Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: Gerry Duggan Talks ‘Chewbacca’
He's tall, dark and shaggy, and this fall, he's finally getting his due. One of Marvel's Star Wars surprises at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend was the announcement of a five-issue miniseries focusing on everybody's favorite Wookiee co-pilot/walking carpet, Chewbacca, from Deadpool and upcoming Uncanny Avengers writer Gerry Duggan and Black Widow and Infinite Horizon artist Phil Noto.
ComicsAlliance chatted with Duggan about Chewbacca, collaboration and the canonicity of the Star Wars Holiday Special.
ComicsAlliance: So let's start off with the high concept for the miniseries: after the Battle of Yavin, Chewie find himself marooned on an Imperial-controlled planet with a plucky young lady in tow. How'd this come about? What was your 'elevator pitch' for the miniseries?
Gerry Duggan: Well, it’s not imperial controlled yet, but that is the great threat in this story. Chewie is the mysterious nameless Wookiee that comes to town at just the right moment on this planet. The stakes are huge. An entire planet could come under Imperial control. As for the elevator pitch, this is the Wookiee With No Name.
CA: Why Chewie? I mean, besides the fact that he's a space Sasquatch who flies around in a dope spaceship and has a crossbow that shoots lasers.
GD: It’s his turn. You answered your own question but to elaborate a bit further --- he’s not had an opportunity in the spotlight. He didn't get a medal at Yavin, but he’s taking gold in this story. He’s smart, resourceful, and strong. If anything, Chewie’s been overdue.
CA: How difficult is it to go from writing Deadpool --- a character who notoriously can't shut up --- to writing Chewbacca, a character who only communicates in growls?
GD: I love the challenge in all honesty, but I can promise you that the story will work without any caps or balloons at all. Phil Noto is going to make it seem effortless.
CA: You and Phil Noto worked together on the Image comics series The Infinite Horizon. What's it like to team up again for this story? How did knowing you were writing for him affect the story?
GD: Phil is one of the great artists of our time. His storytelling, composition and design are sublime. His recent Star Wars contributions are among his finest work. Chewie is the first star of this book, and Phil is right up there with him. I was lucky enough to collaborate with him on Infinite Horizon. Re-teaming with Phil has been a joy. The fun we’re having is going to translate to the comic page.
CA: Tell us a little about the "young, feisty girl" Chewbacca ends up helping in the series.
GD: Zarro is in over her head, like many inexperienced heroes. She’s going to take on the the people that are oppressing her whether she has help or not. Chewbacca is pledging his bowcaster to the cause to make sure that as she charges head-first into the fight, that she keeps her head.
CA: I'm always curious about Lucasfilm's involvement in the comics. How does that work with a miniseries like this?
GD: It starts with getting Star Wars editor Jordan D. White hooked on an idea, and then we take the outlines and script to the Lucasfilm Story Group. They’ve been very helpful in a lot of ways, and not just on story and character. It was their suggestion that I write the lines for Chewie for everyone in English.
As a comic writer, I need to spell out Chewie’s roar exactly as you’ll read it on a page, and I was taking up a lot of room in the description for Chewie’s motivations. It’s all a bit more elegant now. So, the real answer is actually quite boring, all the notes from editorial have made this a better comic book.
CA: Last question: Are you a bad enough dude to make the Star Wars Holiday Special canon? Lumpy? Malla? Gross old pervert, Itchy?
GD: Lucasfilm has their policy on the special, and I don't have enough hit points to try and undo it, but I think you’ll find this comic to be a new window into the Wookiee culture that will stand the test of time.
Thanks again for picking up Chewbacca this fall. I think Star Wars fans both old and young will have a blast.
Chewbacca, a five-issue miniseries, will be available this fall from Marvel Comics.