It’s been a week since the news went out that the Star Wars comics license will go to Marvel Comics for 2015, leaving Dark Horse Comics after a twenty-two year run. With the news on Tuesday that Dark Horse will be releasing a new series, adapting the unproduced The Clone Wars scripts for the finale of the Darth Maul storyline, we know that 2014 will still be a big Star Wars year for Dark Horse. Over the course of the past week, questions about the switch have started to get some answers, at least from Dark Horse:
While it was pretty easy to see today’s Marvel announcement coming, things are much less clear-cut when we’re talking about another high-profile Star Wars publishing licensee: Del Rey.
(I’m putting all issues of canon, continuity and the sequels aside for this post. Those are big decisions made at Lucasfilm, not by their licensees: We can discuss it another time. This post is solely about the franchise’s publishing rights.)
Apparently ‘the fans’ want more Boba Fett, according to some IGN poll I never even heard of until now.
Whatever, fanboys. I’m not going to deny that the character is insanely crowd-pleasing, if perhaps not in our circle. You can bet even money that Lucasfilm will make him the subject of one of the standalone films. But please keep him, Darth Maul, and all the other cool-looking but otherwise b-list dead dudes (at least in the movies) out of Episode VII. There’s plenty of other places for shameless pandering.
Also: Remember how he got his ass whooped in This Is Madness by Darth Vader? There may be hope for fandom after all.
So the spate of summer cons where Lucasfilm might announce news related to Episode VII has come and gone, and we’ve gotten some announcements, but nothing mind-blowing. As Dunc said earlier this week, let’s not lose our heads over it. Is it frustrating that Celebration Europe’s big reveal was John Williams, and nothing much came from D23 Expo? Perhaps. Especially when compared to the glut of Marvel movie news that came out at Comic-Con and appearances made at D23. But as film franchises go, Marvel is not Star Wars. And Star Wars is not Marvel.
For all intents and purposes, convention season is now over for Star Wars fans. At least, con season in the sense of expecting big announcements.
In all honesty, it’s a bit of a relief. There are no more obvious ‘deadlines.’ News could break at any time, and it probably will. But I fully expect that John Williams returning will remain the biggest officially sanctioned news of the summer… And let’s not forget the rumors will only get bigger from here – just look at the Ian McDiarmid one we got last night.
Is it frustrating that we didn’t get any further announcements at Celebration Europe and D23? Yes, of course. But as Bleeding Cool points out, they don’t owe us anything at this point. They’ll tell us something when they’re ready to tell us something, and not a moment before. As Pablo Hidalgo said in our comments yesterday:
There are no casting ‘secrets’. If someone hasn’t been signed, they haven’t been cast. That’s what triggers an announcement. That’s why everyone who has been announced has been announced when they were.
That’s why these things emerge as ‘rumors’ first – because Lucasfilm can’t say anything until the ink is dry. So the rumors aren’t going away, and yes, some of them will be complete bullshit because that’s the way the game is played. That’s our lot, if we’re going to be following the films this closely.
I know this is a fandom of mighty whiners, but can we please, please, please just learn already to be patient for official news and confirmations? We have years of this roller coaster ahead of us, and the hand-wringing act is already getting old. I pretty much guarantee you that the folks in charge know far more about making a film than any of us do; We don’t need to ‘worry’ about them under the guise of wanting things revealed.
It’s not wrong to want things; we all want official casting confirmations. We’ve all got carried away at one point or another. Everyone in geek media is starved for more: Actors simply saying that they’d like to be in Episode VII regularly make headlines; last night’s Ian McDiarmid rumor is making the rounds today. But we have to stop demanding. Lucasfilm and Disney owe us a movie sometime in 2015 and that’s about it. I assure you they want this thing made just as much as we want to see it, and when the time comes to promote it, they will do so. But it’s not quite that time yet, so: Patience.
It’s still early, after all, and I’m sure we’ll get yet another rumor – crazy or not – before the end of the month in any case.
Earlier this week we saw the announcement of a new animated series, Star Wars Rebels. With Dave Filoni on board, joined by Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Young Justice) and spin-off screenwriter Simon Kinberg and a new look based on the art of Ralph McQuarrie? Exciting times.
Here are my thoughts on why it’s a good thing:
The events of the past month have made it clear that Star Wars is undergoing a major shift, and it’s made a lot of fans question the Disney sale. And those words – the “Disney sale” – are part of the problem. The sale is over and done with. What we’re going through now is more jarring, and a lot more ambitious. We’re going through a Star Wars reboot.
