Rebels came to a close at the beginning of 2018. The fourth season closed out what had become a beloved series. Rebels began on an awkward footing; the announcement that The Clone Wars was to end didn’t sit well among some fans.
That certainly affected how Rebels would be received among sections of fans. Over time, however, the series’ willingness to branch into places unexpected from a Disney Channel series, as well as continuing storylines and character arcs left by The Clone Wars, endeared it to fans. The series culminated on a tantalizing note, leaving enough hanging to potentially be revisited in the future.
Five new entries to the literary universe were added in 2018. The year started with the novelization of The Last Jedi by Jason Fry. The story was expanded on, adding sequences such as an alternate reality in which Luke doesn’t join the Rebellion, the funeral of Han Solo, and depictions of deleted scenes (Ahch-To caretakers rave).
Two titles following the life of Han Solo released in May, in the build up to Solo: A Star Wars Story. Last Shot by Daniel José Older gave us a story over several time periods, shedding light on the events of a young Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, as well as where they are after the Battle of Endor. Last Shot was really good, I cannot stress that enough.
Most Wanted by Rae Carson was a title set prior to Solo, and released on the day as the film. Most Wanted explored the criminal underworld of Corellia as Han and Qi’ra throw themselves into Lady Proxima’s syndicate. Most Wanted expanded and fleshed out characters from the spin off, and offered a fresh perspective on the galaxy as fans readied up heading into the film.
Timothy Zahn’s new Thrawn trilogy continued with Thrawn: Alliances, giving us a look at the Chiss Grand Admiral’s past and present. The title also gave us a first look at the planet of Batuu, which would be a location fans would explore for themselves in the not too distant future. The year rounded out with Mur Lafferty’s novelization of Solo: A Star Wars Story in August. Like the previous film novelizations, the title expanded on the universe. Han’s time in the Imperial Navy, and a further look into the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance were just some aspects explored in the novel.
Speaking of which, Solo: A Star Wars Story released on May 25 2018. The spin-off, set 10 years prior to A New Hope, gave us a look at who Han Solo’s formative years, set against a backdrop of the first meetings between Han and Chewbacca, and Han and Lando Calrissian, the Kessel Run, and Hans acquisition of the Millennium Falcon.
Solo was notoriously troubled in development, with Phil Lord and Christopher Lord removed from directorial duty mid-way through, to be replaced by Ron Howard. The troubles in development, in conjunction with the reaction to The Last Jedi, and a general lack of wider public interest in the project (I knew people who genuinely did not know it was coming out the week of release), led to an undeniably lackluster release. Solo made back only $393.2 million on a reported $300 million budget, and, ultimately, helped end the “Anthology” series of projects.
A new animated series, created by Dave Filoni, debuted on the Disney Channel. Set initially in the build up to The Force Awakens, Star Wars Resistance premiered in October.
The adventures of Kazuda Xionio, a young Resistance pilot on the station of the Colossus. The first season showed the growing threat of the First Order, as well as giving us stories involving characters from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, namely Poe Dameron and BB-8. Like Rebels before it, Resistance was met with criticism from some fans disappointed it was replacing the previous series, though was warmly received by those who actually took the time to watch it.