John Ostrander: My editor, Randy Stradley, and I were kicking around some ideas and I pitched him “Star Wars meet James Bond”. That intrigued him; I think I sold it right then. Of course, I had to expand on it. To my mind, if it was going to be like James Bond, the agent really had to be with the Empire; it provides that underlying Imperial structure that Bond has as well. Plus, it gives us an alternate viewpoint to the SW saga. Why would someone serve an Empire that we, as readers, see as so evil? How does our protagonist see it? Can I get the reader to root for him? The series is very SW, I think, but with a different flavor. It’s morally complex but, I hope, very entertaining and intriguing as well.
WT: How much of an inspiration were various Spy fiction like James Bond in creating the character Jahan Cross? Or is he a mix of various other characters?
John Ostrander: There’s obviously a lot of Bond in Cross but I’ve read a lot of different spy fiction, watched a lot of movies, including Hitchcock (of course) and they all play into my process. I’ve written a lot of spy related stuff over the years so that all factors in as well.
WT: I'm assuming that a lot of research also had to be done in creating all these new elements in the past?
John Ostrander: Absolutely but we always do that. There’s what I call “fair extrapolation” which means you take a given fact and then you tease out what might happen or what it might mean if you logically pursued it. You might ask where did such and such come from. For example, it was a given that the hyperspace drive that later ships – such as the Millennium Falcon – used originated with the Rakatan hyperdrive that used the Force as a power source. Extrapolating from that, we asked how lightsabers were developed and came up with Rakatan “forcesabers” which were forerunners in terms of the overall technology but used the Force itself as a power source. We thought that since a forcesaber would be an aggressive weapon, it would pull on the dark side as its power source. All of which seemed to make sense to LFL as well as us.
John Ostrander: Absolutely. I’m a good collaborator, I think, and I enjoyed that experience and I think my fellow writers on the project enjoyed it as well. It was very creative.
WT: If you could, which Marvel characters would you like to take on? I personally would love to see your take on Doctor Strange.
John Ostrander: Doctor Strange would be at or pretty close to the top of that list for me as well. Perhaps the bigger question is, who would I NOT like to try my take on? Fabulous roster of characters and very influential on me as a writer.
Star Wars: Agent of the Empire and Dawn of the Jedi are now available where all good comics are sold. Be sure to go check them out and grab a copy.