Lessons from the Star Wars Saga: Anyone Can Be A Hero

StarWars.com

Lessons from the Star Wars Saga is a series exploring powerful themes in Star Wars. For more than 40 years, the epic adventures in a galaxy far, far away have also been significant explorations of the human experience in our own universe.

The Resistance lay in ruins.

Its forces decimated, its heroes little more than myth and mist, and in the end quite mortal after all.

A Resistance briefing after the evacuation of D'Qar.

The evacuation of D’Qar followed swiftly by the siege of Crait may be the rebels’ most desperate of hours. And this time there’s no foolhardy dynastic warriors ready to rush to their aid, no Jedi Knights chartering a ship to answer the call. The hero they have sought appears as a mere vision, a distraction to buy time for a hasty escape of the last survivors of the cause beaten back by the might of the First Order.

If there are no heroes of old to save the day, perhaps no one even willing to respond to the distress beacon, no Jedi Order left to keep the peace, then it is up to the average galactic citizen — the children of junkers, the turncoat soldiers, the mechanics, the slaves forced to muck out the fathier pens — to rise to the challenge. These heroes, born of necessity and forged in war, will have to save themselves.

Rey sits on Jakku.

This final act in Star Wars: The Last Jedi highlights an important truth woven throughout the Skywalker saga — greatness can come from anywhere and anyone can be a hero.

All they have is hope, the legends that inspire them, and the knowledge that there can be a better life, a better galaxy, not just for themselves, but for everyone.

They choose to become heroes and they rise to the challenge proving that where you come from, and whatever you’re born into, does not dictate your worth.

Rey ignites her lightsaber.

Rey – The mystery

Beyond the strength of her raw connection to the Force, Rey bears little resemblance to the Jedi Knights anointed by the Order. Before the Clone Wars, she may have been plucked from a life of despair and trained in the Jedi Temple to become a knight of the Republic. But that Jedi Order ceased to exist long before she was born and there were no masters at the ready to help her complete her training.

Rey barters for food on Jakku.

For most of her life, Rey’s connection to the power of the Force seems to have been dormant, a second sight with abilities far beyond the scrappiness and strength that allowed her to survive in the bleak desert of Jakku, scavenging through garbage to barter for food. But even her precocious talent for wielding a lightsaber is no gift of the Force; her survival instincts and abilities with a staff have been carefully honed as she fought to live another day.

As the daughter of junk dealers, Rey is following the family business in a way, but her resemblance to her parents ends there. Surrounded by the destruction inside Snoke’s throne room, “They were nobody,” she admits. They took their daughter and tossed her aside, sold her off for drinking money, left her alone with a thug who made her scrounge to survive, failed her when she needed protecting, guidance, and love the most. Rey comes from nothing, as Kylo Ren says.

Rey helps BB-8 escape again.

Rey could have easily continued the cycle. She could have allowed her circumstances to dictate her future, and snuff out any hope she had of getting off that rock. But Rey is inherently good, compassionate, and with the Force as her ally she can accomplish great things. So when she saw the chance to do better, to return BB-8 to people who cared for the small astromech, Rey took her shot. She found her place in the galaxy as part of the Resistance, fighting for the greater good. If she had instead seen BB-8 as a payday, and was content to remain on Jakku and live out her days scavenging, worrying only about her own survival and never giving a second thought to what was happening beyond the Graveyard of Giants, it’s possible she would have never even realized her connection to the Force.

Luke Skywalker watches the suns set.

Like Luke Skywalker before her, a simple farm boy hungering for a larger life beyond his dismal desert existence who leaped into the cause when his family was killed, Rey found a place in the Resistance.

And like Anakin Skywalker, a human being enslaved with hidden talents more powerful than he could possibly imagine, Rey harnessed her own power by learning about the Force.

Rey surveys a map to Luke Skywalker.

But you don’t need to use the Force to save the galaxy. Rey is no one, and that is far more empowering and awe inspiring than any preordained hero.

Rey offers Finn a hand.

Finn – The renegade

Trained from an early age to serve the First Order, not unlike the clone troopers of the Republic, in his first real battle outside of a combat simulator, FN-2187 froze. He didn’t want to slaughter innocents on Jakku, and although he stood with his brothers in arms, his blaster remained unfired in the skirmish.

Finn crash lands in the desert back on Jakku.

