In a few short days, E.K. Johnston’s Star Wars: Queen’s Peril will be released to the public. A prequel to 2019’s Queen’s Shadow, the new young adult novel will follow Padme as she “becomes Queen Amidala and forms her inner entourage of chosen handmaidens.” Johnston got in touch with Polygon to give insight into her writing process.
When asked which characters were hard to write, she named Darth Maul. “…I’m so used to seeing him as the grandiose version of himself that he becomes in the Clone Wars. So it was a challenge to go all the way back to the Phantom Menace and write him as this slightly more contained, like he hasn’t been betrayed yet, this almost feral and mean character.”
As for which character came more naturally – Shmi Skywalker.
“I like getting into her character. There’s so much tragedy involved, but she’s so hopeful and so positive and so good and I really love writing that character,” Johnston explained.
Johnston also discussed how her background in fanfiction helped her to write around scenes from The Phantom Menace.
“I learned to write [by] basically writing different scenes and writing my own extensions and stuff. For me, it was kind of like coming home,” she said.
And her favorite handmaiden? “I am always going to love Sabé, she’s the nearest and dearest to my heart for a variety of reasons.” However, this book may have changed the game: “…we were writing Rabé’s background and she kind of became our con artist/grifter and that just catapulted her to the top. She became so much fun immediately because everything she does has this noir-ish background.”
Queen’s Peril goes on sale June 2nd.
To see the full interview, and read an exclusive excerpt from Queen’s Peril, head over to Polygon!