Rumor Alert: Star Wars to Return to Marvel

December 20, 2012

From 1977 until 1986 for 107 issues that may have saved the company, Marvel Comics published Star Wars.  But after that date they gave up the title and focused on super hero titles.

In 1991, a young comic book company called Dark Horse Comics published its first Star Wars title and continues licensing from LucasFilm today.  With the Disney announcement of their planned purchase of LucasFilm many jumped to the conclusion that Marvel would regain its lost title.

Dark Horse Comics President Mike Richardson nitially provided a very calm statement on the purchase,

Dark Horse and LucasFilm have a strong partnership which spans over 20 years, and has produced multiple characters and story lines which are now part of the Star Wars lore.  Star Wars’ will be with us for the near future. Obviously, this deal changes the landscape, so we’ll all have to see what it means for the future.

And Dark Horse Comics is preparing to launch a new series simply titled Star Wars in January set between Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strike Back featured the beloved original trilogy cast.  And they are still receiving positive feedback on Star Wars: Agent of the Empire.  Their comic stewardship of the property seems to be going in the right direction.

Then the Disney blog Blue Sky Disney announced this would all soon change!  They posted

The Suits in the know have determined that no new contracts will be given to Dark Horse after the current ones expire. So all new projects after 2013 will be handled internally by Marvel.

It’s not known yet if titles will be worked into the regular line up, or will Marvel create a special branch of the company that deals with Star Wars. It’ll take a couple of years for the old deals to work there course, but the stories that Dark Horse have coming down the pipeline will be the last. And you can expect anything new from Marvel dealing with Star Wars to arrive around 2015.

And many news outlets have posted this rumor, alongside the rumors that every possible director may be directing Episode VII.  Can we start our own rumor that Matthew Anderson will be directing the next installment?

So what do I think of this?

First, I think it is likely that someday Marvel will regain Star Wars.  Boom Studios published Disney titles until Disney purchased Marvel.  Then they shifted their titles to their new publishing house.  I do believe here that LucasFilm will get to weigh in on this issue and they have had a strong relationship with Dark Horse Comics, which could see the transition happening later than sooner.

Second, I am cynical about the Disney fan community.  A few months ago the rumor was Avatarland was canceled based solely on the fact no one had seen concept art.  Disney responded by showing pictures of prominent Imagineers with James Cameron working on the project.  I just want to warn against rushing to conclusions.  As a member of that fan community let me assure you there are plenty of rumors that have been floating around, especially about Star Wars.  Rumors are not always fact and sources do not always know. I will believe it when Disney, LucasFilm or Marvel say it is so.  Let us remember the Disney purchase had no warning!

What is your take on this rumor?

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4 comments on “Rumor Alert: Star Wars to Return to Marvel

  1. I love Marvel’s Star Wars comics! They had a rickety, adventurous quality to them. Unlike the franchise’s comic book publishing successors, Marvel’s version felt like the whole thing could collapse at any moment – and that was very exciting!

    I’ve dug around at the Dark Horse stuff a bit. It’s all a little serious for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do hate cute stuff in Star Wars. But I also like it to be fun. And somewhere between DH’s grim SW universe and Ewoks lies the perfect balance between light and dark for Star Wars.

    And how can you beat Carmine Infantino or Walt Simonson illustrating Star Wars – too perfect!

  2. Michael Dec 21, 2012

    I did not read Star Wars comics as a kid, so I have no sentimental investment in Marvel’s line, or in them being the publisher again, someday. Ironically, I have already pre-ordered the first two issues of Dark Horse’s new, original trilogy-era “Star Wars” because it sounds like a lot of fun. I hope, if this rumor is true, it doesn’t mean that series will be canceled.

  3. Ben Avery Dec 21, 2012

    Frankly, I will not be surprised when this happens. Not “if”, “when.”

    If you own a franchise that translates well to comics, and you own a comic company, it just makes sense you want to make the money from publishing the franchise comics . . . Instead of letting someone else.

    This will hurt Dark Horse. The Star Wars franchise is their one title that really reaches more than just the uber fans. Original Dark Horse titles have never been super successful, and they have a long history with Aliens and Predators but that’s not exactly saying much. They have nothing that will fill the gap, unfortunately. So this will be a blow to them when it happens, unless they reach some sort of agreement with Marvel that results in Dark Horse shepherding the titles, and Marvel publishing them, or a situation like Wildstorm at DC, making Dark Horse an imprint of Marvel. This happens at a very difficult time for come publishing anyway.

    No matter what, Dark Horse loses in this situation. The question to be asked is more “how bad?”

  4. Ben Avery Dec 21, 2012

    Side note: Star Wars comic books when I was four were probably what caused me to write comic books today. So you can blame Marvel . . .

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