<DanWallace> Hi there! Yes, I've written a book for TPM, so spoilers are possible, but I've sworn in blood never to reveal any. You know those LFL folks. I think that's the best idea, ll. Who wants to spoil it completely? You gotta have SOME surprises, right?
<Rob> just wondering Mr. Wallace, what's the name of your book?
<DanWallace> The Episode One book? Or the Essential Guides series? I've done a couple EGs, only one is out in stores now... Then there's also the Episode One book. And I worked on that Anakin book -- anybody seen the humungo Anakin figure/book in the biggest box in the world? It's enormous. I agree it's a bit expensive, but I've heard you can buy it for as little as $35.
<skywalker8> When is 'Droids' coming out?
<DanWallace> Droids should be out soon, say within the next couple months.
<skywalker8> The cover is awesome
<DanWallace> Droids is good. The cover is great. Bill Hughes did a great job. The most amazing thing about the Anakin book is the package. :) The only problem is, it's so big there's no where to put it. Doesn't fit on a bookshelf.
<Rob> Just wondering Mr. Wallace, like Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston, do you have a web page?
<DanWallace> Sorry, no webpage. :( Gotta work on that someday. I like Stackpole's and Allston's though! Does that count?
<Chase> Hey I'll build one for you. :)
<DanWallace> Er, it's that easy?
<Hershey7> u got to learn a programming language, HTML........or just get an editor
<DanWallace> Oh. That's my problem. I know English and can curse in French, then I run out of languages.
<Hershey7> Dan, do you get online often?
<DanWallace> Hersh, every day. Not for too long at a time though.
<Kirkland> Mr. Wallace, do you have any interest in SW RPG?
<MonCalamariWarrior> Dan how much do you go to TfN?
<DanWallace> Thanks, MonCal. I hope I can get my browser straightened out so I can post to the thread. I always read TFN... before I read the Ep. One script, I avoided it like the plague. Afterwards, I checked it every day to see what they'd uncover.
<DanWallace> The snow absolutely bites. Actually, I'm downtown right now.
7 PM. The chat starts...
<HanSoloLFC> Hello Mr. Wallace
<DanWallace> Hi all!
<HanSoloLFC> thank you for agreeing to do this chat
<DanWallace> No problem!
<DanWallace> I'm glad to be here
<DanWallace> Thanks to everybody for showing up. Don't know if it's snowing where you are, but it sure is here.
<HanSoloLFC> So Mr. Wallace you first came out with The essential guide to planets and moons.
<HanSoloLFC> then book after book
<HanSoloLFC> you have had instant sucess. how does that feel?
<DanWallace> You're right -- Planets and Moons was the first step. But I started working on it almost three years ago, and
<DanWallace> therefore it seems like it's been forever, when it really only came out in the middle of last year.
<DanWallace> I've just been very lucky to work on such great assignments. The Essential Guide
<DanWallace> series is a fun and enjoyable one, and I've been able to work on three.
<DanWallace> Then there are other projects, magazine articles, etc. that have been an absolute blast.
<skywalker8> How did you start the Planets and Moons EG?
<DanWallace> Planets was started with a simple question -- you've got to cover 100 planets. Okay, which ones?
<DanWallace> To answer that question, we had to draw up a list. A big list. The first step was
<DanWallace> to include everything from the movies. IIRC, the movies contain about 12 different planets
<DanWallace> (either on screen or mentioned offscreen, like Taanab). Then we wanted to give exposure to the
<DanWallace> spinoff sources, like the Thrawn trilogy or Dark Empire or the Corellian trilogy.
<DanWallace> We also included some LucasArts game sources and miscellaneous planets.
<DanWallace> I was happy with the final list of 100.
<skywalker8> Wasn't it at first on the Internet?
<DanWallace> Aha, yes, you're right. But not quite in that form. About four years ago I made an internet
<DanWallace> planet guide for everyone to enjoy -- initially it was available by ftp but then Jim Fisher hosted
<DanWallace> it on his website, where it's been ever since. The URL is www.jimfisher.net/planet (I think).
<HanSoloLFC> now, you have read the episode 1 script for your new prequel book due in may, do you think that will take away from the magic of seeing it on the big screen?
