Marvel
Christian Holub
January 12, 2017 AT 10:00 AM EST

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story may not have had an opening crawl or the word “episode” in its title, but like other Star Wars movies before it, will get a comic book adaptation. The six-issue Marvel comic, written by Jody Houser and illustrated by Emilio Laiso, will kick off in April. EW spoke with Hauser about her vision for the adaptation and how she thinks Rogue One differs from the rest of the Star Wars canon. Check that out below, along with two covers for the first issue, the second of which may answer the “Where’s Rey?” toy controversy.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How will the Rogue One adaptation compare to the film? What can you tease about how you’re splitting up the story into six parts? Will there be anything not seen in the film?

JODY HOUSER: The comics will definitely expand on what was seen in both Rogue One the film and the novelization. Lucasfilm and Gareth Edwards had a bunch of ideas for extra scenes and character moments that didn’t make it into the film. I’m having a lot of fun playing around with those. Adaptations across different forms of media have always been a great opportunity to explore other facets of the story, and we’re excited to have new material in the Rogue One comic.

There are a ton of things I like about Rogue One — highlighting desperate guerrilla nature of Rebels, Vader/Tarkin renaissance, and beautiful new planets, to name a few. What do you like about it? What are you particularly excited to tackle in your version of the story?

Aside from really enjoying a lot of the new characters, seeing a more fragile and grayer Rebel Alliance was one of the most intriguing parts of Rogue One for me. Outside of the battle between the Jedi and the Sith, which has always been a very clear black-and-white conflict, we see a very messy and very relatable struggle where making the right choices and figuring out the best course of action is rarely easy.

Rogue One has a noticeably darker tone than other Star Wars films. How do you think it fits into the franchise, and how are you replicating or modifying that tone for your version?

Rogue One definitely puts the “War” in Star Wars in a way that we haven’t necessarily seen in the movies before. Sure, we’ve had populated worlds and stations the size of moons blown up, Order 66, but we’re not used to ALL of our leads being expendable. We’re not used to seeing so much of the death and destruction close up. I think stripping away some of the fantasy and raising the stakes is a brave move, especially in a precedent-setting movie like this. It adds weight and meaning to the events that immediately follow in A New Hope by showing the cost. Of course, I did start my comics career writing primarily horror and tragedy/tear-jerker shorts, so I may be a bit biased here…

Although there are a few cameos and shoutouts, Rogue One is populated almost entirely by new characters. Who are your favorites, and why? Who are you most excited to tackle?

I love the characters who stole the movie as much as everyone else — Chirrut, Baze and K-2SO, I would say — but I find something really compelling about the trio of Bodhi, Jyn, and Cassian. You have the new convert, the lapsed believer, and the life-long devout thrown together to work for a common goal. That’s a dynamic I’m excited to explore further.

Although there are several references to the Force, Rogue One has no actual Jedi, one of the most recognizable mainstays of the franchise. What is Star Wars for you without Jedi? 

Star Wars is still a huge, huge universe, especially when you consider the are only a handful of Force users left alive at this point in history. I think it fits well with the more realistic feel of the story. At the same time, it’s fascinating to see what the Force means to those outside the Jedi and Sith dynamic, and how they relate to it — or perhaps how it uses them…

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