I know the title of the upcoming movie is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but this successful franchise has a history of doing big things for a while, then going into hibernation before coming back again strongly.

Well, during the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Star Wars woke up in a big way, and it will affect the comics! If you were online at all since Friday morning, you’ve at least seen the trailer! Here’s the link for us here at MajorSpoilers.com!

ROUND ONE

I attended this local Washington, D.C., sci-fi convention in 1976, and someone showed this preview of an unheard-of film from some guy named George Lucas. Since my friends and I like to support science fiction as much as possible, we made plans to see this thing called Star Wars.

When we went to the theater to watch it, we found a line waiting around the block to buy tickets. Yikes!

We got into the theater and waited there for about an hour for the film to start. We sang songs, someone told jokes and we wiled away the time until the movie started.

For the life of me, I could not remember the names of the characters after leaving the theater. C3PO was “the gold guy” and R2D2 was “the little blue robot,” for instance.

But many of us embarked on a journey we have yet to finish.

Those first three movies were blockbusters. Each time I went to see one on the day it was released, I had to be there very early so I could get in line to be able to see it.

Toys started coming out before long, and collectors everywhere were on the prowl regardless of their age.

I was in a Toys R Us one day when an eight year-old boy was with his mother. They had just put out the new Star Wars figures and there were three Princess Leia’s among them. I had been keeping track of such things, so I knew they were valuable. But I wasn’t collecting Star Wars as much as Star Trek at that point. Still don’t.

The boy, clutching one of the Leia’s in his hand, turned to his mother and shouted, “BUY THEM ALL, MOM! BUY THEM ALL!” His mother would not relent, though, and he bawled all the way out the door even though he did get one of the Leias.

Yeah, that’s the kind of devotion this franchise generates.

I was intrigued to learn that Lucasfilm actually approached Marvel in 1975, BEFORE the first film arrived in the theaters, but Stan Lee declined the proposal until the movie was completed. They eventually did publish comics from 1977 to 1986, which included 107 issues and three annuals. It showed the rest of the industry how successful a film franchise could be in the comics format.

After the third film came and went, I understand that Mrs. Lucas sued George for divorce. Wanting her to get as little of his money as possible, George stopped making Star Wars.

ROUND TWO

Finally, the Lucas’ divorce was settled, and the second set of three films came out. Time-wise, though, they were considered the first three.

I stood in line at the same theater on the first night I could see it, and we all filed in and took our seats.

I quickly noticed that every time a familiar character was mentioned or seen on the big screen, riotous applause filled the theater. Sadly, it lasted so long I couldn’t hear what was going on. Some of us got irritated and started applauding every time any name was mentioned, so that slowly diminished and I could hear the film.

After the film was over, we all gathered at a local restaurant. The ones who were the saddest were the most devoted among us. “We waited all this time … for THIS?” was their song of woe.

Personally, I wasn’t as disappointed. It was okay, but it had been decades, after all.

The second trilogy wasn’t as well received as the first, so the reception wasn’t as strong. But it still made a boatload of money!

In 1991, Dark Horse took over publishing Star Wars comics. Until the mid-2000s, the company printed several ongoing series. They did switch over to a series of events until their license expired. Their time publishing franchise stories was noted as one of pretty high quality, and a lot of fans were sorry when it ended.

When the third movie in this trilogy came out, once again things calmed down quite a bit for a while.

One thing Star Wars had never been able to do was create TV shows based on the franchise. That was true until Star Wars: The Clone Wars hit the Cartoon Network. It lasted several seasons, and has been followed by Star Wars: Rebels, now on the Disney family of cable TV channels.

THE DISNEY ERA

Speaking of Disney, it wasn’t that long ago that Disney began purchasing other entertainment companies and franchises.

We all can likely remember the day Disney bought Marvel. And the day they purchased The Muppets. And when they acquired Star Wars.

Once those things took place, it was inevitable that Star Wars would return in comics form to Marvel. Back on November 5, a formal news release from Marvel let us know that Jason Aaron would script the first book, based on the classic characters, while John Cassaday will be providing the art. That’s a pretty strong line-up for Star Wars #1, due out on January 14, 2015. It’ll show us events that took place between Star Wars IV and Star Wars V.

I’ve often expressed my concerns about how Disney is becoming this mega-corporation, a monolith similar to the one in the Terminator franchise especially when it comes to entertainment. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they changed their name to Skynet someday!

THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND

Usually, holiday weekends are slow news times. People are with their families or doing things with friends with their time off.

You have to give Disney credit. That weekend, everyone I know had seen the new Star Wars trailer … at least once!

We may need to reconsider holiday weekends, if this is how a big announcement can do! It gave fans like us something to talk about.

Granted, there’s been quite a bit of debate about the trailer. Did it give away too much? Too little? Was it worth getting excited about? Was it not worthy of our time? Didn’t matter. We were talking about it.

This all works well for the upcoming comic. After all, we’ll likely still be talking about this trailer for weeks to come. And then about a month later, the first comic will arrive. In my opinion, that’s smart marketing!

Stay tuned to MajorSpoilers.com for the latest in major Star Wars news, especially as it pertains to the comic. We’re entering a new series of films and comics, and we’ll be giving you the latest and telling you what we think about it all, so don’t miss it!

The Author

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. Each episode also includes reviews, news and previews. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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1 Comment

  1. Alisha
    December 11, 2014 at 9:30 am — Reply

    You kinda glossed over a LOT of stuff there. The “Ewoks” and “Droids” cartoons (Droids was okay, but Ewoks… See next subject), the Ewoks made-for-TV movies (although I can understand not wanting to remember those because, well, Ewoks are evil), the novels, the stream of games (tabletop, video games, card games, etc) and so on. So to say Star Wars goes into hibernation isn’t quite accurate when there has been almost no lull in something coming out in one medium or another since the creation of the franchise.

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