It was probably inevitable, but now it's official: Star Wars comic books are returning to Marvel.
The comics publisher announced today that it will partner with parent company Disney and recent Disney acquisition Lucasfilm to produce new Star Wars adventures for the first time in more than two decades. Marvel was the original comic-book home of Star Wars and published an ongoing Star Wars series beginning in 1977 that lasted for nine years. Since 1991, though, the Star Wars comic-book saga has been unfolding at Dark Horse Comics, where classic stories like Dark Empire and the still-unfolding The Star Wars (an adaptation of George Lucas' original, very different, first draft of the first film) were published. Many have been predicting the move back to Marvel ever since Disney came to own both companies, and now it's finally happened.
“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.”
So the world's biggest comics publisher has reunited with one of the world's biggest science fiction franchises, and you can bet there are some writers and artists at Marvel right now who are already cooking up their dream Star Wars stories.
“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.”
Unfortunately, this development does mean that Dark Horse, which has made Star Wars a huge part of its publishing slate for more than two decades, will have to leave a galaxy far, far away next year.
"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," Dark Horse Publisher and Founder Mike Richardson said in a statement. "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."
Richardson also noted that, although his company only has a few months left with the Star Wars license, it plans to go out on a high note.
"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," he said. "In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics 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."
So if you're a Star Wars fan, a comics fan, or both, know that we're now living in an (even more) exciting time for the franchise. We get to see not only the big things Dark Horse will cook up for its Star Wars finale, but also the announcements of new Star Wars stories from the talent over at Marvel. You can bet we'll see some movie tie-in comics in 2015, but what else will the House of Ideas cook up? Who's your dream Marvel Star Wars writer? Who's your dream artist? And what about crossovers? Will we finally get an armored, jetpack-fueled face-off between Boba Fett and Iron Man? Will the Jedi Order meet the Nova Corps? We'll find out in 2015!
Check out the full announcement from Marvel HERE.