<DanWallace> I stopped updating it about three years ago, but folks still visit it.
<DanWallace> About reading the script -- yeah, in some ways it will spoil the enjoyment. But come on, who could pass up an opportunity to read the script? :)
<DanWallace> Reading the script was one of the most exciting experiences, since I was actually at the Ranch
<DanWallace> and got to attend a multimedia presentation, etc.
<DanWallace> For a fanboy like myself who was weaned on SW, it was close to a religious experience.
<DanWallace> The script is great, the story is well-written and solid. I'm really looking forward to the final film.
<DanWallace> I loved the trailer.
<HanSoloLFC> do you think it can live up to the high expectations it has?
<DanWallace> Yes, I think it can and will. Inevitably there will be nitpickers -- this character didn't act well, this character was too cute, I didn't like this spaceship, etc.
<DanWallace> But that's all it is, nitpicking. I think when it comes out and everybody is totally caught up in the EXPERIENCE
<DanWallace> of it all, it's going to make the movie 10 times better. It's a communal experience to go to a theater with 100 other people and watch it together.
<HanSoloLFC> but we have already expirienced some of that wil for instance the ewoks being to cute.
<DanWallace> Everybody's hyped up, and it should be quite the EVENT movie. Nope, I guarantee it won't sink like Godzilla.
<skywalker8> Freeze asks: how much of the movie did he get to see and in what form (rehearsals, final/partial CGI, all that)?
<DanWallace> When I was at the Ranch, we were treated to a multimedia presentation. This involved storyboards, concept art, CGI animatics, and finished footage.
<DanWallace> Not much finished footage, but a few clips, which haven't been shown yet in the trailer.
<DanWallace> The CGI animatics were cute -- blocked out scenes using CG stick figures as placeholders.
<HanSoloLFC> with out giving anything away at all will the jedi council have a big part in the movie?
<DanWallace> The Jedi Council is important, but the movie's not about them, and there will still be a lot of stories to tell about them once you walk out of the theater.
<DanWallace> Who knows, maybe a "Tales of the Jedi Council" is in the works.
<DanWallace> Let me point out that that's just an idea of mine -- I have no idea if anything like that is actually planned, so don't think it is.
<DanWallace> But it would be cool. :)
<skywalker8> Hershey7 asks: Did you work with Stephen J. Sansweet on the SW Encyclopedia?
<DanWallace> Steve and I have worked together on a number of projects, and I did work with him on the Encyclopedia. The final product
<DanWallace> is all Steve, but I did contribute portions of my internet planet guide for him to use as he saw fit.
<DanWallace> I also read the Encyclopedia in manuscript and page proof forms -- wow, what a task!
<HanSoloLFC> well after the 3 prquels and mr. lucas announcing no sequels, what will happen to star wars?
<HanSoloLFC> your own opinion?
<DanWallace> I wouldn't worry too much about the future of Star Wars. It kept on going for years without any definite prequels. In fact,
<DanWallace> even if Lucas had decided to never make ANY prequels, I think SW would still be going strong (not quite at the current fever pitch, but strong nonetheless).
<DanWallace> It's an exciting saga and a big galaxy -- there are many tales to tell.
<DanWallace> I'm one of those guys who thinks an animated series would be a cool spinoff.
<skywalker8> Freeze asks: how much money do you think the film will make? not that the money matters :)
<DanWallace> Freeze, I should be disqualified from ever speculating about the box office legs of Star Wars. Funny story --
<DanWallace> when the Special Editions were announced, I was a HUGE doubter. I mean, I knew that I liked SW, and I knew lots of people who liked SW, but I kep
<DanWallace> kept asking myself, "Is my Aunt Edna gonna pay $7 for a movie she can rent on video?" My ridiculous
<DanWallace> prediction was that the ENTIRE RE-RELEASED TRILOGY would gross about $20 million. Wow, was I wrong.
<DanWallace> I went to see ANH:SE on opening weekend and almost didn't get a ticket. It was standing room only.
<DanWallace> ANH:SE made about, what, $50 million on its opening WEEKEND? Box office prognosticator, I am not.
<skywalker8> What was your response to Lucas' recent announcement about not making sequels?
