All the News on the New Star Wars Books and Comics Coming Soon to a Galaxy Near You…

The Star Wars franchise has long been more than just feature films: Every year, there arrives an armful of novels and comics to keep fans busy while they wait for the next movie to hit theaters.

Today at New York Comic Con—and on Force Friday, in fact—Del Rey and Marvel Comics unveiled quite a bit to look forward to in the coming months, providing our first hints of what we can expect from the Star Wars Expanded Universe in the wake of The Rise of Skywalker. The headlines included details on the sequel to Alexander Freed’s Alphabet Squadron and the novelization of Episode IX as well as, oh yeah, the announcement of a whole new Thrawn Trilogy from Timothy Zahn!

Del Rey kicked off its Lucasfilm Publishing Panel this afternoon with a few new hints about the mysterious publishing project they’ve been teasing for a while, codenamed “Project Luminous.” Details about the scope of the project and the stories it will cover are still thin on the ground, but they did unveil a tantalizing tagline: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things… until Project Luminous.”

We also got a look at who is involved: authors Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older, Cavan Scott, and Charles Soule, all familiar names in the post-Disney publishing world. It appears Project Luminous will be a joint effort between Del Rey, Disney, IDW Comics, and Marvel Comics, and will kick off in 2020. Del Rey promises that the full details will be revealed in early 2020, after The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters.

Speaking of the final film in the Skywalker saga, the panel also revealed more concrete details about what’s coming up for fans. As expected, The Rise of Skywalker will get an “Expanded Edition” novelization, this time written by Rae Carson (The Girl of Fire and Thorns), which will hit bookstores on March 3rd, right around the time the film is likely to arrive on DVD and streaming services. Michael Kogge will write a junior novelization, which will hit stores on March 21st.

Alexander Freed will continue his Alphabet Squadron trilogy with a new installment, Shadow Fall. The first book hit stores earlier this year, and introduced fans to Yrica Quell, a former Imperial pilot who defected to the Rebel Alliance, and found herself in command of a rag-tag team of starfighter pilots as they went after a deadly TIE Fighter unit. According to Del Rey, Quell will have to deal with Shadow Wing as commanded by her former mentor, something we saw hinted at in the end of the first novel.

Clone Wars fans will have something to look forward to as well: Disney Lucasfilm Press will release a Clone Wars anthology on August 25th, 2020, with stories from Lou Anders, Tom Angleberger, Preeti Chhibber, Zoraida Córdova, Sarah Beth Durst, Jason Fry, Yoon Ha Lee, Rebecca Roanhorse, Anne Ursu, and Greg Van Eekhout. Disney Lucasfilm press will also release Star Wars: Dark Legends by George Mann and artist Grant Griffin.

Way back in 1991, Timothy Zahn kicked off the Star Wars Expanded Universe with Heir to the Empire, and recently wrote a trilogy of novels that brought his infamous Grand Admiral Thrawn into the post-Disney world story: Thrawn, Thrawn: Alliances, and Thrawn: Treason. Along the way, the author hinted at a larger story unfolding behind the scenes in Thrawn’s home territory. At today’s panel, Del Rey revealed that Zahn is going to be diving into that story starting next summer with the first in a new trilogy of Thrawn novels called the Ascendancy Trilogy. The publisher promises that we’ll finally “learn more about the origins of Thrawn and the Chiss Ascendancy.” For longtime EU fans, this is pretty exciting stuff—Zahn has consistently provided some of the best stories in the Star Wars universe, and Thawn is by far his most iconic creation (with Mara Jade running a, er, hand’s breadth behind him)..

That’s not all the Star Wars publishing news we learned today: Marvel Comics revealed it’ll be relaunching its flagship Star Wars comic with writer Charles Soule (Lando, Poe Dameron) at the helm, refocusing the narrative on the period between the end of The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi. Soule noted that there were a lot of questions that linger from that gap in time: How did the Rebellion go from a  rag-tag group that lost the Battle of Hoth to the huge fleet that destroyed the second Death Star, and how did Luke, Leia, and Lando plan their mission to rescue Han Solo? That series will kick off in January. Soule and artist Will Sliney will also be writing a miniseries called The Rise of Kylo Ren that will debut on December 18th, just before The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters.

Finally, Lucasfilm announced that Viz Media will be publishing an adaptation of Ken Liu’s Star Wars novel The Legends of Luke Skywalker, with art from Akira Himekawa, Haruichi, Akira Fukuya, Takashi Kisaki and Subera. That will be released sometime in early 2020. The original trilogy was previously released as a manga by Dark Horse Comics in the late 1990s, and Claudia Gray’s young adult novel Lost Stars is currently being adapted for the medium by Yen Press.

Even before we’ve received all the intel on Project Luminous, that’s still a lot for franchise fans to look forward to. What are you most excited about?

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