Inside ‘Annihilation’ with Drew Karpyshyn

November 13, 2012 at 12:05 am | Posted in Interview, Star Wars Books, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 2 Comments
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It was awesome to get to talk with author Drew Karpyshyn at Star Wars Celebration VI, but once I was able to read The Old Republic: Annihilation, I had a few more questions just yearning to be asked. Below you’ll find some slightly spoilery questions and answers as we dig deeper into Annihilation.

The beginning of The Old Republic: Annihilation floored me. Honestly, it’s one of the best introductions I’ve ever read in a Star Wars novel, right up there with James Luceno’s powerful prose in the intro of Darth Plagueis. Where did the idea of focusing on a Jedi pregnancy come from? It was such a poignant and thought provoking setup.

Drew Karpyshyn: The birth of the main character seemed like a logical place to start, given the odd circumstances surrounding it. Actually, we were a bit concerned that the opening scene might feel a bit slow – there isn’t any real “action” in it. We thought about showing it in a flashback, but I felt it really showed the inner struggle of Satele, and helped give readers a sense of who she was, so we decided to keep it as an opening.

You set Darth Karrid up as a tactical genius. How would she fair against someone like Thrawn? Both are certainly intelligent and make good use of their toys.

I’m always leery of answering the “who beats who” type of questions. First, it’s not really up to me to make that kind of call. Second, it really depends on the situation. You can probably find rule books for various Star Wars role-playing games that will give you stats allowing you to compare relative strength of various novel characters. But from an artistic and dramatic standpoint, this kind of question has no “right” answer. Each character has strengths and weaknesses, and they grow and change as their stories progress. On any given day, at any given time, under any given circumstance anyone can win or lose. That’s what dramatic conflict is all about. Let’s just say it would be a hell of a battle.

Annihilation included several really cool space battles. Did you have to do any extra research to write those scenes?

I did have to dig a little deeper into the available vessels, and make sure I described them in a way that let readers get a feel for what was going on. Thankfully, wookieepedia is a great resource.

You do some big things with Jace Malcom in the book. Were those your ideas or was some of those details already mapped out from the game material?

A lot of Jace’s background and history comes from the character background we had at BioWare, and a lot of it comes from assumptions and leaps I made based on what we already knew about the character. I like to take small facts and bits that we know, then extrapolate them into something more involved. As long as I don’t contradict any existing canon when I run with it, my editors are usually okay with it.

Having a non-Force sensitive character battle with the dark side was very unique. At what point in the writing process did that idea form? Where did you see yourself going with it?

A great thing about Star Wars is that the light and dark side morality can easily be applied to anyone, not just Sith and Jedi. It’s a handy moral compass we can use to judge the actions of others, though I often like to make things a bit muddy. I’m always interested in people who do the wrong thing for the right reason – does that make them light or dark? Or somewhere in between? Whatever the answer, I think it’s worth exploring.

The final scenes in the book were great and also included some surprise humor. Where did you get the idea to have the two main characters be nearly naked at the end of the book?

Actually, it just sort of happened as the events unfolded. It wasn’t intentional on my part, but once I realized it was there I decided to run with it. Symbolically, stripping away disguises and uniforms leaves the characters exposed and vulnerable; anything they do feels more raw and visceral in that context. But it’s also the kind of thing that would look a bit odd, so I felt it needed to be addressed in a more light hearted way.

And finally, what are your thoughts on the Disney announcement and Star Wars Episode VII?

I’m basically in the same boat as every other Star Wars fan out there. I’m excited about the idea of more movies, but I don’t know any details about how or when… or what (if any) impact it could have on things like novels, games and other products.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.


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  1. i shall wait to download the nook book of SWTOR: ANNIHILATION before i finish the rest of the STAR WARS books and other non-star wars books too.i must have patience.

  2. […] to like the book, as did EU Cantina (interview), Fangirl Blog (interview) and Roqoo Depot (interview).  (In case you couldn’t figure it out, click on the name of the site to see the review, and […]

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