Comic-Con: Marvel reveals ‘Star Wars,’ Darth Vader, Leia comics

July 26, 2014 | 4:27 p.m.
star wars 1 cassaday cov Comic Con: Marvel reveals Star Wars, Darth Vader, Leia comics

"Star Wars" No. 1 is set after the 1977 original film and is written by Jason Aaron ("Thor, God of Thunder") and drawn by John Cassaday ("Astonishing X-Men"). (John Cassaday / Marvel)

star wars leia dodson cov Comic Con: Marvel reveals Star Wars, Darth Vader, Leia comics

"Star Wars: Princess Leia" No. 1 is the start of a five-issue series by writer Mark Waid ("Daredevil") and artist Terry Dodson ("Marvel Knights Spider-Man"). (Terry Dodson / Marvel)

star wars vader granov cov Comic Con: Marvel reveals Star Wars, Darth Vader, Leia comics

"Star Wars: Darth Vader" No. 1 is by writer Kieron Gillen ("Invincible Iron Man," "Young Avengers") and artist Salvador Larroca ("X-Treme X-Men"). Cover by Adi Granov. (Marvel)

Marvel is launching back into “Star Wars” comics with major creative Force, with three series – a core title, plus a Darth Vader ongoing and a Princess Leia miniseries — rolling out in January, February and March.

Writer Jason Aaron (“Thor, God of Thunder”) and John Cassaday (“Astonishing X-Men”), who Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada introduced to the “Cup o’ Joe” Comic-Con International panel Saturday afternoon as “Jedis,” will pick up the story right after the original film in January’s “Star Wars” No. 1, an ongoing monthly series.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s 1977, and we’ve just been hired to produce the direct sequel to that original movie,” Aaron said. “I want everybody here who reads this book to feel like I felt when I was a kid and first met these characters … I want you to feel that same childlike wonder and glee, because that’s exactly what I feel when I sit down to write it. One of the biggest geek-out moments I’ve had as a writer was getting to write C-3PO dialogue.”

Cassaday added that “we’re not treating it as an additional story — this is the in-between movie, so we’re treating it that seriously, we’re trying to give it that kind of respect.”

Editor in Chief Axel Alonso said that Marvel was working with Lucasfilm’s story group, and that the comics’ part of the saga will be as relevant as any other medium’s: “These stories really count,” he said.

"Star Wars: Darth Vader" No. 1 is by writer Kieron Gillen ("Invincible Iron Man," "Young Avengers") and artist Salvador Larroca ("X-Treme X-Men"). Cover by Adi Granov. (Marvel)

“Star Wars: Darth Vader” No. 1 is by writer Kieron Gillen (“Invincible Iron Man,” “Young Avengers”) and artist Salvador Larroca (“X-Treme X-Men”). Cover by Adi Granov. (Marvel)

The main series’ debut will be followed in February by the launch of “Star Wars: Darth Vader,” which Alonso characterized as separate from the Aaron-Cassaday project but intertwined and happening at the same time. The Sith Lord’s solo title will be written by Kieron Gillen (“Invincible Iron Man,” “Young Avengers”) and drawn by Salvador Larroca (“Uncanny Avengers”).

Editor Jordan White said Gillen pitched it as, “At the end of ‘Star Wars,’ Vader is the sole survivor of the biggest loss the Empire has ever had. But when we see him at the beginning of ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ he’s even more powerful than ever. In the first movie, they literally make fun of him for using the Force. And in the second one, everybody’s afraid of him at all times. So what happened in between? … We’re going to show that story of him rising to his full, full power.”

White also insinuated that bounty hunters including Boba Fett and IG-88 will appear in the “Vader” series.

The five-issue miniseries “Star Wars: Princess Leia,” by Eisner Award-winning writer Mark Waid (“Daredevil”) and Terry Dodson, launches in March.

“Obviously, in the first film, her home planet (or at least her adopted home planet – spoilers) is blown up, and as she says, there is no time for her sorrows right then – but there is time for her sorrows in this,” White said, adding that it wouldn’t just be her crying, but her as a kick-ass hero.

It was also announced that limited-edition lithographs by Cassaday would be at the Marvel booth on Sunday, with Aaron and the artist signing.

The titles marks a homecoming of the George Lucas-created franchise’s comics after more than 20 years away from Marvel, which published the first “Star Wars” comics beginning in 1977 with the official movie adaptation by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin, followed by some off-kilter stories that introduced some eccentric characters to the “Star Wars” universe (see green space rabbit Jaxxon).

“Star Wars” comics explored more of the galaxy at Dark Horse Comics, which took over the license in 1991 and succeeded in making “Star Wars” series and graphic novels one of its flagship titles, beginning with Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s “Dark Empire.”

Dark Horse currently has a popular series called simply “Star Wars,” also set in the interim between the original film and “The Empire Strikes Back.” It is written by Brian Wood, who also pens “X-Men” for Marvel.

The franchise’s return to Marvel was announced in February.

Blake Hennon and Noelene Clark | Google+ | @LATHeroComplex

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