Marc Thompson is, for many listeners, the voice of the Star Wars extended universe, having narrated close to two dozen audiobooks set in that world. LJ talked to Thompson about fandom, pronunciation, and voicing iconic characters.
LJ: Were you a Star Wars fan before you started narrating the extended universe books? Did you have any previous experience with the books?
MT: I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan. When I got the audition for legacy of the force I took it very very seriously I wanted this job very badly. I worked very hard on the audition sides and prayed. I guess they liked it. worked out quite well. I picked up Heir to the Empire when it first came out, but got lazy and never finished it. And then many years later they hired me to narrate it, so I finally got to find out how it ended.
LJ: Is it difficult to keep track of the pronunciations of all of the characters and locations, etc.? How do you do that?
MT: Yes, pronunciations are very difficult to keep track of. There’s a person at Lucasfilm who keeps a database of everything between him and the director we try to keep it all straight. When I’m preparing a book I often go to Wookiepedia for research.
LJ: What is it like to embody these characters who are so beloved and well known? Does it ever feel like you’re doing impressions of Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher?
MT: It is so much fun. I picture them acting it all out as I’m reading the books. For the most part it is easy to imitate the main characters because of watching the movies. The only one that can be a bit challenging sometimes is my Lando Calrissian. There’s a fine line between embodying his character and doing a parody of a Colt 45 commercial.
LJ: What is your experience with Star Wars fandom? Do you make appearances at conventions? What kind of fan feedback do you get?
MT: The fans are very vocal and very encouraging. Last year I got to go to Star Wars Celebration and met many of them. I met a truck driver who told me the audiobooks help get him through the long coast-to-coast commutes. Another fan told me he was a soldier in Afghanistan and the audiobooks were an escape for him because of the tension of being in the war zone.