Hot on the heels of today's announcement that the Expanded Universe is becoming an alternate universe, Lucasfilm and Disney Publishing Worldwide have revealed the first Star Wars books in their new, unified canon.
The earlier announcement introduced us to Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller (with a foreword by Dave Filoni), and now we know that "this novel tells the story of how two of the lead characters of the series, Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, came to cross paths." A New Dawn will be published on September 2, 2014.
The next three novels are Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno (November 4, 2014), Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne (January 2015), and Star Wars: Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp (March 2015).
Del Rey has posted short blurbs for two of the new books:
Heir to the Jedi: "A thrilling new adventure set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and—for the first time ever—written entirely from Luke Skywalker's first-person point of view."
Lords of the Sith: "When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely solely on each other, the Force, and their awesome martial skills to prevail."
John Jackson Miller wrote on his blog that his book, A New Dawn, is "a rollicking adventure set in the darkest days of the galaxy, when even the thought of organized resistance to the Empire seems an impossible fantasy. But as our characters find, one doesn't always get to decide when the best time is to act. And set as it is during the Imperial period, A New Dawn gave me the opportunity to explore a variety of topics, including how the Empire manages to grow so quickly, injecting itself into all spheres of individual life." You can also check out Miller's story of visiting Lucasfilm with Timothy Zahn (it was Zahn's first time!) to record their parts of the video that was included in the canon announcement.
Paul S. Kemp has chimed in on his blog with a few more details about Lords of the Sith:
DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE AND RANDOM HOUSE ANNOUNCE RELAUNCH OF STAR WARS ADULT FICTION LINE
April 25, 2014
Following today's announcement of Lucasfilm's new unified storytelling approach, Disney Publishing Worldwide is proud to announce their first step into that larger world, beginning with Del Rey Books. The publishing program will feature new adult fiction novels set in the beloved galaxy far, far away, and will be closely connected to the cinematic entertainment currently in development at Lucasfilm.
Star Wars novels consistently rank on the New York Times Bestseller lists -- from the very first tie-in novel, an adaptation of Star Wars: A New Hope released by Del Rey in 1976, to the recently published Star Wars: Kenobi -- and dozens of titles in between. With over 75 million copies sold worldwide, these books have captured the imaginations and creativity of authors who have enriched the Star Wars experience for fans around the globe.
Going forward, Lucasfilm has begun mapping out the narrative future of Star Wars storytelling that will appear on film and television and in other media so that all projects will benefit from real-time collaboration and alignment. The future Star Wars novels from Disney Publishing Worldwide and Del Rey Books will now be part of the official Star Wars canon as reflected on upcoming TV and movie screens.
"With the establishment of the Lucasfilm Story Group and our even greater focus on unified storytelling, we expect our entire publishing program to be stronger and more meaningful than ever before," said Jeanne Mosure, senior vice president and group publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide. "We're extremely excited to kick off this new strategy with Del Rey Books."
The first novel to benefit from this deeper collaboration is Star Wars: A New Dawn, by bestselling author John Jackson Miller. Set prior to the events of the forthcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, this novel tells the story of how two of the lead characters of the series, Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, came to cross paths. To tell this important backstory, Miller benefited from contact with series executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman, who together ensured this tale will be part of the Star Wars canon of storytelling going forward. It is scheduled for hardcover and eBook release on September 2, 2014.
"We're extremely proud of the hundreds of amazing Star Wars books we've published at Del Rey," said Scott Shannon, SVP, publisher, Del Rey and Digital Content, "And now we're excited to finally be able to call our upcoming novels true canon -- a single, cohesive Star Wars storyline -- all while keeping the amazing backlist of Star Wars Legends content in print."
Following Star Wars: A New Dawn, the all-new Star Wars fiction line will continue with the following 2014/2015 titles:
STAR WARS: TARKIN
STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI
STAR WARS: LORDS OF THE SITH
In years past, the storylines that would appear in print and on screen were developed separately, resulting in an "Expanded Universe" that differed in ways large and small from the filmmaker's "canon." These rich stories provide a treasure trove of characters to fall in love with -- and deep worlds to explore and will live on in both physical and digital editions, newly-branded as Star Wars Legends.
For more information and for looks at the covers of all four new titles announced above, please visit the Del Rey Star Wars Books Facebook page at Facebook.com/StarWarsBooks.
StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.
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5/13 - Milton Johns
5/14 - George Lucas
5/16 - Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002)
5/19 - Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005)
5/19 - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999)
5/19 - Peter Mayhew
5/19 - Claudia Karvan
5/21 - Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
5/23 - Star Wars 10th Anniversary Convention (1987)
5/23 - Barrie Holland
5/24 - Star Wars Celebration IV (2007)