In Darth Vader and Son, cartoonist Jeffrey Brown asked the question, "What if Darth Vader raised Luke Skywalker?" Now he's giving Leia the same treatment with Vader's Little Princess. Want to get your hands the book for free? Write a caption for this Vader/Leia moment for a chance to win a copy.
Brown sat down with us to talk about the challenges of writing Leia as a rebellious teenager, the joys of drawing Jar Jar Binks, and the advantages of having Darth Vader as a dad:
io9: Was Vader's Little Princess more of a challenger to write than Darth Vader and Son?
Jeffrey Brown: It was challenging on a few different levels. One being that Vader and Son covered so much not only in terms of Star Wars situations, but in general parenting situations that I could make jokes about. And also a lot of Vader and Son was based on experiences with my own son, and I do not at this point have a teenage daughter. So the solution to the one challenge of coming up with new aspects of parenting to make fun of was to go with Leia as a teenager. Then it became a question of where to find that material, which was basically looking at friends who do have daughters and thinking about my own time in high school and observations and things.
It's especially interesting because you have Leia as a rebellious teenager, but she actually is a Rebel in the films.
What's funny is, when I started writing this book, I never really thought about that kind of parallel—essentially both Luke and Leia are the rebellious teenagers, holding different values from their father. For whatever reason it's an easy thing to look over, but when you look closely at the films, a lot of those things fit together so nicely.
You hint at her activities with the Rebellion a lot. In the world of this book, is she an active member of the Rebel Alliance?
It's all about trying to walk a line. I thought about it a lot, but I tried to do was never have it end on one side or the other. Because if you explicitly make her part of the Rebellion, then things start to not make sense about why Vader wouldn't punish her differently. It breaks down the father-daughter relationship too much. But if you don't hint at her being part of the actual Rebellion, then you kind of lose touch with the Star Wars story.
There's a great moment in the book where Leia screams at Vader that she hates him and he's delighted, telling her to use her hate.
I guess my thinking was that Vader would be trying to turn Leia in the same way he was trying to turn Luke. When you have a moment like that, it's a play on how the father's interpreting their daughter's actions. So I guess a more generic example would be like the daughter doing something and the father thinking it's this sweet little innocent act and then the daughter's really sneaking out—that kind of idea of the father being a little oblivious. So when [Leia] says she hate's him and he's thinking, "Well, this is great! This is exactly what I wanted." But that's not how it's going to end.
Did you ever put yourself in Vader's shoes and try to imagine what it would be like to have a daughter like Leia?
I tried not to, because I think I'm aware that anything that she's doing as a daughter, my son could put me through the same troubles. Other than the sweet moments, where it's very rewarding, I tried not to think about how someday my son might be really angry at me and storming out and I won't be able to do anything about it.
And you got Jar Jar in there again.
You know, as much Jar-Jar is this polarizing figure amongst Star Wars fans, he's actually a lot of fun to draw. And kids do like him, so I like to put him in a little bit, have it be fairly understated. So in this book he pops up in the background a couple of times, and there's one scene where he's kind of a joke in a panel, but it's not so hit-you-over-the-head.
Was there a bit of Star Wars wish fulfillment on your part? At one point, Leia gets an X-wing for your birthday; did you want an X-wing for your birthday?
It's something never quite fits. Like Luke never gets an X-wing for his birthday; suddenly he's just flying X-Wings everywhere and has an unlimited supply of X-wings. Star Wars doesn't really deal with the economics of what it would be like to get a spaceship for your birthday and what that would mean. So for me, I usually just glossed right over the why anyone would ever bother to give me a—I always wanted a snowspeeder to fly. I just went straight to flying the snowspeeder.
What do you think is the greatest advantage to having Darth Vader as your father?
You can probably get away with a lot of things that you wouldn't be able to get away with otherwise. Whether it's that people might not get back at you for something or people might not take advantage of you in the same way because of who your father is.
Vader's Little Princess comes out April 23, 2013, but if you want a chance to win an early copy of the book, leave your caption in the comments.