We’re still over a year away from the premier of Star Wars: Episode VII, but starting this fall we’ll get our first look at the new overall continuity of the Star Wars universe through a number of new books and comics coming to book stores and comics shops. Thanks to a series of comics and novels announced yesterday at New York Comic Con, fans will begin to see the some of the gaps between the movies filled in with stories of a galaxy in upheaval following the fall of the Old Republic.
The primary thrust of this publishing initiative is to chart out the space between the prequel trilogy and the classic trilogy, a roughly two decades span during which the Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader solidified their grip on the galaxy. This period is already being touched upon in the new animated series Star Wars: Rebels and the recently published novel Star Wars: A New Dawn, which shows how Rebels heroes Kanan Jarrus and Kanan Jarrus. Rebels fans will get more of Kanan’s pre-Rebels story via a six-issue miniseries from Marvel Comics that will show how Jedi Padawan Kanan escaped the extinction of the Jedi in Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith and the loss of his master Depa Billaba.
“He’s never had to be in the real world,” explained Jennifer Heddle, Lucasfilm senior editor. “He was sheltered in the Jedi Temple.”
The previously announced Tarkin, will also fill in another character’s journey through the years of the Empire’s rise and expansion, that of Wiluf Tarkin, the Grand Moff who rose to such a powerful position within the Empire he could even order Darth Vader about. In addition to showing how Tarkin maneuvered to such a position, Star Wars fiction editors Shelly Shapiro and Erich Schoenweiss teased that the novel by veteran Star Wars writer James Luceno, will reveal Emperor Palpatine’s first name for the first time. It was something that Star Wars creator George Lucas had originated while writing the prequels but never used.
Switching eras somewhat to the time immediately after the first Star Wars film will be Star Wars: Heir To The Jedi, in which Heddle states “Luke [Skywalker] will learn about his responsibility to the Force” as he comes to terms with the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi. She also says that the novel, written by Kevin Hearne, will be told from the first person viewpoint of Luke, a first in the history of Star Wars tie-in books. Heir To The Jedi will be in book stores on February 17, 2015.
Describing it as a “a Vader/Palpatine road trip,” Heddle announced the novel Star Wars: Lords Of The Sith for an April 21, 2015 release. The novel, by Paul S. Kemp, will see Vader and Palpatine fighting to escape an inhospitable planet.
Finally, the last of the newly announced books will take readers back to the Clone Wars-era with Star Wars: Dark Disciple. The book will feature fan favorite Clone Wars cartoon series favorites Dark Jedi apprentice Asajj Ventress and Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos, forced by circumstances to work together and is based on an unproduced script from Clone Wars truncated sixth season.
Discussion during the panel also covered the different way that Star Wars fiction will be created going forward. Where previously the publishing arm of Lucasfilm worked somewhat independently to what George Lucas was doing with the films, the two will now be much more coordinated, thanks to Lucasfilm’s Story Group.
“We won’t have to plug things in retroactively anymore,” Shapiro explained. “I don’t think we’ll have to use the word ret-con again.”
That’s not to say that fans will need to read every book in order to be able to follow things. As Shaprio stated, “You can read one book, but our goal will be that you’ll feel like it’s part of a bigger story.”