Rather than face Captain Phasma, who considered him a bug in the system in need of an attitude adjustment through reconditioning, he did the only thing he could think of — he ran. At the outset, the soon-to-be-christened Finn wasn’t a freedom fighter with lofty plans to free the galaxy from the tyranny of the First Order; he was inspired into an act of defiance but ultimately was just trying to save his own skin. Piece by piece, he shed his stormtrooper armor, and was left without an identity.

Finn joins the fight on Crait.

He lied his way into the Resistance. He had no noble goals about fighting for the cause; he was still just trying to save himself and his new friend. But over time, something in Finn changed. Maybe it was his friendship with Rey, who shared her infectious wide-eyed excitement for the legends of the Rebel Alliance. Maybe it was his encounter with DJ and Rose, two opposing forces of selfish neutrality and selfless righteousness, and a feeling in his gut that by fighting for something greater than himself his life was worth more than the feeble existence of mere survival alone.

Whatever it was, he made the choice to rise up and join the cause. When he joined the fight on Crait, he was ready to sacrifice himself to give the Resistance a fighting chance.

Han Solo saves Luke in A New Hope

Like the rogue Han Solo before him, who claimed to only be in it for himself but couldn’t stand to leave his friends in the lurch, Finn found his path to the cause through his loyalty to an individual who had shown him kindness.

And like Wedge Antilles, who was excited to join the Empire but ultimately defected, disillusioned with Imperial methods and rising in the ranks of the Rebellion to become one of the Empire’s most formidable opponents in battle, Finn turned away from the First Order and forged a new path that led to something greater than himself.

Finn makes his escape in The Force Awakens.

Finn was raised to kill, but no one could force him to fulfill that training and his choice to save himself started him on the journey to becoming a hero.

Rose Tico in The Last Jedi.

Rose – The mechanic

When the First Order brought devastation to their home world, an impoverished mining colony, Rose Tico and her sister Paige joined the Resistance to fight back. While her sister served as a gunner before she was killed during the evacuation of D’Qar, Rose preferred a quieter yet no less important role keeping the Resistance fleet running. Using her mechanical know-how to create new machines and keep even the ricketiest fleet of vehicles operational, Rose was an essential cog in the machine of the Resistance at a time when their resources were depleted and their future looked bleak.

Rose and Finn talk in The Last Jedi.

Beyond her talents with machinery and technology, Rose’s gumption to fight for what she love, and face down even the heroes of the Resistance when they appeared to be mere cowards made her heroic. Standing up to someone you admire takes far more bravery than someone you consider an enemy, and Rose proved that when she caught Finn about to jettison an escape pod and unflinchingly performed her duty, stunning him with the jolt of her electro-shock prod, loading him unceremoniously onto a cart, and taking him to the brig as an apparent traitor and deserter. Sure, at first she was dazzled by meeting one of the storied heroes in the flesh. But she believed in the cause above all else and took her duty seriously.

Her selfless actions, however, are all the more noble and evocative of her heroism on the front lines because she was in mourning for her sister. It would be understandable if in her grief the rest of the world faded away, and she was left weeping and focused on her singular pain. Even when she’d lost the most important person she had left, through the tears, Rose proved she would do what was right. That’s a hero, no Force sensitivity required.

Like Hera Syndulla before her, who formed a small rebel cell and eventually went on to become a leader for the Rebel Alliance, fighting even in the face of great personal loss, Rose never lost sight of what was right and the importance of every single person in the cause banding together to play their part.

And like Jyn Erso, a reluctant rogue born of tragedy, Rose was willing to sacrifice herself without the promise of glory or having her name recalled with those considered heroes of the Resistance.

Rose and Finn in The Last Jedi.

Rose’s work may not be glamorous, but it is essential. Without Rose and people like her behind the scenes, regular people willing to stand up for what they believe is right, the Resistance would surely crumble.

There is another…

Across the galaxy, there are many heroes of countless origins. Wicket and the Ewoks on the forest moon of Endor surmounted great odds, using primitive tools to fight off their attackers. Jar Jar and the Gungans defended their home on Naboo from a swarm of battle droids, sometimes unwittingly emerging victorious. L3-37 built herself up to crusade to free her fellow droids on Kessel and beyond.

Temiri in The Last Jedi.

They are seemingly unremarkable, like Temiri, who helped Rose and Finn with their daring fathier escape from Canto Bight. But you can already see the spark of rebellion igniting in this gifted boy.

