AN: I've noticed that many of yourcontributions to Han Solo were later echoed by similar themes in Lucas' laterfilms, both the SW sequels and the Indiana Jones trilogy. To name a few: the eventual explanation ofHarrison Ford's chin scar; the "useful lieutenant"/ "shadowyreflection" taunts from Gallandro/Belloq; hiding behind a gong in Legacyand Temple of Doom. And the image of Han in dusty vaults evokes the later Indyfilms. Even Bollux informing the expedition in HLL of their impending sacrificeby the primitive Survivors eerily predates 3PO's embarrassment at Han'spotential consumption by the ewoks in ROJ.
And you gave Han thequip "inspiration's my specialty" long before Indy cracked us up with"I'm making this up as I go along." Do you think that after you wrotethe three Solo novels, they became part of Lucas' subconscious borrowing ofthemes?
BD: You forgot standing the Falcon onher side to squeak through a narrow rock cleft in Stars' End, as Han did to herlater in Empire.
First of all, rememberthat George Lucas wasn't the only one scripting those movies. Whether LeighBrackett, Lawrence Kasdan, or whoever else even read the Solo novels, Icouldn't tell you. But these story and character points are natural points ofelaboration or exploration in action-adventure plots drawn from the originalmaterials.
A gleaming mechanicalman being hailed as a supernatural being by pre-tech indigs is an obviousdevice, hearkening back to a thousand explorers' tales and any number ofisland-castaway flicks. The Falcon's physical design gives her certaincharacteristics that can be played upon. And so on.
Building on ANH had so many people in a ferment that parallelevolution of insights and ideas is to be expected.
AN: You told me once before that BlueMax was named after a VW Bug you once owned... Did you intentionally try togive Bollux a quite-literal surrogate mother relationship with the youthfulBlue Max? Since R2 and 3PO are often compared to Laurel and Hardy, might Bolluxand Max be the mechanical "Madonna and child"?
BD: Actually, I see Bollux as morepaternal-- a "working man" who's learned life-lessons in the hardschool. The real-life character he most resembles might be lonshoreman-humanist-philosopherEric Hoffer.
AN: I've noticed several of youroriginal concepts being bastardized in recent Bantam novels, with terms like"Wookiee Honor Family" and the itching associated with synthfleshbeing resurrected but slightly confused by the new author. Do you feel thatsuch half-hearted attempts at continuity, possibly imposed on them by LFL, are worthwhile?
BD: I'd say no blame accrues to LFL, which has an enormous amount of marketing tie-in tokeep track of.
(By the way, that"Wookiee Honor Family" isn't my invention but that of George Lucas,who put the concept forward in some in-house material he generated in the wakeof ANH. I recall "Life-Debt" asbeing mine but, after all, the expression's only a natural take on, andextrapolation of, what he'd already put in place.)
[[Ironically,Brian's "Life-Debt" term/concept shows up in George Lucas'long-awaited Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.]]
BD: (cont'd) Authors and editors areinevitably working under deadlines due to the nature of licensing decisions,but there're some things that really burn my banana. High among these is thefailure of some to do basic research on military, intelligence, and scientificsubjects.
AN: Speaking of the military, wouldn'tHirken have loved to own a pair of Xim's war-robots to pit against each otherin his automated combat arena?
BD: He'd have loved to have the wholecorps, to play general. Hirken would've made a great Hitler; he got off onwatching destruction from a distance but fell apart when the feces impacted thelife support outlets.
I guess he'd have madea perfect right wing militia type, too: some beer-bloated unemployed guy induck hunting fatigues. Bragging about his patriotism and, more often than not,too wuss to enlist in the service of his country.
A chickenhawk-- likeDan Quayle, Phil Gramm, Patrick J. Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh.
AN: Does Gallandro's ship have a name,or is he unsentimental in that respect?
BD: Gallandro would have used whateverCorporate Sector ship or other resource was most convenient, with no emotionalattachment at all. Undoubtedly, he'd commandeer the fastest vessel, bestequipment and so forth, partly to assert his status but primarily because hewants every edge he can get.
He's not the kind ofman to name his ship, his pistol or any of that. Too cold and unsentimental.
AN: My friend Dan Wallace [[who wouldgo on to write Essential Guides and other works for the Star Wars franchise]]wants to know if there is any conscious connection between Lord Tion in yourradio version of ANH and the Tion Hegemony in your Solonovels?
BD: You have to ask? I did it to givea little extra background texture to the mythos, make some of the details mesh.
AN: Your editor, you told me, felt Hanwas too harsh on the Sljee waiter in HSR; could you retell that anecdote?
BD: Actually it was Arleen Lock, wifeof my editor Owen Lock. She said it was just awful what Solo put that poorlittle creature through. I agreed; I'd been a waiter, and my heart was with theSljee. But I wrote the scene to use Han's tag line "It's every life fromfor himself," and to show that he could be an SOB at times-- especiallywhen broke.
At any rate, Arleenwas so unhappy that I told her the unwritten part of the story: the Sljee madeout all right, eventually got home and never left its planet again. Lived quitecontentedly and even prospered... probably writing "AccidentalTourist" books.