<DanWallace> I wasn't surprised by Lucas' announcement about not making sequels. See, I had actually heard
<DanWallace> that several years ago, back when the original films were being released on video for the last time.
<DanWallace> Somewhere in the intro Lucas had written that he envisioned the saga as a six-film one,
<DanWallace> and the reaction was something along the lines of, "ah well, we'll take whatever we can get." That's
<DanWallace> how I still feel. I'll take these next three films with utter gratitude, and if we get more, well that's just gravy!
<DanWallace> There will always be books, comics, computer games, etc.
<skywalker8> Freeze asks: who would you like to see cast as the next Anakin?
<DanWallace> Episode Two Anakin? I'm puzzled a bit. I don't know what he should look like really, but he should certainly be one TALL fella. Do you think
<DanWallace> they'll try to cast an actor that looks like Sebastian Shaw? Shaw is a big, bulky fella. I can't predict.
<DanWallace> Vader will end up being the guy who has been played by the most people, however.
<DanWallace> Prowse, Shaw, Jones, Lloyd, whoever the new guy ends up being...
<DanWallace> Kind of like Indy. Ford, Phoenix, Carrier, Flanery, whoever that old guy was...
<HanSoloLFC> what are your preictions for episode 3, i mean that is supposedly when darth vader is born,do you
<HanSoloLFC> think that it will be the darkest of the films since there is no real hero?
<DanWallace> I'm sure it will be the darkest of the three. There's an interview with George Lucas contained on the
<DanWallace> Behind the Magic CD-ROM. George describes Ep. One as the lightest of the two, a fun romp that sets the stage for the ominous developments of Ep. Two. Then by the time
<DanWallace> Ep. Three rolls around, it's very dark and bleak. Sounds like Ep. Three will be the ESB of the new trilogy.
<skywalker8> What can you tell us about the upcoming Essential Guide to Chronology? How is laid out, etc...
<DanWallace> The Essential Chronology is being written by myself and Kevin Anderson. The book has been kicking around
<DanWallace> for several years, in fact, and was originally going to be a Bantam release called the Star Wars Chronology.
<DanWallace> During the shift between licensees, it ended up at Del Rey.
<DanWallace> Basically, it's a history book. If you picked a datacard of the Emperor's library in the Imperial palace and started reading it,
<DanWallace> it might look something like this. We start off with ancient history (25,000 years ago) and move on
<DanWallace> up to the current era (about 25 years after ANH). Every major storyline is summarized and placed into historical context.
<DanWallace> The biggest challenge is stringing together all the bits of history and trying to create a sense of flow, a sense that this was all planned from the beginning and follows a logical and natural sequence.
<HanSoloLFC> will it be thicker than a normal essential guide?
<DanWallace> Good question about the size. I'm not sure -- the manuscript is currently about 80,000 words, about the size of a short novel. How much
<DanWallace> space is requrired for the art is the big question, and I don't know how that's going to end up.
<skywalker8> I read a rumor somewhere (Roderick's Virtual Edition I believe) that it will connect the Star Wars universe with ours. Is that true?
<DanWallace> You mean, the Galaxy Far Far Away is our own? And we're descended from these other humans or something?
<DanWallace> Nope, no way, no how.
<skywalker8> well, it was different than that, but if it would be in there you'd know ;)
<DanWallace> The purpose of "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away" isn't to say that this takes place 500,000 years ago in galaxy OM-434, but rather
<DanWallace> to say "Once upon a time." It's a myth, a fairy tale.
<DanWallace> George Lucas doesn't like to call SW science fiction, in fact. He prefers "space fantasy."
<DanWallace> Many elements are closer to fantasy (the Force = magic, Jedi Knights = warriors, etc.) than sci-fi.
<skywalker8> I agree with that. A question about 'What's What in The Phantom Menace'. Will it be a lot like the Essential Guides?
<DanWallace> What's What is a different animal. It's a mini-hardcover to be published by Running Press. If you've
<DanWallace> seen the ones they have out now, they're small palm-sized hardcovers about 100 pages long. What's What
<DanWallace> and its companion volume, Who's Who (by Ryder Windham) will come out in conjunction with the new movie. My book will have
<DanWallace> capsule info on all the "stuff" from Ep. One, subdivided into five categories:
<DanWallace> Vehicles, Droids, Equipment, Locations, and (my favorite) Creatures.
