Animated Shows Entertainment

A Collection of Star Wars: A New Dawn Countdown Tweets

John Jackson Miller and Star Wars: A New Dawn

For John Jackson Miller’s 5,000th tweet, the author announced a #NewDawnCountdown to promote the new highly anticipated novel from Del Rey Books, Star Wars: A New Dawn. During the entire month of August, Miller tweeted fun facts and trivia about the book, which acts as a prequel to the animated series Star Wars Rebels. The following in a collection of the content published throughout the month, and after you’re done reading, make sure to pick up a copy of Star Wars: A New Dawn available in stores starting today!

August 1
Tweets33, 32, 32b

John Jackson Miller's Star Wars: A New Dawn Twitter Countdown
Miller’s research items from storage. Credit: John Jackson Miller.

“Writing Star Wars: A New Dawn required me to get some things from storage. Call it research.”

“The Emperor’s line on the back cover of A New Dawn came from an early Episode III script…it’s pared down in the film but appears in whole in the comics adaptation and Insider #84.”

August 2
31, 31b, 31c

Dark Times Vector, John Jackson Miller's Star Wars: A New Dawn Countdown
Credit: Dark Horse Comics.

Star Wars: A New Dawn cover artist Doug Wheatley drew something I’d written just once before…the scene I’d written for Zayne & Gryph when they appeared in the Dark Times part of Vector. That one sequence of dialogue is all I wrote in the Dark Times series. More Vector notes here.”

August 3
: 30, 30b, 30c

John Jackson Miller's Star Wars: A New Dawn Twitter Countdown

“I first wrote for Dark Times era in the ‘Sword of the Empire‘ RPG module. We had an Inquisitor! The module’s offline since the license changed hands. A fun project, but a LOT of hard work. But it was my first stab at misery under the Empire. We also got to see the Stereb from KOTOR.”

August 4
Tweets: 29, 29b, 29c, 29d

“Star Wars: A New Dawn began life last fall. With some dark novels planned, Del Rey Books sought a heroic contrast. New Dawn is about a dark time, but has a space opera dynamic similar to my past KOTOR comics. Similarity to A New Hope‘s title is accidental, but both have characters forced to work together for a common cause. See for yourself: Del Rey Books has posted its preview chapters.”

August 5
Tweets: 28, 28b, 28c

“I chose to do a much-earlier prequel to Rebels because I wanted to dig into the problems of early Imperial expansion. The Republic turns from a commercial power into a huge military machine blindingly fast. Wanted to show part of how. And speaking of manufacturing, the hardcover is now off the presses and at Del Rey Books!”

Star Wars: A New Dawn hardcover books
Credit: Del Rey Books.

August 6
: 27, 27b, 27c, 27d

“As you may’ve heard, Star Wars: A New Dawn is the first novel to come from collaboration with Lucasfilm’s Story Group. I got story notes from Rebels exec producers Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman and teleconferenced with Dave Filoni.  The resulting novel is almost entirely as I imagined it, but is much improved by what came from the consultations…particularly in helping to define what Kanan and Hera would be like when the story occurs.”

August 7
Tweets: 26, 26b, 26c, 26d

“I didn’t learn of the starting-point role New Dawn would play until late in the writing. It didn’t change my approach. Every novel or comic is someone’s first. Every one should ALREADY be written as an introduction to the story world. New Dawn would still coexist comfortably with the past regardless; it’s set during a mostly unexplored time-frame. It’s fitting the book’s acronym is ‘AND.’ It’s crafted for new readers AND for Star Wars veterans who’ve read it all.”

August 8
Tweets: 25, 25b, 25c, 25d, 25e, 25f, 25g

“For the timeline-curious: Star Wars: A New Dawn is set several years after Order 66 and several years before Rebels. This isn’t to say the Story Group and I don’t know an exact year; we do. I just didn’t cite specifics in my text. As I see it, dates mostly help to establish story sequence. They’re not there to limit how many stories can be told. Spider-Man had 50+ years of adventures from ages 17 to 25; The M*A*S*H 4077th spent 11 years in the Korean War! What characters and their surroundings should be like when the story’s set: that’s where knowing dates tends to help. Precise timing WITHIN stories is fun, of course: A New Dawn occurs during a VERY short span! I do expect the specific date may come out; it just didn’t feel right in my story. Imperial rule should feel endless.”

August 9
Tweets: 24, 24b, 24c, 24d

“The just-released 444-page paperback of Star Wars: Kenobi contains a New Dawn excerpt backup. It’s fitting as both Kenobi and New Dawn focus on Jedi adrift and alone in the Dark Times, figuring out what to do. I didn’t realize it, but the Kenobi paperback also includes my short story prequel ‘Incognito’ which ran in Insider. The writer’s association just sent the Scribe Award for Kenobi. Next mission: finding a shelf!”

John Jackson Miller's Writer's Association Scribe Award for Star Wars: Kenobi
Credit: John Jackson Miller.

