Recently on Twitter, writer Gail Simone revealed a rather immense sounding Star Wars comic book event that almost was: one starring Princess Leia.
"I was here on Twitter and had gotten excited about Star Wars again, not sure what the exact motivator was, a game or a movie, can’t recall. And this image popped in my head: Princess Leia, wearing her Endor commando gear, on a beach, coming up out of the surf with an army of Wookiees behind her, charging like the beach at Normandy," Simone wrote. "And that was it, no plot yet, just that idea."
People might remember Simone tweeting out fragments of these ideas in the mid '10s, and apparently, they weren't just lost in the noise of the internet. The publisher of Star Wars comic books at the time, Dark Horse, noticed.
"And they were lovely, they didn’t even wait for a pitch, they just said, it’s you writing Leia, we’re doing it," Simone wrote. "But Lucasfilm of course needed an extensive plot before it could be approved."
"So I wrote a Star War, with all of the badass Leia that was promised in the escape from the Death Star that we didn’t always get to see elsewhere," she continued. "It was Leia the Hutt Slayer, essentially."
In this story, Leia commands a troop of Wookies to free slaves - "something that always rankled me about Star Wars a bit," Simone said.
"And in a nod to Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, it was a war story, but it followed the exact beats of an early Disney fairy tale movie," wrote Simone. "She was the princess and all this fairy tale stuff keeps happening to her, it was really action-packed and funny."
After a few revisions to fit in with Star Wars continuity at the time, Dark Horse sent Simone's pitch to Lucasfilm…. And Lucasfilm, like Dark Horse, were all for it.
"Apparently, Dark Horse and Lucasfilm thought this was going to be a big deal. They thought they could do a worldwide promotion. I heard from people I didn’t even know at Lucasfilm. So They came up with this idea to promote it, and help convey how important this was."
What was the idea?
"They wanted me to meet with Carrie Fisher."
While Simone doesn't give clear dates of when this happened, it appears this took place in sometime between 2012 and 2014. Dark Horse still had the Star Wars license then, but Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm had been announced.
"The plan was to meet her backstage at a particular convention, to do some quick photo ops but also so I could ask her a little bit about her philosophy about Leia, where the character had gone, and where she could still go," Simone conveyed. "I talked with Ms. Fisher's reps, it was a go."
Unfortunately, the schedule went awry, and a while later Carrie Fisher passed away.
"After that, I just fell off the idea of doing the story. It just… it wasn't the right time," Simone explained. "I could have pitched something else, but that was where my heart was, I really wanted my Leia at Normandy story. But I couldn't get myself to work on it."
As time went on, Simone - like many of us - went from lamenting Carrie Fisher's death to missing her.
"Eventually, I could see that a lot of people missed her, missed Leia and Carrie both. And I thought, man, maybe this could be a lovely tribute for all of us who miss this remarkable woman," Simone continued. "But then the rights changed from DH to Marvel, they had a full schedule of projects planned for a long time, it just never felt like the right time. So it will probably never happen."
To date, Simone hasn't written Star Wars comic books for Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, or IDW Publishing, but she still has a warm spot for one of those lightsabers - and a blaster, too.
"Someday, I'm going to get me a blaster and a lightsaber and try to honor this amazing universe, even if it's just some small story about a Wampa who hates snow," Simone wrote. Someday!"
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