You kind of had to see this coming at some point: In dueling press releases, Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Comics have announced that the Star Wars comic book franchise will be moving from Dark Horse to Marvel in 2015.
Dark Horse taught the industry how to handle movie franchises in comics with Star Wars and a few others. The Star Wars comic book expanded universe has been with Dark Horse for more than twenty years.
Mike Richardson, founder of Dark Horse Comics, shares his sentiments:
“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 does make sense that Disney, who owns LucasFilm and Star Wars, would move the license since they now also own one of the premiere comic book publishing houses in the world in Marvel Comics. It also seems logical that Disney, Marvel Comics, and Lucasfilm Ltd. can now work behind closed doors to craft a continuous universe tying the Star Wars movies, animated projects, and now comic books all together. Marvel has become quite the experts at making all of these elements work together with their own Cinematic Universe tied to their comics to tightly. Marvel Comics is also no stranger to Star Wars since they actually published the first Star Wars comic book — Star Wars #1 in March 1977 — which sold a million copies. Marvel published a Star Wars comic book series for nine years before letting the license wither on the vine only to be picked up in 1991 by 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,” said Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “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.”
“We here at Marvel could not be more excited to continue the publication of Star Wars comic books and graphic novels,” said Marvel Worldwide Publisher and President, Dan Buckley. “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.”
In the Dark Horse press release, the publisher specifically notes that they were planning for this eventuality and have been working to acquire some exciting stuff to take the place of the exiting science fiction franchise. “Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen,” says Richardson
Dark Horse will still be releasing Star Wars graphic novels and comic books throughout 2014 so hopefully they will have enough time to tie up the story arcs they have currently been running. While the move from Dark Horse to Marvel seems obvious, it will be strange to see a Star Wars comic book cover that is missing that familiar Dark Horse logo.