There are probably very few jobs more coveted right now than “resident Star Wars expert.” But at the same time, with the universe set to explode later this year with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s not as easy a job as you think.
Enter Pablo Hidalgo, who is Lucasfilm’s creative executive. Along with Kiri Hart, Hidalgo works with Disney’s newly formed Lucasfilm Story Group to hash out the new canon universe.
Hidalgo recently spoke to Bruce Handy of Vanity Fair to explain how he got involved in the behind-the-scenes production of building a new universe for fans to play in.
The most heartening part of the interview is Hidalgo’s admission that he’s pretty much just an intense Star Wars geek whose love for the universe helped him stand out among other fans. Hidalgo was a prolific writer in the Star Wars fan community before he actually got hired by Lucasfilm to help run the official site and make it a destination for fans.
Now, he’s essentially the go-to encyclopedia on everything Star Wars, whether it’s offering story tips and explaining some minutiae of the universe.
"“Among things that I do is I offer that kind of level of deep knowledge. I’m able to give my two cents when I see something that isn’t tracking, maybe pointing out that, well, you know, that spaceship doesn’t have that capacity or these two planets are closer than the script is suggesting that they are. That kind of deep universe history.”"
That’s a pretty awesome story, and it’s fascinating how Lucasfilm isn’t afraid to recruit the most dedicated fans to fill high positions. They did the same thing with Matthew Martin.
With Hidalgo partly responsible for making sure the new Star Wars universe syncs together perfectly, that means the Expanded Universe content from before Disney’s acquisition had to be jettisoned, with the exception of some Clone Wars stories like the TV show.
The storyteller actually has an interesting point about how George Lucas used to coach them when crafting these tales, hinting that Lucas did have plans beyond Return of the Jedi but didn’t want to reveal them:
"“It was sort of guidance by absence, in a weird way, like he told us what not to do but not necessarily what to do. It was like, ‘Don’t do this with that character, don’t do that.'”"
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The interview reveals how much Hidalgo is pretty much like any other Star Wars fan. He became enraptured with the universe when he saw A New Hope in theaters. He played card and roleplaying games and obsessed over the trilogy with his friends. And now that passion for studying and detailing the universe is allowing them to leave his own imprint on it. Hidalgo is truly the quintessential Star Wars fan.