The publishing news from Celebration Anaheim was light this year, but considering most of the news we got at the last Celebration never came to pass (I’m looking at you, Sword of the Jedi), maybe that’s a good thing? We did get some important bits of information, though, and one item in particular I think most of the blogosphere is very excited about.
The Marvel and Del Rey panels ran back to back on Saturday, although all the Marvel news was released a few days earlier. The Marvel panel featured C.B. Cebulski, Jordan White, Jen Heddle, and Leland Chee. It was announced that Charles Soule and Alex Maleev will be writing Lando, a limited release series that will take the place of the current miniseries, Princess Leia. The first issue will be out in July. While Lando doesn’t have the Millennium Falcon during this pre-A New Hope time period (Han already won it), it will feature Lobot! The panel also announced the Shattered Empire team, which includes Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. While the audience praised Marvel’s Original Trilogy adaptations, the panelists confirmed we won’t be seeing The Force Awakens adaptation any time soon as there’s just too much security surrounding the film’s release.
Jordan White recapped the current Marvel releases, and revealed that “Star Wars #7″, a one-shot about Obi-Wan on Tatooine, will be drawn by Simone Bianchi. Stuart Immonen will take over full-time artist duties for John Cassaday starting in issue #8. We also learned that “Princess Leia #1″ was Mark Waid’s first ever number one selling comic, and that Greg Weisman will be writing the second arc of “Kanan”. One final piece of news out of Marvel is that Jen Heddle will be moving off Marvel and Frank Parisi will be taking over her duties. Despite the lack of news, the panel was interesting and revealed some neat insights, and it was great to hear so much enthusiasm from the audience. Most questioners were especially pleased by Princess Leia, which was heartening to see.
The Del Rey panel featured Shelly Shapiro, Jen Heddle, John Jackson Miller, James Luceno, and Christie Golden. We already knew a Battlefront novel was coming, thanks to its placement in the novel timeline and Friday’s battlefront panel. Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed will focus on what it’s like to be a soldier in the front lines during the Rebel Alliance. It’s good for gamers and non-gamers, and will not be a novelization. Look for that in November. The second not-really announcement was that A New Dawn and Tarkin will be repackaged into a single edition titled Rise of the Empire and feature three new short stories, one of which will link to Aftermath, the first post-Return of the Jedi novel in the new canon (which was announced prior to Celebration).
As for Lords of the Sith, which comes out next week (look for a review from Brian!), Heddle stated that the book will give us some insight into Hera’s view of the Empire. The novel features her father, Cham Syndulla, in a major role leading the resistance on Ryloth. Christie Golden discussed the production of Dark Disciple, coming in July, and how she worked with Dave Filoni and the story group to adapt the unproduced The Clone Wars scripts.
Finally, in the best troll of the convention, the panel opened for Q&A. An older gentleman stood up and asked if he could write The Force Awakens novelization. After some back and forth with the panelists, they said “why not” and invited him onto to stage. Surprise–it was Alan Dean Foster! He’s currently at work on the novelization, which will be released in ebook format on December 18. Yes, you heard that right: we won’t be getting the novelization prior to the film. Hallelujah! A hardcover version will come a few weeks later. And the spoiler-phobes like me rejoiced.
You can listen to the entire Del Rey panel here, and be sure to check our Twitter feed for our live tweets of both panels.