Thursday, February 4, 2016

Marvel Star Wars Editor Looks Back at 2015 and Previews 2016 Comics

By: Dominic Jones

Marvel comics has had the Star Wars comics licence for over a year now and one of the people in charge of guiding the franchise through the panels, Jordan D. White, spoke with IGN recently to reflect on 2015 and look ahead to 2016.  White reflects on the success of the ongoing series' as well as the several miniseries that were released throughout the year.

On how he got the job working on Star Wars comics, White told IGN,
"Well, when I was first brought in on the project, which was before it was announced that Marvel was going to be doing Star Wars books, before it was announced that Dark Horse was going to stop and things like that -- so this was in 2013 -- they said to me, "We're going to have you edit the Star Wars line," and they said to me, "The ideal situation would be this becomes its own group of books, like the Avengers books and the X-Men books. This would be another big franchise of books." I was very excited by that prospect.

Star Wars is such a huge, cultural thing. It was right at the beginning of the buildup to the movie at that point, so it felt like the right time to bring it back in a big way and make as much of a splash as possible. Realistically, I think we succeeded beyond our expectations completely.

The first time that I was told that our first issue was going to sell more than a million copies, I thought they were joking with me. I was like, "Haha, that's funny." And they were like, "No, we're serious." I couldn't believe it. It's amazing. Obviously, a lot goes into that -- a lot of marketing, a lot of variant covers, and there was a lot of excitement for the movie, and excitement for Marvel picking up the line. But I'm very proud of the fact that, after that crazy-huge launch, people seemed to really love the series, and it's continued to be a bestseller for the entire year. Star Wars itself has been in the Top 10 pretty much every month -- I'd have to double check -- which is amazing. And the fact that Darth Vader is right up there with it, people are just as excited for that book, if not more depending on the Originals' fans' taste.

In addition, every miniseries we've launched has launched huge. People are rushing to check out everything we do. It blew my mind. I mean, I've worked on popular books before, having worked on Deadpool -- which I'm still working on -- but nothing compared to this. This did absolutely better than I had expected it to do. Not to say I didn't expect it to do well, but it's kind of amazing and humbling how terrific the reception has been."

He also talked about what it was like working with the Lucasfilm Story Group, the team which overseas all Star Wars storytelling, saying,
"Well, I would say the biggest challenge is also probably also the thing that's one of the biggest strengths, which is that we are working very closely with Lucasfilm to make sure that these are in the new canon. So that's a big benefit, because we can say to fans -- and we do -- "This is part of the story of Star Wars."

When we showed in Star Wars #6 and in Darth Vader #6, in one of those crossover moments, Darth Vader learning Luke Skywalker was his son and that that's who blew up the Death Star, that is how he learns it now. That is that moment across all Star Wars media. That is the new canon version. So that benefit is terrific, because it lends a weight to our stories.

On the other hand, obviously, that can be very challenging because there's a lot of coordination that goes into that. So, like I said, we work very closely with the Lucasfilm Story Group to vet every single story we do. We send them everything. We send them the scripts; we get notes back on the scripts. We send them the art; we get notes back on the art. We send them the final comic, and we get notes on that as well. We work together to make sure that we're telling good stories, that we're telling stories that will fit into the new canon, that we're not contradicting other novels or other video games they're working on or other movies they're working on or other TV shows they're working on, and to make sure that everything adds up to one giant story rather than just a bunch of stuff that is tangentially connected.

We're trying to work towards one cohesive saga and universe. So it can be really tough, but I think in the end it's pretty rewarding. So we're pretty happy about it."

"When you look at the main characters of The Force Awakens -- all of whom are super awesome, by the way -- Poe is definitely the one whose previous stories are adventure stories. He's an ace pilot, and he trained with the Republic, and then he shifted to working with the Resistance. So there's a lot of adventures to talk about there and to tell stories about. So yeah, we've got Charles Soule working on that book, and he's coming up with lots of different adventure ideas that Poe is going to be going on, which is pretty exciting.

I know a lot of people have been saying they want an X-Wing squadron series. A lot of them were talking about a slightly different X-Wing squadron than the one we ended up going with. They were talking about maybe a Wedge Antilles series, from the earlier films. But I think people are very excited to hear that we are going to see Poe's X-Wing squadron going on missions. It's going to be pretty sweet."

He also previewed what else we can expect from Marvel in 2016,
"I can't say too much. Obviously our plans will get revealed as the solicits come out and as we make announcements at conventions. But as we did last year, there will be continuing series of miniseries that will keep coming out. So right now we're doing Obi-Wan & Anakin, and we've got plans for more minis over the course of the year that, again, we're just not ready to announce yet. But some really awesome characters that are big fan favorites, and then some that are going to surprise people as well, some that people are not going to be expecting miniseries about just yet that will be very exciting."

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