This is perhaps the least-expected event of the last year regarding Star Wars since Disney acquired the franchise (along with Lucasflim in its entirety), but it has indeed happened. Marvel Comics will publish Star Wars comics starting in 2015, with Dark Horse losing the rights.
This was expected ever since Disney purchased Star Wars, making this more of a melancholic affair for those who have enjoyed Dark Horse’s run with the license since the first title, Dark Empire, 25 years ago. A lot of stories have been published, all with finite lengths, with Dark Horse choosing to start another story once a current one had run its course, a contrary approach to Marvel and DC. And with the license now in the hands of Marvel, who, ironically enough, had it in the 1970s and early 1980s, the question remains how this will affect both companies.
Dark Horse has released a post stating that they were prepared for this eventuality and have taken measures to offset the loss of Star Wars. However, considering how important Star Wars is to Dark Horse (they are publishing no less than five SW comics this year), it’s hard to imagine Dark Horse not taking at least somewhat of a hit from the loss of the Star Wars license.
This also means that the second inevitability, that is Ballantine/Del Rey’s license to Star Wars novels, is also likely not going to be renewed. The 2014 lineup for Del Rey is a quiet one, with a Darth Maul hardcover and a lot of paperback re-release, so it’s likely that some major changes are coming in that corner of the SW universe as well.
There will be a longer post later detailing what might happen and might not. But for now, there are questions. Until that post comes, though.
A salute to Dark Horse for a splendid run on so many titles, including the current “Star Wars” run written by Brian Wood which is as good of a title as they have ever published.
Next post: What the addition of Star Wars means for Marvel . . . and those of us enjoying the remainder of the Dark Horse run.