<DanWallace> Each will be accompanied by a photo (movie still).
<skywalker8> Orac asks: when is the book coming out?
<DanWallace> The book should be out the same week as the release of TPM -- i.e. late May. Pick one up before you go see the movie, then read it afterwards! It'll really be a great, very helpful pocket guide.
<DanWallace> Who's Who will cover 50 characters, What's What will cover 50 items.
<HanSoloLFC> How much should it cost?
<DanWallace> Oooh... cover price, you've stumped me. I'm not sure how much it'll cost.
<DanWallace> It's still in production and I haven't seen any final copies.
<skywalker8> How did you gather all the information for 'What's What'? Is it all strictly from the movie and script?
<DanWallace> I read the script, viewed some storyboards, read the Brooks novelization, and got to read through a copious amount of background notes and concept drawings
<DanWallace> regarding the new films. In some cases, I invented new information for things that hadn't previously been fleshed out.
<DanWallace> It was all approved by Lucasfilm -- in fact, at one point George was going to review it personally, but I never heard if he did or not...
<skywalker8> How long is the novel?
<DanWallace> Hmm. well, I got the Brooks novelizaton in manuscript form, which means I got a bunch of photocopies sitting on my desk. In terms of
<DanWallace> how that translates into paperback pages, I'm not sure. I'm also not sure of the word count, but it's not terribly long. Maybe about the size of the first ANH novelization.
<DanWallace> It's a good read.
<skywalker8> Was there a big difference between the script and the novel?
<DanWallace> No, not a big difference between the two, if you mean contradictions. The Licensing department irons those things out right away. But if you mean
<DanWallace> does the novelization cover things that aren't seen in the movie, the answer is yes.
<skywalker8> Like characters, etc.?
<DanWallace> I don't know if I'm allowed to say! :)
<HanSoloLFC> llcooljj asks If buying the books will spoil the movie beforehand, or should we wait till after?
<DanWallace> I would wait. It'll be such a kick to go in and see it completely fresh and unprepared, not anticipating the plot turns and all. Back when ESB was released,
<DanWallace> I read the Marvel Comics adaptation (in a little paperback book) before I went to the theater and regretted it ever since. No "I am your father" surprises for me. :)
<skywalker8> Hershey7 asks: Do you ever play any Star Wars games? if so, which ones? and what do you think of them?
<DanWallace> Oh, I love the Star Wars games. LucasArts has put out some excellent ones. In fact, when I was in California for the summit I also got to tour the LucasArts offices. Probably my favorite
<DanWallace> of all time is the original X-wing, but the Dark Forces spinoffs are fun too. For Xmas I got Rogue Squadron, and if I could just get past the walkers on level 12 I'd be a happy man. :)
<Hershey7> i know some cheat codes to help :-)
<HanSoloLFC> will there be any big shockers in the movie?
<DanWallace> Shockers in the movie? Yes, I think so. Just so long as you try to avoid spoilers, which is becoming harder and harder. It's tough to hang around on the internet and AVOID information -- it's so counterintuitive and so different from the way things were even five years ago.
<skywalker8> Will you be writing any future SW books?
<DanWallace> A lot of the future right now is just waiting for books to come OUT. Droids should be here in a couple months, and the Chronology will hopefully be a late 99 release. What's What will be here in May.
<DanWallace> I finished another collaborative project recently that will be released in 99, but don't think info on it is public yet and perhaps I should sit on it. More things are in the works, but those are the only immediate SW books on the horizon.
<HanSoloLFC> <dajeid> asks:is TPM same feel as ANH or just and intro to characters, not much depth?
<DanWallace> It's both, I think. You have the built-in task of trying to introduce the audience to an entirely new cast of characters, so you have some "setup" pieces.
<DanWallace> By their nature I don't think these are "deep," but then again you've got all the plot threads introduced here that
<DanWallace> will be picked up in Episodes Two and Three. So there's a lot of maneuvering and shadow-boxing from which you can draw all sorts of interesting conclusions, and
<DanWallace> it remains to be seen how it'll all play out in the end.
