“E.K. Johnston’s YA novel Queen’s Shadow, released earlier this year, shone a much-overdo spotlight on Padmé Amidala and her handmaidens. Well, cue the thunderous applause: StarWars.com is thrilled to announce that Johnston will return to these prequel-era favorites with Queen’s Peril, a prequel to Queen’s Shadow coming May 5, 2020. It’s available for pre-order now, and you can get a first look at the gorgeous front and back covers by Tara Phillips below.
While few details about Queen’s Peril are ready to be revealed, StarWars.com caught up with Johnston for a few questions about revisiting Our Queen.
StarWars.com: There was a lot of excitement around Queen’s Shadow, especially from fans of the handmaidens and Padmé who feel like these characters have been underserved. What did that mean to you?
E.K. Johnston: The excitement and reception were absolutely amazing. I will never forget turning my phone back on when I landed in Chicago for Celebration and getting texts about the bookstore being sold out…and that was a month and a half after it had been released! It was everything I could have hoped for.
StarWars.com: You’re returning to Padmé with Queen’s Peril. What can you tell us about the book?
E.K. Johnston: I AM SO EXCITED. Broadly put, this was the first Star Wars book I ever pitched, way back in 2014. We had to update it a bit since, you know, there’s a been a bit of Star Wars since then.
It’s Padmé. It’s the first round of handmaidens. It’s Naboo. And a lot of it is giving Quarsh Panaka gray hair. Also, the Trade Federation is probably going to show up and cause problems.
StarWars.com: Did the reaction to Queen’s Shadow impact the writing of Queen’s Peril?
E.K. Johnston: Sort of? I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, but hearing readers be excited about all the dresses and other elements that I loved gave me more space to play going back in.
StarWars.com: What are you most excited about with Queen’s Peril that you might not have had the opportunity to cover in Queen’s Shadow?
E.K. Johnston: Okay, so the whole “I would have sent them to a Backstreet Boys concert” thing started as a half-joke panel answer, but…I got to send them to a Backstreetish Boysish concert. Also, I got to write the Original Six, as it were. I love Cordé and Versé and Dormé, but this was like sitting down with very old friends.
StarWars.com: The Phantom Menace celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, and the movie and its characters, including Padmé, seem more popular than ever. What’s your take on that?
E.K. Johnston: It makes me so happy. The prequels are how I found my way back to Star Wars, and the source of most of my fannish relationships, and being able to talk about them so openly is pretty great.”