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While it was certainly inevitable, Friday’s announcement that Dark Horse will lose the Star Wars license after more than two decades to Disney-owned Marvel nonetheless left many longtime readers dismayed, to say the least. To those fans, Dark Horse Vice President of Publishing Randy Stradley points out a silver lining: “[If] Dark Horse must lose the license, this is probably a good time for it.”
“From my perspective, the upcoming films will mean less freedom to do what we at Dark Horse have always done best: expanding the universe,” Stradley, who has served as senior editor of the Star Wars line since 2002, wrote Sunday on his Facebook page. “With a new film scheduled every year, and a new television series, it is likely that there will be a lot of comics pages devoted to adaptations and direct spin-off stories in support of the films and TV shows. That’s not where my interests lie, and it has never been Dark Horse’s strong suit. That would be too much like real work to me. Probably, the coming years will be a great time to be a Star Wars fan (especially a *new* Star Wars fan), and I hope you all enjoy the ride, but I think I’m going to be glad to not be in the mix.”
Indeed, Marvel takes up the license in 2015, just as corporate sibling Lucasfilm prepares for the Dec. 18 release of of the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars: Episode VII, which kicks off not only a new trilogy but a series of spinoff origin films that will together carry the franchise through 2021. Add to that the 2015 premiere of Star Wars Rebels, an animated television series set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
“I am immensely proud of all of the work that has been done by our many, many creators over the years,” Stradley continued. “I would urge you to channel your anger into thanks for them. Go find them — most of them are on Facebook — and tell them thank you. I guarantee all of them could benefit from a kind word right now. […] And, finally, I want to thank all of the fans for the years of support. Even if we weren’t always 100% successful, we always tried to give you more than you expected. It was your interest that fueled our creativity.”