Wednesday, it was announced that Disney is closing down LucasArts, the video game division of Lucasfilm. This news did not come as a surprise to me, nor likely to many who follow the storied company closely. In the process, an estimated 150 employees have been laid off, including friends and former colleagues of mine. To they who worked very hard everyday to bring interactive Star Wars entertainment to the fans, we wish the best of luck.
Like every aspect of Star Wars fandom, the pros and cons of this move will be hotly discussed and contested among fans, and perhaps I will join you when the wound has healed somewhat.
Meanwhile, for those who lament that they will never see cancelled LucasArts projects Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, might I suggest that you may one day have a rescuer in Dark Horse Comics?
I swear I’m not taking This Is Madness particularly seriously – some things I am happy to leave to Hondo – but let’s admit it: It’s particularly disheartening to see neither of the female characters made it past the second round.
Hell, Leia, perhaps the most recognizable Star Wars lady, could only muster 33% of the vote against a droid. Now I love Artoo, but come on: He’s a droid. And having no particular attachment to either character, I’m not sure what to think of Chewbacca’s victory over Ahsoka. I can understand favoring Chewbacca – I mean, who hates Chewbacca? – but Ahsoka is certainly one of the most developed characters (not female, just characters) to come out of The Clone Wars, and she still only got 35%.
So much for the theory of a Clone Wars surge, huh? Should we chalk Obi-wan’s victory over Han to Ewan McGregor fans who didn’t stick around for the other votes? (No cookies for you, Wantons.)
Does it even really matter? Of course not. It’s a goofy March Madness takeoff, nothing more. (And given that I generally have little patience for most March Madness ripoffs, I’m a little ashamed at even falling for this in the first place.) But it’s still a damn shame, and a key reminder: No matter how many t-shirts we buy, we’re not done yet, ladies.
Hondo Ohnaka here! I have cleverly hacked this blog to let you know that I will be the rightful winner of StarWars.com’s character bracket voting nonsense, ‘This Is Madness’. There are many people who think that others like that Han Solo or Darth Vader fellow will win this vote, but really – who is more liked by anyone in the galaxy? Me. Because everybody I’ve met tells me that they like me most. Sometimes I may be holding them for ransom, but I think they prefer to be my hostages than anyone else’s guests anyday.
And now you can join Team Hondo. And you don’t even need to give me money. Just follow my votes everyday in ‘This Is Madness’ and you can share in my victory. If you don’t know what any of this nonsense is, no problem – just follow what I tell you to do. It works for my men, and they mostly end up being rewarded. Well, the ones who survive. Go to StarWars.com/ThisIsMadness and vote the way Uncle Hondo wants you to.
Today, your choices are:
- Light Side: Han Solo versus Lando Calrissian. Now Solo is a good smuggler with his shoot-first style. But how good is he without his Wookie pet at his side? Lando has much more, as-you-say, swagger. And he does know how to dress. And looking good is half the battle. Choose Lando. If he wins, he may owe me a favor. Or at least a bottle of Necr’ygor Omic wine.
- Dark Side: Darth Vader versus General Grievous. Hmmm.. A cyborg asthmatic against a coughing cyborg. And both wear capes even. But I think Grievous is the one you should pick, even though he sent his droid troops and shot up my base. He does have a slightly better taste in capes. As for Vader: Don’t trust a man if you can’t see his eyes. Of course, you can see MY eyes, you just have to get close.
Picks for Tuesday 3/19:
- Light Side: Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Qui-Gon Jinn. How good can Obi-Wan be if I could capture him time and again? So choose Qui-Gon, I hear he’s more… flexible than those other rule-bound Jedi. Obi-Wan is okay for a Jedi, but today I like Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon Jinn. reminds me. my gin.. is gone.
- Dark Side: Darth Maul versus Asajj Ventress. This is one of those things I should not tell you who to pick, simply because the other one would probably come try to kill me. That is bad for business. But Darth Maul did trash my base and try to get my men to betray me, and I don’t consider that a good sign. So Asajj Ventress gets my choice.
Is there any strategy to this? Of course there is! But just because you are on Team Hondo doesn’t mean I’ll tell you everything. Don’t even think of trying to stab me in the back, because you cannot stab a man in the back if he is shooting you first, in the front.