Now that Disney has obliterated the beloved-by-some Star Wars Expanded Universe – a massive collection of novels and other media chronicling the decades following Return of the Jedi – to clear the way for The Force Awakens, there are tons of gaps in the official chronology of the galaxy far, far away. Those gaps were never going to stay unfilled for long, and it looks like Disney will start plugging those holes with a whopping 20 books between now and December.
The announcement was made Tuesday via Entertainment Weekly. The 20 books won’t all be novels; some will be storybooks and sticker books for younger kids, and it seems likely that some will be encyclopedia-style examinations of topics in the Star Wars universe. Disney and Lucasfilm confirm that many of the books will include deliberate foreshadowing for The Force Awakens.
The new publishing initiative, collectively titled Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will span several publishers, including Del Rey, DK and Disney-owned Marvel Comics. Many of the books are still in progress, but EW confirms that one will be Star Wars: Aftermath, published by Del Rey, which will explore events immediately following the end of Return of the Jedi. Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens will come from Marvel, as will another story from the perspective of C-3PO. Studio Fun International will release Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy, which would appear to be an encyclopedia-style tome exploring the vehicles of the universe. Other books are expected to adapt the events of the original trilogy movies as well as explore various supporting characters.
It’s hard to tell exactly what to make of this news. A huge push of ancillary franchise material leading up to The Force Awakens was inevitable and it’s not surprising that the written word appears to be a huge part of that campaign, considering its role in sustaining the franchise between 1983’s Return of the Jedi and 1999’s The Phantom Menace. It’s also easy to look at the 20-book figure and immediately write it off as overkill, but at least half of those books will likely be children’s books, graphic novels and encyclopedias – not to mention books that will merely adapt existing films. Honestly, it would come as a surprise if even half of the announced books end up being fully-fledged novels with entirely new material. Also remaining to be seen: Whether the books will actually be worth reading, or if they’re barely legible dreck like half the Expanded Universe was (yeah, we said it).[via Entertainment Weekly]