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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.