– When October came to a close, it was announced that Disney had purchased the rights to STAR WARS from George Lucas’ company and thus any future films would be produced via the “house of mouse”. It was inevitable that the discussion would shift as to what would happen to the licensed Star Wars comics, which are currently being published by Dark Horse Comics. This week, such a question was answered by the Blue Sky Disney blog, which is very close to being an official source for major Disney moves. Since acquiring Marvel in 2009-2010, there has been little need for Disney to have outside companies gain licenses for official Disney related comics since Marvel is a well known comic book publisher. The plan is that STAR WARS comics will continue to be published through Dark Horse until 2014, when their license expires and thus the rights will revert back to the parent owner – which is now Disney. Which means that by 2014-2015, Marvel Comics will once again be publishing Star Wars comics, and gaining a healthy chunk of readers from a rival publisher. 2014 is also the year the space themed “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” hits theaters, which will make for great synergy.
The return of the STAR WARS license to Marvel Comics would be a sort of “back to the future” development for the company. The first STAR WARS comic books to be published were published at Marvel Comics from 1977 to 1986; it spanned over 100 issues and adapted all three films into print. From memory, comics for THE EWOKS were also published by Marvel’s then-kiddie imprint, Star Comics, in the early 80’s. Former editor-in-chief Jim Shooter once claimed that the Star Wars comics helped Marvel stay afloat in 1977 due to dire sales across the entire line elsewhere. It will remain to be seen what form Marvel’s new STAR WARS comics will take, and whether they’ll adhere to any Dark Horse continuity or strike out on their own – likely following cues from Disney in this regard. Will Darth Vader get to meet the character who was his inspiration – Doctor Doom? Only the future will tell.
– Variety, a.k.a. “The Hollywood Bible” has announced that Marvel Studios has narrowed down the decision as to who will star in 2014’s “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” film to two men; Zachary Levi and Jim Sturgess. Levi, best known for the NBC series “CHUCK”, has been cast as Fandral the Dashing in the sequel to “THOR” and had been Marvel Studios’ original choice for the role back in 2011 before NBC decided to renew “CHUCK” for another season. Jim Sturgess has more credentials in film, however, such as in “CLOUD ATLAS”, “ACROSS THE UNIVERSE” and “21”. The film debuts August 1st, 2014 and features Peter Quill/Star-Lord leading a team of space heroes that include Groot, Rocket Raccoon and Gamora.
– “ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN” returns to Disney XD on January 21st, 2013 with a second season of new episodes. The series naturally follows a teenage Peter Parker as Spider-Man, a SHIELD hero in training alongside fellow young heroes Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Nova, and White Tiger, as they battle super villains and have team ups. There will also be a crossover with Marvel Studios’ “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE”, a new Avengers cartoon coming down the pipe. Ever since Jeph Loeb took over as TV czar in 2009-2010, he has been seeking to have a more cohesive animated universe, and this is apparently it. The “USM” cartoon is the first animated project that Loeb was in control of from start to finish, and while it has mixed reviews it will remain on the network. At best the series envisions itself as “SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS” for the 21st century, but doesn’t quite recapture the magic.