By almost all accounts, 2016 was pretty rough. But it’s a new year and here are some things our community of nerds can look forward to in 2017:
Star Wars Canon
As you probably already know, when Disney acquired Lucasfilm, everything Star Wars outside of the six movies and The Clone Wars cartoon was no longer officially canon. This opened the door for creators to literally rewrite the history of the most celebrated franchise in history. Through new movies, TV shows, and comic books, Star Wars populates its own long and still growing timeline.
A new season of Star Wars Rebels, this December’s Episode VIII, and a bunch of Marvel Comics titles combine for an entire year’s worth of Star Wars excitement. There has never been a better time to be a fan of the beloved galaxy far, far away!
On the comic book side, there have already been some crucial character creations that are now officially part of the new Star Wars canon. In Darth Vader, Kieron Gillen created Doctor Aphra – an archaeologist with a fondness for evil droids and explosions – and she’s had such an impact that she just got her own solo series. In Poe Dameron, Charles Soule introduced us to Terex – a former stormtrooper and now an agent of the First Order’s Security Bureau – who is quickly becoming one of the franchise’s best new villains. And in the main Star Wars title, Jason Aaron introduced readers to bounty hunter and former associate of Han Solo, Sana Starros as well as Task Force 99 — the most badass stormtrooper squadron you’ll ever see.
On Star Wars Rebels, the entire main cast is composed of crucial characters who didn’t exist before. They interact and intersect with characters from the movies, The Clone Wars, and the series even made a fan-favorite character officially canon: Admiral Thrawn. No longer wasting away as just a “legend”, thanks to Rebels, the steely chiss exists in Star Wars forever (or until the brand is sold and rebooted again, but that’s hopefully years and years away).
Now that the dust has settled and we experienced Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in all its glory, we can shift our focus to the future with Star Wars: Episode VIII — now officially titled The Last Jedi! Apparently picking up right where The Force Awakens left off, the eighth installment will continue to push forward into uncharted territory. The main saga installments are always the most important, that goes without saying, but I imagine there will be plenty of Poe Dameron and other comics building towards the movie as its December release gets closer.
It’s been a rough couple of years for us mutant-loving comic book readers, but luckily, Marvel has realized this and promises to fix it. So no more theories and discussions about Marvel trying to kill the X-Men comics because they don’t have the film rights. With the announcement of ResurreXion, Marvel plans to do a massive overhaul of all things Xavier. Plus, it’s the first “relaunch” announcement from Marvel that didn’t make me want to throw up in quite a while.
This event is likely to push the X-Men back to the forefront of the Marvel Universe and return the Inhumans back to the shadows, where they are most appealing anyway. The Inhuman overload is coming to an end; we can stop being overexposed to them and get back to enjoying their brief appearances.
Given the direction of darkness and divide we all seem to be heading into, X-Men comics need to again be aggressive and important. In a time of fear and insecurity, these characters should be speaking directly to every person reading them. Throughout their long history, the mutants have always represented an important minority in the Marvel Universe. Now more than ever, that needs to mean something and have something to say. If just one creator could channel the spirit of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run and relate it to the current climate, I believe some immensely important comic books could get made.
Since the initial announcement, some of the creative teams have also been announced. And while they aren’t the sexiest bunch of names, it can’t get any worse than it is right now so bright times are ahead!
Civil War II Is Over
Marvel needs to take a break from world altering events or just events in general. Brian Michael Bendis needs to choose a handful of books and focus on only them. Despite the overload of bad tie-ins, Civil War II was pretty great — for a while. Once the predictive justice narrative pointed it’s gun at Miles Morales, the story hit a wall. How many times did we need to see that same exact image of Miles holding Captain America’s lifeless body?
Clearly, Marvel interfered and forced Bendis to stretch out the series and it’s been filler issues ever since. Despite the CWII delay, they then went ahead and started releasing the post-Civil War II titles and now everything is a confusing mess. Other than completely spoiling the ending and which character actually meets his demise, they destroyed all interest in finishing the event.
The good news is that in 2017, it’ll be over. Marvel and readers will have moved on. The new titles that have been released thus far have been strong — especially those involving iron suits of armor. I imagine that if Marvel had stuck to their original release plan, these new books would have had an even greater impact given that people wouldn’t be too busy connecting dots.
Overall, Civil War II will probably make for a nice collected edition, and in this instance, I envy those who choose to binge-read.
Those are just a few of the things worth looking forward to in 2017. What are you most excited for this year? Let us from you in the comments!