With The Last Jedi now filling out theater seats, it seems that the Star Wars franchise is not only still going strong at forty years old, but more popular than ever.
2018 is set to be another busy year for fans of that galaxy far, far away. The big release is undoubtedly Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Ron Howard-directed spin-off movie that will reveal the early days of everyone’s favorite wisecracking scoundrel, with Alden Ehrenreich taking on the iconic vest of Harrison Ford.
One film isn’t enough to satiate the hunger for adventure felt by us obsessive Star Wars fans. Thankfully, the good folk at Disney has a whole load of tales coming our way in the new year, in the form of comic books, novels, TV series, video games, and more.
With such a wealth of content, it’s difficult to know where to start. We’ve compiled a list of Star Wars spin-offs to look out for across 2018, from the continued rise to power of the Empire’s most deadly mastermind to one-shots following some of the great new characters from The Last Jedi.
Here are 15 Star Wars Stories You Didn’t Know Were Coming In 2018.
15. DJ’s Prequel
A shady slicer found in the casinos of Canto Bight, Benicio Del Toro’s DJ is encountered by the heroes of the Resistance in The Last Jedi. Like many of the bit players in the Star Wars movies, there’s a lot more of his story to be explored.
That story will come in the form of a one-shot comic from Marvel. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – DJ will be released on January 31, with a script from Ben Acker and Ben Blacker – the writing duo behind previous Star Wars comic The Storms of Crait and podcast Thrilling Adventure Hour. The art is by Kev Walker, who’s worked on the Doctor Aphra series.
14. Thrawn and Vader
One of the greatest villains of the old Expanded Universe was Grand Admiral Thrawn, the military mastermind of the Empire. He recently stormed into the new canon as a villain in Rebels and the protagonist of his own novel from Timothy Zahn.
Zahn returns to the character for another book, Thrawn: Alliances, to be released on June 26. The alliance in question (or one of them) is between two of the Emperor’s most feared servants, as this book will see Thrawn team up with Darth Vader to take on a new threat to the Empire, allwhile continuing his rise to military supremacy.
The novel also promises to take us into the blue-skinned Chiss’ past, showing Thrawn’s first meeting with a pre-Vader Anakin Skywalker. Will he ever figure out the two are one and the same? If anyone can, it’s Mitth’raw’nuruodo.
13. Two Last Jedi Novelizations – Including One By ‘Shakespeare’
By March 8, 2018, we fans will have undoubtedly seen The Last Jedi enough times to know it inside and out; possibly even so many times that we’re not in the mood to watch it again – if that’s possible.
No problem, because that’s the day Jason Fry’s novelization of the movie is set to be released. We’ll be able to experience the story in a whole new format, and dig deeper into the worlds and characters it explores.
Then, on July 10, there’ll be yet another adaptation, William Shakespeare’s The Last Jedi. It’s actually written by Ian Doescher (in case you were in any doubt) but imitates Shakespeare’s style in its retelling of the film. This will be the latest in a series of such adaptations, all of which have provided a fun read.
12. Rebels Series Finale
Animated series Rebels started out as the story of a small group of insurgents on the planet Lothal, and has seen that gang grow to join the wider Rebel Alliance as the first skirmishes of the Galactic Civil War have been fought.
The second half of season four, expected in early 2018, will bring that all to a head, as Rebels will end after this season. Series creator Dave Filoni has confirmed that this has always been the plan, so as to give the series a proper ending rather than letting it run on and fade out.
We can expect these episodes to resolve the previous mid-season cliffhanger, in which Hera was captured by Thrawn’s forces, and to bring Ezra Bridger’s Jedi training to a conclusion. It might also tie in with the events of the movies, as we’ve already seen the Ghost appear during the events of Rogue One.
11. New Han And Chewie adventures
With the Han Solo movie coming out in May, it’s no surprise that a load of 2018’s Star Wars content is going to be themed around everyone’s favorite scoundrel.
