SDCC: Mark Waid Sees Infinite Potential in "Star Wars: Princess Leia"

Back in January, Marvel announced that "Star Wars" comic books were on the way from the publisher starting in early 2015, after decades at Dark Horse Comics. That itself wasn't much of a surprise -- since October 2012, Lucasfilm and Marvel have both been under the Disney corporate umbrella -- but what was unknown was exactly how Marvel would approach the enduring global pop culture phenomenon, and what creators would be working on it.

Following Saturday's "Cup O' Joe" panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, led by Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada, that picture became a lot clearer. Marvel announced three initial "Star Wars" comics: A main "Star Wars" series by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday debuting in January 2015, "Star Wars: Darth Vader" by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca out the following month and the five-issue "Star Wars: Princess Leia" miniseries by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson slated for March.

All three series are set directly after the original 1977 "Star Wars" film, and for Princess Leia, the post-Episode IV landscape is a specifically significant one -- with her entire home planet of Alderaan annihilated as a demonstration of the Death Star's might. CBR News spoke with Waid about the "infinite" potential he sees in Leia Organa as a lead character, her solo mission (which includes a new arch-nemesis) and Dodson's ability to execute action and emotion.

CBR News: Mark, you've obviously written a lot of different characters and properties in your career. But Star Wars is a unique thing to a whole lot of people. And this is not just Star Wars, but classic trilogy, classic characters Star Wars. How excited are you to be writing in this world?

Mark Waid: This is a fantastic opportunity. I love getting the chance to work on iconic pop-culture characters, and this is the jackpot.

More specifically, how interesting of a lead protagonist is Princess Leia to you? Obviously, she's one of the most iconic female characters in genre history -- and there's ultimately only so much screen time for her in the first three movies (and in a lot of it she's captured or otherwise rendered inactive). How much potential did you see in telling her further stories?

Infinite. She's the one I feel most kinship with and the one who, to me, seems most layered and most rich with potential. Of the Episode IV characters, who's lost more than she has?

Speaking of that loss, when reading the description this story, it hit on something that's kind of a gaping hole in the original movies: Leia dealing with her whole planet being destroyed. Was that something you gravitated towards immediately?

Pretty quickly, yes. I always come to characters the same way: by asking myself what they want, what they've lost, what drives them to achieve. With Leia, there was just no screen time in Episode IV to deal with the emotions she must feel after having lost her entire world. This story begins only a short time after the end of the ceremony at the end of Episode IV as her adrenaline subsides and she's forced to ask herself, "What next?"

But, presumably the series won't be just her dealing with the loss of Alderaan. What can you say about the mission she's on in this miniseries?

All I can tell you without giving too much away is that she has to choose between being the Princess of nothing or being the caretaker and leader of her entire planet's heritage and its survivors. You can probably guess which path she chooses, but it's not an easy one -- she has no resources now, no wealth, no political power, nothing.

Terry Dodson is illustrating this book. What has you excited about collaborating with him on this? In what ways do you see his talents as well-suited for the story -- and the Star Wars world?

Terry and I have worked a time or two in the past on smaller one-shot projects, but I've been waiting for a long time to line up something with him that's more substantive. Not only can he draw insane action sequences, but his characters are so human that there's no range of emotions, no tones, that this story can't strike.

Leia is the star of this series, but I'm guessing other familiar characters will pop up -- and likely some unfamiliar ones. What can you share about who else plays a part here?

At least one unfamiliar one as Princess Leia gets her own arch-nemesis. As for the others -- cameos are possible, but this is Leia's story all the way.

Marvel is announcing two other Star Wars series at the show, all set in the same timeframe -- has there been much coordination between the creative teams and the other books?

Everything's flying back and forth thanks to M-wing pilot Jordan D. White. Every script I see from someone else, every drawing, makes me want to up my game!

"Star Wars: Princess Leia" is scheduled to debut in March 2015.

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