We got news about two new projects this morning at Del Rey’s panel. The first is a new series, Rebels, featuring the classic characters, which launches with a Leia-centric tale by Martha Wells. The second, focusing on Luke, will be written by Kevin Hearns. These were just approved, so no art. It’s set between ANH and ESB, I believe.
The second is something we’ve all been waiting for and half-expecting: A Jaina trilogy, Sword of the Jedi, written by Christie Golden. Lots of cheers from the audience! It’s set not too long after Fate of the Jedi and does have some (temporary?) art. The Jaina fans are super-excited, and who can blame them?
But most of the panel was, as promised, given to Q&A. Some highlights and updates on other upcoming books, including Crucible, Scoundrels and more beneath the cut. In attendance were Pablo Hidalgo, Aaron Allston, James Luceno, Drew Karpyshyn, Jennifer Heddle, Shelly Shapiro and Timothy Zahn.
- Shelly Shapiro called Scoundrels “Tim’s best book yet.” People who asked questions got ARCs!
- Crucible is a “big adventure” with a “huge” ending. It starts in a cantina, and Han shots first, Denning said.
- Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void will be self-contained. They’re working closely with the comic team, but it will still be accessible to those who haven’t read the comics.
- Nothing on the Kemp duology yet, though he did tweet in to say “hi.” Honestly, I believe he tweeted about sending in the outline only last week, so it’s probably just a matter of timing and approval.
- Look for more short stories in digital formats, not all of them connected to existing books. There will be a Scoundrels prequel coming from Zahn, featuring Lando, a sabacc game, and murder. (Most foul?) The title, ‘Winner Lose All,’ was literally approved by Jennifer Heddle right there during the panel.
- A new initiative called ‘Fan Corps’ is coming. It will allow fans to gather points for Twitter and Facebook activity.
- On the topic of more gay characters and relationships, they have been having some internal discussions on diversity, but they don’t want to pander. Diverse characters will have to come about “organically.” But be “on the lookout.”
- They’re still not going to kill off the Big 3. Shapiro did reveal that one of the characters they had permission to kill off in the NJO was Han, but she said “No way,” and George did eventually change his mind on that point.
- Questions about young reader books would have to be directed to Scholastic, but Shapiro did say that we’ll be seeing more of Allana.
- The inevitable Even Piell question: “What can you do? We’d like to pretend it’s not there,” Shapiro said. Zahn said to think of the books as the history of the GFFA, and sometimes historians mess up. When asked about stories to ‘fix’ continuty, Pablo said that’s not really something they like to do. Basically? No one came out and said “Shit happens,” but: Shit happens.
- On continuing Republic Commando, Shapiro said: “Big maybe with positive thoughts. Can’t say anything yet but I think you’ll be happy.”
Lots of love and positivity in this panel: I feel like it brought me a bit out of my recent funk with the EU. Lots of hope for the future!