Brian Wood: New York Times best-selling author, television creator, comic book writer. Already known for his brilliant runs on DMZ, Briggs Land, and Sword Daughter, Wood has also been writing some of the best licensed sci-fi at Dark Horse Comics. The storyteller is now delving into the world of Terminator, expanding the decades-long franchise with an exciting premise. Teaming with artist Jeff Stokely (The Spire, Six-Gun Gorilla), the new four-issue series is entitled Terminator: Sector War.
PopCultHQ had the privilege to speak with the creator thanks to the awesome team at Dark Horse (Thanks, Dustin!). Learn more about Brian, his new miniseries, and Lucy Castro, the powerful protagonist who’s pitted against an unrelenting T800!
Bio (courtesy of BrianWood.com):
Brian Wood’s history of published work includes nearly fifty volumes of genre-spanning original material. From the 1500-page future war epic DMZ, the ecological disaster series The Massive, the American crime drama Briggs Land, the blistering youth culture action quadrilogy The Couriers, and the groundbreaking lo-fi dystopia Channel Zero, Wood has a proven track record of marrying socially-conscious world-building and political commentary with compelling and diverse characters.
His Young Adult novels – Demo, Local, The New York Four, and Mara – have made YALSA and New York Public Library best-of lists. His historical fiction – the Viking series Northlanders and the American Revolution-centered Rebels – are benchmarks in the comic book industry.
He’s written some of the biggest franchises in pop culture, including Star Wars, Terminator, Robocop, Aliens, Conan The Barbarian, Planet of the Apes, and the X-Men.
He co-wrote the award-winning video game 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, and is currently adapting several of his books for television.
TERMINATOR: SECTOR WAR #1
Cover Artist: Robert Sammelin
Variant Cover Artist: Grzegorz Domaradzki
Publication Date: August 15, 2018
Two Terminators went back in time to 1984, one to kill Sarah Conner, and another targeting NYPD Officer Lucy Castro, a rookie cop assigned to one of the worst sections of the city. Isolated and unable to call for backup, Castro faces off against the relentless T800, relying on unlikely allies to see her through to dawn.
Brian Wood of Dark Horse’s
“Terminator: Sector War”
Brian Wood: It was something that just came up at Dark Horse. Even though my primary identity has always been a creator-owned writer, I do enjoy working on these huge name licensed books (Star Wars, Aliens, X-Men, RoboCop) and Dark Horse knows that, so this was as simple as them asking me if I wanted to pitch for it, and I did.
PopCultHQ: There are a few similarities to the original Terminator outside of the plot; I imagine this series takes place mere hours apart since according to Terminator, the Arnold T-800 was sent through right before Reece and his team found the complex, so this T-800 has to go through before the one hunting Sarah Connor. Was it hard to write something which was the same yet entirely different?
Brian Wood: The idea is that it takes place at the exact same time as the events of the original film. My premise was that John Connor could not be the only important person in the future war against the machines, and that Skynet would try and nip it all in the bud with a single operation. You can easily imagine a dozen T800’s going back that same night to multiple locations to accomplish this. I remember pitching many locations for this, including the USSR, but New York was the one everyone was most into.
And no, it wasn’t hard to write at all. It’s a familiar story and, for some, a nostalgic one. So you can work with that, let it lead you along and then subvert expectations when you need to.
PopCultHQ: The pacing of the first issue is very fast, yet fluid; you waste no time with background, at least not in the first issue. However, outside of knowing beforehand what this series is about…Is the first issue written from an understanding that your readership is there because they know the backstory about the machines and the future, or do you plan to explain all that in issues 2-4?
Brian Wood: I think, honestly, it requires some knowledge of the backstory, and in this case I think that’s okay. I don’t see this miniseries as being anyone’s very first exposure to Terminator – most people at a minimum have an understating of the plot of that first film – it’s such a part of pop culture. All that said, our story here does start fast as you said, but we layer in more and more context as Lucy Castro starts to piece things together.
PopCultHQ: Does this miniseries have any connection from any pre-existing Dark Horse Terminator story or is it all its own monster?
Brian Wood: Entirely its own thing.
PopCultHQ: Now there hasn’t been a Terminator comic book tie-in from anyone since Dark Horse last published The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy in late 2014/early 2015. Does this make it more of a reboot of the comic book franchise?
PopCultHQ: Any chance that when this series is finished, and IF Lucy Castro survives, that she could cross paths with Sarah Connor in the future?
Brian Wood: You’re asking me to talk about the ending, and I can’t do that.
PopCultHQ: On the very first page, in Times Square, there is the middle neon sign for Coca-Cola. Just below that (in orange) I see a name that looks like ‘Castro,’ the same surname as your heroine, Lucy Castro. Is this just coincidence or is there something more to this?
Brian Wood: I see it, it wasn’t in my script, so I guess the artists were up to something there!
PopCultHQ: Now I have to ask, what is it like working with Jeff Stokely? Do you work face-to-face or is it all through long distance correspondence such as e-mail and Skype?
Brian Wood: Nah, we’re on different continents and I’m very much a reclusive sort of writer. I like to get all my stuff down on paper in isolation and then, as much as the project realities allow, give the artist a lot of leeway to question or change things as they see fit. In this case, possibly more so, as the goal up front was to have this be an art-forward series. I wrote it in a way to allow Jeff and Triona to make their mark and have that mark be dominant. There’s epic fight scenes and locations in the book where you’ll see this. The important things for me were the period-specific stuff – the cop uniform, the cop car, the part of NY this is set in, and Castro herself.
PopCultHQ: This being a 4-issue miniseries, do you have any intention of penning another Terminator tale when it is all said and done?
Brian Wood: Nothing now – I have a full plate. In the future, hopefully.
PopCultHQ: And if not a follow-up Terminator series, what do you have going on that you might be able to tell your fans and our readers about?
Brian Wood: I’m writing the book Sword Daughter for Dark Horse, with artist Mack Chater – that’s the main thing for now. More to be announced in the fall.
A huge thanks to Brian Wood for taking the time to speak with PopCultHQ. Be sure to hit up your LCS or favorite online retailer to pick up Terminator: Sector War #1 now! And watch for issue two arriving September 19th from Dark Horse Comics!
Writer – Brian Wood
About Dark Horse:
For more than thirty years, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, the company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent, such as Eric Powell, Mike Mignola, Geof Darrow, Brian Wood, Gail Simone, Stan Sakai, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends, such as Will Eisner, Milo Manara, Kazuo Koike, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Miller, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, such as The Mask, Ghost, X, and Barb Wire. Its successful line of comics, manga, and products based on popular properties includes Dragon Age, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Tomb Raider, Halo, The Witcher,Serenity, Game of Thrones, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Today, Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading entertainment publishers.