He may be downtrodden, living a life where he’s treated no better than the animal he shares a stable with, and given little chance of escaping his fate. A chance meeting with the Resistance — likely sacrificing his own safety to ensure the escape of the rebels and the abused race fathiers — is not enough to turn him into a hero himself. But he carries the symbol of the Resistance on his finger, an alliance with the Force in his bones, and he is inspired by the legend of Luke Skywalker, a larger-than-life hero who was once just a lonely farm boy on a dusty desert planet as far from the bright center of the universe as you can get.

The Resistance lay in ruins. But like the Rebel Alliance before it, as long as there is hope in the galaxy, it will never truly die. It can be rebuilt, rising from the ashes, with the strength of the ordinary and average fighting to achieve the extraordinary, working together to accomplish something greater than any one hero, with or without the Force, can achieve alone.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Lessons from the Star Wars Saga: Anyone Can Be A Hero

Her Universe Honors “Sisters of the Force” in New Collection at Star Wars Celebration Chicago – Exclusive

StarWars.com

Nearly a decade ago, when Her Universe was just getting ready to launch its unique Star Wars apparel for female fans, founder Ashley Eckstein was trying on different names that exemplified the brand and the community she was hoping to build.

She landed on “Sisters of the Force,” a phrase that was ultimately left on the cutting room floor. But for Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and later Star Wars Rebels, it helped to set the tone for things to come. “Sisters of the Force never took off, but it was always kind of my name for the female Star Wars community,” she says. And next week, Her Universe will launch a special “Sisters of the Force” capsule collection at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, with dresses, shirts, hoodies, and even capes that pay homage to some of the bravest women in the galaxy.

“Sisters of the Force, to me, represents women in Star Wars,” Eckstein recently told StarWars.com. “Whether it’s the characters, whether it’s the fans, whether it’s the women who work on Star Wars, there are all of these strong women who bring Star Wars to life. And while my dream with Her Universe, from day one, has been to spread the message that Star Wars is for everyone, I wanted to shine the spotlight on the women of Star Wars with this collection.”

As the company prepares to celebrate its ninth anniversary, Eckstein shares the stories behind the designs in the new line.

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Padmé nouveau

If this nouveau design looks familiar, that’s because the piece was pulled from the Her Universe vault to be reissued by request. “It was our most popular shirt when we first launched,” Eckstein says. “That shirt hasn’t been available for over 5 years. But people still request it because their first shirt is worn out or they’re a newer Her Universe fan.”

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Rey tee

Star Wars fandom is like a family, and there’s no place that’s more apparent than at Star Wars Celebration. With the launch of Our Universe last year, Eckstein’s team opened up even more possibilities with unisex offerings. “So many guys not only have supported us from day one but on a regular basis they tell me we’re one of the only brands that offer Ahsoka Tano T-shirts for men,” Eckstein says. When it came time to design a piece for Rey, the team chose a unisex cut and a quote that was indicative of inclusion. “That quote felt like it was right for Rey, right for the saga where we are now going into Episode IX, and just right as an inspiring quote in everyday life.”

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.
An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Logo tee

This subtle yet striking black-on-black tee has a secret – on the back is printed an adage from an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “The Wrong Jedi.”

The quote — “Never give up hope, no matter how dark things seem.” — is one of Eckstein’s personal favorites and a reminder to have faith even in darkness. “To me, Star Wars means hope. That is what it has meant to me personally for years as a Star Wars fan. And Ahsoka is a survivor. Ahsoka lives and Ashoka means hope to me.”

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Padmé’s lake retreat 

“I’ve been wanting to do Padmé’s lake house dress for years,” says Eckstein. “It’s a very difficult dress to make, and to make a ready-to-wear version that anyone can wear.”

But the flowy chiffon number, with a bustle and delicate finger loops, still felt too fancy for some fans, who asked for an everyday version. That’s when the team designed a hoodie in matching pastel hues. Ultimately, rather than choosing between the two, Eckstein decided to produce both. “Padmé doesn’t get enough love.”

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Tano sweatshirt

Lucasfilm’s Daniel Kennedy designed this number, a unisex pullover that incorporates Ahsoka’s lekku markings and other identifying features in the design.

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Ahsoka windbreaker 

Also designed with lekku in mind, the hood on this windbreaker includes two points. “Not only is it a nod to Ahsoka but also kind of a nod to cosplayers,” Eckstein says.

