Dark Horse Comics will be publishing the last of their Star Wars comics in August of this year. The end of their license comes in October, and Dark Horse intends to end their run early. For over 20 years, Dark Horse has maintained the comic book license on the franchise. Disney's acquisition of Star Wars, however, earmarked the series for Marvel, a Disney owned company.
Star Wars #20, Star Wars: Legacy #18 and Star Wars: Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #4 will mark the end of an era, not just for Dark Horse, but for Star Wars fans everywhere. It will also be the end of the Expanded Universe.
The Expanded Universe was built up as a kind of accessory to the movies and Dark Horse was a huge part of its ascension. During the time that no new Star Wars films or TV series were being made, the Expanded Universe became the primary source of canon for the story line.
For the purposes of Episode VII, and following episodes, Disney intends to disregard all Expanded Universe continuity. Only the first six films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (which is now streaming on Netflix) will be considered part of canon.
Episode VII will be released in 2015 and Disney has announced that Episode VIII and Episode IX are already in the works.
"Our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years," said Robert A. Iger, Disney Chairman and CEO.
It's easy to imagine the loss of Star Wars to be a huge blow to any company, Dark Horse Comics included. Although it's likely not the best news that's ever affected Dark Horse, it isn't even the most lucrative story line in their repertoire.
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind has overtaken Star Wars for months both in sales and reorders. Dark Horse has also been bringing in a ton of new titles, such as Matt Kindt's Mind MGMT, Greg Rucka's Veil, and CCP Games' Eve: Valkyrie. Due to those new titles and some golden oldies (such as Avatar, Hellboy, Conan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel), Dark Horse has been able to claim the title of 3rd largest publisher of comics.
The current streak of growth that Dark Horse is experiencing has not been seen in the company since 2011. It's safe to say that, even without the Star Wars franchise, Dark Horse will live on.
[ Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics ]