Dark Horse has held the Star Wars franchise for a long, long time. They've done very good things with it and nurtured it into something that they should absolutely be proud of. When the Disney/Lucasfilm merger happened, one of the first question marks was put on Dark Horse's license of the property. Disney owns the largest comics publisher in the world in Marvel, it would make sense they'd want to keep those comics in-house.
Blue Sky Disney is reporting that after the current licensing agreement with Dark Horse is up though, the House of Ideas is taking Star Wars back into the fold in 2014, right where it started in the first place.
The Suits in the know have determined that no new contracts will be given to Dark Horse after the current ones expire. So all new projects after 2013 will be handled internally by Marvel.
But what will this mean for us?
Dark Horse has created over the years, during the renaissance of the Star Wars Expanded Universe some of the stories that are near and dear to our hearts (and some less so.) They've also worked hand in hand with Del Rey in the most recent years to tie the fiction universe into the comics universe, creating a bound continuity that can't be totally ignored. Will Marvel proceed with the editorial direction laid out by Dark Horse (which doesn't seem too likely) or will they start fresh in the new Expanded Universe created in the wake of Episode VII? I think that's a more likely scenario.
But what will happen with the backlog of Dark Horse material we already know and love? Will Dark Horse retain reprint rights? Will Marvel pay Dark Horse to reprint them on their own? Will Dark Horse continue reprinting all the Star Wars backlog, even the Marvel stuff, like they do already?
These are the questions I really want answered more than who will own the license.
And I imagine these questions are paramount in the minds of everyone involved and the negotiations will be tough. I just hope they don't go into aggressive negotiations... which is negotiations with a lightsaber...
[Hattip: Club Jade]