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Star Wars: The Force Awakens smashed box-offices towards the end of 2015, but what does 2016 hold for the resurgent franchise? Our Tim Adams takes a deep dive into the future of Marvel’s Star Wars comics properties.
2015 will be remembered as the year that the Star Wars line of comics at Marvel dominated the sales charts. With big name creators like Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larocca, Mark Waid, and Terry Dodson, Star Wars and its related titles were an instant hit with fans. As of this writing, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken box office records totalling more than a billion dollars worldwide.
WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
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With so much success for all-things Star Wars, I started thinking – “What does Marvel have planned for their Star Wars comics in 2016?”
We know that they don’t plan on expanding the comics line past its current low number of books. Star Wars and Darth Vader are the flagship titles. Kanan will come to an end at 12 issues. There have been a number of limited series, from Princess Leia to Lando, with Obi-Wan and Anakin and C-3PO to come. My guess is that Marvel will stick to having one limited series end, only to be replaced with another one. The major advantage of this is that it allows Marvel to spread out their top-tier creators on each launch, but not have them dedicated to 12 months of work in a particular area.
With the exception of Journey To Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire, each series has taken place before The Force Awakens. With it now being in theaters, my question is will Marvel and Lucasfilm take this opportunity to spotlight the stars of The Force Awakens in a miniseries or two, post-The Force Awakens?
Could we learn what happened to Kylo Ren after he was returned back to Supreme Leader Snoke?
Or catch up with Finn during his rehabilitation after his fight with Kylo Ren?
How about Jason Aaron perform a time jump and take the series from the aftermath of A New Hope to the timeframe between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens?
Imagine a complete story arc from Aaron featuring Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca and the rest of the crew. We could see the birth of Kylo Ren and Luke forming a new Jedi Academy. Aaron has done an incredible job on the flagship title Star Wars. He would have no problem saving the big character moments for the movies.
He would still be left with plenty of story elements to play with.
There is also the possibility of pre-Episode VII tales of Finn/Rey/Poe Dameron. I’m sure the movies will want to reveal Rey’s full origin. However, Marvel could tell a short four-issue story of an adventure Rey has while scavenging for parts on Jakku; or a story during Finn’s Storm Trooper training under Captain Phasma.
So, with the potential of new comics starring The Force Awakens characters, a decision has to be made on who the creative teams should be. While there has been diversity inside the comics, from miniseries featuring Princess Leia to Shara Bey and Lando Calrissian, the people working on the books have all been white males. Let’s allow some different voices and artists an opportunity to play in the Star Wars sandbox.
I’d love to see a pre-Episode VII story of Rey from G. Willow Wilson and Amy Reeder. David F. Walker and Olivier Coipel on Journey To Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Finn. These things need to be a possibility.
Marvel is sitting pretty with the Star Wars ace card sitting in their back pocket. All Star Wars comics are printing money for the publisher.
Of course, it takes more than just printing a comic and expecting the public to put their hard-earned money down to buy it. There has to be quality as well. Marvel has a game plan and they’re executing it to perfection.
I can’t wait to see what that game plan has in store for 2016.
Tim Adams is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @timdogg98