In recent years, Cavan Scott has become well known for his forays into the Star Wars galaxy for younger readers. With the success of his Star Wars Adventures stories published by IDW, he has landed the oppotunity to pen a 5 part series ‘Tales from Vader’s Castle’ which is due out in October. Ahead of it’s release, I got chance to speak to Cavan about his career so far and what makes him tick as an author.
Hi there Cavan, how are you?
Fine, thank you. How are you?
I’m well thank you, welcome to Jedi News. So let’s start with an easy question for you; how did your writing career start?
I got the bug writing fan fiction as a teenager, which was largely published in Doctor Who fanzines back in the 90s. On leaving university, I managed to get a job for a magazine publisher over here in the UK, eventually landing a role on technology magazine, T3. Whilst there, I met a chap called Mark Wright and together we sent off some ideas to then-fledgling audio drama producer, Big Finish production. They bought one of our pitched which became the first in a long line of gigs. After years of writing licensed fiction as a side line, I was eventually able to quit the day-job and go full-time eight years ago.
Star Wars is a major part of your career, but you’re well known for so many other things. Angry Birds, Countryfile, Doctor Who, Judge Dredd, LEGO DC Superheroes, Skylanders and Warhammer 40,000 to mention some of the other franchises you’ve written for. But Countryfile does stick out as completely left field, excuse the pun, but do you have any farming background?
No, just a love of the British countryside. For those who don’t know, Countryfile is a rural affairs programme that airs on BBC One. When I worked at BBC Magazines, I was asked to go through the current BBC catalogue and see which shows might support a magazine as a brand extension. As someone who had watched Countryfile for years, I thought it was a non-brainer. I pitched the magazine, and BBC Worldwide said yes. I had a lot of fun launching the magazine, which I still read to this day.
Looking through the list of your publications, I see that Doctor Who has been a constant in your, were you a childhood fan of the TV series?
Absolutely, although it terrified me. Actually, no, the Doctor terrified me, as embodied by Tom Baker. But I loved robots and Doctor Who had the most wonderful robot dog in the form of K9. I originally watched the show for him.
Growing up in the 70’s, Tom Baker has to be my favourite, closely followed by Christopher Ecclestone. So, I need to ask you this one, who is your favourite Doctor?
I find this almost impossible to answer. Even though he scared me when I was little, Tom was my Doctor. But having written for thirteen of the Doctors so far (fourteen if you include the Richard E. Grant incarnation), I have a soft spot for all of them.
What are your first memories of Star Wars?
Getting an Obi-Wan action figure from my Grandma (and not knowing who he was) and then discovering Marvel UK’s Star Wars Weekly.
You’ve been particularly busy in the Star Wars galaxy over the last couple of years with ‘Adventures in Wild Space’, ‘Choose Your Destiny’, ‘Star Wars Adventures’ comic, ‘Star Wars Insider’ and a short story for ‘From a Certain Point of View’. How have you fit all this in with all your other projects?
I’m a compulsive planner. It’s a very boring answer, but I block out time for projects, sit down and write until the job (or jobs) are done.
How did the link up with IDW publishing come about for the ‘Star Wars Adventures’ comic books?
I’d written a Star Trek short story for IDW’s Star Trek Waypoint series and editor Sarah Gaydos suggested me to editors Denton and Bobby. I’d never met Bobby, but had some dealings with Denton back when he was editing IDW’s Doctor Who line. I’d been pitching him stories at the exact time that IDW lost the licence, a series of one-shots featuring, if I remember correctly, River Song, Madame Vastra and the husband-and-wife team of Mickey Smith and Martha Jones.
Denton and Bobby invited me to pitch a number of Star Wars ideas, one of which became ‘Better the Devil You Know’ in Star Wars Adventures #1 and #2.
Which has been your personal favourite story arc in the issues released so far?
Not so much an arc, but I was overjoyed to bring Jaxxon and Amaiza back to Star Wars in this year’s annual. Not only do I love that Lepi, it also introduced me to the fantastic artist, Mauricet. We’ve become good friends and are planning all kinds of exciting projects together.
The ‘Star Wars Adventures’ has been a very popular comic book. Unfortunately, these aren’t the easiest to get hold of in the UK, but that is slowly improving. What sort of feedback have you had from fans?
It’s been great to hear from parents who have been reading the comic with their kids. That makes it all worthwhile, the fact that so many kids are sitting reading and rereading Star Wars Adventures in the same way as I read Star Wars Weekly over and over again back in the 70s and 80s.
One of my all-time favourite Star Wars books is ‘From a Certain Point of View’. The concept is just brilliant, and it must have been a privilege to be involved with such a high-profile project. What was the selection process for you being invited to write one of the 40 contributions and did you get a choice of which story you would write?
I received a lovely invite from Elizabeth at Del Rey books inviting me to be involved and asking which moment in the film I’d like to tackle. I pitched Obi-Wan’s death thinking that someone else must have surely already nabbed it, but surprisingly no-one had even suggested it!
‘Time of Death’ covers the ‘rebirth’ of Obi-Wan into the force after he is struck down by Darth Vader on the Death Star. I think you landed one of the most high-profile storylines covered in the book. How did you go about writing your short story?
I wish I had some great secret to impart here, but in all honesty, it was something of a flow of consciousness, which considering the subject matter is probably appropriate. I knew where I was going with it, and which points I had pitched to Elizabeth, but I had no idea how it would all fit together. Luckily it flowed quite easily, the first draft written in one mammoth writing session fuelled by coffee and John Williams soundtracks. I do remember the draft needed A LOT of work before I could submit it though.
Interestingly, I usually write in silence, although in this case the music really helped.
I’ve been asked by my colleague Mark Alders to ask you, if there are any more ‘Adventures in Wild Space’ in the pipeline?
Not at the moment, although an adult Lina Graf does appear as the hero of ‘Tales From Vader’s Castle’, so it’s been good to return to Graf family in a new medium.
Is there a Star Wars character that you have yet to tackle that would be on your wish list?
Lando. Although Qi’ra has recently leapt to the top of the list. Oh, and Sabine, because she’s all kinds of awesome.
Which has been your favourite franchise to work within and which character do you most enjoy writing?
I’ve adored writing Han and Chewie. Chewbacca is my one of my favourite characters in Star Wars, and their relationship is so much fun to write.
Are you a collector of books, comics and memorabilia?
Oh, absolutely. The shelves of my writing room are groaning with books and toys. Lots and lots of toys.
What is your favourite Star Wars piece?
One of the Star Wars 2017 International Space Station mission badges, which was sent to me by the lovely Dan Brooks at Lucasfilm. I have it framed outside the study.
What have you got being published in the coming months?
My next big Star Wars project is ‘Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle’, which is published weekly over October, just in time for Halloween. Spooky stories from the Star Wars universe starring Kanan, Hera and Chopper, Obi-Wan and Dooku, Han and Chewie, Ewoks and, of course, the Dark Lord of the Sith himself.
Are there any projects that you are working on that you can share any exclusive details with us?
Everything else is top secret I’m afraid!
Will you be making any appearances at any events or conventions this year?
I think I’m done for conventions in 2018, but am looking forward to attending Star Wars Celebration in Chicago.
It’s been a pleasure speaking to you. Thank you from Team Jedi News for taking the time out from your busy schedule to talk to us. Keep up the excellent work!
Team Jedi News would like to extend our thanks to Cavan for the interview. Thanks also goes to Peter Travers Photography for the photo of Cavan used for this article.