When Disney acquired the Lucasfilm catalog shortly after the studio's blockbuster purchase of Marvel Comics, it was perhaps inevitable that a galaxy far, far away would eventually return to the House of Ideas.
Though Dark Horse Comics held the license for over twenty years, Marvel was the original rights holder to George Lucas' space epic, and published the official tie-in comic book for one hundred eight issues, from 1977-86. In 2015, three new Star Wars series launched, once again under the Marvel banner. At last weekend's Star wars Celebration, the masterminds behind the new, more continuity-driven comic series master plan -- Editor Jordan D. White, Executive Editor C.B. Cebulski, Senior Editor for the Lucasfilm Story Group, Jennifer Heddle, and surprise guest, Lucasfilm's official continuity expert. Leland Chee -- spoke with gathered fans about the franchise's past, present and future with Marvel.
A big question on the minds of longtime Star Wars comic readers is how the material that came before today's Marvel run will be treated. To that end, Marvel and Lucasfilm have created the "Star Wars: Legends" line. Basically, anything that's been published between 1977 and 2014 -- from Marvel's original series through the entirety of the Dark Horse-published catalog -- now exists under the "Legends" banner. In short, the books and stories still exist, but may or may not "count." As part of the promotion of "Legends," over 500 issues of Star Wars comics are coming soon to Marvel's online subscription service, Marvel Unlimited.
While the first Marvel miniseries, "Princess Leia," ends in July, another is on the way as under-explored member of Star Wars' central cast gets his long awaited due in Charles Soule and Alex Maleev's "Lando." Few details were divulged during Saturday's panel, the mini tells the tale of what happened after Lando Calrissian lost the Millennium Falcon to Han Solo, and before his attempt at legitimacy as Administrator of the cloud city, Bespin. His right hand man from "The Empire Strikes Back," Lobot, will be a supporting character in the series.
Another mini, "Shattered Empire," promises to bridge the gap between Episodes VI and VII. It features the creative team of Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto.
Perhaps the biggest development with Marvel's series is that they all factor into a larger, concerted effort at cohesion between between the comics, novels and the animated series "Rebels," which debuts in September, as Disney and Lucasfilm continue to push towards the debut of "The Force Awakens."
But as much as fans are embracing Marvel's new series, the bulk of the Q&A session was devoted to all things "Legends." Of particular interest to fans is how Dark Horse's 20 plus years of stories will factor into Disney's new vision. According to "Keeper of the Holocron" Chee, they're not ruling it out on a case by case basis, except, perhaps, the original Marvel books. The main focus, however, is on September, or more importantly, December's release of "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens."