Michael Moreci is a novelist and comic book author. His debut novel, Black Star Renegades – a space adventure in the spirit of Star Wars – was released earlier this year, and it will be followed by a sequel, We Are Mayhem, in April 2019. His comics work include the acclaimed sci-fi hits Roche Limit and Wasted Space; he’s currently writing Archie Meets Batman ’66 and Star Wars Adventures.
Hi Michael, these days, there are so many different ways people experience the Star Wars films. What was your experience of Star Wars growing up?
MM: Mine was like so many others’. As a child of the 1980s, Star Wars was woven into the fabric of my existence – though I likely was far more dedicated to it than most kids. I watched A New Hope and Empire roughly a trillion times; I even wore out our Beta copy of Empire, as I watched the ending over and over and over.
I had the toys – lots of toys – and my brother and I played with them for hours on end. We had Whiffle bat lightsabre duels as well; he was Vader, I was Luke.
And, well, Star Wars simply occupied my mind. I imagined stories all the time; I pictured myself inhabiting this world, going on adventures. And when the adventures did continue, in Timothy Zahn’s novels, my life was forever changed. Not only did this open a remarkable door for the universe, but it also made the idea of creating my own real, actual Star Wars stories seem possible. I was a poor kid from the south side of Chicago; making movies made no sense to me. But writing a book? Well, I could do that. I just needed a pen and paper! So, that’s what I did. And that’s a big reason why Star Wars is woven into the fabric of who I am.
What do you think it is about Star Wars that sets it apart from other films?
MM: I wish I knew. Or, maybe I wish I could put it into words. It’s so many things—the heroism, the romance, the mysticism, the characters, the imagination. It’s so complex, yet made so simple. Whatever the alchemy is, its perfection. Many have tried to replicate it, but there’s only one Star Wars, and we all know it because we feel it.
You’ve had numerous encounters with Star Wars over the years, including writing your own fan comic. Which has been the most enjoyable experience?
MM: I mean, nothing beats writing canon. I’m apprehensive to say that, because I love the fan fiction I’ve done, and I am so proud of the cool, fun work my collaborators and I made. But writing actual canon—that’s the dream. There’s nothing better. Being able to tell these stories in Star Wars Adventures—I’m still pinching myself. I simply cannot believe it’s real.
When were you first approached by IDW about doing a Star Wars story?
MM: Well…I think I approached them. Meaning: I barked up their tree, and Lucasfilm’s tree, until they relented. Thank goodness they were good sports about it! But they eventually cracked some time ago, and it wasn’t long before I was part of the terrific family of Star Wars creators.
How did you come up with the idea for Flight of the Falcon?
MM: I actually didn’t; the initiative – which spreads across two middle-grade novels, in addition to my comics – was already started before I came on board. I was given direction on where to go with the story – parameters, more or less – and I was off and running.
There are a lot of characters that have appeared so far in Flight of the Falcon, how much freedom did Lucasfilm give you in terms of story and use of characters?
MM: Lucasfilm has been incredible. I pitched them ideas thinking “well, this is probably the only time I’ll ever write Star Wars, so I might as well go for broke.” And that’s what I did – and Lucasfilm was okay with pretty much everything I sent them. The things that didn’t work, there were very clear on why and pointed me to different, interesting directions.
Did it make it more or less stressful to know that your story would be appearing over four comics, as opposed to one, knowing you are in essence telling four different tales?
MM: Actually, it’s six different tales! Five backups, then an annual issue. Which, yeah, that’s a little intimidating. Because that means you’re coming up with six unique stories. But, at the same time, that meant I had the opportunity to come up with six different Star Wars stories. You won’t see my complaining about that!
Who was your favourite character to write for in the entire story?
MM: Ducain, believe it or not. I mean, I loved writing the original trilogy heroes—Leia, Luke, Han, Chewie, Lando—that was downright surreal. But with Ducain, I had the chance to make him my own, and that was wild. I mean, he was only mentioned in The Force Awakens. Now, we’re going to see him and learn who he is, and his story is of my making. And it’ll be part of the Star Wars universe. I love that.
Was there any character you struggled writing?
MM: Yes—but I can’t say who because this story hasn’t been revealed yet!
The artwork by Arianna Florean seems to fit the story brilliantly. How much involvement do you have with Arianna to discuss the direction of the art?
MM: She is out of this world. I adore her work. We work pretty closely together, and she’s a wonderful collaborator. But our interactions are limited, mainly, to her sending art and me telling her how incredible she is.
You donated your first pay-check from Star Wars Adventures to charity. Could you explain how this came about?
MM: Sure. I mean, it’s pretty simple: Writing Star Wars is my lifelong dream, and I always said (to myself) that if I ever had the chance to write canonical stories, I’d donate my first check to charity. I figure, it’s my way of giving back to the universe, or the Force, or whatever. It was a happy day when I got to do that.
If you could tell another Star Wars story, using any characters, what do you think it would be about?
MM: Ooooo…good question. I think I’d dive into a novel featuring Anakin and Obi-Wan, set between Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Or, I’d write a sequel to Solo, telling a crime story with Han, Chewie, Lando, Qi’ra, and Enfys at the heart. I’ve do anything to write some Enfys Nest!
What upcoming projects can we look forward from you in the future, Star Wars or otherwise?
MM: Well, I’ve got more Star Wars Adventures to go, which is great. Then, I’ve got my next novel, We Are Mayhem, out in April of next year. And my own ongoing sci-fi comic series, Wasted Space returns in January.
Thank you so much Michael for taking the time to speak to me and Jedi News, it’s been a pleasure! You are an amazing writer and I hope we get to see a lot more of your work in Star Wars Comics and beyond. May the force be with you…