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Leia’s cape coat

Even though Her Universe doesn’t create screen-accurate replicas, a lot of research went into creating this textured jacquard cape coat with the formidable Leia Organa in mind. “We tried to pick something that closely emulated General Organa’s cape coat,” Eckstein says, then took some liberties adding a rebel symbol to the back and a metal nameplate on the front.

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Rose Tico army jacket

This rugged jacket takes a lot of cues from Rose’s jumpsuit, and even sports details like a cozy fleece hood and an embroidered patch to match her necklace.

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Holdo’s dress

“We wanted to do that dress so bad from the second we saw it,” Eckstein says of Admiral Holdo’s draped lavender frock. “But honestly, when we designed our The Last Jedi collection, there was a lot we didn’t know. After the film, when we realized she’s awesome and the dress is awesome, we knew we had to make it!”

A looser fit and shorter cut make this dress more versatile for everyday wear. Plus, it has pockets! “Pockets are the rule, not the exception,” Eckstein says. “We have a general life rule that you should put pockets in as many things as possible. There are some designs where pockets, for the fit, it’s not possible. So that’s the exception. But the rule is if it’s possible to put pockets in a design, there will be.”

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Sabine pleather moto jacket

Inspired by Sabine’s first-season armor because “for most fans that’s the most recognizable,” Eckstein says, this jacket includes nods to the Mandalorian artist’s handiwork as well as a back panel “inspired by the front of her helmet.”

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Hera pullover

For this design, Eckstein asked Vanessa Marshall, the voice of Hera, to weigh in, picking her personal favorite quote from the character, “We have hope.”

“If you’re not a fan, I think it just looks like a cool design,” Eckstein says. But if you are, you’ll know you’re wearing a piece that came “straight from the voice of Hera.”

An item from the "Sisters of the Force" Her Universe collection.

Constellation

Even with all these pieces, there were still too many female Star Wars characters to represent them all in the capsule collection. “I called up my friend [and artist] Ashley Taylor and I gave her a list.”

This final design was inspired by a star map and has 27 characters, all celebrated as constellations in a vast expanse of galaxy, and emblazoned on a tee and a pullover.

You can purchase items from the Sisters of the Force collection at Star Wars Celebration Chicago and on HerUniverse.com beginning April 11.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Her Universe Honors “Sisters of the Force” in New Collection at Star Wars Celebration Chicago – Exclusive

Pick Up Exclusive Star Wars Celebration Variant Covers of Star Wars Insider

StarWars.com

Among the exciting exclusives coming to Star Wars Celebration Chicago later this month, StarWars.com is thrilled to announce a convention exclusive variant cover of Star Wars Insider issue #189!

On sale in Chicago, the latest edition of the fan-favorite magazine includes two never-before-scene covers designed by artist Karen Hallion. The choice is yours — pick the light side and opt for an illustration featuring scavenger-turned-warrior Rey, or choose the dark side and pick up a copy featuring the First Order’s new supreme leader Kylo Ren.

“2019 is such a momentous year for Star Wars, especially with Episode IX bringing the Skywalker Saga to a close,” says Star Wars Insider editor Christopher Cooper. “We wanted to commemorate the occasion with some very special covers for our latest issue—exclusive to Star Wars Celebration!”

A special edition of Star Wars Insider is coming to Star Wars Celebration.
A special edition of Star Wars Insider is coming to Star Wars Celebration.

Hallion, who has illustrated exclusive Star Wars Celebration art pieces including an offering slated for this year’s event as well as working as leading contributor in 2018’s Women of the Galaxy book, created two vibrant variant covers for the newest issue of the magazine, issue #189, “which gets an early release during the big event in Chicago this month,” Cooper notes. “Readers can choose between the dark side and the light, with Cover A featuring Kylo Ren and Cover B starring Rey, with a portrait of Luke Skywalker linking the two to form one glorious larger artwork when the covers are placed side-by-side.”

The latest edition of Star Wars Insider magazine follows the Skywalker saga back to where it all began: Star Wars: A New Hope. Commemorate the making of the original film by reading the first of a two-part interview with the late Gary Kurtz, producer of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and original trilogy art director Lesley Dilley. The issue also features exclusive new interviews with Peter Mayhew, the legend who inhabited the role of Han Solo’s faithful friend Chewbacca, and iconic poster artist Greg Hildebrandt.

