The biggest names in Star Wars publishing gathered at San Diego Comic-Con today to reveal the next batch of books coming in a galaxy far, far away. The publishing world of Star Wars represented on the panel ranged from comics and reference books to adult, young adult, and children’s books and all points in between.
Marc Thompson, the narrator behind most of the Star Wars audiobooks, began the panel with a live reading of a passage from Timothy Zahn’s upcoming novel Thrawn Alliances. With the audience under his spell, he offered live renditions of voices for the Emperor, Darth Vader, and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
It’s eerie listening to an audiobook with a “full voice cast” issuing from one man, live on stage. He sat to the side for the rest of the panel, dressed as a Jedi and smiling widely at every announcement.
The two biggest announcements, by far, were set in the prequel era. E.K. Johnston, author of Ahsoka, was announced as the writer behind a new book focused on Padme, Queen’s Shadow. Johnston talked about how the book would take Padme from her position as Queen of Naboo into a Senator. Further details were being withheld until a later time.
The other huge announcement was that Claudia Gray would be working on a book starring Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the era prior to The Phantom Menace. She’s been on the convention circuit for her previous Star Wars books, including Lost Stars, Bloodline, and Leia: Princess of Alderaan, talking about how these are the two characters she’d love most to write. To see her get to do it is impossibly exciting.
Charles Soule, the writer behind the Poe Dameron comic for Marvel Comics talked about the end of that comic on a note that takes us through the events of The Last Jedi and beyond through another lens. The final arc of the book will show us what the rest of Poe Dameron’s Black Squadron was doing during the events of The Last Jedi, including Snap Wexley and Jess Pava. They were off on a different mission, trying to seek help for the Resistance and come to the harsh realization that the galaxy isn’t as welcoming to their cause as they would like. He also announced a seven-part story called "Fortress Vader" in the Darth Vader comic that will tell the story of Vader’s castle on Mustafar.
That wasn’t the only comic project that was announced. Age of Republic, from Jody Houser, an eight-issue, four-month project that would explore the heroes and villains of the prequel era. Then, it will continue with other writers as Age of Rebellion and Age of Resistance, all the way into the lead up to Episode IX.
Another huge comic project announced was Tales From Vader’s Castle, an anthology series that aims to tell spooky stories in the Star Wars universe from the relative un-safety of Vader’s Castle on the lava planet of Mustafar. That one is going to be coming from IDW and writer Cavan Scott, who is currently working on Star Wars Adventures.
Katie Cook, the author behind the most child-oriented books in the Star Wars line, revealed pages from an upcoming book called Search Your Feelings that gives children vocabulary about feelings using Star Wars scenes and characters to illustrate them. The one I’m looking most forward to? The promised two-page spread featuring everyone’s favorite, lovable Gungan, Jar Jar Binks.
Another highlight was a look at Amy Ratcliffe’s new book The Women of the Galaxy. She was able to announce the book, which is about 75 women in Star Wars, with over 100 illustrations by 18 female or non-binary individuals, will have a foreword written by Kathleen Kennedy. A bunch of great art from the book was revealed.
With the twentieth anniversary of The Phantom Menace coming up next year, it seems like the publishing schedule from Disney aims to pay homage to that. And for those of us that love the prequels, that’s the best news we’ve heard since The Clone Wars has been saved.