STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA, by Sarah Kuhn, is now available in hardcover as of April 6, 2021, and we have an excerpt for you to read. Doctor Aphra splashed into life in Marvel Star Wars Comics Darth Vader as of 2015. She quickly became known as the Indiana Jones of Star Wars, and with a storyline involving a partnership with Darth Vader, Aphra captured many fans.
Originally conceived as an audio production, the new book is a script. So if you like reading stage direction or seeing how a script looks before it comes to life in your ears, then this book is for you! If you’re interested in the fully dramatized audiobook (released July 2020), make sure to check out this ComicCon@Home panel with audiobook narrators Marc Thompson and Emily Woo Zeller, author Sarah Kuhn, and Del Rey editor Elizabeth Schaefer ,in a conversation moderated by audiobook producer Nick Martorelli. Keep reading for some background on this novel and an excerpt from the hardcover novel, courtesy of Penguin Random House/Del Rey!
The Inception of “Doctor Aphra” as Script and Audiobook
Last year, Random House Audio released the first Star Wars audio original – Star Wars: Dooku – Jedi Lost – to great success. Where do they go from here? Elizabeth Schaefer, Del Rey editor, explained that they looked at other comic book characters and “we had always wanted to do something with Aphra. She’s such a cool character, and I think audio is a really cool format for her because she bursts off the page with such a strong voice.”
Why was Sarah Kuhn picked to pen the audio drama? “It needs to be Sarah Kuhn,” Elizabeth explained, “Especially because of her Heroine Complex series, because it’s the tone you would want for an Aphra story – fun and snarky and a delight.”
This information blew Sarah away because she has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as she can remember. So when she “got that exciting email that you’re always waiting for: ‘there’s an offer for you for Star Wars – and it’s Aphra.’ I Freaked out, times a million, because she is maybe the best character in the Star Wars canon.”
Writing Doctor Aphra
Once Sarah joined the team, she and Elizabeth worked together on the script. “One of the first things we did was reread the Darth Vader comic series (by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca ) What is the story that exists here and what can we do to make her story bigger? We decided to put it 100% in her POV. Her voice is so delightful. She swoops into the page and grabs you by the throat.”
Because this audiobook is adapted from the original Darth Vader comic, the writing team asked themselves ‘where are the opportunities to expand and connect the dots of Aphra’s story?’ She comes in and out of the Darth Vader comic. So what is she up to while Vader is having his adventure on the page?
This question fueled the story, as well as Aphra herself. Sarah describes Doctor Aphra’s character. “She’s always craving the most chaotic adventure. She’s a chaos monster. But at the same time she also has this survival instinct and those two things are very much in conflict.” This makes for a compelling story.
A Surprise Romance
Author Sarah Kuhn has an exciting surprise in store for readers. “I’m very into romance, and I was looking for ways to expand upon an existing relationship between characters. I am a huge fan of Sana Starros and I always loved the idea of a relationship [between Sana and Aphra]. We see them in way later when they do not like each other. I enjoyed writing these more soft, intimate moments between them, which then makes later moments more heartbreaking.” Sarah is referring to Marvel’s Star Wars comic series in 2016.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Book Excerpt
What is that insane woman doing?
My head whipped around—and I saw her. She was standing on the ground below, hands on her hips, head cocked to the side. Looking thoroughly perturbed.
Aphra? Is that you? Do you have a death wish or are you just a complete fool?
I . . . Void, this next part is so humiliating.
I let go. I fell. And I crashed right into Sana Starros, who broke my fall and probably saved me from breaking my neck.
“But Chelli,” you’re saying. “Why did you let go?”
That’s the humiliating part. I just . . . her voice. Her eyes. Her whole . . . everything. Distracted me. Like they always did.
And then she spoke again.
I don’t know if we’ve formally met. I’m Sana Starros. And that was the most reckless, harebrained, absolutely nonsensical—
I know your name.
That’s when I kissed her for the first time.
To this day, I don’t know why she kissed me back. She always seemed too . . . sensible for someone like me. Studious Sana. Perfect, wrinkle-free clothes, nose in a book, always so serious.
But for some reason . . . she threw her common sense out the window. And we were inseparable all through my university days. Right up until . . .
No, we don’t need to get into that now.
Recording: Please mark this highly embarrassing sequence for possible deletion. Mark it as much as you can.
STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA, by Sarah Kuhn, is now available in hardcover as of April 6, 2021, wherever books are sold.