ALAN DEAN FOSTER is the king of novelizations... Movie tie-ins ranging from THE BLACK HOLE to CLASH OF THE TITANS to ALIEN to STAR TREK to, most importantly, STAR WARS, he covered just about all the big ones... And here's a selection of an interview where Mr. Foster discusses first being given a science-fiction project... set a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... that no one knew anything about, yet...
How did George Lucas come to you about ghostwriting this STAR WARS novelization?
My agent was contacted to see if I might be interested in novelizing this soon-to-be-released SF film called THE STAR WARS, being done by George Lucas. I knew George's work, of course, from both THX 1138 and AMERICAN GRAFITTI. I subsequently had a meeting with George's lawyer on Sunset Blvd. I believe something was said about someone close to the film having read my ICERIGGER and that they felt it was close in spirit to the upcoming picture.
George Lucas Negotiations ensued, with my participation for two books being agreed upon. One of the conditions was that George's name be on the cover and that, if asked, I deny having done the book. I had no problem with this... it's George's story, and business is business. But it was difficult having to occasionally lie to friends. I don't think any of them hold it against me.
You were the first to write an “Expanded Universe” novel from “The Adventures of Luke Skywalker,” something that is quite common today… The book was SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S EYE… How did this come about?
The contract was for me to do two books: the novelization of the film and an original sequel. With the caveat that I could not use the character of Han Solo (because, as I recall, Harrison Ford had not yet come to terms to do any sequels), I was given a completely free rein to write whatever I wished... except that George asked if I could write the story so that it could possibly be filmed on a low budget.
He was always thinking ahead, and in this regard he felt that if the first film was only a modest success, he would still be able to do a sequel with existing props and such. That's why the film takes place on a fog-shrouded planet, underground, etc....eliminates the need for expensive backdrops (no cgi then, remember). When SW was the overwhelming hit that it was, he was free to pursue any visions he desired.
By James M. Tate