A short time ago in a conference room possibly far way from where you sit reading this, editors and creators of Dark Horse Comics Star Wars titles gathered to share their future plans with fans at the New York Comic Con. Although the room was sparsely attended, owing likely to another Star Wars discussion occurring nearly concurrently elsewhere in the building, fans were treated to several announcements about Dark Horse’s plans.
On the panel: Dark Horse Director of Publicity Jeremy Atkins, Star Wars line editor Randy Stradley, Star Wars: Legacy penciller Jan Duursema, and Clone Wars pencillers Scott Hepburn and Ramon Perez.
The group opened the discussion talking about the ongoing Star Wars: Legacy series. Stradley offered series writer John Ostrander’s apologies, as Ostrander had wanted to attend the panel, but his train’s delay made it so that he was unable to make the panel. Stradley then offered praise to penciller Duursema for her work co-plotting Legacy, saying that the artist puts has more input and does more work than many artists in the business. After asking that any fans who have not read Legacy’s Vector storyline cover their ears (that’s a SPOILER WARNING), Duursema explained that as Darth Krayt has been killed, Cade Skywalker finally feels free to pursue his interests, “including piracy.” Later this year, Cade will travel to Tatooine for a “story involving his pirate activities.” While on Tatooine, “he’ll meet some family he’s never met before.”
Also coming up in the series, Stradley told “fleet junkies” to look forward to a “battle between three different star fleets.” Ron Fel’s Imperial fleet and the Galactic Alliance fleet run into a Sith fleet. The arc will have “lots of back and forth” and will see “alliances stretched to breaking point.”
The Knights of the Old Republic series, based on popular game by LucasArts and Bioware, is set right before the game, Stradley explained. The series recently completed a long arc revolving around a fugitive Padawan, Zane, who cleared his name, but then refused re-admittance into the Jedi Order. Next in the series, he’ll set out with a group of pirate allies who believe that they have free run of the galaxy, but “Zane has plans of his own … Brian Ching is coming back to the interior art,” Stradley confirmed.
Currently online at MySpace.com/DarkHorsePresents is the second of two Star Wars: Dark Times introductory stories have gone up this week. The creative team of writer Nick Harrison and illustrator Doug Wheatley will be teaming up on the new Dark Times series starting in April, but readers can sample the book online right now, Stradley pitched.
Star Wars: Rebellion will not be returning, Stradley said to the apparent dismay of several in the audience. Stradley later explained that Rebellion is cancelled for two reasons. First, he said that he has a “never ending struggle to keep the line fresh and not fall into the same stuff happening every month.” Additionally, the timeline was taking the comics into “really continuity heavy territory” where he was “afraid that we couldn’t tell stories that were exciting” without contradicting other elements of Star Wars canon.
However, to replace Rebellion, Dark Horse will be launching an all-new Star Wars: Invasion monthly title. The new series will be set during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion seen in the New Jedi Order novels. As Stradley said, “Del Rey did 19 novels covering that period, but we tell a story that parallels their story. There’s a lot of galaxy out there.” Invasion will feature new characters “but we’ll also see Luke, Leia and the Solo kids. Tom Taylor, an Australian playwright whom Stradley said has taken to writing comics faster than anybody he’s ever seen, will be writing the series with Rebellion’s Colin Wilson providing art.
Fans can get an online introduction to Invasion on StarWars.com in May and June, with the first issue shipping in July. Stradley promises “big action” and that readers will “get to see Luke now that he’s a fully trained Jedi doing some really kick-ass stuff.” Admitting that he was not a big fan of the New Jedi Order novels, Stradley admitted that the fresh perspective provided by Invasion is changing his opinion.
Rob Chesney, a writer at Bioware who worked on developing the Knights of the Old Republic online game, joined the panel. As a tie-in to the new game, Chesney is writing Star Wars: Old Republic, an online comic that will appear on StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com. Alex Sanchez will pencil the serial, which comes out at a pace of three pages every two weeks, beginning later this month. Calling it “the legacy of KOTOR,” Chesney suggested that the first installment will appear on Feb. 24, “but don’t quote me.” So fans can check the site on or near that date. Old Republic will be set 300 years after KOTOR and 3000 before A New Hope. After being exiled to deep space, the Sith Empire, rebuilt, returns and approaches the Republic and the Jedi with a peace treaty. It’s a “really great moment,” Chesney gushed. He looks forward to “introducing people to that timeframe and the characters.” Atkins told fans that Dark Horse will eventually be publishing a print trade paperback of Old Republic.
Stradley briefly mentioned Dark Horse’s other Star Wars titles, including Clone Wars. Clone Wars’ artist Ramon Perez will also be providing art for this year’s Free Comic Book Day Star Wars issue. Described as “digest novellas,” Star Wars Adventures will be starting in May. Joking that he likes to call Star Wars Adventures “parent friendly” rather than all-ages, it will be set during the classic trilogy era. He promised that the creators are “not dumbing them down for kids in any way.”
“A lot of people getting their heads cut off for something so childish,” Perez cracked.More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page