I think if you check this site for five minutes, you’ll probably come across a couple dozen articles that at least mention Star Wars. It’s a big deal for me, one of my favourite franchises and one where I’ve lost hours on, both reading or in other ways consuming stories or making up my own, be it for RPGs or just simple daydream.
One such daydream was a Star Wars novel series starring a trio of young Force Users, taken from their war torn world by a Jedi Master and brought to Coruscant and/or Dantooine, and would deal with the kid’s adventures and ordeals in the Jedi Order. These kids would come from a different tradition in the ways of the Force, one of communion with nature and about forming deep connections with the wildlife. For these kids, the steel and glass walls of the Coruscant Jedi Temple would feel oppressive and simply wrong, disconnected from the universe.
I called this series Star Wars: Igniters, as the three kids had the unusual ability to spark Force Sensitivity in others. The first novel would have them kidnapped early on and their blood used to synthesise a compound that gave people temporary abilities, yet make them extremely addicted to it. There would be some dark orders behind it, controlling the underworld and pushing the drug out to test just how powerful the children’s innate gift was. It put me in the dubious realm of the Midichlorian nonsense that Lucas introduced in the Star Wars Prequels, but I was never going to fully explain the science behind it, only give enough techno-babble and explain enough to move on. I do promise it was a nice explanation, not something that might just as well be “a wizard did it.”
But if anything, I’m very lawful. I don’t like getting into legal trouble, least of all for fan fiction. So I did what I usually do in these cases. I contacted authorities on the matter and asked for permission. I wrote to LucasArts–at the time still fresh on the Disney merger thing–and their legal department was very nice but basically told me, “don’t do it.”
So I discarded the idea for the novel.
But lately, as I’ve been working on the short stories, and moving forward with some plans for them, I’ve been revisiting old ideas to see which I could use for new material and I went over my original concepts for Star Wars: Igniters. I had forgotten that I had already written close to 5 chapters, with some really cool things happening in them, including the kids’ coming of age ritual, where they form a bond or contract with a nature spirit (read, a Force Spirit), which was another thing that would cause tension between them and the Jedi.
When I wrote to the legal department, they advised to create something new, my world and leave Star Wars alone, at least in terms of writing. Now I’m thinking of following that idea and create my own universe. I want it to be Science Fantasy, so that I can explore the same feelings and views of disconnection with nature, but most ideas will have to go. No Jedi, no Underworld and their drugs. I could still use them and rename them, but I want this to be unique and not have any ties to Star Wars aside from being the original inspiration for the project.
Right now I’m undecided on the setting for it:
- Near future Earth: Makes it easier to relate to characters, places and events as they would be familiar.
- Cyberpunk Earth: Much more advanced in technology, and with a greater separation between man and nature.
- Steampunk Universe: Not my usual setting but one that has always intrigued me. Has enough old-time elements to make the fantasy fit in easier.
- Space Opera: Exploring the stars and meeting strange beings from vastly different cultures, but without losing sight of the human drama. It’s the closest one to Star Wars.
Out of all of those, the Cyberpunk and Near Future settings feel like the best options, but only because they’re in my comfort zone. Steampunk fascinates me but I don’t know if I can pull it off. The last time I went out of my comfort zone in fiction was for a disastrous romance novel that I have never gone back to for a second draft. It’s not good . In fact, beyond the frankly awesome premise I had for it, everything else is atrocious.
Another thing that I have to decide is the rules for the spiritual and mystical side of things. It’s no longer The Force, which I’m familiar with to a degree where I know exactly what themes to explore with the three kids. I would love to touch on them again, but much like the setting, I don’t want to veer to closely to Star Wars. I also need to know what the Igniters do, what their new power is while still making sure they don’t sound like “chosen ones.”
As soon as I have something, even if it’s a simple concept for the world, you can bet I’ll be back to report on it, maybe even propose a new story premise for a prequel-style story.