Category Archives: expanded universe

Rumor: Episode VII characters to be based on the Expanded Universe

Skywalker/Solo family in the NJO

Episode 7 News is back with some clarification on their previous Mara Jade rumor. Their source now has a name – JediDigger – and they say his info comes from “discussions between people inside Lucasfilm and it’s licenses.”

The gist of his clarification is that they’re using the existing Expanded Universe characters as a template. The actual characters we get will be based on folks like Mara/Shira Brie, Jaina, Ben and such, but with different names – like the oh-so-convenient Korriban/Moriband confusion.

FRYSQUINT: SEQUEL TRILOGY RUMORS: Take seriously at your own risk.“This can not be made clearer, the post ROTJ EU launched in 91 is dead,” he says. “No story from Outbound Flight forward counts.” This all comes “the request of Disney, Kathleen Kennedy and Howard Roffman.”

But “the love of Luke Skywalker’s life” is a “character George Lucas has had since the end of Return of the Jedi,” which seems like it could conflict with the idea of basing her on Mara… Or does it? It’s not like we haven’t seen a similar character from Lucas before.

They’re also claiming that Michael Arndt has “moved on to Episode 8″ and that Abrams has met with Timothy Zahn. UPDATE: Zahn himself says this part isn’t true, which casts even more doubt on the rest.

So that’s a big rumor dump – but again, not a particularly trustworthy one: Taking the EU characters as templates is significantly less dramatic a change than I would expect. I continue to be skeptical.

Review: Maul: Lockdown is no letdown

Maul: LockdownMaul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber is out today, and fans of the Dark Side should rejoice. Lockdown delivers a can’t-put-this-down tale of scum and villainy.

Set before The Phantom Menace, Lockdown has Darth Maul sent undercover to infiltrate a space station prison to find an elusive arms dealer operating out of inescapable penitentiary. Maul quickly becomes a contender in the warden’s profitable prison fight circuit, but there’s more to finding someone who doesn’t want to be found in a prison than just cracking heads all the way to the top. Plus, more than just prisoners and guards lurk in the dark confines of this station. And throw in Jabba the Hutt, dangerous cultists, and Darth Sidious scheming under his own master’s nose.

Darth Maul has gone through a renaissance in the past few years – he has gone from being the weapon of rage back in 1999 in The Phantom Menace and the related EU (Michael Reaves’ Shadow Hunter & Ron Marz’ comic), to his resurrection on The Clone Wars (along with Tom Taylor’s Darth Maul: Death Sentence and James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis) as some one able to scheme his way into power as he seeks vengeance on both Obi-wan Kenobi and his old master, while taking on his brother Savage as his own apprentice. And now this year, we get more of Darth Maul, with Lockdown and the upcoming Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic. Maul: Lockdown adds to this modern character and builds some of Maul’s roots as a plotter as this mission tests his abilities to not only survive but achieve his objective before time runs out.

Minor spoilers beyond this point.

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Rumor: Mara Jade to be ‘introduced’ in Rebels as a bridge to Episode VII?

Imperial Mara Jade from TCG

Make sure your cynic caps are tightly in place, because this one is super sketchy.

Will Rebels introduce Mara Jade to the Star Wars screen? That’s what was yesterday labeled ‘speculation’ by Star Wars 7 News, who now say they’re received “tips” from “people close to the production” that this could indeed be the case. Here’s what was left as an anonymous comment on their site:

It can be said, that Rebels will introduce Mara Jade, into the film canon, sometimes appearing with the Inquisitor and she will be the living mother of Ben Skywalker.

Episode seven takes place, in 30 ABY. Jacen, and Jaina will be to Ben what Han, and Leia were to Luke. Ben is around the same age as his cousins. Chewie will be alive, and this is an all new timeline from 4 ABY forward.

Pablo Hidalgo, and Leland Chee have been consulting with Kathleen, and JJ, on EU elements, and characters from the database.

As of 2015 Books and comics will be part of the same canon, as Movies, TV and Netflix. Rebels has very strong connections to the ST, it will bring EU characters, ideas, and planets into the canon and it introduces two original characters for the ST, one Imperial, and one Jedi.

Is it plausible? Of course – it certainly doesn’t take a doctorate in EU-based speculation to come up with that theory. Is there really any truth to it? I haven’t the faintest idea – but it’s far too pat for me to buy it, particularly coming from a random anon. It’s exactly what “we’d” want, theoretically – of course I’m suspicious, and I urge you to be, too.

Star Wars 7 News also says that some of The Clone Wars bonus content will also include connections to Episode VII.

Sword of the Jedi trilogy is still on hold

We heard something similar not so long ago, but here’s what Golden just tweeted. The story group has been a pretty hot topic lately, but it’s not exactly a mystery – though we’re probably not going to get anything definitive on their decisions for a while yet.

Personally, I’m doubtful that Sword of the Jedi will ever see the light of day (and I’m certainly not going to cry over it,) but who knows? It’s not like they haven’t surprised us beforeSword of the Jedi

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It’s concept art week on the Club Jade Tumblr

Ghost concept art (from starwars on Tumblr)

I’ve been trying something new on our Tumblr lately: Themes! This week it’s Star Wars concept art. Above is an image from the official account: A concept of the Ghost from Rebels by Kilian Plunkett.

Last week we featured art from (and occasionally inspired by) the comics and comic artists. (Plunkett is also responsible for the covers from the Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand mini-series back in the day.) In addition to reblogs we had a series on comic book characters and it’s where you’ll find my Dark Horse recs.)

