• Disney Turns Star Wars Comic License over to Marvel in 2015

      Fans all saw the writing on the wall last year when Lucasfilm was sold to the Walt Disney Company, who also owns Marvel Comics, but now it's official: come 2015, Star Wars comics and graphic novels will be published by Marvel Comics again, roughly 29 years after Marvel's last Star Wars comic was published. Here's the official press release:

      DISNEY’S LUCASFILM AND MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT JOIN FORCES TO PUBLISH STAR WARS COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

      Jedi, Sith, and the rest of the Star Wars Universe Come to Marvel Comics in 2015

      SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 3, 2014) – The Walt Disney Company’s Lucasfilm Ltd. and Marvel Entertainment are joining forces to bring new Star Wars adventures to readers across the galaxy, with Marvel granted exclusive rights to create and publish Star Wars comics and graphic novels beginning in 2015.

      The agreement marks a homecoming for the Star Wars comic books. Marvel Comics published the first Star Wars comic book, Star Wars #1, in March 1977, which went on to sell more than 1 million copies. Marvel Comics published its Star Wars series for nine years. In 1991, Dark Horse Comics took over the license, publishing fan-favorite titles like Dark Empire and Star Wars: Legacy. Last year, Dark Horse released The Star Wars #1, an adaptation of George Lucas’ original rough-draft screenplay for the film, garnering rave reviews and national media attention and ranking among the top-selling Star Wars comics of all time.

      “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.”

      “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.”

      “We’re incredibly excited by this next chapter in the Star Wars saga,” said Andrew B. Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Bringing together the iconic Lucasfilm and Marvel brands to tell new stories will allow us to continue to thrill lovers of the original Star Wars comic books and entertain generations to come.”

      Marvel has continued to push comic book publishing forward with innovations and experiments like motion comics and digital-only releases, in addition to its deep, ongoing catalog of monthly series and graphic novels created by some of the industry’s most gifted artists and writers.
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      Comments 9 Comments
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        Well, there you have it. Hopefully they have some talented folks on deck for the coming Marvel series with lots of big ideas to take Star Wars comics in a new direction, something that speaks of the Marvel brand.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        Aye, I was just trying to post this. As you mentioned, it's not terribly unexpected. I'm certainly no huge fan of the comics, but hopefully this will turn out to be a good move - presumably it will be easier to keep everything in line story-wise now that it's all together.
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        Quote Originally Posted by Mr. JabbaJohnL View Post
        Aye, I was just trying to post this. As you mentioned, it's not terribly unexpected. I'm certainly no huge fan of the comics, but hopefully this will turn out to be a good move - presumably it will be easier to keep everything in line story-wise now that it's all together.
        I saw your article getting worked on in the "not published" section just after I finished posting mine public. When I got the email press release from Lucasfilm I didn't even wait for the .DOC file to open, I opened a tab here and started writing, then dropped in the release when it finished. Pretty big deal stuff, one presumably will ask what happens to 24 years of Dark Horse storytelling.

        The nice thing is that Marvel gets to start with the new movie, kind of a re-genesis of how they started on ANH way back in the day.
      1. Bel-Cam Jos's Avatar
        Bel-Cam Jos -
        So, we'll have "main" series of:
        SW (Marvel) 1977
        SW (Dark Horse) 1999
        SW (Dark Horse) 2013
        SW (Marvel) 2015

        Not counting the mini series, spinoffs, one-shots, trade paperbacks, et al. that have "Star Wars" before their titles. I think I like this?

        p.s. Check out darkhorse.com for their view of this news.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        I'm worried. I'll be honest. This I'd not the same Marvel Comics that published the original series, or that essentially made Transformers and G.I. Joe. The current Marvel botches licensed comics. Boom! Studios was doing amazing things with licensed Disney comics, particularly Muppets. Then Marvel took them over, and they died instantly.

        Just make sure you get any trade paperbacks before 2015. Chances are those will go out of print and not be re-released.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
        I saw your article getting worked on in the "not published" section just after I finished posting mine public. When I got the email press release from Lucasfilm I didn't even wait for the .DOC file to open, I opened a tab here and started writing, then dropped in the release when it finished.
        I'm just glad one of us was able to get the article posted.

        Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
        Pretty big deal stuff, one presumably will ask what happens to 24 years of Dark Horse storytelling.
        Between this happening and Del Rey's upcoming SW works reportedly being in limbo, I bet it won't be long until the novel publishing gets folded in as well. I think this makes it even more safe to assume that the pre-existing EU will be largely thrown out, with some things staying as they are or sprinkled in here and there, or adapted similar to how it was on TCW. I also assume that the story group that's ensuring continuity between the new films and Star Wars Rebels (and the six current films and TCW) will be involved in planning the Marvel SW stories - it would be silly if they weren't, since that's kind of their whole point.

        Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
        The nice thing is that Marvel gets to start with the new movie, kind of a re-genesis of how they started on ANH way back in the day.
        I wonder if they'll largely stick to publishing comics that tie in more directly with the existing films, new films, and Rebels, so as not to step on the areas that future films or shows will want to explore. The company already has a "movies first, then TV, then everything else" mentality as far as continuity goes, but they should probably hammer home the idea that the movies and show are most important so that people don't get their panties in such a bunch when the EU gets changed by on-screen material.

        Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
        I'm worried. I'll be honest. This I'd not the same Marvel Comics that published the original series, or that essentially made Transformers and G.I. Joe. The current Marvel botches licensed comics. Boom! Studios was doing amazing things with licensed Disney comics, particularly Muppets. Then Marvel took them over, and they died instantly.
        Disney kind of acquired the Muppets franchise and then didn't do anything with it for a long time, didn't they? Clearly they're not repeating that with Star Wars. And I don't think you or I can honestly say that Dark Horse has been "doing amazing things" with the SW license lately.

        As far as picking up trade paperbacks - I have to think they'll still be around in stores, if not necessarily still being printed. Bookstores and comic stores typically have items long after they've been published. I do still want a few stories (the remaining DH Clone Wars collections I don't yet have, and Crimson Empire), but again, I've never been a comics fan so I guess I'm not that qualified to talk about this in the first place other than what I've observed.
      1. Beast's Avatar
        Beast -
        Mmmm.... potential Omnibus volumes of the original Star Wars comics.

        I'm looking forward to see what Marvel does with the property. It's a potential refreshing change.
      1. bigbarada's Avatar
        bigbarada -
        I'm kind of surprised that this is actually news. I thought this was already confirmed some time back.

        Either way, I've never really been much of a fan of anything Dark Horse did with their Star Wars comics. That's not to say I was a fan of the Marvel stuff either.

        For me, Star Wars and comic books have NEVER been a good mix; but I'm interested to see what Marvel tries to do to inject some new life into the franchise.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        Quote Originally Posted by Mr. JabbaJohnL View Post
        Disney kind of acquired the Muppets franchise and then didn't do anything with it for a long time, didn't they? Clearly they're not repeating that with Star Wars. And I don't think you or I can honestly say that Dark Horse has been "doing amazing things" with the SW license lately.

        As far as picking up trade paperbacks - I have to think they'll still be around in stores, if not necessarily still being printed. Bookstores and comic stores typically have items long after they've been published. I do still want a few stories (the remaining DH Clone Wars collections I don't yet have, and Crimson Empire), but again, I've never been a comics fan so I guess I'm not that qualified to talk about this in the first place other than what I've observed.
        Marvel has, to my knowledge, never reprinted any of the Muppets comics collections, and only a couple of the other Disney collections from Boom! IIRC, they did exactly one Muppets miniseries after the acquisition, and it was one that was already in the bag and ready to be published.

        (In case you're wondering, this isn't me saying, "Oh, I loved the Muppets and Marvel killed them!" The series was one of the most highly-regarded in the field, and one of the few all-ages comics that used established characters. It sold well, it reviewed well, it even racked up awards. So it would seem logical to keep it going, or at least keep the older stuff available.)

        Marvel really doesn't have the best history, for such a huge company that claims to see trade paperbacks as one of the main methods of future reading, of keeping almost any of their collections in print for very long, either. Things like the Simonson Thor Omnibus or X-Statix Omnibus, which would have a huge potential readership, but cost so much they wouldn't be an impulse buy for most people, are out of print within a few months.

        Dark Horse has always been spotty with SW, to be honest, but at least I know I can find collections (with only a few exceptions) if I want them. Marvel, though, even with cross-company crossovers where someone else has input of some sort, doesn't keep them in production very long. (It's no coincidence that the only hole in my collection of IDW Transformers paperbacks is the Avengers crossover, because it's impossible to find for even cover price (and I know from the previews and reviews that it's not worth half that).)

        Trying to think of other licensed stuff Marvel's handled recently.... There was nothing from Incredibles or any of the other Pixar properties after the transfer. They've got to be sitting on a gold mine with the old Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge comics (which are universally regarded as some of the best comics ever), which they haven't collected (though I think they may have farmed out collections to someone else). John Carter died with the movie, though comics would've been an easy, inexpensive way to show what Andrew Stanton had for the other films that will obviously never be made now.

        Only other thing I can think of that's a licensed Marvel comic from the past few years would be the Dark Tower adaptations, which came out to huge sales and fanfare, then died a slow death and never wrapped up properly.

        Let me stress I'm not complaining or griping about them getting the license back. I just have no faith that they'll do it right, since, more and more, both Marvel (and DC, for that matter) seem more interested in licensing its own characters than in making comics with them, much less other characters that aren't owned by Marvel proper.
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