Originally, author E.K. Johnson wanted to call the third book in her Star Wars Padmé trilogy Queen’s Gambit. You can probably guess why she had to change it, settling on Queen’s Hope as her second choice.
“There was that thing on Netflix and, you know, we couldn’t name it Queen’s Gambit anymore,” Johnson told Star Wars.com. “But I fell on Queen’s Hope almost immediately because to me that’s what Padmé is about. No matter how hard things get, she gets up and keeps going, which is one of my favourite things that Star Wars characters do.”
Yes, it’s true: following 2019’s Queen’s Shadow and 2020’s Queen’s Peril, Johnson will finish her deep dive into the life of one of Star Wars’ most important yet least explored characters, Padmé Amidala. Queen’s Hope is scheduled for release on November 2.
“This one was the most daunting because it’s the war book,” Johnson said. “It’s the book where things start to fall apart. Up until this point it’s been kind of the upswing of her story, but as soon as Attack of the Clones happens, as soon as Attack of the Clones ends, you start to get into the actual tragedy part and I…I didn’t know how I was going to feel about that.”
According to the interview, Queen’s Hope will follow Padmé on a secret, crucial mission while her handmaiden Sabé stays behind to pose as her in the Galactic Senate. Chancellor Palpatine is around — and, of course, her now-husband Anakin Skywalker is also involved.
“Anakin Skywalker is a bit of a downer for me in terms of writing because everything he touches ends badly,” Johnson said. “Qui-Gon dies, his mum dies, Padmé dies. The galaxy falls apart. It does not go well for people involved in Anakin Skywalker’s story when he’s the main character. However, he’s not the main character of Queen’s Hope. He is the romantic interest. He’s the love interest. And because of that I was freed up to write him a little bit more fun, I guess.”
Obviously the book isn’t all fun though. Ultimately, we all know what happens to not just Anakin, but Padmé as well. And Johnson said while writing that tragedy was tough, ultimately Padmé’s hope shines through. Hence the non-chess related title.
“That’s how I got through writing the depressing tragedy that is looming at the end of this book, because I know that hope endures, that good endures,” she said. “And Padmé believed it even right up to the end. I like to think I do, too. I’m probably a little bit more cynical. But that’s what Queen’s Hope means to me. It reminds me every morning to get up and keep trying no matter what happened the day before because today might be different.”
Read more from Johnson’s interview with StarWars.com at that link.