ACBC 2015: Charles Soule Talks Lando And His Other Day Job


Like most people of adult age, or most people, full stop, Charles Soule admits that he’s always been a huge Star Wars fan. At the Atlantic City Boardwalk Con, he told Bam Smack Pow that he’s seen the movies “millions of times,” which might be a slight exaggeration, but it gets the point across.

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Now he’s getting his own chance to contribute to the Star Wars legend as writer of Lando,a five-issue series giving us more insight into the background of everyone’s favorite scoundrel turned administrator between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Like Marvel’s other recent Star Wars comics, it’s an official part of the brand’s canon, and thus a great way for any fan who also happens to be a top-selling comic book writer to make a lasting contribution.

Lando is also a pretty unique gig simply because it deals with a character without as much well-known back story as others from the Star Wars pantheon. Everyone remembers the smooth-talking Billy Dee Williams in the role, and the way Lando Calrissian initially sold out Han Solo and his friends to the Empire before having a change of heart.

Beyond that, though, there’s a lot more to tell, and that’s something that attracted Soule to the series.

“I feel like this project really hits the sweet spot as a writer,” he said. “I’ve been given a very strong template for the character, and then I get to plug that template into whatever kind of story I make up — which in some ways is simpler than if you’re starting from scratch, because Billy Dee and the scriptwriters did such an amazing job of making Lando live and breathe, and there’s a reason that he comes across as so cool and interesting even though you only see him for, I don’t know, 15 minutes of total screen time, maybe a little more than that, in the films. It was almost a perfect world for a writer to be doing something like this.”

Soule says there will be some familiar catchphrases and mannerisms in the book, staying true to Calrissian’s portrayal on screen. Otherwise, he’s got plenty of freedom to explore exactly the type of tale that he think will most interest readers, simply because there isn’t as much from the movies he and artist Alex Maleev need to work around.

“One of the things that’s been fantastic about it is that I don’t have to hit quite as many bullet points, so I can take the tone that was established and the character, and then do whatever I want with him,” Soule said. “As long as I don’t violate that character, or the way that character was established and Billy Dee Williams portrayed him and all those other great things, then it’s totally open.”

So did Marvel hit up Soule when it was looking for Star Wars writers, perhaps because of the success he had on the Death of Wolverine series? Not exactly.

Like many comics stories, it began with an in, but one born from a mutual love of singing and playing music, not necessarily comics themselves.

“My actual sort of recruiter for Marvel was a guy named Jordan White,” Soule said. “He’s a guy I’ve known for a long, long time. We’re both musicians. I actually think his biggest talent is arranging, but he’s also a talented ukuleleist and singer. I’m a musician as well, and we kind of connected over that a long time ago, and he brought me in to write a book called Thunderbolts a while back. It was a little while after that that he got the gig as the Star Wars editor, and so I kind of let him know, man, if there’s ever a job, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to jump on it. And it didn’t happen right away, because my guess is that every writer who e ven vaguely knew Jordan White sent him that same email that same day. But you know, it was nice. He had confidence in me, he took a chance in me to do Lando, and we kind of talked about what character to take to Lucasfilm and approach them with, and Lando just seemed like a great fit.”

Lando joins the Secret Wars tie-in series Civil War and Uncanny Inhumans on Soule’s full plate of Marvel writing gigs. Even with all of his success to date and an exclusive deal with Marvel, he hasn’t given up his day job as a practicing attorney either.

If you’ve ever been to Soule’s blog, you’ve probably already seen that the only way he can swing both professions is to work a crazy schedule. He confirmed that it’s a difficult juggling act, but one that he doesn’t see himself giving up in the near future.

“I work really long days,” Soule said. “I mean, I’ve sort of been thinking about how much I actually work on a day to day basis, and it’s very rare that I don’t have anything to do. There’s never any downtime. It’s like every amount of time I have is either spoken for or quickly spoken for. So it’s a lot. I still love it. It’s my own law practice, so it would be weird to just sort of bail on it without doing it in a very specific way. We’ll see what the future brings. I mean ,obviously things are looking pretty rosy and nice on the writing front, but I don’t mind being a lawyer. It’s a pretty cool job.”

Next: More with Charles Soule: talking Civil War

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