August 10
Tweets: 23, 23b, 23c, 23d, 23e

“As in Rebels, various New Dawn elements come from past works. Literally, in the case of substances named in the book. Kanan flies a baradium hauler for a firm that mines thorilide. It didn’t feel necessary to invent new compound names. Baradium’s existed forever; thorilide’s from my KOTOR tale ‘The Reaping.’ The compound’s properties could have been shown differently in the novel–but as it happens, they’re unchanged. ‘The Reaping’ was a fun story, incidentally; it was just reprinted in the third KOTOR Omnibus.”

August 11
Tweets: 22, 22b, 22c

“One scene in A New Dawn required a frame-by-frame rewatch of a sequence in Episode III. I usually trust my memory on these things, given how many times I’ve seen the films, but it’s better to be safe. Always amazed at the things I wind up doing that I can legitimately call ‘research’!”

August 12
Tweets: 21, 21b, 21c, 21d

“Sections of A New Dawn are introduced by Imperial HoloNews headlines. Gives it a newsreel feel. I’d previously written Holonews propaganda from the Republic side, in KOTOR comic text pages…and in one of my earliest prose SW stories, ‘Interference.’ Which is still up on Suvudu.”

August 13
Tweets: 20, 20b, 20c, 20d

“My schedule didn’t permit an original New Dawn short story for Star Wars Insider, so we excerpted an unseen chapter ins tea, which cover artist Doug Wheatley provided several illustrations of. Doug also gives us our first look at Imperial Captain Rae Sloane, one of my favorite new characters in the book. I’m interviewed, too. Star Wars Insider #152 is available soon at your store.”

Star Wars: A New Dawn illustration by Doug Wheatley
Credit: Doug Wheatley, Star Wars Insider.

August 14
Tweets: 19, 19b, 19c, 19d, 19e, 19f

“Writing about the rise of the Empire in A New Dawn allowed me to draw upon my old Soviet Studies grad school work. It’s true, what I’ve said: I was going for a Soviet Studies doctorate when the USSR collapsed on my dissertation. I was driving back from Indiana University’s Russian language immersion camp when the coup happened. I’d finally use something I learned a dozen years later–writing Crimson Dynamo for Marvel. And now, New Dawn depicts the Republic’s mutation into a totalitarian state. Wait long enough, everything’s useful!”

“I’ve just been alerted Del Rey Books has set up a page with most of the New Dawn order links.”

August 15
Tweets: 18, 18b

“A Jedi Master plays a role in New Dawn. I’d say who but he hasn’t been called by that name in a long time…a long time.”

August 16
Tweets: 17, 17b, 17c

“The title’s A New Dawn, but it’s set on a planet where the residents will never see a sunrise. That part’s not the Empire’s fault; nature’s to blame. But just about everything else wrong with the planet is! Made for tricky writing: references to time of day like morning and evening related only to the characters’ workdays.”

August 17
Tweets: 16, 16b, 16c, 16d

“Why a moon and not a sun on New Dawn‘s cover? That’s no moon: it’s a huge part of the plot. The moon appears in the chapter header designs. And the parts of the book are labeled as “phases.” I have a big Replogle lunar globe looming over my desk; I looked to it for inspiration a lot. For the curious, it’s this globe. I like that it’s loose from the base. A handy bowling ball.”

August 18
Tweets: 15, 15b, 15c, 15d, 15e

“Del Rey Books just released the official video of our Star Wars: A New Dawn San Diego panel. The panel includes Jennifer Heddle, Vanessa Marshall, Dave Filoni, Shelly Shapiro, Pablo Hidalgo, and yours truly. The ILM team used the weeks since the event to remove my zombified expression, which sets in 24 hours into Comic-Con. Had the panel been on Sunday rather than Friday, they would have had to replace me with an animated CGI character. I was rooting to be replaced by Buzz Lightyear, but Gollum probably would have been closer to the source material.”

August 19
Tweets: 14, 14b, 14c, 14d

Star Wars is space opera and not hard science, but a lot of thought went into the planet-moon system in New Dawn. Found myself thinking of Lagrange points and Roche limits. Hadn’t done that since my high school science fair project. Science needn’t be perfect in a realm where there’s sound in space, but sometimes the homework generates story ideas.”

August 20
Tweets: 13, 13b, 13c

“I started my New Dawn pitch the last day of the 2013 World Series; I finished the manuscript on Opening Day! Perhaps the birth of literature itself may have been a effort to find things to do during the sports offseason…”

August 21
Tweets: 12, 12b, 12c, 12d

“That Kenner Imperial troop transport I tweeted weeks back? It really is featured in New Dawn. The transport appeared in the old Marvels–and is in Rebels, too. More from Star Wars‘ site. It always seemed a ridiculously vulnerable way to move troops–but that suggests how sure the Empire is of itself. If there’s no rebellion (as is the case during A New Dawn) you can let Stormtroopers ride on the hood and not care!”