One such release is Smuggler’s Run, a comic adaptation of Greg Rucka’s 2015 junior novel. Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the story sees Han and Chewie sent on a secret mission to rescue an ally of the Rebel Alliance, only to run into trouble with some bounty hunters.
This will be published by Panini, written by Alec Worley, and drawn by Ingo Römling. However, it’s only been confirmed so far for the German Star Wars Magazin, with the first installment published in the issue released on January 3. It hopefully won’t be long before an English language version appears.
10. Forces Of Destiny
Forces of Destiny is an animated series broadcast on the Disney YouTube channel, focusing on female heroes from all eras of the Star Wars galaxy. It’s been popular enough to have earned itself a comic book spin-off.
The Forces of Destiny comics will be published by IDW, the company behind the Star Wars Adventures range, and like the web series, each of the five planned issues will feature a different heroine. The first, set to be released January 3, will star Princess Leia in a story set on Hoth.
Released throughout January will be stories featuring Rey, Hera Syndulla, a team-up of Ahsoka Tano and Padmé Amidala, and The Last Jedi’s sisters Rose and Paige Tico. Together, they’ll show that the women of Star Wars can kick as much stormtrooper/battle droid butt as the men.
9. Secrets of the Empire VR
Virtual reality is fast becoming a big thing in the world of gaming, and the Star Wars brand is jumping on that bandwagon with Secrets of the Empire, which sends teams of four on a mission for the Rebel Alliance.
Under the command of Captain Cassian Andor and with the assistance of K-2SO (with Rogue One stars Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk reprising their roles), the rebel squad is sent to the volcanic planet Mustafar to recover Imperial intelligence. They must disguise as stormtroopers, fight lava monsters, and solve puzzles in order to complete their mission.
Technically, we’re cheating a bit here, as the attraction opened this month in Orlando and London, but Secrets of the Empire will come to Anaheim, California on January 5. If you’re able to get to California, start practising your blaster shooting now!
8. Rose Tico’s One-Shot
IDW’s Star Wars Adventures, the anthology series aimed at “the next generation of comic book fans”, has several issues lined up for the new year, and will be bringing in more fan-favorite characters.
Its first issue of 2018, set to be released on January 10, will see the Adventures debut of Rose Tico, the Resistance’s maintenance worker as played by Kelly Marie Tran in The Last Jedi. The one-issue story will focus on her as a First Order threat puts her front and center, though she prefers to solve problems from behind the scenes.
7. A Bounty On Vader’s Head
Marvel has several Star Wars comic lines that will be continuing into the new year. There’s the main line, simply titled Star Wars; the ongoing adventures of Doctor Aphra; the new trilogy era Poe Dameron; and Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith.
Written by Charles Soule and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Dark Lord of the Sith is set during the early years of Darth Vader, showing his first adventures after Episode III. It’s also one of our top recommendations at the moment, and 2018 is set to see an explosive new story arc in its pages.
Beginning in the eleventh issue, released on February 14, the story will see an expensive bounty placed on Vader’s head. As well as dealing with the galaxy’s most dangerous bounty hunters, he’ll have to investigate who placed it – someone wants to challenge his position in the Empire!
6. Solo: A Star Wars Story (ft. Tag and Bink)
You know about Solo, the Han-centric spin-off movie coming to theater screens on May 25, but what you might not know is that two characters from the Expanded Universe comics will be showing up alongside Alden Ehrenreich’s young scoundrel.
The characters in question are Tag Greenley and Bink Otuana. In Kevin Rubio’s Tag and Bink are Dead series, these two characters bumbled their way through the major events of all the movies, from their origin as hopeless Padawans to ending up on the Death Star disguised as stormtroopers, always somehow scraping out alive.
Director Ron Howard confirmed Tag and Bink’s appearance in Solo with a photo on Twitter, which features the characters dressed as Imperial Officers and played by screenwriter Jon Kasdan and assistant director Toby Hefferman. It’s likely to be a cameo, but one that will finally make two beloved characters canon.
