You might be wondering, now that her Darkest Minds series has finished up, what Alexandra Bracken will be conjuring up for her next novel?
Well, it was just announced that Disney had signed Bracken up to write the first novel in a new middle-grade series of the classic movie trilogy. She will be writing Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope: Being the Story of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and the Rise of Rebellion. In my opinion, that’s just way too many colons for a title. No matter. It’s already in motion as the book is due out on June 9, 2015 through Disney-Lucasfilm Press.
Bracken’s fellow contributors to the series are well known to kids and booksellers. Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark and Grimm) will pen the second installment, The Empire Strikes Back, a July 2015 release; and Tom Angleberger of Origami Yoda fame is on board to write the third, Return of the Jedi, which will follow in August. Star Wars concept artist Iain McCaig will illustrate each book in the series, which is timed to wrap up before the December 2015 release of Lucasfilm’s all-new feature film, Star Wars: Episode VII, The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams.
Luckily, Alexandra is very familiar with the Star Wars Universe, as her dad was an avid fan and collector of all things Star Wars:
“From the time I was in first grade or so, my dad collected Star Wars toy figures from the 1970s and ’80s, and we’d take weekend family trips to antique shops and to toy stores,” she said. “My father collected a crazy amount of Star Wars stuff over the years, and he and I traveled to many conventions. And from the age of 13 or so I read nothing but Star Wars books – it was a huge part of my life.”
Obviously, this is a different type of challenge, because you’re writing a novel from an already established storyline from a movie. (Del Rey Books had published a book trilogy of the movies, but it pretty much described everything in the movie, as the movies were actually the source material, and no other back stories were written in, from what I remember). Bracken will have some leeway to establish back stories for the characters and embellish on the storyline:
“The biggest challenge was being told that I could write my version of the story, create new scenes, and explore new aspects – but that the most important thing I had to do is have fun with it,” she said. “I wanted to do so right by the story that I put a lot of pressure on myself, and was initially not having fun with it.”
“I began to have fun getting closer to the characters as individuals, especially Princess Leia, since much of her story takes place off-camera. It always bothered me that she didn’t show much reaction when her entire planet gets destroyed and she’s lost everything. So it was very exciting to delve into her mind and discover where she got the strength to deal with that.”
These novels will be geared towards middle-grade children, but given the popularity of the series, and the fact that there will be illustrations in the novels, I wouldn’t mind delving into this version myself just to see what she was able to explore upon writing for the characters.
Let us know in the comments what you think about this development and what Disney is doing with the franchise!