For Star Wars expanded universe fans, it's been a tough ride. Nearly 30 years of expanded fiction were essentially discontinued when Disney bought Lucasfilm and the rights to the Star Wars franchise. Since then, only previews of Star Wars: Rebels  and a few novels have outlined any continuation of a story outside the new trilogy, but for anyone invested in the Star Wars comics, there was very little in the way of news.

Then, at SDCC 2014, Marvel and Disney outlined the future of Star Wars comics, announcing a number of new series to begin in 2015. The planned issues would debut early on and throughout the year as heralds for Episode VII, but any other details, including art, have failed to materialize.

It might not be the inside look at the art that fans were hoping for, but Marvel has debuted the new Joe Quesada variant cover for Star Wars #1.

Joe Quesada has been one of the biggest influences in the modern comics industry. Starting as a freelance artist for Valiant Comics in the '90s, Quesada worked his way up the chain of command at Marvel. 20+ years later, he now oversees the Marvel brand as the company's Chief Creative Officer, though it seems he took some time out of his busy schedule to do some work for Star Wars. The artist told StarWars.com:

"While each of us has had our unique moments of discovery and love affair with the property there's nothing that I think I could say or add that hasn't been said before and truthfully it really isn't all that important because It's that love for Star Wars that binds all of us who share those unique moments like the Force itself. That's why when I was offered the opportunity to do this cover I was both thrilled beyond belief and as nervous as I was when I did my very first professional work over twenty years ago."

Star Wars #1 will take place immediately following the events of Episode IV: A New Hope. Marvel has made it clear that the main Star Wars line is only one of many, and that series based on both Darth Vader and Princess Leia will be released further along in the year.

Marvel Comics has had a long history with Star Wars. The first ever comics based on the film were released in 1977, with the series running all the way through 1986. The company took a hiatus when Dark Horse began publishing Star Wars comics and graphic novels, though now that Marvel and Lucasfilm are both owned by Disney, it makes sense that new comics would emerge.

The original Star Wars expanded universe spanned decades of comics, novels and video games, but when Disney announced the new Star Wars films, they also announced that the expanded universe would have to change. The canon of the universe was cleared for the new films, while the existing material was rebranded as Star Wars: Legends. This means that Boba Fett never got out of the Sarlaac Pitt, the Emperor was never resurrected, and Luke never joined the Dark Side...officially speaking, that is.

Star Wars #1 is set for release in Jan. 2015, with Episode VII debuting in theaters on Dec. 18, 2015.

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