Readers will be transported to Tatooine to explore its sandy wastelands and the real-world locations behind them, and enjoy a look back at the origins of Hasbro’s Star Wars toys, from Kenner’s empty Early Bird box to the present day. This issue also includes an exclusive conversation with young Boba Fett actor Daniel Logan, a look at some favorite deleted scenes, and a deep dive into the many parallels between Padmé Amidala and Leia Organa.

You can subscribe to Star Wars Insider now for more of the latest news, in-depth articles, and exclusive interviews in every issue!

Site tags: #StarWarsCelebrationChicago2019

Pick Up Exclusive Star Wars Celebration Variant Covers of Star Wars Insider

For Inkkas, the Future of Star Wars is Female — Exclusive Reveal

StarWars.com

The poise of Padmé Amidala, the faith of Leia Organa, and the strength of Rey have been drawn together for a new Inkkas design that celebrates some of the most courageous heroes in the Star Wars saga.

“We want to celebrate the complete saga,” says Tatiana Salaverria, Lucasfilm’s senior designer who worked with the unisex footwear company to create the print, “The Future is Female,” which will appear on two pairs of shoes in their new Rebel Collection.

A lifestyle image of Inkkas Future is Female shoes, part of the Rebel Collection.

What started as a simple sketch of Princess Leia from A New Hope drawn by Christine Lynn Johansen, the lead designer for Inkkas, evolved into a cohesive print, with all paths coming together in an elegant celebration of the original trilogy, the prequels, and the sequels. Each character flows into the next, with Rey’s simple signature arm bands blending into Queen Amidala’s elaborate headdress.

But simplifying these Star Wars icons into a line drawing came with its own challenges. “The most important thing was for us to get their likeness, even though it’s a little bit stylized,” says Salaverria.

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her "Future is Female" print.

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her "Future is Female" print.

With the shoes available for pre-order starting today, StarWars.com goes behind the scenes into the making of a saga-spanning print celebrating three generations of Star Wars women.

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her "Future is Female" print.

The fire of a queen

“Padmé, I think, was the hardest,”says Salaverria. “At first, she was a little too sweet. Padmé, she’s young, but she also has fire behind her.”

“She was looking a bit too young,” agrees Johansen, who tried to concentrate on capturing the emotion of the queen’s face. “It was a challenge going into it. That’s pretty much what we concentrated on getting exactly right. She has that stripe on the lip. We didn’t want it to look too heavy because since it’s all line work we tried to make to look feminine and pretty.”

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her "Future is Female" print.

To me, she’s royalty

For Leia, Johansen’s lines were too thick initially, with the detail on the character’s signature double hair buns giving her hair a little too much weight. “On this print, for sure, less is more,” she says. “It started with too much of a heavy hand. With the eyes, we needed it a little bit more realistic and the lips…we made them a little more subtle.

“We wanted to keep it classic, so with Leia it was a no-brainer to go with her gown,” adds Salaverria.

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her "Future is Female" print.

The next generation

For Rey, Johansen toyed with recreating the outfit that takes the character from the Resistance base to the feet of Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To. “We actually went back and forth quite a bit in terms of what costume to use,” says Salaverria. But ultimately the ensemble the character wore for most of The Force Awakens made the most sense.

The Inkkas' Future is Female camping boot.
The Inkkas' Future is Female slip on.
The Inkkas' Princess Leia Flex Force.

In addition to the “Future is Female” print on a slip on and camping boot style in the line, there’s a Force Flex X sneaker designed in the color palette of Leia Organa. All three shoes include a subtle Rebel Alliance emblem and a quote from Leia, uttered just before she and her would-be rescuers went diving into the Death Star’s garbage chute: “Somebody has to save our skins.”

The Inkkas' Favorite Droids slip on.
The Inkkas' Favorite Droids Flex Force.

The droids you’re looking for…

The line also includes two other pairs of shoes, a slip on and a Flex Force sneaker, that pay homage to two other vital, saga-spanning characters: R2-D2 and C-3PO. After all, if not for the brave little astromech and his fretful counterpart stowing away on an escape pod on the Tantive IV, the Empire’s quest for the stolen Death Star plans may have ended before the first act in A New Hope. The insoles for those designs channel Obi-Wan Kenobi and his trusty Jedi mind trick with the oft-quoted phrase, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

A Force for good

More than just beautiful pieces of footwear, Inkkas is a force for good, says company co-founder and Director of Sourcing and Distribution David Malino. The company’s OneShoeOneTree project plants a tree for each purchase. “Supporting environmental causes is a big part of our ethos. To date, the Star Wars and Inkkas collaboration has been responsible for planting 5,376 trees as part of Inkkas’ OneShoeOneTree program.”

