THE ACCLAIMED WRITER DISCUSSES ENDING A MODERN CLASSIC AND MUCH MORE.
In the final installment of StarWars.com’s Darth Vader wrap-up interview with writer Kieron Gillen, we discuss the inspiration for Doctor Aphra, Vader and Palpatine’s tense dynamic, and the comic becoming one with the Force at the right time. (In case you missed it, check out part one of the interview here.)
StarWars.com: So, Darth Vader, the series, has brought a number of characters into the Star Wars universe that have left an unforgettable mark. Perhaps no character has had as much of an impact as Dr. Aphra. Although I’m sure Triple-Zero would probably disagree with that.
Kieron Gillen: [Laughs]
StarWars.com: So, what was the inspiration for Aphra, and what does she mean to you as a character? She’s popular; I mean, people love her.
Kieron Gillen: She’s great. I mean, this is sort of tricky because actually, I’m not going to say whether she survives or not. It’s one of those things where, she’s kind of the heart of the book, and like, I should say that Vader isn’t going to die.
You know, that’s the thing: what the tension of the book is, is anyone around Vader going to survive? And by having a character kind of likable, that’s kind of the thing. The emotional backbone for a lot of the book is, is Vader gonna kill Aphra? Because Aphra knows Vader is going to kill her. And Vader knows that Aphra knows he’s going to kill her. [Laughs] So you get all of the politics back and forth.
StarWars.com: And there’s pathos because of that.
Kieron Gillen: Oh yeah, absolutely. And it’s the final scene; the final confrontation between Vader and Aphra in issue #25 is one of my highlights of the run. You know, it’s kind of all built towards this final scene, and I think it’s quite powerful.
[As far as] where did the idea come from? I was trying to make the idea of how to make something feel like Star Wars. And at least part of it was, I wanted to… Okay, I’m going to take Vader. Vader’s basically our Luke. I need to surround him with a cast, so I kind of end up almost mirroring the main Star Wars cast. Aphra ends up taking sort of [a] Han-ish position. And obviously, the droids are the droids, and Black Krrsantan is Chewbacca. And, you know, Trios is Leia.
But at the same time, I was also thinking, they can’t just be mirrors. They’ve got to be archetypes. And the thing about Star Wars is, the characters better be broad and direct. Leia is a certain princess archetype, and Luke is a farm boy turned Jedi Knight. These are kind of quite the ideas you get, you know, and Han most of all. He’s the smuggler, scoundrel guy. And soon, you kind of hit a certain kind of character type, and make them feel big enough.
We met Lucasfilm for the first time. They were showing us around the building, and I just passed one of the Indiana Jones bits. I found myself thinking, “You know, Indiana Jones would be an archetype who’d work. It’s a very old universe. It’s got the old stuff there.” You know, gender switched Indiana Jones, but evil, with all that kind of charm of Indiana Jones, but completely different, ethical means. That could work. And also, there’s kind of a fun-ness to doing another character inspired by another Lucas property.
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