Earlier this week the news came that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, would be taking the Star Wars comic franchise from Dark Horse and giving it back to Marvel, another Disney company and former publisher of the Star Wars comics. Dark Horse had held the exclusive license with Star Wars since 1991. Carol Roeder, Director of Lucasfilm’s franchise publishing had this to say about the decision to give the license back to Marvel after 23 years.
“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. In 2015, the cosmic adventures of Luke, Han, Leia and Chewbacca will make the lightspeed jump back to Marvel, to begin a new age of adventures within the Star Wars universe.”
Mike Richardson, the founder of Dark Horse, released a statement shortly after the news was released on the Dark Horse website:
“All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.
For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.
It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of theStar 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.
The good news is that Dark Horse will still be releasing Star Wars comics throughout 2014 and that all digital purchases made on the Dark Horse store will still be valid even after Disney/Marvel takes over the license.
What are your thoughts on Marvel taking back Star Wars comics? Are you currently reading any Dark Horse Star Wars titles? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.