John Ostrander is no stranger to the Star Wars Universe, having written dozens of original series and creating many original characters for Dark Horse Comic’s line of Star Wars books. Now Mr. Ostrander talks to me about his upcoming mini series Star Wars: Agent Of The Empire, the inspiration behind new protagonist Jahan Cross, and why he included Han Solo & Chewbacca….
I have already had the pleasure of reading John Ostrander’s latest adventure Star Wars: Agent Of The Empire, which tells the story of Jahan Cross, an agent known to go undercover to route out internal problems with The Empire and its workers, and let me tell you it is a must read when it hits shelves December 14th.
A: I’ve actually been writing Star Wars comics for over ten years now. Along with my artist, Jan Duursema, we created the Jedi Aayla Secure who was seen in two of the SW movies and the Clone Wars cartoon as well as Quinlan Vos, who also appeared in the Clone Wars cartoon. We also created STAR WARS LEGACY and will be working together on STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI which will be out in February of 2012.
I’ve created a lot of characters in the SW galaxy over the years and, generally speaking, it’s easier to control them than other characters who have detailed backgrounds and hooks into continuity. Also, in creating a new character, the reader has no idea of what their destiny is and that piques interest.
That’s not to say I don’t love the established characters; I do and I hope to use a lot of them in AGENT OF THE EMPIRE. There will be familiar faces. But using a new character, especially an Imperial spy, gives me a chance to view the Star Wars galaxy with a different perspective and that, hopefully, will feel fresh and interesting to the reader.
Q: Jahan Cross is bit of a bad ass, even considered by the folks at Dark Horse to be the James Bond of Star Wars; was 007 any inspiration behind Jahan Cross?
A: Absolutely but not exclusively. I’ve read (and written) a lot of espionage based material over the years and I’m also pulling from such material as the Bourne movies, Secret Agent, and John LeCarre novels as well.
Q: What made you choose this career field for the character, and why choose the side of the Empire?
A: It’s a fresh way of looking at the established material. As I said, I really enjoy espionage stories. I also like genre mash-ups; my character, GRIMJACK, which I created started as a mash-up between hard-boiled private eye stories and science fantasy and sword and sorcery. I refer to these as narrative alloys. What was surprising to me was how well espionage and Star Wars melded together, especially James Bond movies. As for choosing the Empire, it just seemed to me that if you’re going to do James Bond in SW, then it really needs to be on the Imperial side and unapologetically so. Think of all the Imperial bad guys who have British accents in the movies.
Q: What made you include Han & Chewy as supporting characters/allies for Cross?
A: Given the location of the majority of the story (the Corporate Sector) and the time frame (about three years before A NEW HOPE), they were there and available in the continuity. And they serve a specific function in the story. They’re not the center but they’re major supporting characters. And – hey, it’s Han, Chewie and the Falcon. How could I NOT use them?
Q: Can you tell us a little bit of what is to come with the rest of Agent Of The Empire?
A: It’s designed to be a continuing series of miniseries. Each arc will be complete in itself, but the next arc will move the overall story along as well. The first arc, which is five issues long, is called IRON ECLIPSE and that has meaning within the story. We’ll make use of continuity but everything you need to know about the characters will be IN the story. We have a LOT of action, a great villain, exotic locales. And a very cool central character. And great art. It’s going to be fun.
The name’s Cross. Jahan Cross. Move over, James Bond; there’s a new secret agent in the galaxy, and he has the weight of the Empire behind him!
Cross’s mission takes him and his assistant IN-GA 44 to the affluent Corporate Sector. There, on the trail of stolen droid technology, they will rub elbows with diplomats and desperadoes, captains of industry and sergeants of the local police–and rub most of them the wrong way!
Writer: John Ostrander
Penciller: Stephane Roux
Inker: Julien Hugonnard-Bert
Cover Artist: Stephane Roux
Publication Date: December 14, 2011
Format: FC, 40 pages