The Walt Disney Company‘s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 covered all levels of the Star Wars machine. Sure, it meant new movies and TV projects, but it also meant that all facets of Star Wars would be brought under the Disney umbrella, and one of those spokes is Marvel Comics. The move meant that the popular, expansive expanded universe created by Dark Horse Comics would come to an end, but it was a good piece of corporate synergy, and not only that, it would be a homecoming for the Star Wars brand, which first took comic form at Marvel in the 70s. Fans have been waiting to see what the House of Mouse and Ideas had in store, and today your imagination is somewhat teased with a press release and some art that suggests a blast from the past.
Marvel Comics has announced that the first Star Wars comic will hit comic book shops everywhere this coming January, and more to the point, they’re floating the idea of kick off parties for the occasion with a very special door prize: An exclusive variant cover! I know, they shouldn’t have. What does it look like? Voila!
Your eyes do not deceive you, that is Jaxxon (as drawn here by John Tyler Christopher), a human-sized green rabbit who was part of the Star Wars comic cast when Marvel first launched it following the release of the original movie in 1977. Sadly for Jaxxon he’s mostly regarded as a joke, a prototype for embarrassingly childish aspects of Star Wars lore and a progenitor of Jar Jar Binks. In fact, Jaxxon is so embarrassing that unlike a lot of pieces of esoteric Star Wars lore, he doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page. (He does, however, have a Wookieepedia page.)
I don’t know is this is a clue that Jaxxon will play a part in the first new Star Wars series, but the writer of the new series, Jason Aaron, has previously said that he would like to get Jaxxon into canon. Interestingly, Jaxxon’s race, the Lepi, have been referenced in canon before, a skeleton that looks suspiciously like it could have come from an alien like Jaxxon appeared in an episode of Clone Wars. The new comic series itself will be set in the time of the original trilogy right after the events of A New Hope. John Cassaday will be drawing the pictures set to Aaron’s words. Obviously, more extensive details are still being kept under wraps.
Little known fact about Star Wars comics is that the license saved Marvel in the late 70s when it was facing extreme financial hardship. Marvel published Star Wars comics till 1986 when the rights moved to Dark Horse, but during that same time period DC Comics published Star Trek comics, which must have, at the time, exacerbated the rivalry between all four franchises. Currently, IDW holds the rights to Star Trek.
Here’s the press release from Marvel:
This January, the iconic Star Wars franchise returns to the House of Ideas in grand fashion with the first can’t-miss ongoing series kicking off in STAR WARS #1! Today, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm Ltd. are extremely proud to unveil artist John Tyler Christopher’s STAR WARS #1 Party Variant – featuring none other than the return of Jaxxon! Only available at Star Wars #1 Launch Parties, don’t miss your chance to get your hands on this one-of-a-kind variant cover to one of the biggest issues of the year!
“We couldn’t be happier to have Star Wars comics back at Marvel,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “Star Wars has always been an important part of Marvel’s history and we knew we wanted to honor that legacy with a callback to the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series. We think old and new fans alike will be just as excited as we are to see Jaxxon, even if it’s only for this fun variant cover.”
From the star studded creative team of writer Jason Aaron, artist John Cassaday and colorist Laura Martin comes a brand-new series spotlighting beloved characters from the original trilogy. Taking place immediately after the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, follow the continued adventures of Luke, Han, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, Darth Vader and more as the growing Rebel Alliance battles for freedom against the Imperial Forces of the Galactic Empire!
Retailers: Please check upcoming Marvel Mailers for more information about how you can participate in STAR WARS #1 Launch Parties. Retailers are strongly urged to check their orders on this highly anticipated first issue.
STAR WARS #1
Written by JASON AARON
Art by JOHN CASSADAY
Party Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
On Sale in January!