The release of the first Star Wars film in over a decade is fast approaching. Though, since Star Wars: The Force Awakens is continuing the saga some 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, it actually feels like we've been waiting much longer for this next chapter.
In the months until then, the Disney/Lucasfilm braintrust is bridging the gap between Episodes VI and VII with the release of 20 different books (novels, comics, sticker books, etc.) in a series labeled Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And as Disney has already seen great success with their new Marvel Star Wars comics (as well as a line of Star Wars Rebels novels), that trend is only going to continue with the more Star Wars-related media they release.
First on the Journey to... docket is a novel from Chuck Wendig, titled Star Wars: Aftermath. This book will explore the vacuum of power left by the crumbling Empire and its effect on different regions throughout the galaxy. Aftermath is also expected to introduce a few characters that audiences will later see in The Force Awakens, which is how most of these tie-in books will likely work - offering just enough new information to tease the upcoming film.
Following Aftermath's release in September, Marvel Comics will release a new four issue miniseries titled Star Wars: Shattered Empire from writer Greg Rucka and artist Marco Checchetto. Shattered Empire will further explore the slow death of the Empire, building towards the ominous First Order we'll see in The Force Awakens.
Marvel recently revealed the synopsis for Shattered Empire as well as a new variant cover via PREVIEWSworld. Check them out below:
"Emperor Palpatine’s twenty-year reign of terror came to an abrupt and fiery end in the skies above the forest moon of Endor. A decisive victory for the Rebel Alliance, to be sure, but even with the loss of its leadership, the Empire’s Moffs and regional governors retained their hold on important systems from the Core to the Outer Rim, thanks to the might of the Imperial Starfleet. Now, with a power vacuum atop the Empire, those Moffs will jockey for position and control, and the heroes of the Rebel Alliance will soon discover that a wounded and fractious Empire may be more dangerous than any threat they faced before!"
As you can see, Shattered Empire is in much the same vein as Wendig's Aftermath and will establish what's been happening with the forces of evil post-The Battle of Endor. What this could mean for The Force Awakens, however, is that characters like Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma could easily be an Imperial vying for power after the death of Emperor. Her role as the chrome-clad trooper has been shrouded in mystery - we have yet to actually see her face in any marketing! - but within either Aftermath or Shattered Empire we learn a little of her beginnings.
And all this talk about the Empire and First Order is well and good, but what about our heroes? Well, there's no mention of them in Marvel's press release, but the familiar faces of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Lando and the droids are featured prominently on Shattered Empire's official cover by artist Phil Noto, so surely they play some role. Take a look below:
Are you intrigued by the little Disney/Lucasfilm has been revealing about what happened between Episodes VI and VII? Do you plan on picking up either Aftermath or Shattered Empire? What do expect Star Wars' heroes have been up to as the Empire scrambles to keep its hold on the galaxy? Sound off in the comments below!
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 is scheduled to release on September 2, 2015, a collected edition containing all four issues is scheduled for release on November 17th 2015. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.