Perhaps the geek culture company with the most at stake in the Disney-Lucasfilm deal is Dark Horse, which has been producing Star Wars comics under license from Lucasfilm for decades. Just in September, Dark Horse released four Star Wars comic titles and two Star Wars graphic novels.
The book collections are especially important, as they’re bestsellers in the book market as well as being important in comic stores. And the new book releases feed into Dark Horse’s extensive library of in-print Star Wars collections that form a key portion of the Dark Horse book backlist.
Disney already owns a comic publisher, Marvel, which it acquired in 2009. Marvel had the Star Wars license before Dark Horse acquired it, and Dark Horse has done far better with the franchise than Marvel did. But the temptation to bring the Star Wars comic publishing operation in house will be strong.
Dark Horse declined to reveal when its current license for Star Wars ends, but did provide the following statement from CEO Mike Richardson. “Dark Horse and Lucasfilm have a strong partnership which spans over 20 years, and has produced multiple characters and story lines which are now part of the Star Wars lore,” he said. “Star Wars will be with us for the near future. Obviously, this deal changes the landscape, so we’ll all have to see what it means for the future.”