Peter David’s Star Wars Infinities sounds way more interesting than any of the actual Infinities comics

Although I do love alternate universe stories, I was pretty disappointed in the three actual Infinities stories that Dark Horse put out back in the early ’00s: None of them really pinged me as being particularly interesting takes on the concept. Peter David’s, on the other hand…

Darth LeiaComic Book Resources has the skinny on the never-produced mini-series, which would have divulged from the movie timeline with the droids at Tatooine and ended with Leia ruling the galaxy – with Luke as her consort.

I gotta say, I was furious when Lucasfilm kicked it back. The whole reason I’d taken on the assignment was because I’d been told that Lucasfilm had effectively given us carte blanche. But then, after I drafted the outline, they turned around and said that the story had to end with Luke, Leia and Han triumphing over evil. In other words, it had to have the same exact ending as Star Wars. It’s a crying shame. The cover image to issue #2, with a close shot of Princess Leia in the Darth Maul face make-up glaring out at the reader, would’ve been killer.

CBR even got artist Nick Perks to mock up that cover, at right.

Explains a lot about why the resulting series’ ended up being so dull. What’s the point of an AU if you don’t go in the really weird directions? (As opposed to the downright laughable ones.) Fanfic, how you’ve spoiled us. (via)

Sorting out Marvel, Dark Horse and Star Wars

DarkHorse-MarvelIt’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:

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Dark Horse to wrap up Darth Maul’s arc on The Clone Wars

Clone-Wars-Darth-Maul-Son-of-DathomirWhile we’ve known that the “bonus content” being worked on for The Clone Wars wasn’t necessarily going to bring closure to the series, Lucasfilm told Newsarama that at least one of the show’s loose ends will be told in comic form this spring, giving a big finale both for Darth Maul and for Dark Horse Comics.

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir will be a four-part comic starting in May, based on unproduced screenplays. Newsarama interviews the writer, Jeremy Barlow, on what’s in store for this tale. With a title of Son of Dathomir, one might expect a return to the planet, and revenge against Darth Sidious, but Barlow also teases some more locales and characters as well, including a new one named Brother Viscus.

Newsarama points out that while this unproduced story arc is being told first in comic form, it doesn’t mean that it will only be told in this form. I wouldn’t take this as anything more than Lucasfilm simply leaving the door open, and not as a sign that it will be actually realized in animated form.

Although Newsarama is calling this storyline the series finale, the show’s “final arc,” there’s been some clarification from Lucasfilm folks:

The Maul comic is very cool, but it *wasn’t* the series finale. It was a 4-part arc that fell beyond what was already in production.
— Pablo Hidalgo (@infinata) January 8, 2014

Long story short: It wraps up the Darth Maul arc, but isn’t the show’s intended finale. Pablo also says it wasn’t intended for S6.

Marvel, Dark Horse and Star Wars: Creators take in comics changes, and what about reprints?

Dark Empire #1 - Dark Horse's first foray into the EU.Friday’s bombshell that Star Wars comics will be moving to Marvel may not have been a huge surprise, but it did elicit a lot of emotions in fans and pros alike.

Dark Horse’s Randy Stradley addressed the change Sunday, speculating that the changes coming due to Disney and sequels may result in less freedom to do the sorts of comics that they prefer anyway:

But Dark Horse must lose the license, this is probably a good time for it. From my perspective, the upcoming films will mean less freedom to do what we at Dark Horse have always done best: expanding the universe. With a new film scheduled every year, and a new television series, it is likely that there will be a lot of comics pages devoted to adaptations and direct spin-off stories in support of the films and TV shows. That’s not where my interests lie, and it has never been Dark Horse’s strong suit. That would be too much like real work to me. :)

He goes on to say that he’s “immensely proud” of what Dark Horse’s comics creators have done, and encourages fans to channel their anger into gratitude and thanks for them.

John Jackson Miller, who owes his own Star Wars tenure to Dark Horse, reminisces and thanks the company, as does Jason Fry. Heidi MacDonald at The Beat has weighed in, as have the fans at Eleven-ThirtyEight.

On the business end of things, The Hollywood Reporter’s Graeme McMillan weighs in on what the licensee change may mean for Star Wars comics. The numbers are not particularly encouraging – I was shocked that Dark Horse actually has a bigger share of the bookstore graphic novel market than Marvel. It’s not super encouraging at this point, but as I said Friday – Marvel has some very big shoes to fill, and they have to know it. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of product they end up putting on the table, and Dark Horse still has a year to show them how it’s done.

One thing that’s still in question – and has fans worried – is the state of comic reprints. Although Dark Horse has confirmed that digital comics will remain in a buyer’s cloud on their app, the future of print collections is less clear. A Dark Horse rep told Big Shiny Robot that reprints “would require Disney to purchase the original files directly from Dark Horse,” but what can Dark Horse do with them come 2015? Can they reprint – or recollect – the older material they produced under the license, or is anything not in print by the end of 2014 doomed? Is it all in the hands of the IP holder – that is, Lucasfilm? (Where are they in that statement, Dark Horse?) Is that why Dark Horse was able to reprint the old Marvel material from the OT days: because Lucasfilm gave it to them?

In short, if you’ve been waiting to pick up any Star Wars trades or omnibuses from Dark Horse I’d probably grab them ASAP. (As always, I recommend Star Wars Tales and Tag and Bink.)

What does Marvel’s Star Wars deal mean for Del Rey?

Del Rey (logo)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.)

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