New Star Wars and Darth Vader Comic Series, Covering the Period Between Episodes V and VI
We reported some time ago, that the Star Wars comic series from Marvel ends with issue #75, and we speculated that a new one might be on the way. We speculated that Lucasfilm would set their new series in the sequel era, but that’s not the case. At New York Comic-Con, Lucasfilm and Marvel revealed that both the new Star Wars and Darth Vader comic series would focus on the time between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. In the films, we see Luke Skywalker go from an untrained, defeated mess into a confident Jedi Knight capable of busting his friends out of Jabba’s palace. (And the plan totally made sense!) We’ll now get to see that journey play out in the pages of the comic series. So, what does that mean about what’s next for the characters and how long the series will run? We’ll share what we know and try to fill in the gaps with educated guesses.
Image via Marvel
The first Star Wars comic series lasted 75 issues because it had a lengthy amount of time to cover. Set shortly after the events of A New Hope, the series followed Luke, Leia, and Han Solo as they deepened their bonds and fought the Empire. The time that passes between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back is put at about three “standard” years. The time between Han going into carbonite and being freed from it spans, at most, a single year. So, the new Star Wars comic series won’t have as much time to play with, and they are down a character in Han Solo. (Though, they gain Lando Calrissian.) If these are to be limited series, the new Star Wars and Darth Vader comic series will have shorter runs than their predecessors. Or, they might not be limited series. That makes them all the more interesting.
The New Star Wars Comic Series Can Keep Going, but Darth Vader Obviously Can’t
Image via Lucasfilm
Unlike the new Star Wars comic series, Darth Vader will almost certainly have a short run. There have been two eponymous series starring everyone’s favorite redeemed Sith Lord. This will mark the third. Yet, unlike the rest of the characters, Darth Vader’s story comes to a very final end. Even if the series goes past the events of Return of the Jedi, it can’t go much further. At best, they can pull of a surreal and spiritual story the likes of Alan Moore’s run on Saga of the Swamp Thing. Also, using Vader as a central character is tricky. He works best in small doses and with other characters. (That’s how Doctor Aphra was born.) The events of this new series could delve into some interesting territory regarding Vader and Emperor Palpatine. But there’s no question the story ends with the destruction of the second Death Star.
The main series, however, could go on past the events of the films. Star Wars: Shattered Empire focused on Poe Dameron’s parents and the days and weeks immediately after the Battle of Endor. The main series could carry on the story even further. We can see what becomes of Luke, Leia, Han, and everyone else through the eyes of the comics. Characters from Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath novels or Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars could also make appearances. Telling the stories about the legacy characters is perfect for the comic medium. And because it’s a story that most older Star Wars fans are deeply interested in, they’ll help boost the sales even after it passes the events of the films. The new series will hit shelves in January of 2020, with Darth Vader to follow.
Other Lucasfilm Publishing Announcements from NYCC
Journey to the Unknown Regions and learn more about the origins of Thrawn and the Chiss Ascendancy
The Ascendancy Trilogy by Timothy Zahn starting in May 2020. pic.twitter.com/vYMchFxZD7
— Star Wars Books (@DelReyStarWars) October 4, 2019
Along with the new Star Wars and Darth Vader comic series, Lucasfilm announced other prose fiction projects. An anthology series of stories set during the Clone War will debut in August of 2020. This will focus on characters popularized in The Clone Wars, itself getting a new season on Disney+ in the first year.
The novelization for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will hit shelves in the spring of 2020, written by Rae Carson. As part of the “Journey to Rise of Skywalker” series, Star Wars: Resistance Reborn from Rebecca Roanhorse deals with the aftermath of the events of The Last Jedi from Poe’s perspective. An excerpt of Resistance Reborn is live on the Star Wars website. The book hits shelves on November 5th, before the new film premieres.
Finally, Timothy Zahn announced a new trilogy about his character Admiral Thrawn. Last seen in the series finale of Star Wars: Rebels jumping into an unknown quadrant of space, there isn’t much story left to tell. However, this new series takes place before Thrawn joined the Empire. This means we will learn a lot more canon information about the Chiss Ascendency and Thrawn’s travels into the unknown regions. He told Emperor Palpatine that a galaxy-wide threat would come from that part of space. Perhaps we will finally learn what it is that had him so scared.
So, which of the new projects are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below or shout us out on social media.
Image via screengrab
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.