?

JJM: Sure, I would very much like to write more prose for Knight Errant and KOTOR. Let Del Rey know! :) And there is a Lost Tribe of the Sith print edition coming this summer with a new novella from me. Not sure when the order page is going up, but find the other Lost Tribe stories free! amzn.to/jjmiller. Should also note for prose fans I have a short story in the new Armored anthology from Baen amazon.com/gp/product/145 my first “armored” story (not counting Mandalorians) since the Iron Man days.

When the word “war” comes into play things seem to get darker. Will the new mini be less fun and more serious?

JJM: The new series starts pretty dark because it’s a war zone. But when Zayne is involved, things have a way of changing. I think people will find that this story takes some twists and turns they were not expecting. That’s a good thing!

JJM: And before I forget, the last issue of my Mass Effect Invasion series goes on sale from Dark Horse Comics next week.

JJM: You can also see a preview of KOTOR: War #1, on sale tomorrow, here bit.ly/waBeb4

How should I build the story to make it more interesting and exciting? What plot tricks are needed for this?

JJM: Just put yourself in the position of a reader — what would surprise you? Then work it into your writing.

JJM: That’s it for the #KOTORWarChat, folks — thanks for dropping by. Issue #1 hits stands tomorrow.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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