Now that Disney have bought Lucasfilm and announced an (over?) ambitious slate of new movies and TV STAR WARS projects, speculation is inevitably circulating that the comics license, long-held by Dark Horse Comics, will be shuffled to fellow Disney subsidiary Marvel. I must confess, that was one of the first things that crossed my mind (see here) when I heard the news.
But - things could have been very different. Marvel ditched the Star Wars license in 1986 on both sides of the Atlantic. Although apparently still a moderate seller (but the long-term prognosis couldn't have been too healthy), the decision was made because working with the Lucasfilm licensing department had become so fraught it was no-longer worth the publisher's time.
Fast-forward to the 1990 MARVEL AGE PREVIEW (successor to the MARVEL AGE ANNUALS) and a sudden announcement that the Wars was back at Marvel. STAR WARS: DARK EMPIRE was touted as a three-issue bookshelf format limited series to appear before the end of the year.
Someone - somewhere - was a little premature as the project passed from Marvel and settled at Dark Horse where it kick-started their SW publishing programme... and helped resuscitate interest in the moribund franchise. The rest - as they say - is history.