For those not on Twitter or paying a lot of attention online lately, it's been quite a week of Star Wars announcements, revelations, and more. It will be fodder for much discussion for a very long time to come. The common theme? Change, more or less.
How much change? In some ways quite a bit, in others, we don't really know yet.
First off, the big change we do know a lot about is that the Star Wars comics license is moving to Marvel in 2015. Dark Horse has had the license for an astounding 20 years or so and will finish out 2014 (more or less). Here is an article that covers many of the comments and announcements by the players involved.
A lot of us thought this was just a matter of time, since Disney owns Marvel as well as Lucasfilm. Dark Horse has done a great job, and real quality art and work from day one. I don't buy a lot of comics, but when I do, I choose Star Wars. I have many Dark Horse series, and they were the first comics I ever reserved at the store. As with all things creative and as long running as this, I liked some more than others, but they were always well thought out and produced.
I'm currently enjoying The Star Wars, based on an early Lucas draft for the movie, and I've been picking up the simply named Star Wars series. Others I've collected along the way. Some I wait and go for the graphic novels. I plunged into the Legacy comics when preparing for the Legacy Era Campaign Guide. Knights of the Old Republic I followed from the beginning, and was very excited to work on the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide (by far the most popular, and most expensive, sourcebook I've worked on).
As for Marvel, I've seen a lot of my fellow writers talk about how they really got into Marvel's Star Wars comics. Remember what I said about not buying a lot of comics? I certainly didn't back then. Those I did have were the movie adaptations, and I would see the occasional issue here or there. What I remember reading more of is the newspaper comic strip series, because it was right at hand and I read "the funny pages." It was sometimes a bit frustrating because it took a long time for stories to develop, or so it seemed, with just a few panels a day. Since then, I've picked up more issues when needed to verify a subject for a freelance project , such as The Wheel, which was featured in both the Legacy Era Campaign Guide, and my much more recent Beyond the Rim RPG adventure.
So, as others have said, it will be interesting to see what happens next. For now, Dark Horse has some things to finish up and there is also a new Darth Maul comic series based on a The Clone Wars story that was originally slated for the show. See this article for more info and some twitter traffic discussion about the details.
Speaking of what's next...
The other major, not really announcement, but revelation to some this week was the Star Wars story group. This was actually revealed last year, so that part wasn't new. Two things have now been explicitly stated: the story group is determining Star Wars canon, and they seek to dispose of the hierarchy of canon levels used in the Holocron (the official internal continuity database) to make them more of a classification than statement of what it means to the overall universe. What that means in terms of the Expanded Universe has not been announced, and that is likely ties into the direction of the new movies and tv show. With the wide range of Star Wars fans, no matter what happens, someone won't be happy about it.
"I think I just coined a new word: "pre-weary." As in, "everybody's about to freak out about something and the thought of having to endure it makes me want to go lie down."
- Star Wars EU author Jason Fry (on Facebook).
Well said. All of this reminds me of the announcement of a new edition of a favorite RPG system. Anxiety over losing something you like. Uncertainty. Loyal defense of favorite things. Hope that a hated bit will go away. Dread that what you know about the current thing might mean nothing, or be diminished in the future. Edition wars, Star Wars style. Well, we certainly hope not on that last bit. Think the classic vs. prequel arguments times 10 or 100.
Like I said last week, it's best to remember that Star Wars is basically a fairy tale.
The two known story group members are Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee, and they know the EU - the good, the bad, and the weird (whatever stories you think falls into those categories). My dealings with them have always been positive, so I think they'll do a good job whatever that entails - after all, higher-ups will make some of the wider ranging calls.
Finally, see Bonnie Burton's Cnet article that presents these events and discussions from a more knowledgeable Star Wars and LFL perspective. Bonnie used to work at LFL and knows many of the players.
Interesting times ahead.