Del Rey's Star Wars collection has long been the go-to place for all the extra canonical goodies diehard fans need after watching The Force Awakens. From Aftermath, a trilogy set during the final year of the Empire following the battle of Endor, to Bloodline, a Leia-centric piece exploring the rise of the Resistance, there's something for everyone. Even Legends fans will be able to enjoy the rise of fan-favorite baddie Thrawn in the upcoming Thrawn novel, written by Legends favorite Timothy Zahn. With Thrawn out next week, there seemed to be no upcoming novels on their slate.
However, a mysterious tweet posted today by Del Rey's Star Wars twitter pointed to that changing very soon. According to the tweet, tomorrow is the day that Operation: Blue Milk, the project's codename, will be revealed to the public. This is ahead of Del Rey's Star Wars book panel at Celebration Orlando. It's unusual for them to make such a big announcement ahead of the con, but there must be a reason. Maybe they didn't want their novel to get lost in the shuffle of The Last Jedi news? Or maybe they wanted to announce this project ahead of time to prepare audiences and fans for more announcements that would happen at the panel itself.
In the wake of the announcement, many authors, including Star Wars vets Chuck Wendig and Delilah S. Dawson, tweeted about Operation: Blue Milk. Wendig previously wrote the Aftermath trilogy, while Dawson worked on the short story The Perfect Weapon. Other authors such as Ken Liu have not previously worked for Lucasfilm. With the number of authors tweeting teases, there are several theories as to what Operation: Blue Milk might be. Of course, the code name itself offers up several clues as well -- after all, there are only a few characters associated with the memorable drink that appears in A New Hope.
— Star Wars Books (@DelReyStarWars) April 6, 2017
Given that Del Rey announced a Journey to The Force Awakens publishing initiative in March 2015, the same year as The Force Awakens was released, it could be that Operation: Blue Milk is code for a Journey to The Last Jedi series. After all, we saw the man who could well be the last Jedi sipping blue milk with his aunt and uncle in A New Hope; given the hype around Luke's return, it would make sense to title the newest wave of Star Wars novels after him. It would also explain why there are so many authors tweeting about the project: a new wave of novels would mean more opportunities for different writers.
What might be part of that wave? Many of the Journey to The Force Awakens books focused on the end of the Empire as well as the formation of the Resistance and the First Order. Legacy characters who frequently appeared in those novels and comics were Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han (Harrison Ford); Luke made an appearance in the comic miniseries Shattered Empire, but is noticeably absent in all the other works. A Journey to The Last Jedi series could include a Luke-centric novel slated for publication following the film's release that details where Luke has been all this time (and maybe show how he and Rey are connected, assuming one popular parentage theory is true).
Other characters who could benefit from a new focus in the novels are Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Snoke (Andy Serkis). Despite Leia being a prominent character in the universe of the books, Kylo barely makes an appearance; he is shown as an infant in Aftermath: Empire's End and is referenced in Bloodline. Details of his fall to the Dark Side are few and far between. A Kylo-centric novel could fill in the gaps that the films leave, showing us exactly how he became the Master of the Knights of Ren. Similarly, Aftermath: Empire's End and Thrawn tease some danger growing in the Unknown Regions. Mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke could also get the backstory treatment, especially if he is from the Unknown Regions. A pre-Last Jedi novel exploring how he came to be the head of the First Order over Imperials Rae Sloane and Brendol Hux (who's son Armitage is shown leading troops in The Force Awakens) would also lend clarity to a villain who has not entirely won over the fan base.
This all is based on the assumption that Operation: Blue Milk refers to multiple books. There is also the possibility of it referring to a single book, an anthology if you will. Given that multiple authors are involved, the book could be an anthology of multiple short stories all set in the Star Wars universe. This would be a way to involve prior Star Wars writers without having them commit to yet another series, as well as get new voices into the Star Wars literary world.
And what would this anthology be about? In all likelihood, it could be about Luke. He's still the character closely associated with blue milk (sorry Beru fans, but she's unlikely to draw the same level of hype). And fans have been crying for more Luke information since The Force Awakens came out. A Luke anthology series also has a lot of potential, either as a way to get fans hyped up or as a way to fill in the gaps. If it is an anthology series published before The Last Jedi comes out, then it's likely to just be character pieces set during the adventures audiences are already familiar with, and will be a tool to drum up more excitement for Luke's big screen return. If it will be published after The Last Jedi, it will no doubt chronicle the journey Luke went on that led him to that island on Ahch-To, which will be new territory for fans.
Regardless of what the future holds, Del Rey's Star Wars universe is full of promise and has had very few missteps. This new event, be it a solo book or a new publishing initiative, is bound to be as exciting as the Journey to The Force Awakens novels, and will be packed with reveals that will send fans reeling.
Screen Rant will be updating you with information about Operation: Blue Milk as it is revealed.