imagesby Michael Brown, staff writer

Disney/Lucasfilm and Marvel Entertainment officially announced in a press release Friday afternoon that Marvel will be given exclusive rights to create and publish Star Wars comics and graphic novels in 2015 , taking it from its current home at Dark Horse Comics. The agreement, which many fans and critics saw coming since the Lucasfilm buyout in October 2012, will return Star Wars to the House of Ideas, where the comic version of the films was first launched. Star Wars #1 was first released from Marvel in March 1977 and the Bullpen would go on to publish the further adventures of the Heroes of Yavin for nine years.

In 1991, fledgling comics company Dark Horse Comics picked up the license and would go on to produce a cornucopia of fan-favorite, award-winning stories from a galaxy far, far away, such as Dark EmpireKnights of the Old Republic, based on the BioWare video game, and the immensely popular Star Wars: Legacy.  Last year, Dark Horse released their new Star Wars ongoing series, written by Brian Wood, set in the period after Episode IV and was instantly met with critical acclaim. More recently, an adaptation of George Lucas’ original, rough-draft screenplay The Star Wars was released, garnering rave reviews and attracting national media attention.

“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,” said Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “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.” 

1925308-2000px_marvellogo.svg“We here at Marvel could not be more excited to continue the publication of Star Wars comic books and graphic novels,” said Marvel worldwide publisher and president, Dan Buckley. “The perennial brand of Star Wars is one of the most iconic in entertainment history and we are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand Star Wars into galaxies far, far away.”

“We’re incredibly excited by this next chapter in the Star Wars saga,” said Andrew B. Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Bringing together the iconic Lucasfilm and Marvel brands to tell new stories will allow us to continue to thrill lovers of the original Star Wars comic books and entertain generations to come.”

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Mike Richardson, publisher and owner of Dark Horse Comics, also released this statement:

“All things come to pass. So too, do all license 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 … 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 … 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… In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star 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.”

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