NYCC: ‘Star Wars’ publishing steps closer to ‘The Force Awakens’ with new books

Since the New York Comic Con is the last major convention before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters, Disney and Lucasfilm did actually have some interesting announcements and panels for fans here. Sure, we didn’t get a big behind-the-scenes video or trailer, but thanks to today’s Journey To The Force Awakens panel, we heard more about where the franchise is going ahead of Dec. 18.

Author Pablo Hidalgo, photo by Daniel S Levine
Author Pablo Hidalgo, photo by Daniel S Levine

The panel featured Star Wars authors Adam Bray (Absolutely Everything You Need To Know), Chuck Wendig (Aftermath), Claudia Gray (Lost Stars), Greg Rucka (Shattered Empire, Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure) and Jason Fry (Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure, The Weapon Of A Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure). Lucasfilm Publishing creative director of franchise Michael Siglain moderated and Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group also attended.

These writers are creating brand new stories within the Star Wars universe, since Disney and Lucasfilm decided to wipe out all of the Expanded Universe stories published before Disney bought the company. The focus at this point, of course, is to get readers ready for The Force Awakens. These new stories aren’t just spoilers for the new movie though. Siglain noted that these books bridge the 30-year gap between Return of the Jedi and TFA.

All of the books discussed have been on sale since Force Friday, which was Sept. 4. However, there were some big announcements. Wendig said that he is following up Aftermath with two more novels: Aftermath 2: Life Debt and Aftermath 3: Empire’s End. His book has received the most attention because his book takes place right at the end of Jedi. He didn’t feel that much pressure, since it was really just a process of “squeezing the Star Wars out.”

Gray also announced that she is writing a book that will take place just six years before TFA, titled New Republic: Bloodline. She is the author of Lost Stars, the first YA SW novel in the new continuity. The book is a love story, between people on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War (that’s the war between the Rebellion and Empire). Her lead characters don’t know the main heroes and villains of the Star Wars universe and give you an idea of the thousands of stories behind the main one in the movies.

Moving Target, Smuggler’s Run and The Weapon Of A Jedi are each meant for readers in middle school grades, but it sounds like older readers will be interested as well. Fry said that the Leia story - Moving Target - is the first book that really looks into Leia’s thinking when it is discovered that the Empire has built a second Death Star.

Absolutely Everything You Need To Know is also a great help for fans who love Star Wars reference books. Written by Bray and three other authors, the book took nine months to complete and includes countless bits of Star Wars facts and trivia, from the well-known to the obscure to things you’ve never heard before. It sounds like a handy Star Wars Encyclopedia, with only the current canon covered.

Lastly, Hidalgo discussed a bit of the process behind creating the Journey storylines. It was decided that an event called the “Battle of Jakku” would be the catalyst for the events before TFA.

A collection of short stories that feature aliens from the famous Vanity Fair issue will also be published soon.

The first wave of Journey To The Force Awakens is just the beginning. There is a big playground called Star Wars and authors love to play in it.

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