Artwork courtesy of Joshua Stolte
Welcome back to the Star Wars HoloNet Digest, a weekly feature where I bring you a recap of the latest news from the world of Star Wars. Whether it’s an Episode VII rumor or a noteworthy author interview, you’ll find it here. Let’s check the HoloNet and see what happened while the HoloNet Digest was on vacation.
The biggest Star Wars news in a long time broke on Friday, January 3, when the Walt Disney Company announced that Lucasfilm’s corporate sibling Marvel Comics would acquire the Star Wars license from Dark Horse Comics in 2015 and begin publishing Star Wars comics and graphic novels that year. Marvel was the first company to publish licensed Star Wars comics, but Dark Horse has held –– and in many ways, revitalized –– the license since 1991. What began with the publication of Dark Empire soon blossomed into a massive comic book empire that boosted Dark Horse’s profits and generated significant excitement about Star Wars comics over the ensuing two decades. Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson expressed sadness over the move but said that his company would still make 2014 “memorable” with its last run of Star Wars comics. Meanwhile, executives from Marvel, Lucasfilm, and their mutual parent company are expressing excitement about the transition, which adds another level of centralization to Disney’s control of the Star Wars franchise.
Another big story broke yesterday, when we got some big news about the continuation of Darth Maul’s storyline from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Lucasfilm gave Newsarama the exclusive reveal that the finale to Maul’s story will be turned into a four-part comic mini-series that Dark Horse will publish beginning in May. Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir will be written by Jeremy Barlow. The comics will adapt a story that was supposed to air “near [the] end of the series,” and they will feature Sidious’ continuing clash with his former apprentice, who sees ever-greater control over the forces of evil in the galaxy. Because there has been some confusion about this, it’s worth noting that both LucasBooks Senior Editor Jennifer Heddle and Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo clarified that this was not intended to be the series finale:
If there's still confusion: the new Dark Horse miniseries only deals with a Darth Maul arc from near end of the series. Not a series finale!
— Jennifer Heddle (@jenheddle) January 8, 2014
The Maul comic is very cool, but it *wasn't* the series finale. It was a 4-part arc that fell beyond what was already in production.
— Pablo Hidalgo (@infinata) January 8, 2014
Speaking of The Clone Wars, the series’ supervising director Dave Filoni promised big things from two story arcs in the forthcoming TCW bonus content. Filoni told The Official Star Wars Blog that the two arcs “are really, really important for the overall Clone Wars story,” adding, “I’m very glad that fans will get to see them in their completed form.” It’s not known whether the Yoda arc –– which Filoni said “definitely gives a sense of closure” to various matters –– is one of these two major arcs. Filoni also mentioned a third story arc that he said was “very short … not essential to the overall story but … a nice final showcase for one of the prequel characters.” This bonus content is expected to be released early this year.
Filoni’s current project, Star Wars Rebels, has been getting more attention as its Fall premiere draws closer. While we were on vacation, the official Star Wars YouTube channel debuted another meet-the-team clip, this time introducing Filoni’s fellow executive producer Simon Kinberg. If you’re excited for Rebels, it’s worth watching this video to hear from one of the show’s creative leads. We’ve embedded that clip below.
There won’t be another Star Wars Celebration until April 2015, but that doesn’t mean that the fun has to wait until then. Disney has been throwing a yearly Star Wars party of its own for many years, and that party –– called Star Wars Weekends –– is set to return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida this summer. The company announced the dates for its four 2014 weekends on December 20. They are May 16-18, May 23-25, May 30 – June 1, and June 6-8. If you’ve never been to Star Wars Weekends before, I definitely recommend that you check it out. It’s a great event for kids and adults alike. There are costumed characters for meet-and-greets, photo ops with vehicles from a speeder bike to an AT-AT, and what I consider the centerpiece of the park, the recently renovated Star Tours ride. Give it a chance; you won’t regret it.
There are two books on the Del Rey Star Wars release calendar at the moment, and one of them will be released in about three weeks. That’s Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown by noted horror author Joe Schreiber. We’ve been tracking the micro-excerpts that have been shared on Facebook, and last month brought excerpt #5. Check that out here, and then get ready for the book’s release on January 28. In the world of comics, Dark Horse continues to publish The Star Wars, a series based on George Lucas’ original draft for A New Hope. If you want to learn more about the series’ unique and compelling art, check out the interview that Justin from our reviews team at TheForce.Net conducted with artist Mike Mayhew.
We’ll wrap up this week’s post with a ping from the world of social media. You may remember that Lucas Online launched a Star Wars Instagram account in December. Well, a few weeks later, they followed that up with a Star Wars Tumblr blog. Whether you’re a Tumblr user or not, I’d suggest following the posts from this blog, as Lucas Online is sharing some really cool stuff. There are behind-the-scenes production photos, segments of an old Star Wars comic strip, and concept sketches from Star Wars Rebels.
Eric Geller is a college student majoring in political science whose interests include technology, journalism, and of course Star Wars. He co-hosts The ForceCast podcast and manages social media for Star Wars fan sites TheForce.Net and Rebelscum.com. He is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.