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The return of Star Wars to Marvel Comics wows San Diego Comic-Con crowd

At Marvel Comics’ “Cup O’Joe” SDCC panel Saturday July 26, 2014, the publisher’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada broke the news comic fans everywhere have been waiting to hear, “Star Wars” is coming back to the publisher where the comic book stories began. “Star Wars” comics were published by Marvel from 1977-1986 for a total of 107 issues not counting specials and annuals.

Three new "Star Wars" comics launch from Marvel beginning January 2015.
John Cassady

“Cup O’Joe” panels traditionally have a few announcements to kick it off, usually nothing Earth-shattering just affirmation of what is coming from the publisher over the next few months. The panel is designed for Quesada and a host of Marvel creators to answer questions from the fans. But as Quesada went through his presentation the fans jumped as the familiar words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” hit the screen.

Coming in January “Star Wars” by writer Jason Aaron (“Thor: God of Thunder”) and artist John Cassady (“Uncanny Avengers”) picks up the story beginning two weeks after the conclusion of the original movie “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.” The creators walked out from behind the curtain after the announcement was made and joined the panel.

Aaron pointed out that writing this is like going back to being a kid, back to 1977. He is making a direct sequel to the original movie. His biggest geek out moment from writing the series so far is scripting the dialogue for C-3PO. Cassady adds that the story is picking up right after the movie and is being treated as the story in between.

Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso proclaimed that “Star Wars” is finally coming home to Marvel. They are working close with Lucasfilm to make stories that count in the overall story, but with a Marvel flare.

Then came the announcement of a second series from Marvel, “Star Wars: Darth Vader” by writer Kieron Gillen (“Iron Man”) and Salvador LaRocca (“Invincible Iron Man”) coming in February. The series will be intertwined with the main ongoing by Aaron and Cassady covering the same time period but focusing on the Dark Lord of the Sith. After the events of the movie Darth Vader is the lone survivor of the destruction of the Death Star.

“Star Wars: Darth Vader” will show how the villain went from being mocked by members of the Empire for his “old ways” in the first movie to being the supreme hammer of the Empire, feared by all in “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.” Covers for the series will be by artist Adi Granov.

Marvel also will produce several series of mini-series. The first is a five issue mini-series “Star Wars: Princess Leia” by writer Mark Waid (“Daredevil”) and artist Terry Dodson (“X-Men”). The series will focus on Leia dealing with the aftermath of the destruction of her home world of Alderran and if she is still a Princess if her kingdom is gone, the answer is “yes.” Alonso added that this story keeps in tone with Marvel’s other series that focus on strong female leads.

The last “Star Wars” announcement revealed a special wrap-around cover by Quesada for the first issue of “Star Wars.”

The panel was turned over to the audience for a question an answer. Here are the items that concerned the “Star Wars” return to Marvel.

When Boba Fett arrives in the comics it will be later since the series will be picking up shortly after the events of the first movie and Fett did not show up until the second movie. Aaron said since they are picking up two weeks after the end of the movie he is dancing in between rain drops of story keeping the continuity tight. It is pointed out that the Darth Vader series will include the Bounty Hunters who were introduced with Fett as part of Vader becoming the menacing force.

The “Expanded Universe” characters (those introduced in novels and other comics stories over the last 25 years) inclusion in the Marvel-line is up to Lucasfilm. Since most of those stories take place after “Star Wars: Episode IV – Return of the Jedi” they are a long way from happening.

On the subject of the characters Marvel created for the original series like Jaxxon the bunny-looking alien, no plans are imminent by Aaron said he would fight for the Bunny.

The subject of if Patton Oswalt’s rant from an episode “Park and Recreation” where he rambled off a fantastic story that merged the characters of “Star Wars” with the characters of the Marvel Universe could be adapted into comic book form. The “Star Wars” editor Jordan White spoke up and said that they’d love to but they are not sure they hold all the rights to that story.

Will the series show Darth Vader as a fallen figure? White adds that they are taking all stories into account. They have the knowledge of having seen all the movies the original trilogy and the prequels so they know who Vader is. Aaron said that the book will feel like the movie and with all the familiar characters.

For the rest of the “Cup O’Joe” panel coverage check back later, for all the superhero focused announcements and discussion.

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