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Licensing
 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 9:22 am Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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Question for anyone who was a real EU fan in 1999. By question pertains to when Del Rey got the license to publish Star Wars from Bantam.

What was the transition period like? Was there a time when we were all "Oh no! No more books for us!" Or was the announcement of Bantam losing the license simultaneous with the announcement that Del Rey got it?

I ask out of the paranoia that after 2013 LFL won't renew Del Rey's contract and we'll be sans Star Wars. Probably won't happen, but the license has transitioned in the past. Worth the question.
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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:17 am Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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For some reason I wasn't nervous. I knew it'd continue. Its something that's grown too big to be let go completely
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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 6:18 pm Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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I think at the time I didn't even care because they were doing new movies. I thought maybe the EU was going to be abandoned or restarted. I remember there was a gap of time in which there were no new books from the release of Vision of the Future until either Vector Prime or Rogue Planet, IIRC? I remember those are the first two books I got after Episode I (besides the novelization).

I consider it a real possibility that there won't be novels after 2013. Wizards of the Coast dropped the roleplaying and card game license, and no one else has pursued it. LucasArts has cut down on the Star Wars games, and there was a question about whether TFU3 was cancelled -- I'd heard the rumor it was cancelled before the release of TFU2 was untrue, but the reception to 2 may have changed that...

I also have no idea what the Expanded Universe is going to be after Fate of the Jedi. I think SW Legacy sort of hurt it, because I know there are a lot of people that dislike the concept and feel like it handcuffed Del Rey. It seems like Del Rey maybe feels the same way. They can't continue stories with Luke, Han, and Leia for much longer. Anakin and Obi-Wan seem to be off-limits due to TCW now. The proposed live action show has pretty much sealed off the inter-trilogy period, just like it was before the prequels.

The license to publish Star Wars novels is prohibitively expensive, and the money makers are the stories that feature the Big 3. The potential for those types of books is almost exhausted, so -- from my understanding -- I don't think anyone would want to pay for the license. WOTC held the RPG/CCG/TCG license mainly because they didn't want to compete with SW licensed stuff, which is why they didn't do nearly as much with it as WEG did. I think they realized that no one would pick it up if they dropped it.

Maybe I'm wrong, and the cost Del Rey is paying is worth the profits. It's worth noting that their license expired back in 2005 or 2006 and they renewed it. Either way, I'm still concerned because I don't know where they're going to take it, and thus far I don't have a lot of confidence that they'll be able to sustain my interest in standalone novel projects, rather than TOR or TCW spinoffs.


Last edited by Crash Override on Sun May 22, 2011 6:33 pm; edited 1 time in total


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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 6:32 pm Reply with quote  
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  JediMara77
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I don't remember much of a panic about no new books. But then again, I had kind of fallen out of keeping up with the books thanks to DRL (I only got back on track once the NJO started coming out).

According to Wookieepedia, there were several novels that came out after VotF, including Slave Ship, Solo Command, Isard's Revenge, Hard Merchandise, the TPM novelization, and Starfighters of Adumar (not counting younger reader novels).

There was no gap between the last Bantam novel (SoA in August) and Vector Prime in October 1999.



http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_novels_by_release_date
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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 6:34 pm Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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Huh, I thought Vision of the Future was the last Bantam novel. They were briefly concurrent then, because the Episode I novelization was published by Del Rey.


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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 6:59 pm Reply with quote  
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  Werehunter
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I wouldn't worry about them stop making books. Out of everything they do Star Wars related, the books are likely one of the least expensive ones. The number of people involved in the books is far less then the number involved in a computer game. While I'm sure the recession has hurt sales on their books, I doubt it will be enough to make it not profitable for them. If anything hurt the sales of Fate of the Jedi is was their decision to make them all hard cover.


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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 7:14 pm Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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Werehunter wrote:
I wouldn't worry about them stop making books. Out of everything they do Star Wars related, the books are likely one of the least expensive ones. The number of people involved in the books is far less then the number involved in a computer game. While I'm sure the recession has hurt sales on their books, I doubt it will be enough to make it not profitable for them. If anything hurt the sales of Fate of the Jedi is was their decision to make them all hard cover.


While a game like The Force Unleashed costs a lot more to produce than a single Star Wars novel, I imagine that it also makes a whole lot more money. It's sold over six million copies, and that was as of 2009. On the other hand, prior to Conviction, there's "more than 660,000 Fate of the Jedi series books in print." That's counting all six books in the series, and isn't distinguishing between those produced and those sold.

My concern stems not from the cost of production in making the books, but the cost of purchasing the license to publish the books for a set period of time, and whether that is worth the profits being made by the books. Edit: It's worth noting that presumably LucasArts doesn't need to pay for such a license due to its relationship with LucasFilm.


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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:01 pm Reply with quote  
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  Werehunter
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If Del Ray doesn't pick up the license for another time frame, then I'm sure someone will. If not then Lucas could easily step up and create his own publishing firm just for their novels. Out of all the series of books that are published like Star Wars books are, Star Wars is one of the largest. I don't see them letting that profit stream dry up. Not as long as they are making something from it.


