Attack of the Clones,  Novels,  Prequel Trilogy

R.A. Salvatore looks back on his novelization of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

StarWars.com has published an interview with R.A. Salvatore, the author of the novelization of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, which was released along with the movie 20 years ago. Here are some interesting excerpts.

StarWars.com: As far as working with George Lucas, what did that process entail?

R.A. Salvatore: Most of my work was with Sue Rostoni, Lucy Autrey Wilson, and Howard Roffman on the Lucasfilm team. It was Election Day, 2000, when I went up to Skywalker Ranch for the first time. They gave me the script of the movie, and I went back to the hotel. That night I was reading, and every time I looked up at the TV screen, we had a different president as it went back and forth. It was a surreal night. The next day, I was scheduled for a 45-minute interview with George. We met in his office, and right at the 45-minute mark, his assistant came in and said someone was on the phone. But he waved them away, and three hours later we were still talking. He took me downstairs to look at a few scenes in-progress. […]

StarWars.com: You mentioned that you reviewed cuts of the movie with George Lucas. Would you also have been shown concept art and other materials? I assume that was important in order to describe things visually?

R.A. Salvatore: Yes, especially in the case of Amidala’s wardrobe. There were some amazing pieces.

StarWars.com: To come to some specific moments in the book, the story opens with one of Anakin Skywalker’s nightmares. He sees his mother, who shatters to pieces like glass. Considering these moments when you expand on something in the movie, how much is coming from your conversations with Mr. Lucas, and how much came out of your own invention?

R.A. Salvatore: The parts of the book that were not in the script were mostly the parts about Shmi and the Tuskens. Initially, I interwove everything with the main story, but then I learned that the actual events of the movie take place over just a few days, rather than months. So it had to be condensed at the front. I had freedom with that material and could tell the story of how Cliegg Lars lost his leg, for example. And later in the Tusken village, I explored the moment when Anakin briefly goes to the dark side. I didn’t play with too much else and followed the script. […]

StarWars.com: Considering Anakin and Padmé together, I had a question about their impromptu kiss at the lakeside on Naboo. Again you bring in a new element where Padmé is discussing an old-man character who lives on the island on the lake and creates these beautiful glass fixtures. She talks about how the glass mesmerized her, adding an interesting dynamic to the scene. Where did this originate?

R.A. Salvatore: You know, it probably came from Judine Brooks, the wife of Terry Brooks. Right around that time, they were re-decorating their home and Judine showed us the work of this wonderful glass artist. Frankly, those little details make their way into scenes because that’s the way writers do it, you know what I mean? Copyeditors always hate me because I try to communicate the way people talk and think in my work, and that doesn’t always fit with style guides and rules about grammar. They’re tools, not rules, and I use them the way I see fit to convey the emotions I want to convey. I might place a comma because I want there to be a pause when someone is speaking.

This doesn’t just apply to the way I structure a sentence, but also in how people relate unrelated things to each other and find meaning for what they’re going through at that moment. That’s the way people are. The glass that Padmé talks about was beautiful and intricate, so complex in its beauty that she couldn’t really understand it. It kind of tells you how she felt about the kiss. […]”

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