STAR WARS Comics Move from Dark Horse to Marvel Starting in 2015

     January 3, 2014


Just announced today, Marvel Entertainment will begin printing Star Wars comics and graphic novels starting in 2015.  While this move was predicted by many as Disney continues to synergize more of its properties, it comes as a blow to the comic book publisher, Dark Horse Comics.  Dark Horse, which is an alternative to the big two publishers of the comic world in Marvel and DC Comics respectively, has published comics of the property since 1991, with its first story, Star Wars: Dark Empire.

Prior to this however, Marvel had actually printed a long Star Wars ongoing series beginning in 1977 and ending in 1986, before jettisoning the property to focus on more superhero fare.  Hit the jump for more.

marvel-star-wars-comicBoth publishers issued statements to fans today from their representatives.  We’ve posted them below, starting with Mike Richardson (Founder of Dark Horse Comics):

“All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.

For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.

It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.”

star-wars-dark-empire-dark-horseHere’s the statement from Dan Buckley (Marvel Worldwide Publisher and President) regarding the announcement.

“We here at Marvel could not be more excited to continue the publication of Star Wars comic books and graphic novels. The perennial brand of Star Wars is one of the most iconic in entertainment history and we are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand Star Wars into galaxies far, far away.”

As one chapter closes, another begins.  For those distressed about the move, don’t worry, there’s still a full year of stories left for Dark Horse to tell with Star Wars.  Who knows?  Perhaps we’ll see a Guardians of the Galaxy/Star Wars crossover come down the pike now that Marvel and Lucasfilm have their chickens in the same roost.

Want to read Star Wars books from Dark Horse? Check out the following titles:




  • Darren

    It’s interesting that Disney can do this with comics, but can’t move back the X-men/Spiderman movie franchises to Marvel Studios.

    • Leo Spaceman

      The 4 Spiderman movies cost 800 million dollars to make, they have earned 3.2 billion dollars. so in a little more than a decade they have earned 2.4 billion dollars and if you figure that they only see half of that for whatever expenses then in the past 12 years that have made 1.2 billion dollars off of the spiderman movies alone.

      At making a hundred million dollars a year, it is going to be quite a pricey franchise to buy back. The studio will own the Spiderman movies for the foreseeable future and are taking plans to develop their own universe which will only increase revenue. Even if Disney offered them a billion dollars to buy the rights back, the studio would make more money over the course of one decade if they just keep producing the films, because lets face it, people are going to come out in droves to every Spiderman film they make and at the end of the decade that they made the billion dollars they still own the rights to Spiderman and can make another billion dollars over the second decade and the decade after that.

      So what would be the price of bringing Spiderman back to Marvel? 2 billion dollars? How many Spiderman movies would Marvel have to make to just break even on getting the rights back for the franchise? Disney could maybe buy it back out of pride and lower taxes by saying something like hey we are losing millions of dollars on this franchise but thats a long shot.

      Who knows, maybe I am way off base with all of my guesses, but I am sure that Marvel is at the disadvantage because they want to buy back the rights to something that is in high demand so they can be given an unreasonable number. I would like to see it come into the Marvel fold, but I just don’t see it happening. The most likely possibility is that the studios try to work out some deal to start merging the worlds into a shared universe and then the studio rents out the rights of Spiderman for the Avengers movies.

      • Darren

        I just don’t understand how Marvel could negotiate a deal that these studios will own these licenses in perpetuity as long as the studios keep making them. They should have at least added in a 10-15 year timeframe on them.

      • Leo Spaceman

        Not sure either, but didn’t James Cameron try to make a Spiderman movie in the early 1990′s? If they bought the rights way back then I am sure that a small time Comic Book Company was in love with the big dollar signs being passed around in front of them. They probably had no real plans back then to develop a Massive Marvel universe in cinemas. With the technology the way it was back then, they couldn’t even comprehend that it would be possible to have Iron Man or Hulk or Thor on the big screen and have it look real, let alone have them all on the big screen at the same time. The comic book company probably never thought they would need the movie rights.

      • rocky728

        It wasn’t love of dollar signs. The company was coming out of bankruptcy. If anything studios took advantage of Marvel being in a weak position.
        Sooner or later if the rights don’t come back to Marvel I can see this ending up in court.

      • The Destroyer

        Because in the 90′s/early 2000′s, Marvel Studios didn’t exist yet. So Marvel was licensing the movie rights for comics to the highest bidder, unlike DC who had a solid deal with Warner Brothers. It didn’t seem like they were really planning for the future, they were just trying to get money. They also sold the theme park rights to Universal, so don’t expect a Iron Man ride at Disney any time soon. It wasn’t until midway through the 2000′s that they decided to open their own studio, and make their own movies.

      • Darren

        I get that, but I don’t understand how there isn’t a timeline on these things.

      • The Destroyer

        They do have timelines, depending on if there are movies being made. It’s all really complicated legal gibberish.

      • Leo Spaceman

        It has a lot of what rocky728 had to say. I thought they might have been bankrupt and in dire need of cash, but I didn’t know the enough about the comic world to want to comment on it in case I was mistaken. But Rocky is absolutely right that studios could have taken advantage. When you are going through bankruptcy I think the courts have the rights to sell your assets and the movie rights to franchises are a damn good way to get quick money as far as the courts are concerned. If they did have to sell the movie rights, they weren’t in a position make demands. The best they could have hoped for was that they only get the movie rights back if the movie isn’t made within a certain time frame which is the case with the films like The Punisher or Ghost Rider. So in a way there is a time frame.

      • eternalozzie

        keep in mind marvel was not in great financial shape when the deals were made back in the day.

    • The Destroyer

      Simple, Disney owns the rights to Star Wars comics, and can take them to whatever publisher they want to. But they do not own Marvel Comics or the rights to Spiderman/X-Men/Fantastic 4/Silver Surfer/who ever else, so they can’t buy them back unless they are willing to pay several billions of dollars. Better to wait for those licensing deals to go up, and then swoop in.

      • Devin Reed

        Marvel Entertainment is a subsidiary of Disney. Which includes publishing. So yes, Disney very much owns Marvel Comics.

  • Strong Enough

    damn. sorry dark horse

    • Strong Enough


  • Devin Reed

    If anything, I’d love to see a non-canonical crossover of Indiana Jones and Captain America (set in the 40′s, of course).

  • JJF

    i hope we get patton oslwalts star wars filibuster now. that would be epic. even if its just a comic for fun.

  • Andrew from Troy

    Star Lord vs. Boba Fett. Make it happen now.

    • Skinny Pete

      Patton Oswald’s fan script gonna be fer real now, yo!

  • rivertreeradar

    just as i scrolled down seeing the picture first i got excited thinking something was finally happening with episode 7.

  • The Flobbit

    This is clearly the first step in Disney’s plan to dominate the entire world. Next up, news that Disney has acquired Batman and Superman, and is planning on moving on to computers.

    • Cog

      Already bought the ears.

      • The Flobbit

        And I’ve stocked up on canned food.

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  • big_log

    Sorry, Dark Horse. Milwaukie still loves you (as spoken by a next-door employee).

  • Doug

    I’ve been reading Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics for over 15 years. While
    they have not all been gems, there was some great stuff in there. This
    is another reason why I’m growing more embittered towards the Star Wars
    franchise. This is the perfect jumping off point.

  • Old Soldier

    Now let’s all pretend Dark Empire NEVER existed.

  • Steven Ray Morris

    So many riffs on star wars phrases in those press releases!