We're getting a whole new slate of canonical Star Wars novels, and the first is set to arrive in just a few months.
Earlier today Lucasfilm and The Walt Disney Company announced that the Star Wars Expanded Universe that's been constructed for decades through comics, novels, videogames and more is officially not considered part of Star Wars continuity going forward. For now, the only canonical Star Wars stories are the original six films, the Clone Wars animation work and the already announced future projects coming from Disney and Lucasfilm, including (obviously) the new J.J. Abrams films and the new animated series Star Wars: Rebels.
The companies also announced that, though all those novels and comics we've loved for decades will no longer be considered canon, the Star Wars universe as it's now defined will be expanding into print media in its own right, beginning with a novel by John Jackson Miller that will take place before the events of the Star Wars: Rebels animated series, and continuing on in other books (and very likely Marvel Comics) to come. Now we've got more details on just when we'll see the first new in-continuity Star Wars novels.
In a press release posted on the official Star Wars website today, Disney Publishing Worldwide announced a partnership with Random House-owned Del Rey Books to begin bringing all-new, in-continuity Star Wars novels to readers starting this fall. The company announced four new titles that will hit bookstores between September 2014 and March 2015, and also unveiled plans to keep all previous Expanded Universe novels in print, re-branded as "Star Wars Legends" titles.
The first novel, the aforementioned Rebels prequel by Miller, will be titled Star Wars: A New Dawn. Here's a brief synopsis from the Star Wars Books Facebook Page:
Our very first official canon novel set solidly in the legendary "Dark Times" between Episodes III and IV, A NEW DAWN will introduce readers to two main characters from the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels animated series—Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla—and will feature jacket art by Doug Wheatley, as well as a foreword by Dave Filoni, one of the executive producers of The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. It goes on sale September 2, 2014.
The second new Star Wars novel will be Tarkin by James Lucieno. As you may have guessed, it stars the iconic character played by Peter Cushing in the very first Star Wars film, and is due to be released on Nov. 4, 2014. The third new novel, releasing in January 2015, is Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne. It will be "written entirely from Luke Skywalker's first-person point of view" and will tell a story set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The fourth novel, Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp, will be out in March 2015, and will likely be of particular interest to readers who want to know more details about the relationship between Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Here's the synopsis:
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely solely on each other, the Force, and their awesome martial skills to prevail.
So Disney is already laying out an ambitious new slate of books for eager Star Wars readers, all part of the official continuity, and they're also keeping all of those Expanded Universe books around for new generations of readers (so we'll always have the Thrawn Trilogy, even if it doesn't technically count). Check out the just-revealed covers for all four upcoming novels in the gallery below.