Marvel to Publish Star Wars Comics in 2015

In a move that brings the Star Wars franchise under the Disney umbrella, Marvel announced today that it is set to exclusively publish Star Wars comics in 2015.

In 2009, Disney purchased Marvel, placing the entire entertainment giant under the Disney corporate umbrella. In 2011, the purchase of Lucasfilm put the writing on the wall for Dark Horse comics who have held the license for Star Wars since 1991. As of today, Marvel has announced that the Star Wars comic series will be published by Marvel starting in 2015 with exclusive rights to create and publish Star Wars comics and graphic novels.

Dan Buckley, Marvel president and publisher, said in a statement:

“The perennial brand of Star Wars is one of the most iconic in entertainment history and we are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand Star Wars into galaxies far, far away”

The news is not surprising, but still sad for fans of the Dark Horse-published Star Wars series. Dark Horse has held the license since 1991 and created some of the most popular and acclaimed series in the Star Wars franchise including Star Wars: Dark Empire, and The Star Wars, which was based on George Lucas’ drastically different screen play for the movies.

Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson said in a statement:

“It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond”

Marvel originally published the first Star Wars comics in 1977 with Star Wars #1, which has sold to date over 1 million copies. Marvel went on to publish Star Wars comic series for 9 years before the license was sold to Dark Horse Comics in 1991.

The timing is further proof that Disney is banking on a big year for Star Wars in 2015, which will see the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode VII which has yet to be cast or enter production.