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Placeholders abound: Del Rey Star Wars novels and short stories for 2015 and beyond

Del Rey (logo)After finding books for young readers, Jedi Bibliothek (in English) now has the Del Rey listings.

There are short story ebooks from Jason Fry and John Jackson Miller for early 2015, which Florian thinks are 100% real.

However, keep in mind we don’t necessarily know that any of these will be Episode VII related, and both the titles and authors may be placeholders. There’s what appears to be parts of a trilogy called “The Duelist,” (#2 and #3) with Christie Golden listed as author. There’s also a single “Roundtable Trilogy #2,” with Troy Denning listed as an author. Only those three have authors listed – there are also three untitled novels. Again, both the titles and authors may be placeholders, as ISBNs can be reused, so don’t panic just yet. (For instance: What if ‘The Duelist’ ISBNs – and that title – were originally assigned to Sword of the Jedi? The same could go for Denning and that ’roundtable’ thing: Maybe they were originally assigned to another pre-Disney project that was planned but never announced.)

None of them are December releases – “Untitled Novel # 4″ has a date of November 3, which seems awfully early for the novelization, so it may be something else entirely. Looks like there’s some kind of nonfiction or reference book in there as well – “Untitled Novel # 33″ has a price of $38.00 and a January 2016 release date.

These are all fairly curious: I wonder when we’ll hear more? After that disheartening Stover fake-out, I’m wary of everything right now…

Post-SDCC: Some thoughts on the upcoming Star Wars books and comics

asajj-vos

We may not have gotten any Episode VII news out of San Diego Comic-Con, but we did get a fair share of book and comic news: An Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos novel based on scripts from The Clone Wars, and three new comics all set just after A New Hope.

Let’s start with the book: I think it does three very smart things that were missing from the first round of canon novels.

  1. It’s a book headlined by a popular female character. Yes, Vos is there, too, but he’s not the focus of the preview artwork: Ventress is. I hope that means this is mostly her book.

  2. It’s written by a woman. Christie Golden wouldn’t be my first choice, but this story – which is bound to be plenty angsty – may be right in her wheelhouse.

  3. It’s from The Clone Wars. Yes, these two characters may not originate on the show, but I’m guessing that’s where quite a few fans primarily know them from. Plus their origins – Vos in comics and Ventress the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars – are now rendered as Legends, or close to it.

    Many fans of the cartoon may now feel under-served with the franchises’ recent focus on the original trilogy era – something us OT fans will recall from 1999-2013. It only makes sense for LFL to give Clone Wars fans something, too: And why not novels? Many of them are older now (and/or unable to get their fix elsewhere) than they were when the earlier TCW novels failed to catch on. It’s good to see those characters will get their stories continued tangibly somehow – and if Episode VII has taught us anything, it’s never say never.

Dave Filoni sketch from a Clone Wars writer’s conference.

Dave Filoni sketch from a Clone Wars writer’s conference.

These three things, in any combination, were mostly missing from the first round of canon novels. So I’m glad to see a book like this, even if it’s not one I have much personal interest in. And given the heavy hints in the panel, I doubt this is the last we’ve seen, at least in regards to point #3.

One thing that’s curious, though – what about the Del Rey contract? Between Sword of the Jedi and Kemp’s duology we know they had at least 5 books left, maybe 6 if you count that rumor about Matt Stover finishing Imperial Commando – and this would be #5. But then, there’s this tweet: “We gave away 4,500 free books at #SDCC Just you wait for @SW_Celebration next year! To say we’re excited is an understatement.” I doubt Del Rey would be at Celebration if they were on the verge of losing their license…

But, speaking of new contracts… Marvel. Yes, old EU fans are less than thrilled with ‘another’ set of just after A New Hope stuff, but please remember: We are not the only audience here. And the old stuff, including Marvel’s old stuff, is Legends. The slate is clean, and Marvel has to build up a new audience for Star Wars comics. This is only the beginning – we’ll likely see them range further as things are established.

In particular, I like the direction the Leia comic is going, which is most certainly not something we saw done in the old EU. I hope it’s followed by another female-centric mini – though they’ll doubtless have to create one. A female smuggler, maybe? Or what about a new spin on one of their own less-goofy Legends characters like Shira Brie/Lumiya, Story Group permitting? Hell, how about a pre-Bespin Lando?

There’s still a lot that Marvel can do here, and I firmly believe that the era matters far less than the execution. Let’s give them a shot before writing this off as same-old, same-old.

Alas, I’m not all that familiar with the Marvel folks to speculate much on what these specific creators will bring to Star Wars, but reaction from those who are familiar with them seemed fairly positive.

And for the love of Stan Lee: Marvel, you better get Phil Noto to do at LEAST the covers of an Episode VII comic. Did you see his Luke Skywalker portrait? If you can make Leia look like she’s 6 feet tall, you can give us Noto’s Luke, okay? Good. I’m glad we had this talk.

Del Rey: Movie novelizations part of the core canon (mostly)

Today on Twitter, Del Rey says the movie novelizations are part of the core canon. So thus I guess Owen Lars is Obi-Wan’s brother, Luke had a dog as a kid, and ducks exist in the GFFA. (I am partial to the ducks, because ducks.) Some doubters are waiting on word from the story group, so we’ll see. In the meantime, what other contradictions do you remember?

