On Wednesday, the Vader Down storyline wraps up in Star Wars #14 and Darth Vader #15. There’s also the second Darth Vader collection, Shadows and Secrets, in trade… And although it shipped last week, Obi-wan & Anakin #1 was actually supposed to go out this week, so if your comic shop got the memo you may not have been able to find it on sale.
In other book release news, Del Rey officially announced today that Claudia Gray’s New Republic: Bloodlines and Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Life Debt have both been pushed back two months each. (Something that’s been reflected on our book release schedule for a while now.) Bloodlines is now due out May 3, and Life Debt on July 19. They’re our next two new novels, though there are a handful of paperback rereleases in the meantime, including the first Aftermath on March 29.
With the actual Making of book not due out until October, The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a must-read if you want a look at the development of the film. /Film runs down some of the possible plot points – warning, a lot of them are pretty deeply weird, or at least that’s the impression the book gave me. (The article barely scratches the surface.)
Episode VII could have had a title that echoed one of the dregs of the early Expanded Universe. “It was Shadow (singular) of the Empire for a while,” Pablo Hidalgo tweeted Friday. “With so many books, it’s inevitable,” he said earlier. And that’s true enough: The Force Awakens itself is a title reminiscent of the 2008 video game The Force Unleashed.
But unlike TFU, Shadows of the Empire hails from the mid-90s, when all the franchise’s new content was in the form of books, comics and games. In fact, the 1996 Shadows storyline was used as a marketing test-run for The Phantom Menace – it had a novel, video game, comic, toys and even a soundtrack. As such, it has lingered on in fan memories to the point where it’s not unusual for some to think it’s still canon.
Having Episode VII reuse a form of that title would have muddied the well considerably, even if the two had nothing in common other than a handful of characters. The key fact: Shadows was set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It’s not an Expanded Universe entry anyone could ever actually mistake for an Episode VII contender.
(Shadows certainly has a following, but it has never been a personal or CJ favorite – I recommend listening to this relevant episode of Full of Sith if you need a primer on why. It’s oh so very ’90s.)
Will we see Shadow of the Empire as a title again? We might! It could certainly fit the new era, but I’m very glad Episode VII became The Force Awakens instead.
Yesterday, we first heard of threats from some members of the so-called ‘Bring Back Legends’ movement to spoil The Force Awakens on public Facebook pages. Apparently some of them made good on their threats, because the folks at Del Rey have deactivated their Star Wars Books page. They explain their decision – no, it’s not gone for good – on their Tumblr:
We don’t want to give people who wish to spoil the movie for others a platform to do that and we are under no obligation to do so.
The ‘Bring Back Legends’ (or ‘Give Us Legends’) movement is a rather scattered gathering of fans of older Star Wars novels and comics – almost everything published before September 2014, including several decades of storylines that continue past Return of the Jedi. Last year, Lucasfilm announced that the older fiction would stay in print as ‘Legends’ – but as an alternate universe that doesn’t count towards the new films. Most Bring Back Legends fans want the older storylines to be continued, but there is a rather wide spectrum of opinions and attitudes on how and why.
My policy has been – and remains – to not cover them, for the most part. Most of them seem rather harmless – bitter, sometimes annoying, but harmless. But this is not the first incident where they’ve crossed a very distinct line, and that I will not ignore.
This is not going to change anyone’s minds about Legends, and spoiling people for a hotly-anticipated movie may be skeevy, but this is not a matter of life and death. Still, no one should have to invoke the nuclear option because of what is and isn’t canon in tie-in fiction.
First and foremost, yes, we’re getting the first Star Wars movie in a decade this week – a lucky few (hundred? thousand?) tonight in Hollywood, and the rest of the world a few days later, depending on your location.
With less than a week to go before The Force Awakens, Yowie, Baby Jawa, and Jawajames host a jumbo-sized episode of Unboxing Star Wars. This time, we talk about our visit to Season of the Force at Disneyland California, and even get an interview with two guests, Bryan Young and Dartanian Richards, outside Path of the Jedi. We also check out the Star Wars Epic Yarns books from Jack and Holman Wang, review the most recent Rebels episode, ‘Legacy’, and try some of Captain Phasma’s Crazy Hot popchips. Watch out, Baby Jawa – they’re hot!
J.J. Abrams on why Leia hasn’t become a Jedi. “It’s never too late,” he said, but “it was simply a choice that she made” to lead the Resistance. We will see her Force sensitivity in play again; it’s “an intrinsic piece of her character.”
With less than two weeks to go before The Force Awakens hits theaters, Yowie, Baby Jawa, and I recount the latest in Star Wars for this week’s Unboxing Star Wars show. First we give a shout out for Wear Star Wars Share Star Wars 2015, then we salute our favorite Wookiee with a look at the Chewbacca comic mini-series. Finally, we review this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels, ‘The Future of the Force.’ Plus lots of love for tookas and counting down to a new Star Wars movie!