In the aftermath of Disney’s buyout of Lucasfilm back in 2012, the House That Walt Built began an ongoing process of consolidating its newly acquired Star Wars franchise on every front. LucasArts was shuttered and Star Wars game development shuffled to other entities. Clone Wars was wrapped up and much of its crew shifted over to Rebels. Indeed, the entire long-running and convoluted Star Wars Expanded Universe canon was swept aside to make way for a new interconnected fictional reality anchored by the upcoming Star Wars films. And now this streamlined Star Wars canon will be spreading to the comics page, thanks to three new Marvel titles announced this week at Comic-Con.
Marvel announced the three new series, as well as their creative teams, during the fan-favorite Cup O’ Joe panel yesterday in San Diego. The series will be focusing on untold adventures of the Original Trilogy’s beloved characters. Jason Aaron (Scalped) and John Cassady (Planetary) will tackle an ongoing series called simply Star Wars; Kieron Gillen (Young Avengers) and Salvador Larroca (The Invincible Iron Man) will be doing a Darth Vader ongoing; and Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and Terry Dodson (Harley Quinn) will be serving up a five-issue Princess Leia mini-series. All three series are set to roll out early next year.
You can see John Cassady’s cover for the Star Wars series up top. It will be set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and will focus on the core heroes of that trilogy: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewie, and the rest. Star Wars #1 will hit shelves in January 2015.
Star Wars: Darth Vader will, naturally enough, take a look at George Lucas’ universe through the eyes of the man who was once Anakin Skywalker. It’d be nice to see Anakin explored more effectively than he was in the prequels, so hopefully this series will help us forget about the whiny little shit he was when he was Hayden Christensen. The cover above was done by Adi Granov. Vader’s first issue will arrive in February 2015.
Last but not least, Waid and Dodson’s Princess Leia mini-series will follow Leia’s adventures in the aftermath of losing her homeworld of Alderaan. I imagine she’ll be in the mood for some payback or some serious distractions, so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of adventure she embarks on during those five issues. The cover above is by Terry Dodson. Star Wars: Princess Leia #1 will release in March 2015.
Between these comics and the previously announced first wave of new Star Wars novels, Disney seems keen to dig deeper into the characters and settings of the original Star Wars trilogy — a decision that makes sense given how the upcoming film trilogy beginning with Episode VII will focus on Luke, Han, and Leia, as well as introducing a new generation of characters for us to follow into the franchise’s future. I imagine we’ll see the books, comics, and the like broadening out to explore less-familiar characters in the years to come.
This isn’t the first time Marvel has gotten to play in the Star Wars sandbox, of course. Marvel published Star Wars comics from 1977 through 1986, including adaptations of the movies. The license eventually shifted over to Dark Horse in 1991 with the acclaimed Dark Empire series. Dark Horse did some great comics over the years, so I’m sure many fans were upset to see the license shifting back to Marvel. It makes sense from a business standpoint, however, so it’s not surprising. Hopefully Star Wars’ new Marvel era won’t disappoint.