• Brad Whipple

NYCC 2020: Lucasfilm Publishing Panel (Recap)

Updated: May 4


New York Comic Con went virtual this year from October 8-11.

Friday morning, Lucasfilm Publishing kicked off the second day of New York Comic Con with a discussion on some of the newest projects from a galaxy far, far away.


The panel, moderated by This Week In Star Wars host Kristin Baver, included authors Amy Ratcliffe, Daniel José Older, Katie Cook, Phil Szostak, Preeti Chhibber, and Zoraida Córdova.


Although this year's Publishing panel didn't have as many new reveals as 2019, Friends of the Force is here to recap what's on the docket for each author.


Amy Ratcliffe


The Jedi Mind: Secrets from the Force for Balance and Peace

Releasing November 10.

Ratcliffe's newest book aims at taking readers on a journey of enlightenment by teaching them mindfulness through various in-book practices such as meditation, gratitude journaling, and energized breathing.


"[Although] mindfulness doesn't exist by that name in the Star Wars universe, the Force—in the way the Jedi talk about the Force and even characters like Chirrut talk about the Force—can connect to mindfulness," Ratcliffe said.


The Jedi Mind incorporates some of the teachings of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and Ratcliffe ultimately hopes readers learn that mindfulness means being in the moment and can helps us achieve a sound body and a sound mind.


"It's about doing what you can to be aware," she said.



The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Image: Abrams Books. Releasing April 27, 2021.

"I couldn't contain my excitement," Ratcliffe said about working with the Disney Imagineering team, which turned out to be a complete overlap of her fandoms. "When they do anything, whether it's a whole land like Galaxy's Edge, a restaurant, or an attraction, they really think about the backstory and go down to every little detail."


Daniel José Older


STET!

From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back

Older described "STET!" as "a puff piece gone violently wrong."

"It's such a tiny little moment," Older says, referencing the bounty hunter scene in The Empire Strikes Back. "We get such a big glimpse of the larger galaxy just from that moment. Star Wars underworld is one of my happy places. ... [STET!] takes place in a diner that appears in Last Shot with some of my favorite original characters... lots of gangland heroics and journalism involved."


The High Republic Adventures

Releasing February 2021.

"The great thing about the High Republic is we get to hang out with Jedi in a time when they're not dead or about to die," Older jokingly said. "They're not doomed, so we really get to really enjoy these people and have a good time with them without being like, 'Oh god, what's gonna happen with Order 66?' It's low-stress, low-impact Jedi hang time."


When asked to describe each of the Jedi Padawans training under Yoda in The High Republic Adventures, Older said Lula "wants to be the greatest Jedi in the world," Farzala is "that mischievous older brother," and Qort is "the friend that you have that you have no idea what they're talking about most of the time ... but he's a really good friend."


Katie Cook


The Dragonsnake Saves R2-D2

From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back

Cook's story will be the only comic in FACPOV.

"I picked the dragonsnake that tries to eat R2 on Dagobah and how an X-Wing falling on him just ruins his day, so that's why he's upset," Cook said. "That really fits in with basically what I normally do in the Star Wars universe, which is gleefully poking at it while still keeping it charming and in-universe."



Star Wars Galactic Storybook

Releasing January 5, 2021.

In Galactic Storybook, Katie Cook takes readers through each of the most pivotal moments from the Skywalker Saga. Her favorite scene to illustrate was the Pasaana chase scene from The Rise of Skywalker.


"I've been such a Star Wars nerd since i was a kid," Cook said. "All of a sudden getting to be like, 'This is the Katie Cook version of all the movies,' was a big boost to my ego and the most fun I've had drawing in a long time. I had a blast doing this one."



The Star Wars Book of Monsters, Ooze and Slime

Image: DK Publishing. Releasing April 13, 2021.

Have you ever wondered how Jabba the Hutt bathes? What about the viscosity of Rancor spittle? Well Katie Cook has the answers in Monsters, Ooze and Slime!


"My gift to the Star Wars canon is all that stuff that nobody wanted to know about," Cook said, laughing. "It's fully illustrated, which I'm sorry. I apologize right off the bat. ... When you have children in the room, they're going to come up with the most disgusting thing, and then I tone it down 50% and that's what ended up in the book."


Phil Szostak


The Art of The Mandalorian

Image: Abrams Books. Releasing December 15, 2020.

"[We] definitely had a lot more ground to cover in a book that was going to be the same size as any of the other ones," Szostak said, estimating an additional three hours of content. "Cramming all that content into a single book was definitely a challenge."


In past projects, Szostak hasn't dedicated as much time to exploring working relationships between creators. This time around, though, he dove deeper into Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni coming together, a story he felt was "as fascinating as the making of the show itself."

Art by Christina Alzmann.

When asked for an image that he felt encapsulated the show, Szostak showed off a new two-page spread of Din Djarin and a Mandalorian from Death Watch.


"It's a really beautiful piece," Szostak said. "It shows that Din Djarin, when he was young, needed to be rescued in the same way that the Child does in the present day."


Preeti Chhibber


A Jedi You Will Be


"[Yoda] looks like this little old grandpa who feeds you and teaches you," Chhibber said. "I'm a sucker for Force lore. I love the concept of it, [and] I find it very tied to my own religion, which is really cool. It was neat getting to really live in it for a little while. ... I wasn't necessarily learning something new, but really taking what I knew and applying it and reconsidering it from a very actual real-life perspective."


Zoraida Córdova


Wait for It

From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back

"He's THE man."

"There's something about masked characters that's really fascinating to me," Córdova said. "I love the underbelly of the Star Wars galaxy and what that looks like. Switching gears is mostly an audience thing. I'm always aware of the perspective that I'm writing from ... for Empire Strikes Back, this book is for everybody, so I wanted to be conscious of that. I really dove into Boba's character and how I imagined his thought process goes."

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Watch the full panel here: