Rogue One writer Gary Whitta discusses comics, fandom, The Last Jedi


The prolific Rogue One writer was queried about a number of subjects for Jedi News in recent interview.

Gary Whitta is a busy man. He is known to most of us as a co-writer on the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. His contributions to the Star Wars cannon run further however; he has written episodes of the animated series Star Wars: Rebels, has contributed to the anthology novel Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and most recently turned his talents to the Marvel Comics adaptation of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

He was recently interviewed by Mark Alders of – and held forth on many subjects of interest to us fans. As we all know here, the series has different appeals to different people, and entwine with personal histories in unique ways. When asked what Star Wars means to him, Whitta had this to say:

"For me it’s always been a boundless source of creative inspiration and just sheer magical escapism and joy. The first time I saw the original Star Wars I had the same reaction that so many film-makers of my generation had; that beyond being transported by the film, I immediately knew that whatever it was making me feel — that sense of awe and wonder — I wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to give that to other people."

More from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The pull that these outsized and mythic tales holds on the popular consciousness has created a devoted and mobilized fan base. The overall effect of this, in my opinion, is a net positive exchange between the creators and devotees. However, every now and again differences in expectations can lead to friction. The most recent – and discussed – fandom friction is that of the function of The Last Jedi in the context of the Sequel Trilogy, a subject on which Whitta does not mince words on:

"I suspect that I would have written a more fan service-driven film that would have appeased some of that noisy minority but ultimately would have been a lesser and less important film because of it. Frankly I’m disgusted by the treatment that Rian has received, he’s not just one of the most talented film-makers working today but one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet in any walk of life, and both he and the film he made deserve far better."

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Strong words from a writer deeply embedded in the creation and mythos of Star Wars. Having been accepted into the Lucasfilm family Whitta now turns his attentions to bringing The Last Jedi from the silver screen to the sequential art format. When asked what that process is like – and what freedoms he felt he could take – he answered:

"Lucasfilm were very insistent that the comic not just be a straight replay of the movie in comics form, but that I try to find different ways to approach the existing material and to add new things that would give readers a different experience than the film itself…A lot of the stuff I’ve added or interpreted is really very minor but because it’s Star Wars even little things are a big deal so something as minor as giving Admiral Ackbar a final moment before he died (I’m a huge Ackbar fan!) was received in a major — and I’m glad to say very positive — way by the fans."

The entire interview is deeply interesting and well worth a read for the insight hungry fan. In the run up to the concluding chapter of the Star Wars saga, any and all insider information will prove invaluable.

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi comic adaptation is in stores now .