For over three decades, in a variety of novels, video games, comic books, reference material and other sources, the Star Wars Expanded Universe thrived, developing, deepening and, well, expanding the universe of the Star Wars films. Considered to varying degrees part of the official canon of the shared universe (for example, the name “Coruscant”, the planet from which most governments in the Star Wars Universe govern, came from the Expanded Universe), there was at least a little something for every Star Wars fan to be found in the “EU”, from detailed explorations of background characters to adventures of entirely new ones. Following the acquisition of the Star Wars franchise by Disney, however, the EU was re-branded “Star Wars Legends”, the stories therein now considered apocryphal, with all future stories set in the universe to be closely monitored, the better to keep them consistent with the films and across Disney’s new empire.
For obvious reasons, both the original Marvel series and Dark Horse’s various Star Wars titles generally tended to shy away from direct confrontations between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Such encounters were the province of the films, and even after the cinematic saga had (seemingly) ended, there was, presumably, a desire to not water down their existing interactions too much by writing in a ton of off screen battles. Both characters were staples of the Expanded Universe, but rarely interacted with one another directly.
Star Wars #1 marks the return of the Star Wars license to Marvel Comics following parent-company Disney’s acquisiton of the Star Wars brand and the expiration of Dark Horse Comics’ license to the property (Dark Horse had been publishing Star Wars comics since 1991, while the first Star Wars comics launched at Marvel in 1977 with an adaptation of the first film which led to an ongoing series that ran for 110 issues; both sets of stories have since been rebranded as non-canonical “Legends”), the first of four new series (for now) to which Marvel intends to apply their not-unimpressive skills at comic book making to the Star Wars brand.
I had a plan, I swear. In the days leading up to November 28th, me and a friend had negotiated the logistics of seeing a movie at one of the theatres listed on J.J.’s announcement—what to do if they’re sold out, what to do if for some reason we picked a movie that had no trailer in front of it (Plan B: sneak into the beginning of a different movie after ours ended)—all in the name of the purity of experiencing the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer as it was meant to be experienced. As a spectacle, as a special event, as a collective moment of excitement and anticipation.