Michael Reaves is a prolific writer and book author, who’s worked on dozens of television shows. His work on the Batman television animated series has even earned him an Emmy Award. And, of course, he’s written several Star Wars novels that expanded universe fans instantly recognize, such as Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter and Death Star.
What some people may not know is that for more than a decade, he has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, which no doubt makes his career unimaginably difficult. Michael maintains a blog titled Parkinson’s Monster, which serves as a chronicle of his battle of the disease. Link
For several years now, he has had a collaboration with author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, which he briefly talks about below. Their latest work is The Last Jedi, a book that continues the story of the Coruscant Nights series. Michael recently sat down and answered a few questions we had about The Last Jedi!
KA: Congrats on the release of The Last Jedi! You and Maya have built a strong follow-up to the Coruscant Nights series. If you could single out your favorite thing about this series, what would it be?
MR: The family structure. That’s the key ingredient in an ensemble cast like this. They know that at the end of the day, they’re there for each other.
In The Last Jedi, Jax and I-Five continue their strong bond, even though it becomes strained at times. How do you think Jax would have fared if he didn’t have I-Five behind him all this time?
Not as well, I’d guess. He would’ve had a lot harder time getting out of Rokko’s stronghold in Jedi Twilight.
I-Five and Den Dhur have had quite a journey; from Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, to the Medstar duology, to the Coruscant Nights series. What do you want your readers to take away from this unusual duo?
Well, actually Den joined the gang in Battle Surgeons, but he’s been an integral part of the story since then. What should they take away from them? Whatever they can keep after going through their pockets. And all those endless and obtuse ontological discussions, of course.
Jax makes several questionable decisions that lead him perilously close to the dark side, and could equally lead to disastrous outcome. Personally, after reading this book, even though I know the outcome, I still wonder if his choices were worth the risk. How do you as the author feel about that?
Hey, I had no more choice in the matter than Jax did. He had to do the stuff he did — given what happened, he had no alternative. That you’re asking the question means to me that I’ve done my job well.
I’ve talked to Maya in the past about the collaboration you two have. What are your feelings about it?
I’m ecstatic about her. I’ve been slowed a great deal in the last few years due to health problems, and Maya has been a godsend (and I say that as a confirmed atheist). She’s smart, fast, funny and her style is quite compatible with my own. What’s not to like?
Finally, if asked, would you like to continue the Coruscant Nights storyline? The Last Jedi left an opportunity for it.
One of main reasons I had Five switching bodies was to give him (and us) a fresh perspective. I tend to stick to the same locales (or in the case of the GFFA, the same planets,) because I can put roots down and delve into the characters deeper (that’s the theory, anyway). But he IS a droid, after all, and we weren’t taking enough advantage of that aspect of him. So we stuffed him into a Human Replica Droid chassis. I’m hoping there’ll be enough room for at least one more book, but we have to wait to see how the EU will continue with the new movies coming.
I asked a few more questions that Del Rey felt the editorial staff would be able to answer. The replies they gave me have been used on other sites, but I’ll repeat them here.
The Last Jedi continues the Coruscant Nights story, but it’s also considered a stand-alone. Why?
Shelly Shapiro: We went back and forth on that a million times, trying to figure out how best to attract new readers and old readers alike. In the end we decided that the back cover copy–which makes clear that it’s an adventure with Jax, I-Five, and Den Dur–would carry the message to existing fans of the Coruscant Nights books, while the front cover wouldn’t be off-putting to those who haven’t yet dipped their toes in any of Jax’s story. However, the back cover does show the covers of the first three books with the following line: “LOOK FOR THESE THRILLING NOVELS IN THE CORUSCANT NIGHTS SERIES.”
What are your feelings regarding the death of Even Piell in The Clone Wars? Has there been any discussion regarding possible changes to Jedi Twilight?
SS: Yes, that certainly took us all by surprise! But when Evan Piell was offered as a usable Jedi Master for Jedi Twilight, no one knew that the TV show would end up using him in their stories and killing him off there. When we found out, the authors and I discussed the idea of changing Piell to a different Jedi Master in the Science Fiction Book Club version, and maybe even in future Del Rey reprints of the book, but that wouldn’t fix the fact that continuity had already been broken, and it would leave two versions of the book existing on bookshelves. So we just opted for not mentioning him by name in The Last Jedi. I’d like to say it’s a miracle that, considering how huge the Star Wars universe has become, more of these kinds of slips haven’t happened. But in truth, I think it is a testament to the diligence and hard work of everyone involved, especially the continuity keepers at Lucasfilm.
For more information about The Last Jedi, read our interview with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and our reviews by clicking the links below. And be sure to pick up a copy of The Last Jedi today! Thank you Michael for answering our questions, and thank you Del Rey for arranging the interview!
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff