Comics publisher Marvel will begin putting out Star Wars comic books and graphic novels in 2015. The comics company has taken over the exclusive rights to the sci-fi franchise from rival publisher Dark Horse, which began publishing Star Wars comics in 1991.
Previously, Marvel put out the very first Star Wars comic in 1977. The publisher claims that issue went on to sell over a million copies. It continued to release Star Wars comics for the next nine years; in total, it put out 107 issues and three special editions. The 2012 book A Brief Guide to Star Wars, by former Star Wars magazine editor Brian J. Robb, credits Marvel's series with forming the "cornerstone of the [Star Wars] Expanded Universe," which would later comprise comics, novels, video games, movie spinoffs and more.
Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing at Disney Publishing Worldwide, commented on the transition in a statement. "Dark Horse Comics published exceptional Star Wars comics for over 20 years, and we will always be grateful for their enormous contributions to the mythos and the terrific partnership that we had," she said. "In 2015, the cosmic adventures of Luke, Han, Leia and Chewbacca will make the light-speed jump back to Marvel, to begin a new age of adventures within the Star Wars universe."
Marvel also reports that the Dark Horse "Expanded Universe" release Star Wars Number One, which was an adaptation of George Lucas's original rough draft, attracted positive reviews. Dark Horse founder and CEO Mike Richardson made his own statement on the company blog. "It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever," he said. "For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond . . . In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still."