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I sense something... something I haven't felt since...

With all the talk about World of Warcraft expansions, Q2 earnings calls, reminiscing the life of my digital character... well, you might have thought that I had gone a little mad from all the Blizzard news that I recently spewed.

Well, all that may be changing in the next few weeks.


Back in March, StarWars.com proudly announced that the fall would kick off a "Journey to the Force Awakens" event, including the release of over 20 new publications that will bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens

Over the past few months, the cover (pun intended) has slowly been revealed on this upcoming journey. We know that September 4, 2015 is the publication date for many of these new publications and that date is rapidly drawing near!

The most important of which, is Aftermath.

It is crucial that I remind everyone this is not the first novel to be included in the new Star Wars canon. By now we've had several entries that explored the past: We saw the start of the Star Wars: Rebels in A New Dawn, we got a peek at the early years of Tarkin, we had a personal visit in the first person with Luke Skywalker in Heir to the Jedi, and we even learned about the complex relationship between Darth Vader and the Emperor in Lords of the Sith. For fans of the Clone Wars cartoon, we also had a look at the further adventures in Dark Disciple.

The publishers have wasted no time in establishing the backbone of the Star Wars universe and securing new characters in the early years of the rebellion.

So, if it's not the first "new EU" book, why is Aftermath important? Well, dear friends, that would be because this novel will be the first to address a time period that has been left in question since it was announced that the "Legends" EU was no longer considered canon.

This means we're going to learn about things that will have a direct impact on the universe that readers like myself have been asking about since 2013. Does Mara Jade even exist anymore? What about Gilad Pellaeon? Grand Admiral Thrawn?

Of course, this novel appears to be set in the direct aftermath of the events covered in Return of the Jedi, which means many of our "Legends" questions may remain unanswered. After all, Grand Admiral Thrawn didn't make his initial appearance until five years after the second Death Star was destroyed.

Additionally, this may be by design. It's not hard to believe that the new EU is purposely leaving some of the "did it happen or not" questions unanswered so they can filter through the decades of "Legends" stories and find the things they liked or did not like, so they can adjust their timeline as they see fit. I'm okay with this, even if my heart is telling me that I want to know all the answers right now. I'd be happy for them to leave Pellaeon alone for the time being if that means they like his story and are working on finding a way to fit him back in this wonderful new universe.

Enough of the Aftermath hype. This novel isn't the only book to keep your eyes on when the "Journey" begins. Three middle-school reading level adventure books will be released, along with two new comic book series.

In the Young Adult (YA) department, Star Wars is also ready to rock with the release of Lost Stars. This story will tell the tale of two friends who grew up together and now find themselves on different sides of the war, with one an Imperial Officer, and the other a young Rebel.

The publishers are literally marketing this one with the pitch that it will contain story elements that lead up to The Force Awakens.

With these thicker books out of the way, the publishers are going to flood the market with "Look and Find", "Color and Activity", and even "Reference" books aimed at the young age Star Wars fans. While none of this is all that fascinating for readers who want a meaty story, it's important to note that these will all be considered canon to the new Star Wars universe. So ships discussed in the reference books may be reimagined takes on some of our EU memories, or maybe they will be fresh and new ideas from young writers ready to grow the franchise.

One major thing that I feel like Disney has done right with Star Wars, since they first acquired the franchise, is the experimentation with what genres and markets they can infiltrate with Star Wars lore. For example, Star Wars: Rebels was a big risk with fans, especially considering it meant the death of the Clone Wars series, but it has already paid off. Nostalgic fans with young kids are being drawn to Star Wars like moths to the flame... or like nostalgic fans to Jurassic World... which Disney also noted from the looks of it.

The games, the books, the tv shows, and the movies; all new and exciting story elements that I haven't experienced before. As a long time SW fan, I'm not just waiting for the next EU book to release, now I'm waiting to hear how the universe is growing. It's captivating in a way that the old take on the franchise. I think the last time I felt like Star Wars had this much involvement in the world was in 2005 with Episode III, Battlefront, Republic Commando, strong entries in the EU books, kids games like LEGO Star Wars, the Clone Wars cartoon series, and so on and so forth.

After having lived through that wave of fanfare and excitement, I can assure you that it's a good time to be a Star Wars fan. So, if you were sick of hearing me ramble about Blizzard a few weeks ago, then you are not prepared... for what is coming when I geek out about Star Wars.

I suspect we'll have more than a few posts about my rekindled love for everything I know from the galaxy far, far away. Here's looking to you September, let's prep our lightsabers and get ready to roll.


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