12:50pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Comic-Con: 'Star Wars' Books Will Reveal Core Backstory for 'The Force Awakens,' Future Films
Star Wars fans wondering just what went down in the Battle of Jakku — besides the Star Destroyer that stands stuck in the desert as seen in last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, of course — will be happy to know that the wait is almost over: Next year's Star Wars: Aftermath — Empire's End novel will tell the full story of the battle that saw the Galactic Empire collapse once and for all.
Well, until the rise of the First Order, of course.
Author Chuck Wendig told the audience of Friday's Star Wars Publishing panel at San Diego Comic-Con that he was sworn to secrecy about just what happens in the third part of the trilogy that launched with 2015's Aftermath, joking, "The Empire ends. I can tell you that much. The rest is some dramatic stuff. Jakku figures in considerably."
How considerably was shown in the reveal of the book's back cover, which shows the collapse of the AT-AT walker used by Rey as a makeshift home in The Force Awakens. Wendig said that he'd just handed in the first draft of the novel, which will be published in January 2017, although it's not been reviewed by Lucasfilm's in-house Story Group yet.
The Story Group — represented on the panel by Matt Miller — is an integral part of all Star Wars publishing projects, from prose and comic book spinoffs to material that reveals new information about characters that can be referenced in future stories. One such project discussed during the panel were Poe Dameron: Flight Log, a collection of in-universe material that reveals new facts about Oscar Isaac's The Force Awakens character.
"I think there are more insights into Poe [in that book] than anything else we've done," Miller said; Michael Kogge wrote the book, and he teased the crowd by saying that one of the fictional artifacts it contains is a letter of condolence to Poe from General Leia Organa following the death of his mother, Rebel pilot Shara Bey. (Bey was the central character of the Marvel comic Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens in late 2015.)
The Flight Log will be accompanied by Rogue One: Rebel Dossier in December, another in-universe collection of information files about the group of Rebels tasked with stealing the Death Star plans in Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That was one of four tie-ins to the upcoming movie announced at the panel, alongside a young readers title Secret Missions, an adult coloring book based on imagery from the feature, and The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which will collect concept artwork from the movie's development.
One more title was announced during the panel: Obi 1-2-3, a primer for young children by cartoonist Katie Cook, created as a follow-up for her just-released ABC-3PO. "Math is always hard for me, that's why I became an artist," Cook joked about the title, before going on to explain the title is intended to help children learn to count with a series of double-page spreads consisting of multiple versions of Star Wars characters, aliens and vehicles. (Seventeen Gamorrean Guards and 18 pod-racers were mentioned, for those excited about counting opportunities.)
Both Obi 1-2-3 and ABC-3PO were labors of love for Cook, she explained. "It's something that I wanted to give to my kid, and for parents to give to their kids," she said. "As Star Wars fans, it's our responsibility to bring new generations into the fold." That's a sentiment echoed by panel moderator and creative director for Lucasfilm Publishing, Michael Siglain, who introduced a new line of young readers titles that will re-tell scenes from the movies by saying, "This is perfect for Padawans. It's important for us to do something for young readers."
After all, if nothing else, Star Wars stands as an abject lesson about the need for parents to raise their kids properly. Just ask Anakin Skywalker or Ben Solo.