With Disney now commanding the Star Wars Universe, fans are in store for a ton of new content taking place in a galaxy far, far, away. From movies and comic books to video games and TV shows, it has never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan.
Set to premiere on Disney in July 2017, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny will be a 16 episode series that focuses on telling the stories of iconic Star Wars heroes. The animated show will feature film and series talent reprising their roles including Daisy Ridley, Felicity Jones, and Lupita Nyong’o.
CGMagazine got a chance to talk to the sole writer with the monumental task of creating these stories and expanding on the characters that fans love so much. Jennifer Muro has been writing film and television projects for the last ten years, and is also writing a new Spider-Man series for Disney as well as a female-driven comedy adventure series with Nickelodeon, and an original web series with Jim Henson Studios. To say she has a lot on her plate is a bit of an understatement, but she took some time out of her busy schedule to talk Star Wars with us and explain why it’s time for female heroes to get their due.
CGMagazine: Very generic opening question, but tell us a bit about yourself!
Jennifer Muro: Well, I’m a writer, originally from New York, moved here in the late 90s and mostly a writer in animation, starting to dip my toe in live action. Doing Star Wars: Forces of Destiny has been a dream come true and I’m pretty excited to be doing what I’m doing.
CGM: What can you tell us about Star Wars: Forces of Destiny?
Muro: It’s Star Wars throughout time showcasing the female heroes of Star Wars but not solely the females of star wars there are a lot of other male chars in there. It’s just something nice to do that hasn’t been done before, showcasing these heroes and it really is through all different periods of the Star Wars universe and certain chars interacting that we haven’t seen before
CGM: When the new movies released a lot of the old EU content was officially cut from the canon. How does it feel to be officially creating content that will have an impact for years and years in such a huge franchise? Is that a lot of pressure? How do you begin conquering that?
Muro: It’s surreal; they are small, little micro pieces. It will impact it, but I think the way I wrap my head around it is that they are fun moments and fans can take away what they want to take away from it, so I try not to think about it too much but I have some moments where I’m like ‘wow this is super fun that we’re creating that.’ I have my moments but I always try to keep it light and fun. And when the fans see it let them take away what they will.
CGM: You mention a lot of focus on the female heroes? Is now the time for girl heroes to shine?
Muro: Absolutely. I think it’s overdue, I think it’s been building, I think a lot of studios and people have been working on this for a while so it’s been in the works and I think it all just happens to be coming out at the same time now. We’ve been developing this for a while, it’s not just like ‘Wonder Woman was a hit so’ I think it’s been a long time coming and it’s a perfect time for showcasing this and DC Superhero girls started out before that and Frozen was a huge hit and it’s showing that girls can really sell a product, they want to go see stuff and hear about those stories and be a huge hit.
CGM: What are you setting out to accomplish with this series from a personal perspective?
Muro: I think to gain more fans, to gain younger viewers of Star Wars, some maybe felt like it’s a boy thing and hopefully young women will…and there are so many now and it’s wonderful, and I think that it’s happening even more and more now that Rey exists and Jin exists. I think it’s happening organically and I hope this just adds more to that in an accessible way for them.
CGM: There are some pretty big names reprising their roles in Forces of Destiny. Did you get to work with any of them?
Muro: I didn’t get to work with them personally because their schedules are crazy and huge and all over the place, you know they might not be in the country so a lot of that was recorded in places that I didn’t happen to be. I would have loved to but the timing didn’t quite work out on that.
CGM: Are there any other stories in the Star Wars Universe you’d like to tell?
Muro: Of course I would love to do more stuff. It all depends what’s in the works, Star Wars animation is not going anywhere soon and there’s always something in the works…I’d have to think about that, I’m always up for something in the Star Wars Universe.
CGM: Do you have any personal side projects you’re working on?
Muro: I’m really writing more live action stuff and pitching that, and some of that is female driven. More high concept stuff that I would love to see on television, which would be great, more cable stuff I think. A lot of action comedy, which I do love, and I know there isn’t a ton of female-driven action comedy out there and that’s a genre I’m passionate about that I would like to see more of.
CGM: What’s it like being the solo writer on a series like Forces of Destiny?
Muro: It’s surreal and awesome and amazing that they trusted me to do this but I absolutely had the story group with us figuring this out together. I had help with that thank god; Dave Falone, Carey Beck, and Josh Rimes were indispensable with that. But it is exciting because I really get to put my stamp on that for which I am grateful and honoured and humbled. I absolutely did this with them in sync.
CGM: Do you have any golden rules when you’re writing as far as Star Wars goes?
Muro: I guess the golden rule is, obviously, characters first no matter what. Their motivation, always come from that place. If you have this great action and that’s fabulous but it’s hollow…you don’t want to do that. It’s always coming from what’s my point, what am I trying to get across. That’s the golden rule you always have to have.
CGM: What’s your process like? How do you get inspired to start writing?
Muro: Deadlines really help. Deadlines help get the mood because it gives so much structure and I can lay out when I’m doing things or how much I want to accomplish in a certain amount of time, I think that’s a very big motivation for me. Not insane deadlines, I know some people really love working under pressure and I don’t necessarily need that but I do like the structure. Writing on your own is a little tougher because you have to motivate yourself and stay focused on that. Before bed really helps, sometimes I’ll think over something so that’s motivation for the morning like ‘oh yeah I have to write that down.’ I think deadlines are number one for me personally.
CGM: As a final question, who are your favourite characters?
Muro: I love Luke. I know everyone is all about Han and of course I love Han too but Luke was huge for me. His growth and his story were fantastic. I’m a big Original Trilogy person so love them. They’re awesome; I think that’s everything to me. Lando is great too, I love Lando, huge Lando fan. Definitely Luke though, that’s my favourite.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Muro: Thank you so much, I hope you guys like Forces of Destiny I’m very excited about it. I think people are going to like it.