I spoke with the women behind the Star Wars Sleepover Podcast for the latest Podcast Spotlight interview.
What is your first Star Wars memory?
Europa: Weirdly, for as big a part of my life as Star Wars became, I don’t have a super specific first Star Wars memory. I think I stumbled upon A New Hope on USA or TBS one day and was just instantly hooked. I was really into space and mythology as a (weird) kid, so it made perfect sense. I do remember watching the original trilogy on my parents’ bedroom TV and then being super excited about the 20th anniversary re-release and seeing them all in theaters for the first time.
Loya: I thought it was seeing Return of the Jedi at my grandma’s house as a kid, but after further reflection, it was actually Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, of all things.
Who are some of your favorite Star Wars characters and have those favorites changed over time?
Europa: My #1 is Leia. That has never changed since the very first time I watched Star Wars. She inspires me and I can only hope to be just a little bit like her. R2-D2 is another perennial favorite–I just want him to be my constant companion. I have also grown to really love Rey, and, as a complete surprise to me, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. As I’ve gotten more into animation, books and other media, I’ve really gotten attached to Padmé’s handmaidens, Bail and Breha Organa, and, of course, Ahsoka.
Loya: My original favorites were Rey, Leia, and Han Solo, but after starting the podcast and delving into more Star Wars, I’d have to add Ahsoka, Cad Bane, Chopper, Hera Syndulla, and K-2SO to that list.
When did you make the decision to start your own Star Wars podcast? Had you been a part of other podcasts (either as a host or guest) before?
Europa: Loya was always a more casual Star Wars fan than me, but had gotten more invested with the sequel trilogy. After the release of The Rise of Skywalker, we had a 2-month long, intense text thread about the movie and basically all of Star Wars (not an exaggeration). I kept telling her and everyone else around me that I needed a podcast to express all my thoughts.
As a woman Star Wars fan, though, I had always kind of held back from engaging fully with fandom because of some of the toxic and gate-keeping elements that can be so prevalent. I had just joined an amazing Facebook group, the Galactic Fempire, and through that and watching the incredible documentary Looking for Leia, found some inspiration to speak up. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we needed a project to keep us sane, and voila, a podcast!
Loya: I was ridiculously excited when Europa came up with the idea, but I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to be the co-host. I remember awkwardly asking, and she was like, “Of course!”
How would you describe your podcast to someone who hasn’t heard of it yet? How is it different from other Star Wars podcasts?
Europa: You know when you used to go to a sleepover at your friend’s house and you would stay up talking for hours? Sometimes it would be about your crushes or your silly obsessions, and sometimes it would get real deep? We’re inviting you to our Star Wars Sleepover, and since we’re of legal drinking age in our system, we kick it off with a themed cocktail. We focus on topic-based episodes, from characters to comics and everything in between.
Tell me about your first episode (or first few episodes) and how your podcast has changed since those first few episodes.
Loya: Our first episode focused on our history with Star Wars and how we approach it. It was a “getting to know you” before we really got started.
Europa: We are a relatively new podcast–we’ve only been releasing episodes for about 6 months! We’re definitely still evolving, but I’d like to think we’ve gotten more comfortable and I know podcasting has become a big part of my life.
How do you decide what the subject of your podcast is going to be? Do you know what you’ll be talking about months out ahead or do you decide more in the moment?
Loya: We have a running list of possible topics that we add to when inspiration strikes, and before we start recording each season, we select our top ten. Since we’re not a breaking news-focused podcast, that’s much easier to do. There’s some flexibility – for instance, we just decided to change the topic for one of our final episodes of season 2 – but we definitely plan things out well ahead of time.
Do you have favorite parts or least favorite parts of producing a podcast?
Europa: My favorite part is getting to talk Star Wars with Loya! Loya is one of my best friends, and we live across the country from one another, so I can’t tell you how great it is to feel like we’re back in college hanging out in one of our dorm rooms. And I love being able to delve deeply into Star Wars on a regular basis. My least favorite part is editing. I don’t know if anyone can truthfully say they like editing. But the finished product is worth it!
Loya: My favorite parts are listening to the edited episode for the first time (it’s inevitably better than I thought it would be – definitely due to Europa’s editing!) and prepping the website for a new episode release. I especially enjoy making sometimes terrifying image mods based on our discussion.
For new listeners can you recommend 3 episodes that would give people an idea of what the podcast is like?
Loya: I’d recommend
1) Heart, Lungs, Handmaidens (our episode on Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston, who changed our perspective on Padme)
2) Mechanical Difficulties (on L3-37 and droid sentience)
3) “Way Harsh, Tai.” (our discussion on the Rise of Kylo Ren comics).
Europa: I second all of those and add Galactic Glamour. We had our first guest on that episode, and it’s a super fun conversation about the best and the worst of Star Wars hair and make-up, plus some recommendations to re-create the looks.
What podcast episode have you received the most positive feedback about? I’m curious if you knew that one would be a winner or if it surprised you that this episode was a hit with listeners.
Europa: Our most popular episode is actually our very first one. Our episode on Padmé and Anakin is a close runner up. I have to admit they both surprised me–who knew that people would enjoy listening to us talk about our own relationship with Star Wars or a very complicated space couple so much?
Who are a few people you’d love to have on your show as a guest in the future?
Loya: I have an irrational fear of meeting people I admire, so while IN THEORY I would love to talk to E.K. Johnston, I’d probably freak out and sit there screaming internally. (Think Troy and LeVar Burton in Community.)
Europa: Loya and I have become big fans of current canon Star Wars novels, so I’d also love to have some authors on, especially E.K. Johnston or Claudia Gray. I’m also a big fan of the Art of books and it would be incredible to have concept artists like Doug Chiang or Calum Alexander Watt as guests. I find their work so fascinating!
What kind of equipment do you use for recording? Any overall tips for new podcasters?
Loya: We both use a Samson Meteor mic, and it hasn’t failed us yet! My advice for new podcasters is that you will get used to hearing your own voice, and it’s never as bad as you think.
Europa: My advice for new podcasters is just to go for it–you don’t have to spend a lot on equipment or be a complete expert to get started. Also, trust your voice and your perspective. Be honest and talk about the things that you’re passionate about because you should be having fun, too.
What are some of your favorite Star Wars focused podcasts?
Europa: Skytalkers is the absolute best. Other favorites are Blast Points, What the Force, and Scavenger’s Hoard.
Tell me about your previous Celebration experiences (if you have been before)? Highlights? Lowlights?
Europa: Unfortunately, neither of us have been to Star Wars Celebration yet. The closest I got was Star Wars Weekends at Disney World, which was incredible. I imagine Celebration is like that times a million. Here’s hoping we can make it in 2022!
What are you the most excited to see or read in the Star Wars universe coming up in the next year?
Loya: I know we’re both beyond excited about The Book of Boba Fett. Who would have thought? We were decidedly not Boba Fett fans leading up to his appearance in The Mandalorian, but Temeura Morrison changed all that. We also both can’t wait for more of Padmé, Sabé, and the handmaidens in E.K. Johnston’s upcoming Queen’s Hope.
Europa: I’m also excited for more High Republic content. It’s shaping up to be very intriguing, especially Marchion Ro and the Nihil. Keep it coming!
How can people who want to listen to your podcast find it and help support it?
Star Wars Sleepover is available most anywhere you can get podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, and more. You can also listen (and find all sorts of resources, links, and Loya’s creations) on our website.
You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram:
Europa’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/stellelontane