Star Wars Rebels kicks off tomorrow night, launching one of the first major slices of the new, stripped-down Star Wars continuity. Last month another puzzle piece arrived in the form of Star Wars: A New Dawn, the first novel set in the new Expanded Universe, and a direct prequel to Rebels. While we’ve still got over a year to wait before the arrival of Episode VII, there are still more novels to come in that time, and beginning this January Marvel will relaunch the Star Wars comics universe with three new series. The straightforwardly titled Star Wars #1 will be the first of the bunch, and StarWars.com has shared the above variant cover art, as well as some interior previews and some insights from writer Jason Aaron.
Jason Aaron has made a name for himself on titles like Marvel’s Wolverine and the X-Men, as well as his creator-owned Vertigo series Scalped. He actually had to bail on the X-Men book in order to take the job, but he says that decision didn’t require much consideration at all. “Axel Alonso, the [Marvel] editor in chief, called me up one day and said, ‘Star Wars,’ and I said, ‘I’m in.’ [Laughs] There was not much more to it.”
All three of the Star Wars comics series that have been announced thus far take place in between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back, although there are plans to branch out beyond that period eventually. Aaron said:
I’m really excited by the fact that Luke is in this position where he’s still a guy who’s just fresh off the farm. This is all pretty new to him. His world has changed completely. He had this mentor for five minutes who now is dead and leaves him with all these questions about his father, about his history, and where he goes from here, and what’s his role in the grand scheme of things. I think Luke already can see that clearly there’s something special about him. He was able to blow up the Death Star and do this amazing thing, but he has no idea where to go from here. He still has a ways to go before Ben whispers in his ear and says, ‘Hey, maybe you should see this guy Yoda.’ So it’s an interesting time for Luke. He’s on this journey of discovery by himself, and he wants to find out more about his father. Meanwhile, Darth Vader’s chasing after him trying to find out who’s this guy that blew up the Death Star. I like the fact that they’re kind of chasing each other, without realizing the full implication of what they’re chasing. Luke’s chasing after his dad while running away from Vader. There’s a lot of cool big beats in that gap that we get to grab and lay down as part of the canon.
Han is also in a unique position as the Star Wars series picks up. Aaron continues:
He’s hooked up with the Rebels in some capacity. I think it’s still a question mark for him at that point as to what is his role in this Rebellion and how much of a role does he want to have, and how long is he even going to stick around? I like the fact that he wakes up probably every morning thinking, ‘You know, today’s the day that I gotta get the hell out of here. This is not my fight, this is not who I am. I gotta go deal with my own stuff.’ But clearly, for whatever reason, every morning he sticks around. So I like writing him in that position. We don’t know how fully committed he is to this Rebellion, and we’re in the very early stages of his relationship with Leia. That stuff is all cool. And of course, you know with Han, eventually his past is going to start catching up to him. So we’ll see that happen, and in new ways. Not just, ‘Hey, there’s a bounty hunter showing up to grab Han.’ I think we’ve seen those stories before, so I want to something a little different. And I want to have some beats for Chewie too, beyond being just Han’s sidekick and co-pilot. We’ll get to see Chewie unleashed in cool ways, too, I think.
While the Star Wars ongoing is designed as a direct sequel to the first Star Wars film, it is very much going to be informed by and participating in the larger new continuity Disney and Lucasfilm are creating, so references to characters and events from the prequels are to be expected, but not necessarily in the ways you might expect.
I want to dump the toys on the table and mix them up in some different ways. … Whether that means characters you don’t meet until Empire or Jedi, or characters that we met in the prequels, or maybe some of the new stuff coming up, I think all of that can be in play.
Star Wars #1 hits shelves in January 2015.