5. Are You Scared, Darth Vader?
Star Wars is a great franchise to get young fans into reading, and that trend looks to continue with a series of fun books aimed at a younger audience planned for release in 2018.
January 2 will see the release of Forces of Destiny: The Leia Chronicles, another tie-in to the web series, which will feature three exciting adventures about Princess Leia. More Forces of Destiny books can be expected later in the year.
Then there’s Jedi Academy: The Principal Strikes Back on July 31. This latest installment in the light-hearted grade school-age series continues Victor Starspeeder’s struggles growing up as a Force user.
On the same day comes Are You Scared, Darth Vader?, in which writer and artist Adam Rex asks what the Sith Lord is afraid of. The illustrations for this book look like they’ll seriously entrance young readers.
4. Thrawn’s Origin Story
Mitth’raw’nuruodo is a favorite character of the Star Wars range these days. On top of his novel and Rebels appearances, Thrawn will be getting his own six-part comic book series.
The comic, named Thrawn, is an adaptation of Timothy Zahn’s previous novel, also called Thrawn (Star Wars does love using character names as titles). The story follows Thrawn’s early days as an officer in the Chiss Ascendancy, his purported exile during which he discovered the Galactic Empire, and the beginning of his rise through the ranks of the Imperial Navy.
This might not be a totally new story, but it will expand on the tale and make it a visual treat. There’s solid talent on board too – writer Jody Hauser (of the Rogue One adaptation as well as Spider-Man and Supergirl titles) and artist Luke Ross (The Force Awakens and Darth Maul miniseries).
3. Rise To Power Mobile Game
Admittedly, the future of Star Wars video games isn’t particularly thrilling at the moment, especially since the closure of Visceral Games meant that the promising Amy Hennig-directed title is no more. But here’s one that could be interesting for mobile gamers.
Star Wars: Rise to Power is a strategy game for cell phones, in which, as the official synopsis describes, “the war between the Empire and the dawning New Republic continues to rage on – and players influence who will ultimately reign supreme.” With the option to progress via military might, diplomacy, or deception, it should keep players engaged as they determine the future of the galaxy.
The inclusion of the New Republic sets it in the years following Return of the Jedi. Further details on Rise to Power are scarce at the moment, but with a Closed Pre-Alpha test currently ongoing, a 2018 release seems likely.
2. Star Wars Manga
Why should American-style comics have the monopoly on Star Wars books? Coming soon are a bunch of manga adaptations of Star Wars novels from Japanese artists.
There’s the adaptation of Claudia Gray’s young adult novel Lost Stars, about two star-crossed lovers – one fighting for the Rebellion and the other for the Empire. The manga, illustrated by Komiyama Yuusaku, was first published as a webcomic in Japan this year, but an English language translation is in the works and will be released on May 1.
Also coming are webcomics adapting the first chapters of Paul S. Kemp’s Lords of the Sith and Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi. These have been produced as part of a competition run by publisher LINE to find new artists, and AOKI was chosen as the winner. His take on the stories will see publication sometime in the coming months.
1. Han Solo Comic Collection
With the Solo movie hitting theaters at the end of May, Marvel is jumping on the bandwagon and releasing a Han-themed hardcover collection on May 15.
The Han Solo collection will make a great gift for any wannabe smugglers. It’s a selection of two of Han’s best adventures from the Marvel lines. There’s the five-part Han Solo miniseries, written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Mark Brooks. This Cannonball Run-inspired story sees Han infiltrate the most dangerous starship race in the galaxy on a mission for the Rebel Alliance.
The volume will also reprint Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon, a five-part story from the main Star Wars ongoing, written by Jason Aaron and with art by Stuart Immonen. This sees Han and Leia, on the search for a new Rebel base, encounter a face from Han’s past – Sana Solo, who claims to be his wife.
What Star Wars story are you most excited for in 2018? Let us know in the comments!
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