I remember when the first Star Wars comics from Dark Horse Comics came out, I was eleven years old and Dark Empire hit the stands and Luke Skywalker took a walk on the Dark Side. I wasn’t old enough to remember the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series, so Dark Horse was what Star Wars in the comic book world meant to me. What an amazing time for the expanded universe, and besides some novels that came before and of course the old Marvel series, nothing had redefined Star Wars like this series did. 1991 was a big year for the EU as earlier that year Timothy Zahn released the first book of his Thrawn Trilogy Heir to the Empire. For over the next 20 years Dark Horse Comics would help shape what the Expanded Universe meant to all of us fans. With great series like Tales of the Jedi, Shadows of the Empire, Legacy, Knights of the Old Republic, X-Wing: Rogue Squadron, and many MANY more, Dark Horse gave us a vision of this spectacular universe as most of us were growing up. But times they are a changing and with the recent purchase of the franchise by Disney it comes as no surprise that Marvel Comics, a Disney affiliate, would eventually acquire the rights to publish. So in 2015, the same year that we will see J.J. Abrams Star Wars Episode VII, Marvel will start to publish Star Wars comic book stories. I don’t really think that this is a bad thing and it was inevitable in the long run. Plus Marvel knows how to do comic books right, so I am looking forward to seeing what will happen and what talent they will bring on board for the project(s). Here is the official statement from Dark Horse Comics CEO Mike Richardson:
“All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.
“For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.
“It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Warscomics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.”
Official Press Release:
[box_light]The Walt Disney Company’s Lucasfilm Ltd. and Marvel Entertainment are joining forces to bring new Star Wars adventures to readers across the galaxy, with Marvel granted exclusive rights to create and publish Star Wars comics and graphic novels beginning in 2015.
The agreement marks a homecoming for the Star Wars comic books. Marvel Comics published the first Star Wars comic book, STAR WARS #1, in March 1977, which went on to sell more than 1 million copies. Marvel Comics published its STAR WARS series for nine years. In 1991, Dark Horse Comics took over the license, publishing fan-favorite titles like Dark Empire and Star Wars: Legacy. Last year, Dark Horse released The Star Wars #1, an adaptation of George Lucas’ original rough-draft screenplay for the film, garnering rave reviews and national media attention and ranking among the top-selling Star Wars comics of all time.
“Dark Horse Comics published exceptional Star Wars comics for over 20 years, and we will always be grateful for their enormous contributions to the mythos, and the terrific partnership that we had,” said Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “In 2015, the cosmic adventures of Luke, Han, Leia and Chewbacca will make the lightspeed jump back to Marvel, to begin a new age of adventures within the Star Wars universe.
“We here at Marvel could not be more excited to continue the publication of Star Wars comic books and graphic novels,” said Marvel Worldwide Publisher and President, Dan Buckley. “The perennial brand of Star Wars is one of the most iconic in entertainment history and we are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand Star Wars into galaxies far, far away.”
“We’re incredibly excited by this next chapter in the Star Wars saga,” said Andrew B. Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Bringing together the iconic Lucasfilm and Marvel brands to tell new stories will allow us to continue to thrill lovers of the original Star Wars comic books and entertain generations to come.”[/box_light]
Well at least that gives them time enough to wrap up Brian Wood’s current run of Star Wars, one of my favorite series of all time! One exciting aspect of all of this is that we may see some Marvel Comics/Star Wars crossovers in the future! Stranger things have happened!
May the Force be with You