San Diego Comic-Con saw the reveal of three new Star Wars comic books. Star Wars debuts in January 2015, Star Wars: Darth Vader in February, and Star Wars: Princess Leia in March–all three focusing on original trilogy characters. The news didn’t capture my attention. The story lines seemed too generic, safe and unexciting, especially since we’re coming away from a time period (the Clone Wars) that had many more stories to offer. Times are changing, and with Episode VII on the horizon, gears and focus are shifting toward old trilogy characters. Not everything is returning to those classic characters and transforming into echoes of that time period, however.
The brand new animated series, Star Wars Rebels, satisfies the hunger certain pockets of the fan community have in terms of acquiring new characters and stories. Additionally, next summer will see the debut of Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, a novel focusing on Clone Wars characters Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos. Wisps of the Clone Wars remained in Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, which introduced Rebels protagonist Kanan Jarrus. Despite losing his master, Depa Billaba, Jarrus survived Order 66 and went off to live a life of his own, hiding his true abilities from the Empire. Now, that story will come to us in a brand new comic book series.
Announced at New York Comic Con 2014, the first story line of the new ongoing comic book series, entitled Star Wars: Kanan — The Last Padawan, will be written by Rebels writer and executive producer Greg Weisman (read Marvel’s interview with Weisman), with art by Pepe Larraz (The Mighty Thor, Wolverine and the X-Men).
Featuring Jedi cowboy and gunslinger Kanan Jarrus, the comic book will take us back to the Clone Wars. We will see how Jarrus, previously known as Caleb Dume, survives Order 66 and the repercussions of the fall of the Republic that affect his way of life. Now, this is the kind of subject matter that grabs my attention. Anything that takes me back to the Clone Wars era, I welcome with open and loving arms. There is still so much potential leading up to and succeeding Episode III, especially in terms of canon material.
Kanan remains our only connection to that point in time, so it’s fitting that we return to it and see the events from his perspective. Given the fact that this new series is ongoing, I’m curious to find out how detailed the story will be and the span of time that will pass within the first few story lines. Also, other than depicting his trials and tribulations, what other goals does the series aim to accomplish? How far does it intend to go?
If successful, I hope future Marvel comic books branch out to focus on other members of the rebel crew. A mini-series about Hera Syndulla would have fans running to the comic book store or downloading the digital version with a simple tap of the finger.
With augmented reality made available for certain Marvel titles, it would be fascinating to see that technology implemented on a series based on a franchise well-known for its technological feats and influence in modern culture. “Marvel was very quick to embrace digital technology because we saw what an incredible tool it could be to reach new readers. We viewed it as a new newsstand…We view printed comics and digital comics as being compliments, not competitors,” said Axel Alonso, Editor-In-Chief of Marvel comics when augmented reality first kicked off.
Not having augmented reality in future Star Wars comics would be a wasted opportunity, in my opinion. The use of behind-the-scenes footage and other digital extras would make for an entertaining comic book reading experience for returning and new Star Wars comic book readers. Here’s hoping we get to see that tool somewhere down the line for future Star Wars comics.
Star Wars: Kanan — The Last Padawan launches in April 2015.