Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adaptation

Star Wars truly is a multi-generational phenomenon.  The original trilogy captivated audiences starting with Star Wars in May 1977 and many children became life-long fans due to the merchandise, including comic books, that came with those films.  The prequel trilogy began in May 1999 with The Phantom Menace and for the generation that grew up watching those movies and consuming the avalanche of merchandise that came with them, that became their Star Wars.  Another generation of fans is being cultivated right now, starting with the first movie in the new trilogy which debuted in December 2015, The Force Awakens.  Make no mistake, many of these new fans will see these movies as their Star Wars.

Unfortunately, those new fans who also happen to read comics are not experiencing this trilogy like many of us did who were around for the first two trilogies.  Prior to The Force Awakens, it was customary to release the movie adaptation in comic form along with the movie.  It makes sense that Disney does not need to entice audiences to go see these new movies, unlike when the original movie was released and the comics were a major part of the marketing for that film.  Movie adaptations are also not strong sellers and Marvel seems content to focus on telling new stories in one-shots that tie into the movies.  For The Force Awakens, the story about how C-3PO received his red arm was told in a one-shot.  (Unfortunately, the one-shot was delayed and it actually came out a week after the ongoing Poe Dameron title began.)  The Last Jedi - Storms of Crait one-shot is planned for a late December 2017 release; the story will see Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia establish a Rebel base on the planet Crait, a major location in the newest film.  A second one-shot will be published in January 2018 which centers on DJ, a character played by Benicio del Toro in The Last Jedi.  To date, no announcement has been made on when the movie adaptation will see print.

Despite not having a comic adaptation available alongside the theatrical release of the movie, The Force Awakens was adapted to comics by Marvel six months later.  (Interestingly, Marvel began publishing their adaptation of the Rogue One movie four months after the movie debuted, probably to coincide with the release of the movie on DVD and Blu-ray.  One can hope they have the same publishing plans for The Last Jedi and subsequent movies.)  Unlike previous adaptations which are the first appearance of the main movie characters in comics, The Force Awakens is not the first appearance of Poe Dameron, BB-8, or Snap Wexley who all appear in Poe Dameron #1.  Additionally, Captain Phasma first appears in Poe Dameron #2, which was published one month before The Force Awakens #1.

The Force Awakens #1 is the first appearance of Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and General Hux.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens #1a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (June 2016)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens #2a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (July 2016)
The Force Awakens #3 is the first appearance of Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke.  It is also the first time we see Starkiller Base.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens #3a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 2016)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens #4a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (September 2016)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens #5a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 2016)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens #6a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (November 2016)

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