Award-winning Australian writer Tom Taylor is a busy man these days. He's writing not one but two Star Wars series for Dark Horse Comics and he'll also go down as the last person to write "The Authority," at least under the WildStorm banner.
"Invasion: Rescues" is the follow-up to his popular Star Wars debut, "Invasion." The fourth issue of the five-part series is in stores this week. But today CBR News is speaking with Taylor about "Blood Ties," the multigenerational tale of honor and redemption, starring the coolest father and clone team the galaxy far, far away has ever known: Jango and Boba Fett.
"Blood Ties" #2, featuring fully painted art by "Purge" artist Chris Scalf, is in stores this week, and if you missed the first one, shortly before the start of the Clone Wars, Count Dooku sent Jango Fett on a mission that has repercussions on Boba Fett's life some twenty years later.
We won't spoil the last page in case you're picking it up, but when Jango unmasks his bounty, the man looking back looks very familiar. (NOTE: This climatic scene is discussed and spoiled in the interview that follows.)
Taylor told CBR News about how excited he was to write Star Wars' intergalactic man of mystery and what's ahead for the Fett family. He also brought along his new BFF, Daniel Logan, the actor who played young Boba Fett in "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones." How did the two meet? Patience, young Padawan. Read on.
CBR News: How did this project come about? After writing "Invasion," did you beg Dark Horse to let you play with some of the best toys in the Star Wars sandbox or did Dark Horse approach you about a series showcasing Jango and Boba Fett?
Tom Taylor: Head "Star Wars" editor and amateur adventurer Randy Stradley asked me whether I was interested in writing a Star Wars one-shot or a two-shot on top of my "Star Wars: Invasion" series. I, of course, said, "Hell, yes."
He told me he had an idea for the characters and I also had an idea. Randy didn't want to tell me his idea in case it influenced something else I had in mind. I, of course, was instantly intrigued by what Randy was holding back. It turned into one of those, "You go first." "No, you go first", moments. One of us probably giggled - I doubt it was Randy. We both went, and we both said, "Fett."
Randy suggested a two-shot with Jango in #1 and Boba Fett in #2, but he wasn't sure how it would tie together. I knew how it would tie together almost instantly. I jumped up and down with excitement - I do this, I'm a bit sad - and began writing. By the time I'd finished writing the first pass at an outline, just half an hour after Randy asked the question, it was a four-issue-mini.
I sent it to Randy. He simply said, "I love it." Randy isn't quick to give his heart. This was a good response.
Chris Scalf and I are having a great time working together, and a second "Blood Ties" miniseries has already been announced, which will see Chris and I again telling tales of Star Wars characters with familial ties.
Are you a long-time fan of Boba Fett? In all fairness, he was actually only on screen for maybe 10 minutes during the original trilogy. What is it, then, about the character that you think resonates with fans to this day?
Taylor: The themes of the original Star Wars movies are deliberately very simple. Jedi and Sith, peace and war, light and dark. Then, this guy shows up in the movies who isn't black or white - he's green, his bad-ass helmet and suit of armor are covered in the scars of battle and he's wearing a jetpack.
Unlike the strong characterization of other characters in the movies, Boba Fett stays a mysterious, menacing, bounty hunter. He's instantly intriguing and he isn't good or evil; he's just a mercenary on the darker side of ambiguous.
He's definitely a man of mystery. Is it a heavy task to have the responsibility of fleshing out his origins? And in terms of developing the character, how much did you have to run by Lucasfilm? Did they make any major changes to what you had planned?
Taylor: Developing characters is sometimes the easy way out. The problem with writing the Fetts is you almost don't want to develop their characters. If you show too much information, if you justify their actions too much, if you explain their motives or show their emotions, they lose that mystery and quiet menace that make them such good characters in the first place.
The key to this story was finding a way to rock these men who are known for being cold and unfeeling. We had to find an event where unflappable men could be...flapped.
While everything I write goes through Lucasfilm, they're great to work with. The only time Sue Rostoni or Leland Chee will need major changes is if there really is a problem that I've completely missed. They're the people who'll pick up on it if something I'm writing can't happen because of X, or if that person can't be standing there fighting that Yuuzhan Vong because he's on the other side of the Galaxy being slowly digested by the Sarlacc Pit.
In "Blood Ties," you're obviously exploring Boba Fett and his relationship with his "father," Jango Fett. What more can you tell us about the story you're going to tell?
Taylor: Considering the lack of screen time these two important men had, I really wanted to give them more time together. That said, there isn't a lot more to come, for reasons that will become apparent in the next issue. Boba Fett is forced to grow up very fast and very angry and without the only man he loves. When he learns that his father has left a legacy for someone he's never heard of, he wants to find out why, and no one will stand in his way.
In this first issue, you introduced the Balyeg and then called it, "the most terrifying thing in the galaxy." Don't you think you'll get some arguments from fans of let's say, the Colo claw fish, the miner's horror or the bull rancor?
Taylor: Ha! Yeah, I have to say that thing in the "The Force Unleashed" 2 trailer is about the biggest, nastiest thing I've ever seen in Star Wars. That said, I didn't call the Balyeg "the most terrifying thing in the galaxy." Jango Fett did. You can take it up with him. Go on, give him a hard time about it. I'm sure there's a really good chance he will take your argument very well, and won't just shoot you in the knees.
