2015 will not only see the return to the big screen for the Star Wars franchise, but the return of the Star Wars License to Marvel Comics. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that now that Disney owns both Marvel and Star Wars that they would want to use what amounts to an “In-House” company to handle the creation and distribution, but what about Dark Horse?.
Dark Horse has been publishing Star Wars comics for the last two decades and done a marvelous job with the license. They will finish out what runs they have going now. Carol Roeder, the Director of Lucasfilm Franchise Publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide had some very flattering things to say about their relationship with Dark Horse:
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, 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.
In response Mike Richardson, the publisher and owner of Dark Horse Comics posted this:
The End of an Era
All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.
For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.
It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. 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. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.
Marvel’s Dan Buckley, the president of Marvel worldwide publishing, had this to say about the transition:
We here at Marvel could not be more excited to continue the publication of Star Wars comic books and graphic novels. 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.
Marvel was the first publisher to bring Star Wars to comics way back in 1977, a series that ran nine years and was hated or loved by fans with a passion only nerds can truly understand. Dark Horse actually republished those same stories in the late 90’s.
Now we shouldn’t expect any crossovers between Marvel and Star Wars characters except in perhaps a special non-canon edition of What-If type tales.
What do you think about this move? Dark Horse has set the bar high, so I am hoping Marvel can deliver the goods, putting some top talent on the project. Back in the 70’s the Star Wars comics were big sellers, can Marvel recapture that fervor?
Deadpool/Solo art is from Deviantartist Jonathan Moore.