Beginning in December, the creative team behind "Legacy," writer John Ostrander and co-plotter and artist Jan Duursema, return to the galaxy far, far way to finish what they started with the all-new six-issue miniseries, "Legacy - War."
In the story, set 133 years after Luke Skywalker helped crush the Empire, Sith Emperor Darth Krayt - long believed to be dead after a confrontation with Luke's last living descendant Cade Skywalker - has returned from his deathlike stasis sleep, reuniting and reinvigorating his legion of Sith minions just as his enemies are preparing to move against his empire. The battle lines have been drawn with the Jedi, the Galactic Alliance, Emperor-in-exile Roan Fel's forces and the aforementioned Jedi-turned-bounty-hunter Cade Skywalker on one side, and the Sith Empire on the other.
CBR News spoke with Ostrander and Duursema about the final chapter in the epic story the two having been telling for the last five years and the long-time creative partners shared details about what it's like to come back from the dead in the Star Wars universe and why a character as evil as Darth Krayt is so well loved by his fans.
CBR News: "Star Wars: Legacy - War" not only lets you return to era of the Star Wars universe that you are both deeply connected with, it allows you to write and draw one of the all-time big bads, Darth Krayt. Why do you think readers responded to "Legacy" so positively in the first place, and specifically, why the love for Krayt?
John Ostrander: For the first time in a long time, Star Wars fans don't know how the story will end. We don't have the Big Three - Luke, Leia, Han - so there's nothing preordained. There was no guarantee of who is going to survive. And I'd point out that not everyone at the start of "Legacy" was in love with the idea. Some still aren't. I think, however, that we're proven ourselves. As for Krayt - it's his look, it's his background, it's that he's a badass. He defies death and comes back for more. He created the One Sith, a new version/vision of the Sith. And he's willing to burn down the galaxy to achieve his vision. It's not only about power; it's what you do with that power. Krayt has a very clear vision of what he wants to do.
Jan Duursema: When "Legacy" was first announced, a lot of eventual readers were skeptical about the era and about the characters. Overwhelmingly, that skepticism soon turned to a really positive vibe. Krayt is classic Star Wars: once noble Jedi Knight gone to the dark side and that makes him interesting. He's bad to the core of his being, one of the darkest Sith ever to rule the galaxy and that's fun too, but it's his past as a Jedi during the Clone Wars that makes him fascinating. After the Clone Wars, he found his way in the galaxy as a bounty hunter and that led him to discover the tomb of XoXann on Korriban. It was there that he was shown the path to the dark side - a path he would not truly embrace until after he was captured and experimented upon by the Yuuzhan Vong. Now, not only does he want to rule the galaxy, he considers the galaxy too chaotic to survive in its present state. He wants to remake the galaxy to his own vision of how it should be.
For new readers that may not know Krayt - he's been out of commission of late, to say the least - can you update folks on where he's been and how he returned to a galaxy far, far away?
Ostrander: Krayt fell into a trap that Cade Skywalker arranged. He got skewered with lightsabers, fried with Force lightning, tossed off a cliff and then fried again with Force lightning by his supposed top aide, Darth Wyyrlok. But he had just learned secrets from the ancient Sith lord, Karness Muur, that enabled him to see connections to the dark side of the Force and use them. He used that connection to keep a spark of his life force alive while Wyyrlok put him in stasis. Wyyrlok, among a few others, believed Krayt was dead. Wyyrlok was trying to secure his own place within the One Sith, aiming at being the new leader, while "pretending" Krayt was alive. While in stasis, Krayt used the dark side to heal his body until he was ready to re-emerge. One of his most devoted Sith, Darth Talon, was nearby, keeping vigil, when she sensed Krayt summoning her. She released him from stasis and kept him hidden while feigning any knowledge of what had happened to Krayt's body.
Duursema: Exactly. Krayt has been a pawn of Wyyrlok's own ambition since the end of "Vector." It wasn't enough that Cade, the Jedi and the Imperial Knights took him down and Karness Muur tossed him off a cliff, Darth Wyyrlok, his trusted adviser and bodyguard was waiting to finish him off. Wyyrlok thought he had killed Krayt and would have been better off admitting his deed and entombing the Sith Lord, but Wyyrlok made one terrible mistake. Instead of declaring Krayt dead, he told the Sith that their Master was injured in the battle and placed his body into stasis, effectively taking his place as ruler until Darth Krayt could "recover." Now that Darth Krayt is awake and seemingly healed of the Yuuzhan Vong disease that afflicted him, he's pretty angry at his former adviser, so expect a showdown.
