Disney Destroys Portland's Star Wars Empire!

As Dark Horse loses Sci-Fi's most famous franchise, whole plot lines and characters disappear.

Photography by Dark Horse Comics By Peter Holmstrom September 2, 2014 Published in the September 2014 issue of Portland Monthly

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away...well, 1990, in Milwaukie, Oregon, Dark Horse Comics, then only five years old, won the license to sci-fi’s biggest franchise: Star Wars. Starting with the smash hit Dark Empire, over the next two decades Dark Horse produced nearly a thousand original Star Wars comics, hundreds of trade paperbacks, and graphic novels. But in January, the franchise’s new owner, Disney, announced that the license to produce Star Wars comics would go to Marvel at the end of the year. The company also declared that almost all previously released content would no longer be considered part of the official Star Wars canon. In other words, Dark Horse’s 23 years of plots, characters, and whole fictional worlds will—as far as Disney and Star Wars’ future is concerned—cease to “exist.”

As Disney tightens its Vader choke on the franchise, this fall marks the final season for Dark Horse’s Star Wars. We take a look back at some of the soon-to-be-obliterated Star Wars cosmos produced out of Oregon.

Luke Skywalker goes to the Dark Side!

Title: Dark Empire

Release dates: December 1991–October 1992

In one of the most successful arcs of the franchise, our ragtag band of heroes must face a resurrected Emperor and an Empire more powerful than ever. But perhaps their greatest threat comes from one of their own.  

Chewbacca dies!

Title: Invasion

Release dates: October 2009–November 2011

The invasion by the Yuuzhan Vong, a race of technology-hating people from beyond the Outer Rim, has just begun. The fledgling Republic is being overrun, Jedi are scrambling for direction, and the most lovable Wookiee dies.  


Luke dies! Leia becomes a Sith!

Title: Star Wars: Infinities 

Release dates: May 2001–March 2004

What if Luke died on the snowy planet Hoth? What if Han really went blind in Return of the Jedi? What if Vader never died? These were the questions this “alternate history” sought to answer.  

First-draft follies!

Title: The Star Wars

Release dates: September 2013–May 2014

Every screenplay, every book (every article) goes through multiple drafts—including the original Star Wars film, which went through numerous retellings before the final cut. (Lucas first “envisioned Vietnam in space.”) This volume gave fans a peek inside one of these early drafts: everything from an older Luke to a green lizard Han Solo.


The Planet of Central Oregon!

Title: Star Wars: Dark Times

Release dates: November 2006–December 2013

A group of renegade Jedi survive on the fringes of society, while attempting to save what they can from their past lives, on a planet that looks suspiciously like dry Central Oregon. The planet’s name: Prine (as in Prineville). 

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