October 24, 2020

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An overview of Star Wars: movies, series, games, novels, comics and toys

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia wearing her metal bikini as seen in The Return of the Jedi

Welcome to my Overview of Star Wars page. This is the entry portal to a series of dedicated Star Wars pages covering the franchises movies, series, games and comics.

Movies

So far there have been eleven official Star Wars movies released. The Original Trilogy from 1977 to 1983, the Prequel trilogy from 1999 to 2005 as well as the Sequel trilogy from 2015 to 2019. In addition Disney has released two standalone movie. The first was Rogue One in 2016 and the second Solo in 2018. There are a number of other Star Wars movies, but non of them are considered canon and were made for television in the early 80s.

The movies have always been considered the backbone of the franchise, something that was keenly felt when little of the tie-in media progressed the story. After the mixed results of the Sequel trilogy Star Wars will go on a brief hiatus while Disney prepares the next batch movies better. As Kevin Feige joined Lucasfilm as a producer Disney may want to emulate the release schedule of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Currently there is a running gag that any directed who is confirmed to be working on a Star Wars movie has his career sabotaged. The sheer number of upcoming Star Wars is insane if all of the announcement are still valid. I will assume they are not. The producers of Game of Thrones have seen their movie plans axed and no mention is made Rian Johnson’s trilogy.

Despite the problems with The Last Jedi I m looking forward to a potential Rian Johnson trilogy – he is a gifted director. The only firmly confirmed Star Wars movie is by Taika Waititi. He may be directing the first in a new trilogy tentatively set for release in late 2022.

Series

There have been numerous animated Star Wars series, with The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels most famous. However, a live-action Star Wars series was for a long time considered a unicorn. A number of attempts were made most famously Underworld. In 2019 The Mandalorian was released and gave credence to the idea series might be a better format than film. Season 2 is scheduled for October 2020 and will also feature Rosario Dawson and Katee Sackhoff. However, there is more, much more. Below is a list of every confirmed Star Wars live-action series.

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi series: it will most definitely star Ewan McGregor and might be set for 2022.
  • Cassian Andor prequel: set before events of Rogue One actor Diego Luna will reprise the titular role. Current rumor has it might be released in 2021.
  • Female led series: a series has been commissioned and might be a spinoff from The Mandalorian.

Games

After the 1983 release of The Return of the Jedi the Star Wars franchise went into a bit of a funk. Little content was released. Nor was it obvious were the franchise would go. One way to keep fans happy would be through video games. There had already been a number of releases, mostly for the Atari 2600, its many clones or for the arcade halls. Most were mediocre tie-ins little remembered. George Lucas set up his gaming studio LucasArts in 1982, ostensibly as a tax write-off. Its origins can be traced further back to 1979 with the Games Group of Lucasfilm Computer Division. As the rights to Star Wars games were held by Atari it would not be before 1991 when LucasArts would release its first Star Wars game.

And so started a legacy that includes games such as Star Wars X-Wing, Star Wars TIE-fighter, Shadows of the Empire and the impressive Dark Forces series. However, by the turn of the century Star Wars games came to dominate release lineup and the quality dropped. Spectacular games such as Rogue Squadron 2 and Knight of the Old Republic were interspersed with games such as Obi-Wan and Force Commander. After the release of Revenge of the Sith LucasArts stopped making games themselves and instead licensed out the franchise before its own dissolution circa 2010. Currently there are no firm dates on upcoming Star Wars games, though there are plenty of rumors.

Novels

What few people realize about Star Wars is that its novelization was released six months before the movie. In December 1976 Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker was published by Ballantine Books and ghost written by Alan Dean Foster. By February of 1977 it had sold half a million copies, thus dispelling the myth that the success of Star Wars came out of nowhere. In fact this number would rise to three and a half million before the theatrical release of Star Wars. Alan Dean Foster is credited with expanding the backstory of Star Wars considerably. Each of the successive movies would also get a novelization.

However, despite the success of the novelizations it was not until 1991 that serious new content in novel format was released. Timothy released the first novel of what would become Heir to the Empire trilogy, also known as the Thrawn Trilogy. That along with the popularity of Star Wars video games set the franchise back into motion that would culminate with the Prequel Trilogy. Sadly, the quality of Star Wars novels are uneven to say the least. Few managed to come even close to the quality of Timothy Zahn. His exposition on race, politics and culture culminate with that of warfare. His trilogy is violent as it fleshed out the backstory of the Empire. Since then hundreds of Star Wars novels have been released of which I have read maybe a few dozen. Below is a list of upcoming novels

  • Star Wars Shadow Fall by Alexander Freed. Release set for June 23rd, this novel is the sequel to last years Alphabet Squadron which attempts to depict a hard-boiled space-combat epic.
  • Thrawn Ascendency by Timothy Zahn. The first novel of a new Thrawn series, delayed to October 6th from its original May release date.

Comics

As soon as Star Wars was released in 1977 so was a comic book. In fact, the first issue was released in April 1977. Roy Thomas was the writer and Howard Chaykin the artist. It was a very successful series that ran to 1986 with the first 6 issues adapting the original Star Wars movie.

Star Wars comics can be confusing to get into. There are numerous series that run in parallel interspersed with short run stories. Below is a brief summary of the currently ongoing comic series. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic the release of future issues have been delayed into the summer of 2020.

As you can see all of these series are practically new with no more than three or four issues released thus far. If you want you can still catch up with the story. Later in the year two more comic series will released as part of the new High Republic timeline. The first is just called The High Republic while the second, targeted at the youth market, is called The High Republic Adventures. The latter will be published by IDW.

Toys