That was my next question. I can only imagine what death would do to someone as bad to the bone as Krayt. No doubt he's angry, but is he actually feeling quite clever too, having mastered the whole resurrection thing?
Ostrander: I think it made him a little crazier and thus a little more dangerous. He believes he has conquered death and thus believes he cannot die again. He still has a vision for the galaxy but it's a little more extreme. The only way anyone can truly share his vision is to go through what he has - to die.
Duursema: And Krayt's none too pleased with Darth Wyyrlok, to be sure. The Chagrian Sith lord was his closest and most trusted adviser until, believing he understood Krayt's vision better than the dark lord himself, Wyyrlok decided Krayt should be removed from power. "Legacy - War" will fill readers in on what really happened to Krayt at the end of "Vector." I'd say that Krayt understands his power better than he ever has before and he is intent on exacting revenge for Wyyrlok's transgressions.
In terms of continuity, where does "Legacy - War" begin? Is this set minutes, days, months, even years after "Legacy" #50?
Ostrander: Let's say it starts about a month or so after the end of #50.
Duursema: There needed to be time for certain events to happen that will bring us to the brink of war. First, the galaxy has to learn that Krayt is back.
Who is the war between? Krayt is obviously on one side, but who is he up against? Or better yet, who isn't he up against? The solicitation teases Emperor Roan Fel's Imperials, the Galactic Alliance and the Jedi, but are these factions joining forces against Krayt or is he facing challenges from multiple camps?
Ostrander: Well, Krayt and Wyyrlok aren't best buddies any more. So there's that issue to deal with. There's also an alliance between Gar Stazi's Galactic Remnant, Roan Fel's Bastion Imperial Forces, and the Hidden Temple of the Jedi. Plus, some other interested parties like the Hutts. And there are always those loose cannons on the Mynock - Cade, Blue, and Syn. However, some of the members of the alliance have their own private agendas that may not sit well with their partners. And Krayt, of course, has this new secret army of Sith Troopers. There are shatterpoints with them all and we'll see who exploits them best.
You mentioned Cade Skywalker - how big a role does he play in "Legacy - War"?
Ostrander: As usual, our boy Cade is in the thick of it. He has his own goal: to put down Krayt, once and for all. He's had a vision from the Force of he and Krayt in battle - but he has no sense of what becomes of himself afterwards. Does he win? Does he lose? Does he live? Does he die? Is he turned to the dark side? He accepts that this battle is his destiny, but he has no idea what the outcome will be. The reader shouldn't, either. This is the last of "Legacy," Cade doesn't have to survive the ending.
Duursema: In "Legacy" #50 Cade has a vision of Darth Krayt - alive - and in a battle with Cade. But the vision ends in emptiness and he sees nothing after it. Cade has taken that feeling as a sign that he may not survive his confrontation with Krayt. He no longer wants the galaxy to just leave him alone. Now, he wants to be a Sith hunter, a one man wrecking crew taking down the Sith Order one at a time until he can work his way up to the big boss. He's not interested in long term survival. He has his eye on his goal: Darth Krayt. And that makes him even more reckless than usual. He'll find his way to Krayt at any cost. And, of course, that puts him at odds with everyone else.
Emperor Roan Fel is an interesting character, to say the least, because in the Dark Horse comic universe, his origins have never been fully explained. Can you shed some more light on him? Is he a descendant of Jagged Fel and Jaina Solo?
Ostrander: We've said that Roan is a descendant of Jagged Fel but haven't said that Jaina was also his ancestor. That's for the novels to determine, in my opinion. Actually, we know quite a bit about Roan that is relevant. He was not in favor of the Sith-Imperial War. He himself is an Imperial Knight. He withheld the other Imperial Knights from fighting in the Sith-Imperial War. He has a very ruthless side; he has been willing to risk or sacrifice his own daughter if he felt the needs of the Empire dictated it. Most importantly, his throne was ripped from him by Darth Krayt and he intends to get it back - by whatever means necessary. As for his origins - all you really need to know about Roan is in the stories.
