David Peterson Was Born To Draw Talking Animals Wearing Clothes and Movie News at the SDCC Mouse Guard Panel

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Jeremy Konrad writes,

Having read Mouse Guard off and on over the past few years, I was pretty excited to hear about the future of the book. After the information earlier this week that it has been picked up as a film by Fox, it became clear quickly that this panel was going to be one that would be can't miss. And what a delight it was.

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The panel opened with a quick recap of all the various volumes and series of Mouse Guard available currently. The three main books, the Legends of the Guard anthologies, and Baldwin the Brave. The long-promised four volume of the main story, titled Weasel Wars, was also discussed. Peterson talked about how he has been thinking about the Weasel Wars since he was 20 years old, and while no announcement was made about a firm release date, he and Boom are finally getting the book prepared. Part of the problem was that he had committed to finishing his version of The Wind in the Willows for another publisher, which he also thinks has changed the way he will draw forever. He is "born to draw talking animals in clothes".

The other problem was that his personal life has seen some struggles lately. He showed a slide of his mother, who he says has been struggling with memory loss and has been very sick. He said he doesn't tell anyone that looking for pity, but it can be a daily struggle and because of it, his work volume struggles a bit.

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An Art of Mouse Guard book was shown, and it sounds wonderful. More than just an art book they said, it contains quite a bit of behind the scenes processes, all the artwork and sketches and design pages you could hope for, and a gallery of every pinup done by all kinds of different artists. That one will be a must buy. It even has some of the sketches Peterson did as a teenager.

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Coloring books are all the rage now, and to nobody's surprise, a Mouse Guard one is coming. Presented in a 10×10 format, it will also feature a brand new cover by Peterson. The last bit of book news revealed was a new slipcase edition of vol. 1-3 of Mouse Guard proper, with a gorgeous blue slipcase surrounding the volumes inside.

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After that, it was time to talk the Mouse Guard film. If you had not heard: Fox has optioned Mouse Guard as a feature film to be written by Gary Whitta (Star Wars: Rogue One), and produced by Matt Reeves (the recent Planet of the Apes films). The film will feature performance capture for the characters, and Reeves will bring his experience from Apes with Andy Serkis to this film. They showed a screen capture of a tweet Whitta sent out back in January 2015 asking why Mouse Guard was not already a film, and that got Peterson and Boom to keep him in mind to adopt the property. 6 months later, at last years SDCC, the wheels started turning and here we are. He really respects the world Peterson has created and the fact that this is his life's work. Every step of the way so far, it seems to have been a very collaborative process, with Whitta even letting Peterson name the new character being introduced in the film.

The film will have a heavy lean on the first volume Fall1152, with some things from volumes 2 and 3 as well, but those will mostly be storybeats for the characters, not the story itself. The script is still being started, but everyone agrees that Whitta will be focusing on the theme of duty and the narrative that without what these mice do in the Guard, mice society would crumble. He compared it to first responders and police and firefighters.

Peterson would also like it known while they are still in the early stages, casting wise he wants it out there in the world that his only casting request in for Jim Carter, who plays Carson on Downton Abbey, to voice Celanawe. Consider it out in the world Mr. Peterson.

image11To close out the panel, we were treated to a live reading of the FCBD 2016 story The Tale of Piper The Listener by voice artist Hal Lublin (Thrilling Adventure Hour). It apparently happens at every Mouse Guard panel, but it was a quite pleasant surprise to me. It made me yearn for them to release each story in the series this way, which now that Fox owns the property rights, won't be happening anytime soon. Hopefully you all can catch a Mouse Guard panel at a con though, as Peterson got special permission to keep doing the live readings at cons. I for one will be in line again as soon as possible.