Star Wars is coming back to Marvel. Twenty-seven years after Marvel last published a Star Wars comic, the publisher announced that it would take over the publication of Star Wars licensed comics in 2015, which coincides with the release of the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII. Marvel will be taking over the franchise from Dark Horse, which has been the sole publisher of Star Wars comics for 23 years. “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, Disney's director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing, in a press release.
The announcement was widely predicted last year, when Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas. Disney also owns Marvel, and most industry commentators predicted that Disney would eventually move the franchise in-house.
There's no word on if any of Dark Horse's current Star Wars comics, which includes a classic Star Wars series written by Brian Wood, as well as series set in both the distant past and future of the franchise, will be making the transition over, or if Marvel will simply use a simplified continuity tied more closely to the movies.
Here's the full press release:
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."