Shawn Speakman: THE BOOK OF SITH is out today. Tell Unbound Worlds readers a bit about it and why they need this book?
Daniel Wallace: Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
is an all-in-one handbook to the ways of the Star Wars villains. The Jedi are great, but the Sith are cool. From the Emperor’s Force lightning to Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber, the bad guys have always been a big part of the appeal of the Star Wars saga, and in this book I set out to tell their story.
Book of Sith is presented as if it’s an actual in-universe document, composed of fragmentary writings from five icons of evil and assembled between two covers by Emperor Palpatine, who added his own thoughts at the end. So not only do you get an explanation of the dark side from authors like Darth Malgus and Mother Talzin, you also can read handwritten annotations by people who read the book before you, including Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
Speakman: Star Wars is defined by its heroes but it is hard to argue that Darth Vader overshadows even the heroes as an icon. Why is this?
Wallace: Star Wars is a larger-than-life saga of good vs. evil, and for that dynamic to work the villains can’t be weak or unappealing. People don’t fall to the dark side because they tripped, they do it because on some level they want the power that it represents. And the bad guys like Vader also have great design going for them. Vader’s helmet is terrifying and iconic, and is probably one of the most recognizable images in global culture.
Speakman: After writing this book, do you have a favorite Sith Lord?
Wallace: The in-universe writers of Book of Sith are the ancient sorceress Sorzus Syn, the battlefield tactician Darth Malgus, the stoic warrior Darth Bane, the wicked shaman Mother Talzin, the mad scientist Darth Plagueis, and Emperor Palpatine himself. I needed to find a distinct voice for each one of these authors, and the one I got the most kick out of writing was Plagueis. He’s a Sith Lord dedicated to the pursuit of science, and it was a lot of fun to explore how much of the Force is knowable and how much lies in the realm of mysticism and the supernatural.
Speakman: How much research did it take to build this book? What archives were you given access to? Learn anything that us fans don’t know?
Wallace: I had access to a ton of behind-the-scenes material when writing the book, including advance information regarding Darth Malgus’ role in the multiplayer game The Old Republic and Mother Talzin’s actions in episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars that hadn’t yet aired at the time I was writing. I think my biggest takeaway was the ability to gain some perspective on how the dark side has been portrayed in many different mediums from the movies to TV and gaming, and find common threads that unite all these portrayals. To do that I had to think like a dark sider, and at times I found myself going, “hey, these guys have a point!”
Speakman: What are your thoughts on Episode VII coming to the silver screen?
Wallace: I’m excited and optimistic. Star Wars is at its best when it’s a cinematic experience, and I can’t wait to see what a whole new crew of creative minds is able to bring to the table.
The Book of Sith by Daniel Wallace is in fine bookstores today!
Come to the Dark Side…