August 22
Tweets: 11

Miller tweeted about the following content: Del Rey Books offered fans a chance to win a signed convention exclusive promo copy of Star Wars: A New Dawn. Twenty winners were selected at random and contacted via email.

August 23
Tweets: 10, 10b, 10c, 10d, 10e

“Just 10 days to go until Star Wars: A New Dawn rises, and a countdown is particularly relevant. The section titles in A New Dawn correspond to steps in preparing explosive baradium for detonation. And there are certainly many bombs, human, non-human and otherwise, waiting to go off in the Gorse system! Earlier title fun: in Kenobi, the section titles were all locations, physical or metaphorical. And Lost Tribe of the Sith‘s titles began alternately with P and S, hinting at the postscript.”

August 24
Tweets: 9, 9b, 9c, 9d

A New Dawn‘s villain, Count Vidian, is the Emperor’s efficiency expert, out to whip underperforming systems into shape. Vidian even reinvented himself according to his business philosophy–literally. He’s a cyborg. That’s devotion! Vidian’s physical abilities and instant access to data systems make him a challenging foe for Kanan and Hera’s group. And Vidian BELIEVES. One of the Emperor’s early backers, he’s fully on board with the cause.”

August 25
Tweets: 8, 8b, 8c, 8d

“The first Imperial we meet in New Dawn is Rae Sloane. She captains the star destroyer Ultimatum. Stunned there’d never been a ship named Ultimatum in Star Wars. The name fit her mission as Vidian’s enforcer well. Sloane is one of the ‘New Imperials,’ a term for the first generation to enter service after the Republic’s fall. Like Vidian, she sees the Empire as a natural step in the galaxy’s political evolution. And she plans to go far in it.”

August 26
Tweets: 7, 7b, 7c, 7d

Miller tweeted about his Barnes & Noble event in Wisconsin with attendance by the Wisconsin Garrison of the 501st Legion.

August 27
Tweets: 6, 6b, 6c, 6d, 6e, 6f, 6g

“…Running out of days, so back to the character roundup: Okadiah is the perfect landlord for Kanan. He owns a cantina! Kanan flies explosives to the mines by day–and buses miners back to Okadiah’s cantina by night. An ideal set-up! Kanan doesn’t stick around anywhere very long, but The Asteroid Belt is a tough cantina to leave. Standing up, anyway! There wasn’t any character in the book I didn’t look forward to writing, but Okadiah was a lot of fun.”

August 28
Tweets: 5, 5b, 5c, 5d, 5e, 5f

“…Back to our countdown: Of all the characters in A New Dawn, Zaluna, a Sullustan, may have seen the most. It’s her job! Zaluna has worked domestic surveillance on Gorse since back in the Republic days. She feels it’s an honorable calling. A long practiced commercial and state activity under the Republic, surveillance reaches a new level under the Empire. Zaluna likes her job; she’s no dissident. But she’s about to see things differently.”

August 29
Tweets: 4, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e

“My favorite of the heroes, Skelly is the first character I created for A New Dawn. He is, to put it charitably, a mess! A non-clone Clone War veteran, he’s suspicious of that phony war. Problem: He’s suspicious of almost everything else! Compounding Skelly’s many issues: his one talent besides conspiracy theories and being annoying is blowing things up! Skelly typifies the era’s problem: the earliest agitators are often ill-suited for revolution.”

August 30
Tweets: 3, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 3f, 3g

“Yesterday, Star Wars at Dragon Con tweeted about the diversity of A New Dawn‘s cast, which leads me to a topic many have asked about…Yes, there are female stormtroopers in New Dawn. I saw no reason why they wouldn’t be recruited in the post-Clone era. The Emperor plays upon rifts between species. But the films don’t suggest gender or racial barriers within humanity. Palpatine happily draws upon the talents of all members of humanity to get his way. He’s an equal opportunity tyrant. I wasn’t making any kind of statement, but neither did I think twice about it. In-universe, it made perfect sense. And as in many things Star Wars-related, John Ostrander did it first.”

August 31
Tweets: 2, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e, 2f, 2g

“Closing out the character roundup are the two Star Wars Rebels characters in A New Dawn, Kanan and Hera. The Rebels executive producers provided guidance on what Kanan and Hera’s initial reactions to each other would be. Hera reveals the least about her history and motives; that wasn’t my story to tell. Kanan’s secret is a bigger focus. That was the fun of the duo: she has secrets, he acts like he doesn’t. But what he’s concealing is pretty important. How Hera’s impression of Kanan evolves during A New Dawn is a big driver of the story.”

September 1
Tweets: 1, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f

“…I’ll post New Dawn production notes later in 2014 on my site, which has notes on all my books. But for following during the Countdown, I give the Twitterati possibly the goofiest trivial factoid about A New Dawn…By sheer coincidence, A New Dawn contains several nods to a novelty song that hit #1 the week I turned eight. I’ll explain more later, but at the moment it’ll be more fun if I let you guys try to find them on your own. Enjoy!”

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