Mike Richardson, founder of Dark Horse, released the following statement on Friday:
"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."This news makes for a sort of homecoming to the comics franchise, as Marvel held the original comics rights for the original movie trilogy. Since obtaining the rights to the "Star Wars" name from Lucasfilm in 1991, Dark Horse has published over 200 titles in various formats and was running very strong in 2013 with the recently revamped "Star Wars," written by Brian Wood, which takes place between "A New Hope" and "Empire Strikes Back." Also of huge fan interest is "The Star Wars," a comics adaptation of the original script George Lucas wrote before significant changes were made and eventually become the movies everybody knows and loves so well.
Dark Horse will continue to publish "Star Wars" titles this year until Marvel takes over in 2015. Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide said, "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."
Roeder goes on to state that Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie will be back "to begin a new age of adventures within the 'Star Wars' universe." Understandably, everybody at Marvel/Disney is very upbeat and the timing of the transfer of license coincides nicely with the new Episode VII movie to be released during the summer of the same year. For speculation and facts about Episode VII, check out Eric Eisenberg's entry over on cinemablend.com.
Don't worry about Dark Horse. They aren't going anywhere and have plenty of other exciting things going on. Richardson went on to state that, "It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever," but though "2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one."
More annoucements of new series will be coming from Dark Horse, but fellow geeks will still be following big time titles BPRD, Hellboy in Hell, Captain Midnight, X, and Conan the Barbarian.