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?
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 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.
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.)
There 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.
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.
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.
What will happen to the Expanded Universe? Well, it’s too soon to tell, honestly, but a sequel trilogy could certainly mean upheaval in the galaxy far, far away – and the post-Return of the Jedi continuity that’s been in the works for the past several decades. My bare bones advice? It’s time to start hardening yourself to a more fluid concept of continuity and canon. (You might also want to check out IGN’s Joey Esposito’s great post on the 007 approach to continuity.) But it is far, far too soon to speculate about what new Star Wars movies will bring to the party when we don’t know anything about them aside from their basic existence. (Yes, I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on all that later, but one thing at a time!)
One place we can speculate on is who’s going to handling that future in publishing. We’ve seen no indication that Disney is going to shake up the way Lucasfilm works, so we can assume that Lucasbooks will remain the guiding hand. But what of the licensees themselves? They all have contracts, so things will stay as they are for now. But once those contracts are up?
It’s the talk of the publishing world today: Parent companies Pearson and Bertelsmann are discussing combining the publishing houses Penguin and Random House. Together, the two publishers would control more than 20% of the U.S. market,. so antitrust issues are sure to be a concern.
Both companies have Star Wars licenses: Random House’s Del Rey handles the adult Star Wars novels (as is Bantam, which handles the backlist,) while Penguin publishes books for younger readers, mostly based on The Clone Wars. DK is also a part of Penguin.