UPDATE: “To clarify, movie novelizations are canon where they align with what is seen on screen in the 6 films and the Clone Wars animated movie.” Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

More new Star Wars novels from Del Rey: Tarkin, Heir to the Jedi and Lords of the Sith

hearne-luke-heirEarlier today, we had our first official statement on the Expanded Universe’s place in the light of the new films. Now, we get more on the novels going forward. After John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn (September 2,) we’re getting Tarkin by James Luceno (November 4) and…

Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne (January) was originally announced as part of the loose Empire and Rebellion trilogy pre-Disney… They dropped the subtitle on Honor Among Thieves, but that and Razor’s Edge both fall under Legends with the rest of the old EU, per Lucasfilm editor Jennifer Heddle. In any case, this book is a first-person Luke Skywalker story. (First person? I’m suddenly a lot less excited, but whatever, I’ll read it.)

Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp (March) features Palpatine and Vader “stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely solely on each other, the Force, and their awesome martial skills to prevail.” And Kemp says the book also features “a character who I’m not allowed to name just yet, but who appeared in The Clone Wars animated series.” Subtle!

These are being announced by both Disney Publishing and Random House… Curious, no?

“A new dawn?” What is Del Rey hinting at?

UPDATE: This and this, that’s what.

A New Dawn

Del Rey uploaded this new cover image for their Star Wars Books Facebook page this morning. Does this mean we’ll finally find out something about their upcoming books soon? (A contract extension? Maybe…?)

Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it’s not an Episode VII title.

We could find out later today – Del Rey has a panel at C2E2 today at 4:00. Author Kevin Hearne will be there, and we still don’t have an official announcement of his book’s release date.

Mystery: What are Ballantine’s ‘Untitled Star Wars’ books?

It’s been a while since we’ve had any of these, but Roqoo Depot has pointed out various directory listings: Untitled Star Wars #1, Untitled Star Wars #2 and perhaps the weirdest of all – a rerelease of Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy? Or a new Jedi Academy trilogy? Or are all three destined to be rereleases of the previous books? A Thrawn trilogy omnibus, perhaps? (And what would that mean for the Expanded Universe and Episode VII? All three books have fall 2014 release dates.)

The author of all three listings is simply ‘Ballantine’ – a Random House imprint like Del Rey and Bantam. And while the third listing is on the often untrustworthy Amazon, the first two are on Random House’s own catalog.

The future of Del Rey’s Star Wars contract may still be in question, but we do know they have several books left on it – particularly if Sword of the Jedi and Paul Kemp’s duology are shelved, as is increasingly likely. A division of Random House printing these may not mean anything – both Bantam and Del Rey published new Star Wars books in 1999, the last time the license changed hands.

Whatever the case, hopefully the appearance of these listings means we’re getting closer to finding out something.

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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Stand down: No Episode VII at San Diego Comic-Con

Dark Horse booth at SDCC 2012There will be plenty of Star Wars at SDCC with Course of the Force, a huge floor presence and licensee panels, but there will be “no Episode VII content,” StarWars.com said last night. Cross your fingers for Celebration Europe and the D23 Expo.

Del Rey, Dark Horse and Hasbro will be holding Star Wars panels at SDCC on Friday, while Her Universe has one on Saturday. Del Rey released their signing schedule today while Dark Horse Comics posted their signing schedule yesterday.

EUbits: Fan artist takes on Rebels-era Mara Jade

ENGELHA5T's Mara Jade and Palpatine (crop)Fan art. Lucasfilm may not have revealed what (most) of the Rebels character design will look like yet, ENGELHA5T on DeviantArt has created several OT-era characters in the style of The Clone Wars. Of particular interest to us would be Mara Jade, but there’s also Han and Chewie, Thrawn and Pellaeon, a teen Leia and even a Luke, may of them with cardbacks as well. You can check out his full gallery, but be warned it does contain some more adult works, though they do seem to be hidden if you’re not logged in to DA.

Del Rey. We actually heard about it way back at Celebration, but now Del Rey has officially announced their Star Wars Action Team. It’s not quite up and running yet, but the general gist is that you “spread the word” and get points. Please don’t break down any doors. On that note, here’s some of the swag they’ll have at SDCC.

Comics. Newsarama has a first look at the next arc of Dark Times, A Spark Remains.

The blogside. At the official blog, Dan Brooks praises Matthew Stover’s Revenge of the Sith adaptation, while Jennifer Heddle talks about why Leia is awesome.

Reviews. Over at Big Shiny Robot, James reads Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #3,The Clone Wars: The Smuggler’s Code and Legacy #4, where Ania Solo learns sometimes shooting first isn’t the best solution.

Some sort of new novel announcement is forthcoming

So, erm, the EU Twittersphere went a little nutty over the above tweet this afternoon.

(Yes, it was a bit of a slow news day.)

It’s “nothing we’ve mentioned before” Jennifer Heddle says, so no, not the mystery Paul S. Kemp books. I figure the chances of it being something I find completely unexciting (like yet another The Old Republic book) are fairly high, but you never know. It could be, well, pretty much anything.

This may seem like an odd sentiment for a news blogger, but I’m actually glad to see that Del Rey has held onto this, whatever it may be. Even if the book doesn’t come out until fall 2014, there being a cover bodes well to us getting some basic idea of the plot from the start… And I am so unbelievably sick of seeing fandom worry at Kemp’s duology like a sore tooth when I suspect it was announced with the contact ink still wet. We’ll find out what that one is eventually – and this as well, very soon. Time to gather a bit of that Jedi calm.