What else can you share about the series in terms of its overall story? And Jan, maybe you can speak specifically to it's look and feel, perhaps in comparison to "Legacy."
Ostrander: It's intense. This is war, and folks die in war. Major plotlines that we've been developing throughout the series come to a climax and get resolved, a lot happens in every issue and it's all intended to build.
Duursema: I'm seeing "Legacy - War" as a darker version of "Legacy." The galaxy is in great upheaval, whatever was corrupted by the Sith being in power is corrupted a hundred times more. Visually, I want to present places like Coruscant as having been influenced by this dark side corruption, a tarnished jewel at the center of galactic power. It feels more like Korriban now than Coruscant. The entire galaxy has become a dark and wary place like every being is holding their breath to see what will happen next. Events like the poisoning of Dac, the destruction on the Hutt worlds, is making the rest of the galaxy take note. The Sith were a presence, but one wrapped in Imperial trappings. Now the Sith are the Empire and even the Imperials who brought them in are questioning the wisdom of their alliance.
Which other characters from "Legacy" will be featured in "Legacy - War"? Do you have some favorites that you love writing or drawing?
Ostrander: Oh, there's so many. How do you pick favorites from among your children? Lots of the characters have major parts in this story. Cade's uncle, Bantha Rawk, is in the story big time. Nyna Calixte - you won't believe what happens with her. The Imperials - both those on Coruscant and the ones with Roan Fel on Bastion - have major roles to play, especially His Imperial Majesty. And that's not mentioning the Imperial Knights. And I haven't gotten into the bad guys. Of course, everyone is waiting to see what happens with Darth Wyyrlok and Darth Krayt but wait until you see Darth Maladi. What's important is not just that these characters appear but they are all essential to the story we're telling.
Duursema: Like John said, "Legacy - War" features so many characters from "Legacy." The Imperial Knights, the Jedi, Bantha Rawk, Gunner and Moff Yage, Blue, Syn, Nyna Calixte, Darth Talon, Nihl, Stryfe, Skull Squadrom, Rogue Squadron, Joker Squadron, Gar Stazi...
As far as characters go, it's tough to choose favorites. There is something to love about every last one of them. Every time I think that one of them is the most fun, another character surprises me with a look, turn of emotion or interaction that makes me enjoy all of them all the more. I think the best characters are the ones with dimension, the ones that surprise you when you are drawing them and the "Legacy" cast has been full of surprises.
I understand that R2-D2 will play a part in this story. Can you share any details about his role in "Legacy - War"? And will any other classic characters make appearances because this is obviously an excellent gateway for new readers only familiar with the franchise through the movies?
Ostrander: As I said above, none of the characters we're using are there gratuitously. They all have a purpose in driving the overall story that we're telling. Artoo has made a place for himself in Legacy; if any other characters from the past appear it will be because they have a place in this story.
Duursema: Letting Artoo loose on the Mynock crew is always fun. He and Cade have a definite relationship--Cade barely tolerates Artoo and Artoo laughs at Cade. I'm pretty sure that Artoo likes Deliah Blue much better than he does Cade.
"Legacy" is arguably one of the most popular series Dark Horse has ever released within the Star Wars universe. Is it your hope "Legacy - War" will generate enough interest to warrant future stories set within this era? Or is this the end of Darth Krayt and Cade Skywalker?
Ostrander: There are no plans for any more "Legacy" beyond this series, and I can't guarantee there will be a whole lot of the cast of characters left with which to continue. Fans should treat this as the climax to the story we've been weaving for four or five years. Then Jan and I go off to a new Star Wars project. We'll tell you all about it... eventually.
Duursema: By the end of "Legacy - War," a lot of things will have happened that will shake the "Legacy" galaxy to its core. Can't say if it will be the end of Cade Skywalker and Darth Krayt; I guess it all depends on what lies beyond Cade's vision. But the GFFA is a huge place with millions of stories to tell. I would love to be a part of any future stories set in the "Legacy" era, so, yes, I definitely hope that enough interest will be generated that could lead to new adventures there.
"Star Wars: Legacy War" #1 (of 6) goes on sale December 15.