The terrific "Twilight Zone" inspired twist at the end of the last issue revealed that Jango is out to kill one of his own clones. Obviously, later issues will show how this affects him but can you tease us a little about how he's going to react?
Taylor: This is a huge shock for Jango. He has just come face-to-face with the man he has been sent to kill, and in a way, it's himself. Will he follow through with the assassination? Whatever happens, rest assured, it is far from the end of the story. There is another big shock in store.
I want to talk about young Boba Fett, too. How can you best describe this character? Is he the best of Jango Fett? The worst? Or is he a true, down and dirty, 100 per cent replicant of his dear old dad?
Taylor: Apart from his pay, which is considerable, Fett demanded only one thing: an unaltered clone for himself. Curious, isn't it? Pure genetic replication. No tampering with the structure to make it more docile, no behavior modification and no growth acceleration.
To me it's clear that Jango Fett wanted a son. He wanted an heir and he wanted a man that he could mould in his own image. That's an image that most reasonable sentients would have a problem with. Even Lord Tyranus tries to have young Boba not be present when he gives Jango his mission, Jango refuses to send Boba away and Tyranus answers, "Very well, far be it from me to offer parenting advice to an assassin." I imagine at this stage, Jango would say that Boba is on the way to being the best of him. Others would be calling social services.
You have become friends with Daniel Logan, the actor who played young Boba in "Attack of the Clones." He'll be joining us shortly, but first, can you tell us how you struck up that relationship?
Taylor:Daniel and I had a great time together over a couple of weeks here in Australia recently. The Supanova conventions are run by some great people who really value comics and comic's creators and treat us just as nicely, I think, as they do the TV and movie star guests they bring out. Supanova run a few conventions across a few states and it's not uncommon for the same group of guests to attend a couple in a row, if not all of them, so we end up staying together, traveling together, eating together and just hanging out.
This year, that meant I have stories about what Colin Wilson, Joe Kubert, the Immonens and I got up to with Daniel Logan, Summer Glau, Lou Ferrigno and Charisma Carpenter at the parties. For the record, Joe Kubert out-partied us all. Before I met Daniel, I'd been staring at him on film for months and working out his mannerisms, so it was a bit weird to go from that to suddenly having toast and Coco-Pops with him and his sister.
I had a lot of pages from the incredible Chris Scalf to show him on my laptop and, given the amazing, almost-photo-realistic artwork Chris does, Daniel freaked out at seeing his young self jet-packing through the air in front of a giant monster.
Did you get a chance to discuss dialogue and character development with him?
Taylor: We seriously didn't even think of it. Hey Daniel, why didn't we think of that? I have to say, he did come to mind a lot when I was writing the later installments, it was hard not to picture Daniel taking on the Rancor in issue #4 and I had to think twice before letting him use that flamethrower in #3. Just kidding, Daniel. I'd trust you completely with a flamethrower. Seriously, you should get a flamethrower.
Speaking of Daniel, let's bring him into the conversation here. What do you think about Tom's scripting of young Boba Fett, who looks eerily like you? And what about the artwork of Chris Scalf?
Daniel Logan: I had the pleasure of meeting Tom in Australia this past summer, as he stated. He's a great guy and I had fun talking about many things with him. Now that I have had a chance to read the actual comic, I think he did a great job. I never doubted him, but I am glad he did not let me down. I could not help envisioning me and Temuera Morrison back together again playing father and son. Plus, I get to fly the jetpack. I really can't wait to read the rest of the story. And Tom, I wouldn't trust me with a flame thrower.
I think Chris' art looks amazing. When I first saw the art and how he drew young Boba, I was really impressed. He was really able to capture how Tem and I looked 10 years ago. Can you believe we filmed "Attack of the Clones" 10 years ago? He is a great artist and I cannot wait to see the rest of what he does with this story.
So you haven't read the entire "Blood Ties" story?
Logan: No, I have only read the first issue. I am waiting impatiently for the next one to come out. Now, if the kind people at Dark Horse want to send me advance copies, I would not be opposed, but I am sure we are all in for a terrific ride. The cliff hanger in the first one gave me chills when I saw it.
Are you a fan of comic books in general? And what about Star Wars? Are you a fan of the franchise and the expanded universe, which is explored in comics, books, animated shows and video games?
Logan: I love comics. I have not read too many as of recent, but when I was younger I really enjoyed them. After reading "Blood Ties," I think I am going to start my comic collection again. Star Wars fan? Of course. I enjoy reading and hearing about the expanded universe. It give that much more life to Star Wars. And "The Clone Wars," well what can I say, Boba is back. But even without the addition of Boba this past season, "The Clone Wars" has been amazing. And the video games, who does not enjoy playing and controlling their favorite characters in video games.
Any chance we'll see you working in a more extended capacity on future Boba Fett projects at Dark Horse?
Logan: I would love to work on Boba Fett projects with Dark Horse. I have a lot of great ideas and would be more than happy to be a part of a future comic. So again, kind people at Dark Horse, think of me if you need some inspiration. Better watch out Tom, I may be after your job.
"Star Wars: Blood Ties" #2 by Tom Taylor and featuring painted art by Chris Scalf is in stores now.