It’s less than a month now until Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original is released, and the full cast has been revealed. Author Sarah Kuhn sat down to talk with starwars.com about the adaption of her introduction in the Darth Vader comic series.
The main cast has been revealed for this audiobook adaption:
Emily Woo Zeller as Aphra
Jonathan Davis as Boba Fett
Sean Patrick Hopkins as Luke Skywalker
Sean Kenin as Triple-Zero
Nicole Lewis as Sana Starros
Carol Monda as Maz Kanata
Euan Morton as The Emperor
Catherine Taber as Leia Organa
Marc Thompson as Darth Vader
Author Sarah Kuhn spoke to starwars.com extensively about the adaption from the comic pages to audiobook. She spoke about the challenges of adapting a story to a different medium and all the ways she was able to enhance the story further, including a bit of detail on Sana Starros.
StarWars.com: You’re adapting a comic book into audio form, which is a rare thing. What’s that process been like?
Sarah Kuhn: Fascinating! And also a bit intimidating, because I love Aphra so much and she has been written so brilliantly by Kieron and Simon Spurrier and now Alyssa Wong. It’s amazing to get the opportunity to write a character you adore, but it’s also terrifying, because you really, really want to do her justice. I re-read the Vader comics we were basing the story on, as did my incredible editor, Elizabeth Schaefer. We went through and pulled out all of Aphra’s pieces — fit them together and shaped them into a more Aphra-centric arc (which I think she would appreciate, because obviously she would want to be the star, not Vader!).
Then I tried to imagine what Aphra was doing when she wasn’t on the page, and to find areas where we could expand and get into her backstory, her non-Vader adventures, and her hidden vulnerabilities. And probably the most important decision we made was to tell this in her voice, from her POV — which helped me do things like fill in places where maybe you can see something on a comic book page, but you aren’t hearing it in dialogue. More importantly, I wanted Aphra to be able to tell her own story — because you know the way she tells it is going to be super entertaining.
StarWars.com: What do you think the audio form adds to this story?
Sarah Kuhn: One thing Elizabeth really encouraged me to do was to take advantage of the audio format in ways that were very specific to Aphra. She is the most unreliable narrator you will ever meet. She has so much bravado and swagger, and for her, lying is like breathing. I loved thinking of how she would tell this story, how she would spin things to make herself look over-the-top amazing.
The framing device is that she’s making a recording about her exploits, so she’ll do things like rewind and delete bits if they don’t sound cool enough and then re-record them — one of my favorites is when, right after meeting Vader, she decides to add a bit where she gives this really awesome speech to him. It’s probably what she wanted to do in retrospect, and it makes her sound more like the dashing, devil-may-care adventurer she wants people to see her as.
Exploring all the ways we could really use the format to bring her character out was so much fun, because it made her way of telling us this story so revealing, almost like a character unto itself. And it helps us see her more fully — even the vulnerabilities she’s buried so deep. Emily Woo Zeller gives such a tour de force performance — you can really hear all of this in her voice, just every level. And Nick Martorelli, the amazing producer, created all these beautiful, immersive soundscapes and atmosphere, so you can really sink into it.
StarWars.com: Can you tell us anything about the new or extended scenes?
Sarah Kuhn: Many of the new scenes involve Sana Starros — I have always been intrigued by that relationship, because I love both of those characters and a lot of what we’ve seen is the bitter aftermath of them. And even in that bitter aftermath, they have so much chemistry! I really wanted to know what they were like when they were together — and how cool that I got this job, because I got to write some of that myself! I also think Aphra is extra fun to write when she’s trying to be smooth, but something unsettles her. And a beautiful, impossibly cool lady that she suddenly connects with at university unsettles her a whole lot.
I loved writing them trying to court each other, because of course it is completely chaotic and somehow involves Aphra constantly falling off things and all sorts of other hijinks. But it also reveals so much about both of them, all these softer things they’re trying so hard to keep hidden, all the feelings they’re so afraid of. There are a lot of other new things and expanded parts and I don’t want to reveal too much, but one of my other favorite new scenes is the opening, which is a classic space battle between Aphra and Maz Kanata — I wanted to show Aphra being a badass and being really good at her job right off, so we see where all that panache comes from.
For the full interview, head to starwars.com.
Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original will be released on July 21, 2020.