The Skywalker Saga might be coming to an end on the big screen this December, but at New York Comic Con today, the galaxy far, far away seemed more alive than ever. That is, if you need a hefty to-read pile to build up.
The Lucasfilm Publishing panel at NYCC didn’t just start off with a quick recap of all the new and upcoming books launching starting today (on the hallowed Star Wars holiday that is Force Friday) as part of the Journey to The Rise of Skywalker publishing initiative. It also teased a bunch of new comics and books to come in the next few months and into 2020.
On the book front, several exciting announcements were made. In March, the official novelisation, in both junior and regular formats, of The Rise of Skywalker will release. Being penned by Rae Carson (on the regular novelisation) and Michael Kogge (on the junior), these novelisations will be “Expanded Editions” akin to the adaptation of The Last Jedi, to make up for the fact they’re releasing months after the film’s arrival. Also coming from Disney Lucasfilm Press in August 2020 to celebrate the last huzzah of Clone Wars is The Clone Wars Anthology, a new middle-grade short story collection featuring tales from a whole host of authors, including Preeti Chhibber, Lou Anders, Tom Angleberger, Zoraida Cordova, Jason Fry, Sarah Beth Durst, Yoon Ha Lee, Rebecca Roanhorse, Anne Ursu, and Greg Van Eekhout.
I'm very excited to bring this to you all. Short story retellings of different TCW episodes and arcs focusing in on one main character from each. Middle grade level. Great way to introduce kids to the show or relive for yourself! https://t.co/T9TwYvQLM8
— Jennifer Heddle (@jenheddle) October 4, 2019
From publisher Del Rey meanwhile, two major continuations of current series were revealed. First up is Alphabet Squadron: Shadow Fall, the second in Alexander Freed’s trilogy of novels set in the years after Return of the Jedi, following the titular New Republic pilots of Alphabet Squadron as they chase the sinister elite Imperial Navy group known as Shadow Wing. Given that we loved the first one for not just its spacefighter action but its relatably flawed heroes, that more is on the way in June 2020 can only be a good thing.
Although it was announced later in the panel, before Shadow Fall drops a new series of Grand Admiral Thrawn novels will begin in June, dubbed the Thrawn: Ascendancy trilogy. Few other details were revealed, other than the fact that grand maestro of all things Thrawn himself, legendary Star Wars author Timothy Zahn, will continue to write his most famous creation. Also, the new trilogy will go back even further than the current saga that culminated with Thrawn: Treason – a series that explored how Thrawn came to join the Empire in the run up to his appearances on Star Wars Rebels – and explore the Unknown Regions themselves, and a time when Thrawn was still a soldier in his own species’ military, the Chiss Ascendancy.
The new Star Wars #1 gives Luke Skywalker a hand. Sort of.
Image: Jesus Saiz (Marvel Comics)
Marvel Comics also dropped some news at the con. It teased more from the upcoming Rise of Kylo Ren comic hitting this December, and Empire Ascendant, the epilogue special that will conclude the current run of Star Wars comics at the publisher. Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski also officially unveiled the plans for the next era of the mainline Star Wars comic. Relaunching with an all new #1 issue in January, Star Wars will be written by Charles Soule and feature art from Jesus Saiz. Unlike the current book, which was set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, the new Star Wars ongoing will be set immediately in the climax of the Empire Strikes back, literally opening with the moment Luke loses his hand and learns the terrible truth about his father.
From there, the series will go on to explore Leia, Luke, Chewie, and Lando’s quest to liberate Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt, as well as examine the emotional impact on Luke and Leia of Vader’s revelations and the loss of Han. Speaking of the Dark Lord, the new series will be joined by a third Vader ongoing in February 2020, this time penned by current Star Wars scribe Greg Pak and with art from Raffaelle Lenoo. Like prior takes on Vader, the new series will examine the emotional tragedies at the core of the Sith Lord, as he tries to find the son that was taken from him during his fall to the Dark Side.
Buckle up, Star Wars fans: the movie saga may be taking a break for a bit after this year, but there’s going to be plenty to look forward to on your bookshelf.
Featured image: Del Rey, Marvel Comics