This weekend at Baltimore Comic Con, I was lucky enough to chat for a few minutes with the awesome Charles Soule. You may know him as the writer who’s also a lawyer who wrote a fantastic run on She-Hulk last year (amongst other things) but Star Wars fans currently know him as the guy who’s writing the rad Lando limited series for Marvel. We sat down and talked all things Star Wars and about his great work with Alex Maleev on the Lando book.
Bria: So the first question we always ask everyone is how did you become a Star Wars fan?
Charles Soule: Oh man, I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was a little kid. I went to see the movies with my family. I must’ve seen a release of A New Hope at some point because I would’ve been a baby.
The ’96 ones?
No, it would’ve been before that. I don’t know—they kept rereleasing them for the first ten years or so and I must’ve seen it at that point but I remember very distinctly seeing the AT-ATs come out of the fog in Empire Strikes Back and all the Cloud City stuff which was so amazing. I had all the toys and stuff like that. So I was a fan from pretty young and my whole family was pretty into it so it was something that I could share with my brothers and sister and it was great.
Do you have a favorite one of the original films or any of the movies really. I’m not a Prequel hater.
I like them for different reasons. I think there are moments in Jedi that are super great. I love all the beginning stuff. I think that as a grown-up Star Wars fan that it’s probably Empire like many people would say but they all have—even the Prequels—they all have cool things about them.
What about a favorite character?
It’s hard to not say Luke. Luke was the kid I identified with growing up and I think he’s great. But also, you know, as I’ve gotten older I’ve become much more… I don’t know if sympathetic is the right word but almost more understanding of Palpatine and his point of view.
And I think it all started when I graduated from law school actually. All the sudden, Palpatine started to become much more sympathetic to me. I kinda got it.
So you’re on board with Palpatine’s plan then.
Yeah yeah, you know he sort of understood the system and how it worked.
Interesting. This is actually very fascinating because there’s a Star Wars blogger out there who’s known for being very pro-Empire and agreeing with Palpatine so he’ll be very interested to listen to this. Actually, have you ever heard of a book called Darth Plagueis?
Have you read it?
I have not read it although I found Darth Plagueis and all of that backstory very fascinating and I probably should read it at some point.
I think you would like it if you’re a Palpatine fan. So moving to the Marvel series you’ve been doing. Did you go to Marvel and say “Hey can I write Star Wars?” or did they come to you? Did they say “Okay we get that you want to write Star Wars—”
I went to George Lucas’s house—
Did that go well for you?
Of course it did. I’m writing all these Star Wars books now! No, they approached me which was wonderful. Jordan White is the editor at Marvel who handles the Star Wars line. He is awesome. I know for a fact that when he was announced as the guy, he got emails and phone calls from everyone in the business saying “Please please let me do a book.” I’ve known Jordan for a while and I’ve done work for him and I just was lucky, what can I say? I was really happy to get the phone call.
You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to but was Lando your top choice for getting to do one of these mini-series or if you’d gotten to pick someone else…
No, Lando was—in the discussions we were having, it was really like “Who do you want to do?” and Lando was absolutely– There were two people that I wanted to write about and can you guess who the other one was based on this discussion?
That explains the end of Lando #1.
Lando was someone I knew had a good take on and so I was excited to write the book. You know if you can already sort of think of scenarios and lines for the person or the character in your head that you’re probably going to be okay and I feel pretty good about it.
The end of #1 was brilliant! I loved it when you just see the reveal and it’s like—Palpatine! Oh shit!
Yeah, yeah… it’s not going to go well for Mr. Calrissian.
I don’t think it’s already going well for him.
Yeah, that’s true.
Speaking of which, who has worse luck: Lando or Han?
Oh I think Lando for sure. You look at what happens to Lando. I guess they both kind of have some bad times…
Frozen in carbonite… lost Cloud City…
Yeah but you know, Han gets the girl in the end.
Yeah… or does he though?
I guess we don’t know. We’ll find out soon though, right?
Yeah, in one of the Journey to the Force Awakens books, they refer to Leia as General Organa.
Yeah… I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out, huh? Very interesting.
So my big question has to do with Aleksin and Pavol. Mostly… what are they? Who are they? Who are they to each other? I mean, I know there’s a line about ‘Are they clones? Are they brothers? Who knows?’
They are people. They are of the same species. They are very good at fighting, as we’ve seen.
Is there a species name for them? I’ve kinda just been calling them cat people and Heather Antos said she preferred panthers.
I like to call them puma people but their species isn’t named as far as I know. I mean, I haven’t named it and I would probably be the guy who would name it since I made them up.
So it was something that you and Alex Maleev worked on—
Yes. I knew I wanted them to be sweet puma people and he really nailed it. But the specifics of what they are to each other… we know that they want—I don’t know how far you’re… you’re caught up?
Yes, I’m caught up.
So we know that at some point they were on this mission to have a child—to clone a new child but why they needed to clone a child as opposed to having a child, like all that stuff? You can fill in the blanks yourself. They have a complicated relationship.
I was hoping I was going to get an answer on that one because right now actually there’ve been a lot of moves towards diversity in Star Wars. They’re up to six characters now that are identified as LGBT and we’re wondering if these are seven and eight.
Listen… I think that that is a totally valid interpretation of their relationship.
All right that’s fair enough. I’ve been seeing a parallel between Han and Chewie and their relationship and Lando and Lobot where we can actually understand what Lobot’s saying as opposed to the growls we get from Chewie. Was that deliberate comparison or—I don’t want to say a parallel—
Personally, I’ve always thought that Lobot was fascinating and weird and a character that I wanted to see more of. But I also wanted to give Lando—one of the great things about characters with big, huge, outlandish personalities like Lando and Han Solo—you give them someone to bounce off of… maybe a little more subdued, has a different point of view about the crazy stuff they’re getting in to… you can make a lot of things happen there character-wise. So Lobot seemed like he’d be a really cool character to do that with especially because we don’t know anything about him, right? We don’t know that much about Lando but we know a lot less about Lobot. I figured there could be kind of a cool character arc as you are seeing with Lobot. Stuff’s going with him.
I’m very glad he makes it out alive. That’s one nice thing to know.
Yep, absolutely. We’ll revisit this after issue 5 comes out in a couple of weeks. I’m really happy with the ending. I think there will be some people who won’t be happy with the ending but hey! It’s what I pitched. I really like it. We’ll see how it goes.
It’s comics and Star Wars. There’s always someone not happy about something.
Oh yes, absolutely.
One more questions because Chanath Cha… I had a feeling when you first introduced her that she was going to be a woman. I had this gut feeling and then of course the reveal happened in #4. What did she do to basically be on the Emperor’s speed dial? I imagine that’s a very hard spot to get on to.
That’s another story I’d love to tell but I’m not going to tell it now. My hope is that some of these characters—they all have cool back stories like Sava Korin Pers has a very cool backstory and they’re all real people, so to speak. If I ever have the chance to tell the stories, I would love to but if not, the idea that you’re interested in her or in any of these people means that I’ve done my job.
I’m definitely interested. Anything coming out soon that you’d like to mention?
Oh man, there’s lots of stuff. I’m going to be writing Daredevil soon. I’m excited about more Inhumans stuff for Marvel. My creator owned series, Letter 44, is a blast if people aren’t reading it. And maybe more Star Wars—who knows?
Thank you again to Charles Soule for taking the time to talk with us! I look forward to catching up with him again at NYCC next week after Lando #5 is out.