Star Wars: Hearts of Kyber

Though the Empire has already razed the sacred moon of Jedha, they’ve come back for more. In their attempts to raid the Kyber mines for the powerful crystals that fuel the Death Star’s weapons system, Imperial forces will encounter some familiar foes…but will Luke Skywalker be among them?

On January 3, Luke wavers between his allegiance to the Rebellion and his quest to become a Jedi in STAR WARS #41! Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca present a few unexpected challenges in the fight against the Empire as the story continues.

Gillen stopped by Marvel HQ to speak about where Luke—and the Rebellion at large—find themselves in issue #41.

Marvel.com: With Luke preoccupied with his Jedi training, who might step up to lead the fight against the Empire?

Kieron Gillen: “What’s the right thing to do?” is just one of the questions that haunt this story. Hell, it haunts all fiction—or at least my own. I think you can chase that through the cast in the arc. Some of the characters go the other way—chasing the martyr journey that Jyn Erso ended up taking. Okay, that might be a bit philosophical for an answer, but to be more specific, Han would be the person I’d keep an eye on for the rest of the arc.

Each of the main three characters have their own arc in “The Ashes of Jedha,” and they rise and fall at different times. Luke’s started earliest and peaks with the training. Han starts lower and builds bigger later.

Marvel.com: How do Han and Leia react to Luke now that he’s gone off to do his own thing?

Kieron Gillen: I’d say the head-to-head between Leia and Luke says it all. It’s a fair question. What is practical in a situation? Either way, someone will have to make amends.

Marvel.com: Since the Death Star attack, what strategic value does Jedha hold for the Empire and the Rebellion respectively?

Kieron Gillen: For the Empire, it’s what it always was—a place rich in the resources they want. They’re a gauntlet squeezing the last bit of juice from the orange. The Empire needs all the orange juice it can get. Conversely, for the Rebellion, they don’t think the Empire should be allowed anything with Vitamin C in at all. They want the Empire to get scurvy. Any time the Empire try to buy some fruit juice, they’re arrive, swatting away the grasping gauntlet-y fingers.

Err…I’m not talking about actual orange juice, by the way.

Marvel.com: Right there with ya! Will we see any familiar faces in this struggle for Jedha?

Kieron Gillen: Well, Chewie has been conspicuously absent. I need to get some Bowcasting action in, surely?

Marvel.com: Oh yeah. Last question: how does it feel to have the chance to tell these stories between the action fans already know so well?

Kieron Gillen: It’s pretty magical. I’m working on the second arc at the moment, and I feel that I’ve really got the characters under my fingers. It feels like such a wonderful period of growth for the three core members and the Alliance, and getting to delineate the adventures they have along the way is so much fun.

What I’m doing is basically what I did with DARTH VADER—look at the gap in time, work out what’s been implicitly changed in that space, and then try to cook up a compelling reason for all those changes. Well, all the changes that [previous series writer] Jason Aaron hasn’t already touched on. That the book leans more towards the military side of the Rebels really brings Leia forward and Han’s conflicted response to it all. The trick ends up being about balance, so all the cast have their parts to play. For me, it’s an ensemble cast and I want to give everyone something.

Also, it never gets boring working out cool things you can do with a lightsaber.

Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca’s STAR WARS #41 hits on January 3!