If you saw "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" over the past week, then you most likely want more of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." (Sidenote: if you haven't seen the latest "Star Wars" film, spoilers lurk ahead) While we have to wait until 2017 for "Episode VIII" and the continuing adventures of Rey, Finn and Poe, there are still plenty of ways that the characters and concepts introduced in "Force Awakens" can keep a hold on our imaginations until then. One of those ways, of course, is the Marvel comics.
Since launching their new line of comics almost a year ago, Marvel has mostly mined the territory in-between "A New Hope" and "Empire Strikes Back"; that's when the ongoing series "Star Wars" and "Darth Vader" are set as well as a few of the limited series. We did get a quick glimpse at the weeks after the fall of the second Death Star in the "Shattered Empire" mini, but now with "Force Awakens" in theaters, Marvel could be poised to tell stories set in a whole new era.
Assuming that the new franchise leads Rey, Finn and Poe are off the table (odds are Lucasfilm/Disney will want the bulk of their stories told on the big screen), here are five comics that we need to see to keep our "Force Awakens" excitement high.
The Adventures of Maz Kanata
"The Force Awakens" is packed with characters just waiting to have their backstories told. Maz Kanata, a thousand-year-old pirate with apparent connections stretching across the entire galaxy, is a perfect character to explore. Through her, we could see what the ancient history of the new "Star Wars" canon is and we could also see the events of the previous trilogies from different angles. Plus, with her unique point of view and knack for dispensing wisdom, she's the perfect character to have travel the universe while solving people's problems.
If there's one thing the previous Expanded Universe taught us, it's that readers love X-wing pilots. Dark Horse's "X-Wing: Rogue Squadron" series enjoyed a lengthy run and there's no reason why history can't repeat itself. Fortunately, "The Force Awakens" gave us plenty of new hotshot pilots to root for; yes, there's Poe "Best Pilot Ever" Dameron (Oscar Isaac), who could lead this series if Lucasfilm is cool with it, but there's also Snap Wexley, Jess Pava, Nien Nunb, Ello Asty and even more unnamed pilots in the film that could, together, hold down a series of their own. One of the joys of "Star Wars" is knowing that every character you see on screen has a name and, most likely, dozens of appearances in other mediums to check out. Let's get that canon-ball rolling with "X-Wing: Resistance."
Tales From Takodana
And on that note, howsabout a series spotlighting all the creatures and scoundrels and randos hanging out in Maz Kanata's castle on Takodana? Dark Horse released "Tales from Mos Eisley" and "Tales from Jabba's Palace" focusing on the characters briefly glimpsed in those cameo-filled scenes. Since the Kanata castle scene echoes those, this series feels kinda essential. And there are plenty of characters to spotlight: the two aliens that Finn almost ran away with, the Resistance droid embedded in the castle, and the bar patron played by Judah Friedlander (hard to spot since trucker hats aren't common in "Star Wars"). And really, the more attention paid to Bazine Netal, the super stylish mercenary that ratted out our heroes to the First Order, the better.
For the first time, "The Force Awakens" gave us big screen insight into the lives of stormtroopers -- and it also proved definitively that the First Order's troops are individuals, not clones. Through Finn (John Boyega), we learned that these soldiers are recruited at birth and conditioned for years before being placed into battle. Learning more about the structure of their lives, the day-to-day business, would prove fascinating now that we've gotten a tiny glimpse at how the ranks are filled. The movie even used troopers as comic relief, showing them treating the First Order like any job and looking the other way when their boss throws a massive tantrum. Depending on the tone and creators involved, this could either be the "Gotham Central" of "Star Wars" or the "Office Space." Either way, it'd be fascinating. And while a series like this would do well to focus on the average soldiers, it could also give Captain Phasma a chance to really shine.
Okay, assuming that Poe, Finn and Rey are off the table, then right at the top of Marvel's list should be "BB-8" -- preferably a comedic, all-ages book in the vein of Marvel's recent comedy smashes "Howard the Duck" and "Unbeatable Squirrel Girl." BB-8 is great in "Force Awakens." He's heroic in his own adorable way and he possesses a wide range of emotions, making him one of the most expressive droids we've seen so far. Marvel proved with "Chewbacca" that they can pull off a series starring a lead that doesn't speak Basic (AKA English), and BB-8's blips and purrs would allow a letterer to get really inventive. A smart and funny BB-8 series would be a big hit with kids and adults alike, and we'd also get to learn what else the little droid has hidden in his compartments.