And with TreesForTheFuture, the brand is helping to fight deforestation in developing nations. “They plant trees mostly in Africa,” he says, “and that’s an important pillar of what we do as a company.”

But the new print also speaks to Inkkas’ dedication to authenticity in original textiles and prints and inclusivity, depicting strong female characters on shoes to be worn by men and women. “As a brand and a company, it’s important for us to support causes and women’s empowerment,” Malino says. “What the company stands for is inclusiveness and this is something that we’re excited to celebrate. We want to make a statement that this is something we’re really excited about. And we want Star Wars fans to be excited with us and celebrate the powerful female characters in all the films.”

The Inkkas' Rebel Collection.

The Rebel Collection is the third collaboration between Inkkas and Star Wars, available for pre-order starting today.

Learn more about the company’s philanthropic initiatives at Inkkas.com.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

For Inkkas, the Future of Star Wars is Female — Exclusive Reveal

Illustrator Jeffrey Brown on Reimagining Rey and Pals — First Look

StarWars.com

If Rey and Kylo Ren had grown up together, would they have joined forces for an epic game of dodgeball? Would Poe have been a hotshot video gamer teaching a hapless Finn the basics of virtual space battles?

The cover of Rey and Pals by Jeffrey Brown.

These are some of the questions running through the mind of Jeffrey Brown, the author and illustrator behind the forthcoming Rey and Pals. Told in the style of his bestselling series Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess, the new book will feature pint-sized versions of Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe Dameron, Rose Tico, and other characters from the sequel trilogy and the hilarious hijinks that ensue in some very relatable situations.

Today, Brown answers a few questions about his creative process and reveals some charming new sketches from the forthcoming book.

StarWars.com: Fans were first introduced to your imaginative style with the Darth Vader and Son series. When you’re taking characters fans already know and love and restyling them as children, what do you define as the essential details and pieces to make sure that, for example, Rey still looks and feels like Rey? How do you capture the personality and costume details so the kid version is immediately recognizable?

Jeffrey Brown: The first step is to simplify, and boil the look of the character down to a few elements. Some of the costumes have a lot of detail, but if I draw too much detail in a costume, it doesn’t gel with the cartoony look of the characters’ faces — especially when I’m drawing Rey as a little kid. The other thing to focus on is body language and expressions. Rey is someone who dives right in, and can be very decisive and isn’t afraid to try and fail. So when I’m drawing her I’m imagining when kids are like that, trying to capture that feeling with how she stands or walks or gets into mischief. It also comes with time. I have to live with the characters quite a bit, watching the movies over and over while drawing and sketching them, so by the time I’m creating the final artwork, they’ve developed their own look and feel.

StarWars.com: Tell us a little about your process for writing one of these books, marrying some real-world scenarios children encounter everyday with Star Wars references and characters. What inspires the situations that you end up including in your stories? 

Jeffrey Brown: It’s always a mix of starting with a character or scene I want to draw — or both, in the case of a giant spread set in Maz’s castle — or thinking of a real-life situation and finding the right Star Wars moment to filter that through. For example, I grew up playing role-playing games, and my older son has started playing them with friends now, so I came up with some of the characters playing something like Dungeons & Krayt Dragons. Overall, the process starts with coming up with a ton of ideas — almost 200 for this book! Some are clear from the start, some get re-worked and recycled, left for later. And some I know aren’t likely to make the cut, because they’re too dark or don’t have the right tone, but I draw them anyway. By the time I’m creating the final art, all the concepts seem obvious and immediate, and sometimes I forget just how much work it was for us (myself and the editors and Chronicle and Lucasfilm) to craft the ideas.

StarWars.com: Can you give us a sneak peek of your work on the book?

Jeffrey Brown: Yes, and you don’t even need Bothan spies to share!

A sketch from Rey and Pals.

The mirror sketch was one of my first handful ideas. I was telling my older son to brush his teeth way back when I drew Vader’s Little Princess, and now I’m always telling my younger son. I think if you’re a kid it must seem like the scene on Ahch-to, you’re always having to brush your teeth over and over!

Face sketches from Rey and Pals.

These character heads are for the end sheets. It was a fun solution for the first book, but even more fun this time with so many more characters to choose from.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Illustrator Jeffrey Brown on Reimagining Rey and Pals — First Look