One of the great things about being a Star Wars fan at this moment in time is that while the movies may end, the stories don’t. With Disney coordinating all Star Wars efforts, fans get to see the further adventures of their favorite characters through cartoons, comic book, and novels, and the vast majority of them are canon.
Of the many prequels and sequels in other media outside of the film world, the head-strong pilot from the last three Star Wars films, Poe Dameron, is one that fans want to know more about. In the new novel Poe Dameron: Free Fall, writer Alex Segura explores Poe’s past and what brought him back to the Resistance and the backstory behind his relationship with the mysterious, masked fighter from The Rise of Skywalker, Zorii Bliss. Learn more about Segura’s approach to Poe and the Star Wars universe in this exclusive interview.
How did you become involved with the new Star Wars novel, Poe Dameron: Free Fall?
Alex Segura: Michael Siglain, the head of Lucasfilm Publishing, reached out and asked if I’d ever wanted to write for Star Wars. He was familiar with my work on the Pete Fernandez crime novels and my background in comics, so I think he figured I’d be a good fit. Once he said “Poe,” I was even more sold than I thought possible.
You explore Poe’s origins in this story. Was it difficult to piece together based on what we’ve seen of Poe in the films and comics and how much leeway did you have to construct it?
Segura: I wouldn’t call it difficult, but it took some research. I was obviously familiar with the material and a fan, but it’s different when you’re reading stuff with an eye toward adding to the tapestry of story vs. just enjoying it as a reader or viewer. I wanted to have Free Fall not only fit into Poe’s story, but feed off what came before and honor it. My amazing editor, Jen Heddle, and the Lucasfilm Story Group were very welcoming in terms of ideas and new characters, which was amazing – and I felt really empowered to not only connect the dots between what we’ve seen from Poe on film and in books and comics, but to really make Free Fall stand out on its own as an important chapter in his story.
If there is one quality that separates Poe from some of the other young heroes in the Star Wars universe, what quality is it?
Segura: I think Poe is brave – and I know all heroes need to be brave, but Free Fall really shows that Poe has convictions, and while he might make bad decisions sometimes or find himself in tough situations, but he always finds his path. He’ll always figure out what the right thing to do is in the long run, and that’s Free Fall in a nutshell.
Do other familiar characters show up in the story? Or certain types of characters?
Segura: I think you’ll see a lot of fun Easter eggs, for sure – and I’ve said this before, but Free Fall is as much Zorii Bliss’ origin story as Poe’s, so expect some fun revelations about her background.
Your previous work has primarily been in the area of the crime/detective narrative with your Pete Fernandez series. Was it difficult to transition to a sci-fi story, or does Poe’s story have a lot of those “hard-boiled” elements?
Segura: Not too hard honestly, because I love Star Wars and science fiction, and I’ve always wanted to tell a novel-length story like this. It definitely features elements people who’ve read my crime novels will be familiar with, but it also evokes a lot of things that Star Wars fans will love. I liken it to a crime novel in space, exploring some of the less-known corners of the Star Wars galaxy.
You have also written some memorable Archie cross-overs with Kiss and the Ramones. How did you mix legendary music acts with the Archie-sensibility?
Segura: Archie is such a huge, recognizable brand that, I think, when bands realize we’re able to do things like this, they’re more often than not amenable – it’s just fun, and it creates the opportunity for some really off the wall adventures. I mean, I’ve had the chance to write Gene Simmons, Debbie Harry, Peter Tork, and Joey Ramone. Pretty crazy!
Segura: My next crime novel, SECRET IDENTITY, a murder mystery set in the New York comic book industry of the 1970s, is coming from Flatiron Books. I have a few comic book things I’m working on, too, and always hoping for some more Star Wars.
Star Wars: Poe Dameron Free Fall is currently available digitally and in book stores everywhere.