This is also the week that the new covers for the Thrawn trilogy paperbacks are officially launching. Note that the new editions use the same ISBN as the old, so some stores may have older stock to sell out before these become available. If you want them for the new art, I recommend buying them in-person.
Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader ongoing may be ending with #25, but he’s on board for the replacement – which has been solicited as simply Star Wars: Classified. He’ll be joined by artist Kev Walker, who’s not quite new to Star Wars – he did a cover for Dark Horse’s Republic #55 back in 2003. The new comic, which will also be an ongoing title, will be launched with a number of variant covers in December.
→ The Force Awakens novelization in paperback will contain two short stories: Alan Dean Foster’s ‘Bait’ (from Star Wars Insider #162) and Delilah Dawson’s ‘The Perfect Weapon,’ which was released as an eBook.
The only new Star Wars excerpt contained within is Claudia Gray’s Bloodline (out May 3,) but it also features the complete short stories “Bait” by Alan Dean Foster, “Inbrief” by Janine K. Spendlove, and “Blade Squadron” and “Blade Squadron: Zero Hour” by David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams.
The novelization will include two short stories: Foster’s ‘Bait’ from the Star Wars Insider, and Delilah S. Dawson’s ‘The Perfect Weapon,’ which has thus far only been available as an eBook. These dates are fairly far off, so there may be some slight adjustments over time. Our book release schedule has been updated.
Despite over 20 years of the current publishing program, only 3 previous Star Wars novels have topped the NYT list: Timothy Zahn’s Heir the the Empire in 1991, Terry Brooks’ The Phantom Menace novelization in 1999 and Sean Williams’ The Force Unleashed novelization in 2008. Quite a few have made the top ten, with Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath recently peaking at #4.
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.
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.
The Wall Street Journal writes about how Alan Dean Foster’s The Force Awakens novelization won’t be available in hardcover until January – something we’ve known since April. (The ebook will be out on December 18, along with the movie.) It was, not surprisingly, due to a request from Lucasfilm:
David Moench, the Del Rey spokesman, said the publisher would have preferred to put out the hardcover edition out on the day the movie opens in order to capture more sales.
“We would love to release both formats of the novelization simultaneously and not miss the holidays,” he said, “but we recognize the importance of protecting the story for the fans.”
Apparently, fans still prefer the physical books:
“It’s a collector’s mentality,” said Scott Shannon, Del Rey’s publisher. The “Star Wars” titles the publisher has issued have “way over-indexed” in terms of physical book sales to digital copies, said Mr. Shannon.
Perhaps the most interesting bit of information: Del Rey has sold more than 1.2 million Star Wars books in the past twelve months. (Only Aftermath and Lords of the Sith get namechecked.) That number extends to 70 million over the life of the license (including Bantam). It’s not clear if that number goes back to 1977 or 1991, but I suspect ’77. It would be interesting to see the numbers for at least the previous novelizations, but alas.
Fun fact: Although many Star Wars books have made it onto the New York Times’ Best Seller list, only four have made it to #1: The Return of the Jedi Storybook by Joan D. Vinge, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, The Phantom Menace novelization by Terry Brooks and (go figure) The Force Unleashed novelization by Sean Williams.
Florian was first to spot these small summaries for the four Journey to The Force Awakens stories by Landry Walker. Each has a price of $2.99 and release date of November 24 – a week earlier than the December 1 date given at NYCC. Delilah Dawson’s The Perfect Weapon, which doesn’t have a summary yet (it’s the only digital short from Del Rey instead of Disney Lucasfilm Press) also has an Amazon release date of the 24th at the moment, though it’s only priced at $1.99.
→ The Face of Evil: “A notorious thief learns to be careful what she wishes for on Takodana.”
The four Landry stories are expected to be released in print, along with two new entries, in the spring. A sixth story, ‘Bait’ by Alan Dean Foster, will appear in a December issue of the Star Wars Insider.
A new novel, the next two Aftermath titles and a handful of short stories were announced at NYCC this afternoon.
Aftermath: Life Debt (Summer 2016) and Aftermath: Empire’s End (2017) will be the next two from Chuck Wendig, while Claudia Gray has New Republic: Bloodlines set for a spring 2016 release. It’ll be set six years before The Force Awakens, and it doesn’t seem to be a Lost Stars sequel. (The Life Debt and Bloodline covers were spotted earlier today by Jedi Bibliothek.) UPDATE: Chuck Wendig on the upcoming books.
We also have short stories coming based around the aliens in Maz Kanata’s castle (as seen in Vanity Fair.) The first, ‘Bait,’ from Alan Dean Foster, stars a character called Grumgarr and will appear in the Star Wars Insider. Another, ‘The Perfect Weapon’ from Delilah Dawson, will be released electronically and feature Bazine, the woman in black. It’ll be released electronically in November, and there’s a temporary cover over at StarWars.com.
There’ll be four more stories from Landry Walker called ‘High Noon on Jakku,’ ‘All Creatures Great and Small,’ ‘The Face of Evil,’ ‘The Crimson Corsair and the Treasure of Count Dooku.’ They will also be released electronically, not as a Tales of book as we reported before. (Whoops.) All the e-novellas will come out on December 1, and the Landry ones will released in print, along with two more stories, in April.
At the panel, Pablo Hidalgo said that the Story Group took into account worldbuilding from George Lucas, the early Micheal Arnt script, and things Rian Johnson wanted to explore in VIII when building Journey to The Force Awakens. They’ve closely mapped out what happens after Return of the Jedi – revolving around Jakku – and the lead-in to The Force Awakens, but things between those two points are looser for creative freedom. He said to reread the Journey books in a year, and see what you catch.