Back in April, Disney and LucasFilm announced that a new series of Star Wars novels from Del Rey will be part of the franchise canon, along with the first six movies, the TV series Star Wars Rebels and the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens and its sequels and spinoffs. Today, Entertainment Weekly reports that LucasFilm and DelRey will release at least 20 books this fall through multiple publishers that will bridge the 32-year gap between Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, hitting theaters December 18. The novel series is entitled Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which range from, "novels for adults and teens to storybooks and stickerbooks for younger kids," and will be "filled with Easter Eggs" foreshadowing the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The announcement in April also revealed that the massive Expanded Universe of novels, video games and other materials are not part of the official Star Wars canon, meaning none of those story lines will be included in Star Wars: The Force Awakens or any of its sequels and spinoffs. Some of these popular Expanded Universe stories included Luke Skywalker's relationship with Jedi Mara Jade, a former villain who turned good, and the marriage of Han Solo and Leia, and their twins. The new novels will be released through a number of different publishers, and required a number of authors engaged in secretive talks with Star Wars screenwriters. Here's what Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, had to say in a statement.
"The Force Awakens is an extraordinarily, heavily guarded storyline. To track it, a lot of top-secret meetings were happening up in San Francisco as we worked through this program. The partnership with the story group and the editorial team always had to be true to the sanctity of the film while making sure that we find these moments to introduce hints, clues, and puzzle pieces. Without revealing what those pieces are, it will just allow readers to speculate about the new film: What could a location mean, or what could a character mean?"
Disney Publishing Worldwide will publish many of the novels through its own imprints, along with at least seven other companies including Del Rey, DK, and Marvel Comics. Many of the books are still being written and edited at this time, but Entertainment Weekly does have details on a few of the upcoming novels. Del Rey's Star Wars: Aftermath is said to serve as a epilogue to the original trilogy, and possibly a prologue to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Marvel Comics' is releasing a prequel Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens and another prequel that will be told from C3PO's perspective. Studio Fun International is publishing a book Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy.
There will also be another series of novels that won't be a part of Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but will re-tell the events of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi from the perspectives of "various supporting characters" who have not been identified. Disney LucasFilm Press is releasing a series of novels centering on characters from the original trilogy that are aimed at young adult readers, to introduce these iconic characters to those who may not be as familiar with the movies.
Confirmed titles for the young adult novels are Moving Target by Cecil Castellucci (Tin Star), centering on Princess Leia, The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry (Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy) centering on Luke Skywalker, Lost Stars by Claudia Gray and Smuggler's Run by Greg Rucka, focusing on Han Solo. What do you think about these new Star Wars books? Let us know below, along with the first piece of art released for this epic series: