For the first time since 1986, Marvel will resume publishing comics based on the Star Wars universe in 2015.
From 1977 to 1986 Marvel published 107 issues of the Star Wars comics with all of them being original stories except for adaptations of the original film and The Empire Strikes Back. (Return of the Jedi was published as its own min-series) While some miscellaneous books were published over the following years, the franchise did not have a serious comic presence again until 1991 when Dark Horse Comics acquired the publishing rights and released a mini-series entitled Star Wars: Dark Empire.
Dark Horse has published comics based on Star Wars consistently since that time, but that run is now coming to an end with an announcement today that Marvel would take over publishing titles based on the popular franchise in 2015, just in time for the release of Star Wars: Episode VII.
This news doesn't come as too much of a surprise as Walt Disney purchased Lucasfilm in Oct. 2012, and it also owns Marvel. It was really only a matter of time until the comics rights were turned over to the comic publisher that shares the same corporate parent.
No word as of yet if Marvel will launch an ongoing series or follow the Dark Horse format of publishing an endless stream of mini-series. (Which can be easily collected in to the more popular trade paperback format.)
Lucasfilm and Marvel Join Forces to Publish Star Wars Comics
The Star Wars Universe Universe comes to Marvel Comics in 2015!
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.