It was a move as inevitable as it is disappointing: Disney has officially announced that as of 2015, Marvel will have the exclusive license to Star Wars comics. Why disappointing? A few reasons.
It Ends More Than Twenty Years At One Company
Dark Horse has been publishing Star Wars comics for more than twenty years now, and they’ve done a lot with the license in that span of time. Starting with Dark Empire back in 1991, arguably Dark Horse has done more to keep the franchise growing as a story than even George Lucas could be bothered to.
It Means Two Very Strong Books Have To Wrap Up
All of Dark Horse’s Star Wars books are high quality stuff, but recently, two books really stood out: Star Wars, a book from Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda that follows the original cast through what they dealt with between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, and The Star Wars, an adaptation of Lucas’ original script draft that’s like looking at a classic film made in an alternate universe.
The former is an ongoing that will have to be wrapped up, and we were hoping for more from the latter. Unfortunately, according to Marvel’s official press release:
“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.”
That’s a polite way of saying that any comics are probably being put on the reset button. So enjoy them while they last, folks.
Marvel’s Output Will Likely Be Fewer And Less Diverse Books
Currently, there are a lot of Star Wars books on the stands; Dark Horse has at least two or three going at any given time. There are minis about Darth Vader kicking ass, stories of clone troopers developing a mind of their own, and even expansions of the novels.
Disney and Marvel are likely going to choke that off. First of all, Marvel’s got a pretty heavy-duty publishing schedule in their own right. It’s unlikely they’re going to cancel any books. Secondly, the press release mentions the original trilogy and… that’s it. That’s honestly not the best sign if you were hoping to see more of the universe developed.
What About Reprints?
I reached out to Dark Horse after the news hit, and was informed you’ll keep any digital purchases that have already been made. That said, once 2015 rolls around, Dark Horse won’t be selling any more issues, print or otherwise. In a prepared statement, Mike Richardson, the publisher, had this to say:
For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one.
Marvel, for their part, told us that they’ll have more information on reprints and other details in the coming months. Reprints may simply be too legally complicated for Disney to feel like bothering.
Essentially, if you want any of Dark Horse’s Star Wars output, and they’ve got over 500 titles and bundles for sale in their digital store right now, now would be an excellent time to buy. Come next year, they might be mighty scarce.