<HanSoloLFC> What about Darth Sidious? is he supposed to be the "Menace" and since he is not seen he is a "Phantom"?
<DanWallace> I'm not sure myself as to the literal meaning of George's title. It could certainly be taken in many ways, and I'm sure that was intentional. I can think of a good 3-4 meanings offhand. Who's the Phantom Menace? One of these, or all 4 at the same time?
<DanWallace> Even after you see the movie I don't think there's an obvious answer.
<skywalker8> Freeze wants to know: Your other collaborative project you mentioned earlier... is it 'Star Wars' related?
<skywalker8> or can you really not tell us?
<DanWallace> Yes, it's Star Wars related, and I believe it'll be out towards the tail end of 99. But I really don't know if they're trying to keep wraps on it.
<HanSoloLFC> will it be prequel?
<DanWallace> Don't want to talk out of turn, you know.
<DanWallace> Prequel and Classic era, both. It's a fun project on a fun subject.
<HanSoloLFC> <llcooljj> dan says he visits TFN and there are other SW site ops here tonight, is there a feeling that such sites must be avoided during the last few months as too many spoilers will be posted?
<DanWallace> Regarding the fan sites out there ... if you really want to avoid all spoilers, you should have stopped reading the sites about six months ago! :)
<DanWallace> But the interesting thing is, many of the interesting bits of Episode One have NEVER appeared in any online form, not that I've seen. There are still secrets.
<HanSoloLFC> As far as the continuation of Prequel comics and novels, what do you think is in store for us?
<DanWallace> I'm not sure what's in store for prequel novels and comics, other than the ongoing Star Wars comic published by Dark Horse.
<DanWallace> The tricky thing is, there's still Episodes Two and Three to plot out. it's going to be tough to write stories without infringing on future continuity.
<DanWallace> Look at the hard time the Marvel comics folks had when writing between ANH and ESB (and ESB and ROJ, for that matter.)
<skywalker8> Gojhira asks: what would your ideal Star Wars project be.
<DanWallace> Gojhira, everything I've worked on so far has been an ideal Star Wars project!
<HanSoloLFC> <hips2> Question for Dan: Will there be any release of the "Star Wars Holiday Special" on video this holiday season of '99?
<skywalker8> LOL, hips. You really like it that much, do you?
<DanWallace> The SW Holiday Special? I doubt it, since it's so cheesy and I heard that Lucas hates it. But it's still a hoot. It's possible to get dubbed copies of it here & there, so they say. ;)
<skywalker8> Freeze: did you read the plot summary at JediNet? that one spoils eveything I think
<DanWallace> Yes, I did read the plot summary out of curiosity. But in the interests of not spoiling it for any of you, I won't comment on how much was accurate and how much was inaccurate. So there! :)
<skywalker8> Who's your favorite Star Wars character?
<DanWallace> The SW character I would most like to be is Lando. The SW character who is most like me in real life is Threepio.
<HanSoloLFC> why is that?
<DanWallace> Lando rocks. He's the best character, the one who faces the biggest choices and reacts in a human fashion. Threepio is nervous and flighty and fidgety and just a good fellow.
<HanSoloLFC> Well Mr. Wallace thank you so much for your time and maybe when episode1 comes out we can do another chat!
<DanWallace> Hey, thanks to all of you. It was a wonderful experience.
<HanSoloLFC> so 3-po is you?
<DanWallace> All of Threepio's bad qualities are me. All of Threepio's good qualities (manners, civility, dignity) are not. :)
<skywalker8> I hope you all enjoyed it
<DanWallace> Hi all, thanks again.
<llcooljj> so it's a good idea NOT to read the jedinet summary huh?
<DanWallace> I just think you should make every effort to avoid spoilers. I mean, we've still got five months to go!
<UberJedi> Mr. Wallace: do you visit fan sites?
<DanWallace> Sure, I visit fan sites from time to time.
<HanSoloLFC> goodnight everyone
<DanWallace> Hey, it was a lot of fun. Thanks for the great questions.
<DanWallace> Thanks again. Gotta head off into the snow.
<skywalker8> good luck!