The criminal underworld of the Star Wars Universe spans an entire galaxy, so it's obviously full of lucrative and larcenous opportunities. It's also no surprise, then, that there are plenty of chances for rogues and ne'er do wells to get ahead... or get in over their head. The title character of Marvel Comics Star Wars: Doctor Aphra always tries to do the former, but almost always ends up doing the latter. In November's Issue #14, co-writers Kieron Gillen and Simon Spurrier, and artists Emilio Laiso and Rachelle Rosenberg, kicked off a new arc which found their protagonist is an especially dire predicament, having been forced to join the criminal organization of her murderous, old droid, Triple-Zero.
In order to survive this ordeal, Aphra will become part of an oddball team of rogues and steal from both the Empire and Rebel Alliance, which puts her back on the radar of her old foe, Imperial soldier Magna Tolvan. CBR spoke with Gillen and Spurrier about Tolvan, Triple-Zero’s organization, and the eclectic and bizarre heist crew they've assembled for this new arc.
CBR: Si, you're now Kieron's co-writer on Doctor Aphra. There's a lot of really cool and interesting things about the not so good doctor. What do you find most interesting about the character? What made this an especially compelling assignment for you?
Simon Spurrier: There's a lot of good reasons. I would never say this while he was listening, but you've backed me into a corner here, there's the genuine excitement of working with Kieron - whose work I greatly admire. Plus, getting to work with the title character, which I'm particularly fond of. This is also a chance to work in the Star Wars universe, which I grew up with. All of those things mean a lot to me.
Specifically with Aphra, it will come as no great surprise that I gravitate towards characters of questionable morality. [Laughs] I guess I have a long track record of mischievously making people like characters that they probably shouldn't. One of the joys of fiction is that we can encapsulate moments that entertain people and make them feel like they relate to somebody, but when you pull out and look at it on a macro level you realize that you've just been hoodwinked into something appalling. Aphra does that all the time, and that's one of Kieron's strengths. [Laughs]
So this assignment was kind of a no brainer.
The big twist at the end of Doctor Aphra #14 is that your title character is now under the thumb of her old droid, Triple-Zero. It looks like Zero has turned his criminal gang, the Son-Tuul Pride, into a force to be reckoned with. What can you tell us about the power and influence of his organization? And do they have a specific goal?
Kieron Gillen: When I was originally planning Aphra I quite liked the idea of doing a “season” model. So the first year is mainly about Rur. It's mainly about Aphra paying these weird debts and scrambling trying to get away from Triple-Zero and Black Krrsantan. So it was like, “You know what would be fun in the second year? A) Triple-Zero as the main antagonist. And B) the boss.” That strikes me as a useful season arc.
So, I don't really want to say much about the Son-Tuul Pride. Where we leave things at the end of #14 is Aphra is not in charge. Triple-Zero is, and he's up to something. He's obviously got some leverage over her, which you're probably able to work out at least part of. Also there is something he really wants. He's throwing his organization's energies into this, and that includes Aphra.
Triple-Zero is a complicated droid. So I'm sure he has other reasons than simple avarice, power and torture on his mind as well.