uesday brings the final chapter of E.K. Johnston's Queen Trilogy with the much anticipated Queen's Hope. We were lucky enough to talk with Johnston about how amazing it's been to take Padme on this journey and what she hopes folks will take away from the final chapter of the series.
With the conclusion of Queen’s Hope, Padmé becomes only the second character in Canon to have their own trilogy of books centered around them. What makes her the perfect character to carry this type of weight for this generation of Star Wars fans?
As weird as it is to think about: she knows a lot of people. In many ways, Padmé serves as a bridge between different groups of people, namely the Senate and the Jedi, in Star Wars. That, coupled with her unique perspective on the events of the Clone Wars, makes her an ideal POV character. More practically, teenagers are very conscious of current events, so a political character is a great way for them to perceive the gffa.
As you’ve written these novels over the last few years, how has your view of Padmé’s life, relationships, and legacy changed from when you started?
I don't think my view has really changed that much at all. I spent almost twenty years thinking about the character before Queen's Shadow, and while I have definitely been able to refine some facets of her in the other two books, there hasn't been a lot of change. I definitely appreciated the chance to round out the lives and motivations of the characters around her, though, particularly the handmaidens.
Queen’s Hope features the first Canonical trans clone as well as a wealth of additional queer representation. At a time when the LGBTQ+ community is facing a remarkable amount of challenge in the real world, what do you hope queer readers can glean from Queen’s Hope to help them through these everyday struggles?
I hope they see two things. First, I hope they see that there are people out there who are fighting for them to be included, even when it looks pretty bleak. And second, on a much less meta level, I hope they see that a queer kid from the middle of nowhere can grow up to be happy. Because I did, and I want them to as well.
Throughout the book, there are wonderful interludes showing the importance of other women along Padmé’s journey like Shmi Skywalker and Beru Lars. How do you feel their inclusion adds to the legacy of Padmé as a whole?
So much of Padmé's story in the back half of the prequels revolves around her isolation, and I wanted to remind readers that no matter how alone you feel, there are other people out there fighting for good, too. Padmé has a direct connection to both Shmi and Beru, she's met them both and understands a bit about what they are up against, and I like to imagine that made her feel less lonely. (Yes, this is one of my pandemic books, can you tell?)
As this trilogy ends, it’s impossible to overstate how many characters you’ve enriched along the way. Now that it’s over, which character are you going to miss writing the most?
100% Sabé, no contest. I'm so glad we're getting more of her in the Greg Pak Vader run, but I'm going to miss her.
Queen's Hope will be released on April 5th and is available for pre-order now!