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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:25 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:02 pm Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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Werehunter wrote:
If Del Ray doesn't pick up the license for another time frame, then I'm sure someone will. If not then Lucas could easily step up and create his own publishing firm just for their novels. Out of all the series of books that are published like Star Wars books are, Star Wars is one of the largest. I don't see them letting that profit stream dry up. Not as long as they are making something from it.


I think Del Rey signing a new contract is the most likely scenario. I remember back in 2004 or 2005 when their contract was ending I was really hoping a new publisher would pick it up because I didn't like what Del Rey did with the NJO... I feel the same way now but not because of the NJO... and I imagine what the EU could be like right now if someone else did pick up the license and took it in a completely different direction than LOTF...

But I think it's ominous that over a year ago Wizards of the Coast dropped their license and no one has had any interest in it. Granted, the market for roleplaying games and card games is extremely small.

I'm just pessimistic because there seems to be a lot of things that could go "wrong" for literary EU, whether it be Del Rey letting the license expire and no one else picking it up, or the lack of direction that the literary EU has taken now that it's pretty much run its course with its flagship focus of the post-ROTJ adventures of Han, Luke, and Leia.

I think the EU as a whole has somewhat overextended itself with the different time periods and settings, and saturated the market with stories. I find myself feeling nostalgic for the Bantam EU simply because it was straightforward: you had Luke, Han, and Leia for the most part and their continuing stories, and that was the focus. There were the X-Wing novels as well, and young adult stuff, but it was otherwise a continuation of the saga (quality of the stories, in retrospect, notwithstanding...). Now they've got Star Wars horror novels and Star Wars military sci-fi and Star Wars noir.

Edit: Whoever gets the next license, they really need to just develop a setting and focus on it. I don't think jumping around the timeline without a "flagship" works. I thought they had the next generation set with Jacen, Jaina, et al., but that's not happening. I don't see Ben, Vestara, and Allana working either, unless some peers are fleshed out in the next series. I like Vestara, and apparently I'm in a minority, so I think that *might* work if Ben can get out of Luke's shadow*. Otherwise they need to go post-Legacy or something. I also wonder if setting Vestara up with Ben would be detrimental to one or both characters.

*One reason I think Jacen worked so well as the protagonist to take the mantle from Luke is that he didn't have to get out from under Luke's shadow. Anakin Solo took that concept, and died, and Jacen was just an entirely different type of character, and representative of the whole theme behind the NJO, in contrast with Anakin and his "Luke successor" type character. But I digress.


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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:31 pm Reply with quote  
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  Queen Padmè Skywalker
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Reepicheep wrote:
In 1999 Star Wars was the last thing on my mind. Razz


In 1999, I was unaware that anything but the OT existed.
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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:34 pm Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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Queen Padmè Skywalker wrote:
Reepicheep wrote:
In 1999 Star Wars was the last thing on my mind. Razz


In 1999, I was unaware that anything but the OT existed.


What about The Phantom Menace?

And in 1999, I think I quit reading the EU for a while, but up to that point had read the entire Bantam catalog and some Dark Horse (Dark Empire I + II).


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Re: Licensing
 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:37 pm Reply with quote  
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  VileZero
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Taral-DLOS wrote:
Question for anyone who was a real EU fan in 1999. By question pertains to when Del Rey got the license to publish Star Wars from Bantam.

What was the transition period like? Was there a time when we were all "Oh no! No more books for us!" Or was the announcement of Bantam losing the license simultaneous with the announcement that Del Rey got it?

I ask out of the paranoia that after 2013 LFL won't renew Del Rey's contract and we'll be sans Star Wars. Probably won't happen, but the license has transitioned in the past. Worth the question.


Bantam and Del Rey are essentially the same thing.


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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:43 pm Reply with quote  
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  Queen Padmè Skywalker
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LivingJediDream wrote:

What about The Phantom Menace?

And in 1999, I think I quit reading the EU for a while, but up to that point had read the entire Bantam catalog and some Dark Horse (Dark Empire I + II).



*ducks head in shame* Little nine year old me watched only PBS and Saturday morning cartoons. I think I knew in the back of my mind that there was a new Star Wars film, but it didn't register my interest.
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 PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:48 pm Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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They're both imprints of Random House, but Shelly Shapiro is an editor at Del Rey and became involved with Star Wars through the change, and she was one of the architects of the New Jedi Order.

Further research has yielded a few more points of interest: the final Bantam published book was Tales from the New Republic in December of 1999, after Vector Prime.

Del Rey has negotiated new contracts after their initial one that began in 1999 twice, once in June 2004, and again at the end of 2008. I find this interesting since it basically shows that they negotiate their contracts to match their flagship series. The 1999 contract went for the length of the New Jedi Order series, which lasted from 1999 to late 2003, with them extending the contract the following year that lasted until late 2008, covering the Dark Nest trilogy and the Legacy of the Force series.

The original date for the publication of Apocalypse was November of this year, leaving two additional years on the contract. I wonder if they had originally planned to have another, shorter series to occur after Fate of the Jedi, but delays and health issues led to them scuttling that?


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