Just days after we learned that a Han Solo origin movie was in the works from Lucasfilm, Marvel Comics announced yesterday at Comic-Con International: San Diego that his kissable Millennium Falcon co-pilot was getting the solo treatment, too.
CBR News connected with Duggan, who has a history with "Star Wars" line editor Jordan D. White who also edited him on "Deadpool" since the start of Marvel NOW!, and he shared his early thoughts on telling a story with a character that is the quintessential strong, silent type. (If you're not counting roars.)
Duggan also teased the cause that may have led Chewie to (crash)landing in this adventure, which is set shortly after the Battle of Yavin -- the climatic battle in the original "Star Wars" film that ended in the destruction of the first Death Star.
CBR News: Outside of Darth Vader, Chewbacca may be the most iconic character from Star Wars canon. Why do you think a character that was basically the anthropomorphism of George Lucas' pet dog has proven to be so widely popular with generations of fans?
Gerry Duggan: He's a hero everyone can get behind. Chewie's roars are the same in any language. He's never been dubbed or translated. Let's face it, Wookiees are exactly what you want outer space to be filled with. Not our present day NASA stories of zero gravity toilets and unfortunate rocket misfires. No offense to NASA. They're doing amazing work. But my point is, everything is more fun with a character like Chewbacca. Why go to a galaxy far, far away to be boring?
This series takes place after the Battle of Yavin and opens with Chewbacca on his own, crash landing his ship on an Imperial occupied planet. We know a few years later Han and Chewie reconnect on Hoth at the opening of "The Empire Strikes Back" but why are they separated when the story begins and does Han play a role in "Chewbacca"?
Chewie's introduction in the comic indicates that he's on a very important mission that he's choosing to set aside momentarily for the greater good. As for Han, I'm sorry but I have put any questions about the cast into carbonite freeze. [Laughs]
Okay, but speaking of the stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder, Han has no problem understanding Chewbacca's Shyriiwook but what about readers? Will Chewie's Wookieespeak be translated in the series or will we have to use the Wookiee translator?
My collaborator is Phil Noto, so you'll be able to enjoy the story without any caption boxes or word balloons. Chewbacca is the star, but Phil is the power behind that star. As far as my script, I'm writing each Chewie roar, grunt and growl exactly as it will be printed on the page, and a second line under it with the translation but this line is just for internal use.
And who needs words when it's Chewie, right? His actions -- as they say -- speak louder than words. How would you best describe Chewie as a hero and what makes him a great leading man?
Well, here's everyone's chance to prove we love the strong, silent type. [Laughs] He's a warrior, a mechanic, a pilot, and he's resourceful and he's strong. Most of the other characters in "Star Wars" get you into trouble. Chewie and maybe R2 are the only ones that get you out of trouble.
True enough, but let's go back to Chewie crash landing his ship. He is tagged as "the skilled co-pilot of the infamous Millennium Falcon" in the solicitation for this series, which no one who knows anything about the Kessel Run would debate. What causes this 'skilled' pilot to crash? And if he's not flying the Falcon, which ship is he flying?
He's got a loaner from the Rebellion but their planet-side assistance is a bummer. [Laughs] Chewie would argue that he didn't crash but in fact soft-landed a very malfunctioning spacecraft in need of a new gravity generator.
What can you share about the Imperial forces that are occupying the planet? I know you said you were keeping quiet on the supporting cast but can you tease any classic Moffs or generals that long-time fans might recognize?
We'll see a slightly different facet of the Empire. One concerned with keeping the war machine going and one that is back on its heels after Yavin. The Empire needs energy to crush the Rebellion. Energy they might find in abundance on this planet.
Going back to the solicitation, who is "the young and feisty girl in need" that Chewie is helping? Can you share any details on her?
A chance encounter makes Chewie notice her. And that encounter is soon followed by Chewie stepping in and changing her life. The good news is Chewie has plenty of experience as the underdog thanks to his old pal, Han. They run headlong into fights that most others would flee.
Will the series explore any details of Chewie's personal life like his wife and kids on Kashyyyk introduced famously in "Star Wars Holiday Special"?
You will glimpse Wookiee life in this series and because of Phil's work it will age very well into a classic "Star Wars" story. I've been asked a bunch about "Star Wars Holiday Special" and Life Day but we're blazing a new path for Chewbacca in the current continuity.
How does this series connect in terms of continuity with current Marvel ongoing series "Star Wars" and "Darth Vader"?
It's all connected but this is a parallel story. You can pick it up and not need to be reading those other comics -- but why would you do that? The "Star Wars" line is producing some of the most exciting comic books on the stands.
Finally, I'm obviously jazzed that you are writing the series but equally excited about Phil Noto as the artist. What does Phil bring to the project and what do you think of his take on Chewbacca?
If Phil and I were John Lennon and Paul McCartney, he would be Lennon and McCartney and I would just be a guy very excited to be in the room. This is a dream gig for both of us, and I could not be more excited about collaborating with Phil again. Every new page from him brings pure joy. He's taken another leap with Chewbacca. His work grabs you and takes you away at light speed.
"Chewbacca" #1 by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto is slated for release in October from Marvel Comics.