Over the weekend Marvel, our new comics overlord, announced three new Star Wars titles. One is a monthly that takes place between ANH and TESB, one is series about Darth Vader, and one is a series about Leia.
The Leia one is interesting to me because she is a character who generally gets short shrift. The others? To quote “Sid & Nancy,” “Boring, Sidney, boring.” Dark Horse just produced exactly the same kind of monthly, the difference being this time it has different writers/artists and it “counts.” At least when Dark Horse got the Star Wars license, it came out of the gate with “Dark Empire,” a book Marvel didn’t want to publish. It was bold, interesting, and new. For the next several years, DH went to all corners of the GFFA and in any number of time periods. Not everything turned out great but at least some very memorable and interesting books came out of it. This is flogging a dead bantha/tauntaun/eopie or whatever is your favorite Star Wars beast of burden. There is no reason why in 2014 a Star Wars monthly can’t create story arcs that take place any time in the established Star Wars era. Heck, I’d even take a Rebels comics series. At least it’s new. But Marvel is playing it entirely too safe. George Lucas created a huge fantasy land to play in and Marvel is acting like those people in the movie “The Village,” fearfully confining themselves to a tiny corner of it until it’s safe to come out to cash in on Episode VII. Why do I think they’re doing that? One, they don’t want to offend prequel haters (it seems like Marvel’s interviews thus far emphasize the artists’/writers’ enthusiasm for the “original trilogy”) and two, if it takes place any time in the OT era, that means any post-TESB material is Han-less, and the fanboys don’t want that.
Now, Marvel fans have praised for the most part the teams coming on to work on these books. One of them has dropped hints that “you never know who” might drop in on the monthly series, which could include PT/CW-era characters. But it wouldn’t surprise me if these books end up in a vacuum, never once taking advantage of the universe that’s grown considerably since 1977.