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Well, as of today, I’m officially
52 1/2 years old.
STAR WARS: JABBA’S PALACE
This coming Wednesday (3/29) will see the publication of the one-shot I wrote as part of the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the release of Return of the Jedi. (See, supra, being old.)
The 30-page issue tells the story of this poor guy:
In Return of the Jedi, we learn that he was Jabba the Hutt’s previous interpreter until Jabba “got angry with” him. But what could one droid have done to merit such a severe punishment? Well, if you’ve ever wondered, this issue is your answer.
This issue was a lot of fun to write and Alessandro Miracolo, my partner-in-crime on my Yoda arc, knocked the ball out of the park.
Starwars.com had a nice preview which you can check out here
AGAIN WITH THE INTERVIEWS
Well, my un-official press tour keeps rolling along. The latest interview was with the fine gents at Comic Watchers. We discussed my creator-owned comic work and Arrowverse-related matters. Give it a listen here.
This past week has all been about PROJECT MARBLE, and a few last-minute notes on Too Dead To Die.
Yesterday, I delivered the script for the penultimate issue of Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Echoes — a script which really kicked my ass in a way few scripts have recently. I’m still not sure why. Just glad it’s done. Once sending it off to IDW, instead of breathing a sigh of relief and pouring myself a glass of wine, I dove into the lettering draft of Yoda #8.
Today, I’m focusing on revisions to the first two issues of the Star Wars project I’ve been teasing.
STUFF I’M ENJOYING
For the past several months, I’ve been devouring the new Punisher book by Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz, Paul Azaceta, and Matt Hollingsworth. The team has been given the unenviable task of reinventing Frank Castle for the 21st Century. The degree of difficulty on such a project is high, but Jason et al. make it look effortless. I genuinely look forward to each new issue with a sense of expectation and uncertainty that I find rare in comics these days.
Monday marked the beginning of the Writers Guild negotiations with the AMPTP. On Tuesday, Variety published a piece about an AI-related proposal from the WGA. The next day, the Guild spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline to assert that the Variety piece mischaracterized their proposal.
Collecting the links to include above, I was struck by how different the various headlines were despite being about the exact same topic (the WGA’s AI proposal):
I was reading the Deadline piece with great interest, minding my own business, and came upon a paragraph unexpectedly quoting yours truly from a Writing From the Trenches piece we published back in February about AI. It was, suffice it to say, a surreal moment.
I’m sure I’ll have some more developed thoughts about AI in light of this latest press, but the time to get into that properly eludes me this week.
AN ACTUAL QUESTION!
In previous newsletters, I offered to answer any questions that people might place in the comments, but folks have rarely taken me up on it.
This week, however, Ginger Marie Mikulich weighed in, asking: “What were the themes for each season of Arrow?”
Well, Ginger, one of the weirder aspects of my process is that once something is released, I have a tendency to forget the circumstances of its creation. In some cases, there are things I can specifically recall. In other cases, I’ve had to dig back into my collection of notes for the pitches we would make at the start of each season to Warner Bros. For some reason, however, that collection is incomplete. So I’ve made due with what I’ve been able to reconstruct, both in terms of notes and memory:
We didn’t have a proper theme for Season One. Instead, we focused on Oliver’s emotional arc (a/k/a his “character journey”): Go from being a vigilante to being a hero. We wanted to return Oliver to Starling City “with only one goal”: To cross off the names of the bad guys in his father’s book. But the intention always was to evolve that goal into becoming an actual hero, someone who eventually moves past his vendetta and actually starts to do good in his city.
With Oliver leaving a trail of bodies behind him in Season One, our plan in Season Two was to evolve Oliver further, from a hero who kills to an actual hero. To that end, we always knew that the season would end with a final conflict between Oliver and Slade Wilson, where Oliver would have every reason in the world to kill Slade — though we didn’t know what that reason would be at the start of the season — and yet hold true to his season-long vow not to take another life.
From my pitch notes for Season Three:
In terms of Oliver’s arc, we also made the following point:
In Season Four, we were very upfront and intentional about our plan to lighten the tone (for better and worse).
Again, this is from my studio pitch notes:
I couldn’t find my notes for the Season Five pitch, but I remember two things very specifically: Season Five was the year we knew that Supergirl would be joining Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow on the CW. With the number of shows rising to four, all the showrunners made the collective decision to double-down on what distinguished each series from their sister shows. (For example, The Flash became more science-focused that year.)
For Arrow, this meant eschewing the lighter, less grounded approach of Season Four and returning to the gritty, grounded crime thriller of Season One.
We also recognized that Arrow was the first of the shows to reach a fifth season and we were very intent on further distinguishing ourselves from the other three shows by doing something the “younger” shows couldn’t: Tell a story about repercussions from the first season.
Again, from my notes:
Alas, I stepped down as showrunner at the end of Season Six, so I don’t remember what the intentions were for Season Seven.
That being said, we did do a pitch to the studio towards the end of Season Six and my notes include a bit of discussion about Season Seven:
Turns out, I have Beth Schwartz’s notes for her studio pitch on Season Eight. From those:
SEASON SEVEN ENDED... bittersweet with Oliver and Team Arrow finally saving Star City, redeeming the vigilante reputation and strengthening their relationship with the SCPD to continue a safer future for Star City. But before we could fully celebrate our happy ending, Oliver got an unexpected visitor, THE MONITOR who came to collect the debt Oliver promised him in (last season’s crossover). Oliver finds out in our Season 7 finale that the debt he owes for saving Barry and Kara is in fact his own life… ending season 7 with tearful goodbyes from Felicity and his new baby Mia, leaving the audience with the shocking revelation that our hero who we’ve watched for seven years is going to die at some point next season, which…
SETS UP the theme for Season 8, perfectly: A Hero’s Sacrifice.
While Season 7 focused on redemption for Oliver and the vigilantes…
SEASON EIGHT will focus on everything Oliver’s learned these past seven years leading him to the ultimate hero’s sacrifice… his life. His theme for the season will be structurally framed around the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As we follow him through these stages we’ll see him have to make the hardest decision he’s ever had to make: whether to reject the hero’s life and be with his family or to make the ultimate hero’s sacrifice and give up his own life for the greater good.
Thanks for the question, Ginger. This was a fun stroll down memory lane for me!
Be good to each other.
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