This past weekend at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, Illinois, we got a ton of news on cool things coming up in a galaxy far, far away. The Episode IX trailer, footage and details from The Mandalorian, info on the upcoming Jedi: Fallen Order game, and more.
In particular, the curtain was finally raised on a project I’ve been working on for months, since summer 2018. So far, it’s taken me what might literally be heaven-on-earth for creative types, aka Skywalker Ranch in northern California - more than once, in fact – to Star Wars Celebration this past weekend in Chicago, and much more. In particular, it’s introduced me to a truly wonderful group of people, my colleagues in the massive Star Wars event that is Project Luminous.
Project Luminous is… well, we can’t talk too much about it yet – you know how Star Wars likes its teases. All will be revealed, and you won’t have to wait too long, really. Let me tell you what I can, though. First, there’s the rest of the team: Claudia Gray (author of the Star Wars novels Lost Stars and the just-released Master & Apprentice), Justina Ireland (author of the excellent Dread Nation, and in the SW Universe, Lando’s Luck), Daniel José Older (he wrote the Shadowshaper series, and the Last Shot novel for Star Wars), Cavan Scott (the Tales from Vader’s Castle comics from IDW, the super-cool Jedi Lost audiobook and plenty more). We were all approached last year by Mike Siglain, a Lucasfilm publishing exec, fantastic editor and truly wonderful person, about collaborating on a project. He conceived of the project’s scope (huge) and worked tirelessly inside and outside Lucasfilm to make it happen. Project Luminous is really Mike’s baby, and the rest of us are just working to bring it into the world.
Back then (summer 2018), this was just called the All-Star Initiative – which was fun to be a part of, believe me. We needed a story, to flesh the thing out beyond just project parameters… and so we got to go to one of the most beautiful and creatively inspiring places I’ve ever been: Skywalker Ranch. Here’s a little slideshow of images I took the times I went - the goofy one of me is in running gear. I’ve gone for runs in some spectacular places in my day, and the Ranch is up there with any one of them. Note the moon rising in the first pic, and the mist rising off majestic Lake Ewok in the second. Just unreal up there.
It’s located in Nicasio, California, which is about an hour north of San Francisco. It’s George Lucas’ home (one of ‘em, anyway,) but it’s also where one of the world’s great sound post-production facilities is located (Skywalker Sound), and, most relevant to this story, it’s also built as sort of a creative retreat, where people can go to just be inspired the think. It’s nestled in the hills, there’s a lake and a vineyard and turkeys and an on-site fire department with their own custom trucks… it’s just heartbreakingly lovely. We stayed in the Inn, which is really a sort of little village with different cottages and a main house, where they have thought of everything. The purpose of this place is to let your mind roam to think about whatever project you’re there for.
I was there – we were there – for Project Luminous, and man, did we ever think. We also got to see A New Hope in the unreleased 4K transfer in the Skywalker Ranch cinema, which is an Art Deco masterpiece with perfect sound, screen, everything. (We also got to watch Empire on our second trip up there, which may or may not have happened… (it did).) Most of our time was spent creating Project Luminous, though – taking it from nothing and bringing it into existence. A really beautiful time, and so much of that was the rest of the creators I got to meet. The Lucasfilm Story Group was up there with us, as well as other LF execs, and everyone was focused on the goal of making the best Star Wars adventure we could. It was just a blast.
We’ve all been sitting on this since last fall, and it’s been tough – we just want to tell you all about what we’re doing. Hell, I want to tell you all about it right now – but we’ll get there soon enough. We unveiled the existence of Project Luminous at a publishing panel this past Monday at Star Wars Celebration, and it seems like people were (a) excited, but (b) a little frustrated at not getting more than (1) the project’s code name, (2) the fact that we’re all involved, and (3) that it’s big. I get it. You can see a few cool write ups here and here, and a live interview we all did on the Star Wars Show at Celebration where we talked about it a bit more (you’ll want to start watching at 1:37:00.)
Basically, Project Luminous is one of my biggest 2019 gigs, and will keep me very, very busy. It is, in some ways (but not entirely) why I’ve scaled back the work you’re used to seeing from me (comics, etc.) – Project Luminous will take a great deal of my focus and time.
Which is just how I want it. Can’t wait for you all to learn more.