The 10 Greatest Multimedia Projects From Star Wars (And Why They're So Important)
Star Wars is the largest transmedia franchise of all time, with 10 major multimedia projects that paved the way for the current era of storytelling.
Star Wars has had numerous multimedia projects over the years, 10 of which are the most important in the franchise's history. Even before The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, Star Wars had expanded through tie-in media, beginning with Alan Dean Foster's 1978 novel The Mind's Eye. After the conclusion of the original trilogy, Star Wars expanded into full-scale multimedia projects, telling larger stories across a variety of platforms. As exciting as Disney's expansion of Star Wars is with interconnected TV shows, it's important to recognize the greatest effort to keep the franchise alive outside of the films.
Multimedia projects helped evolve Star Wars into a seminal transmedia series, advancing the overall narrative beyond any one medium. Beginning with the release of Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire in 1991, Lucasfilm decided to make this an important part of future books, where the events of one story affect the next a story. Multimedia Front helped make this a reality for all kinds of entertainment, creating some of the best Star Wars stories in the process. Here are 10 of Star Wars' biggest multimedia projects, and why they're so important to the franchise.
10 Shadows Of The Empire (1996)
Shadows of the Empire is not just Star Wars' first major multimedia project; it is the franchise's first major cross-media initiative. As Mark Cotta Vaz details in Star Wars Secrets: Shadows of the Empire, each medium contributed differently to the multimedia campaign. The Nintendo video game saw Star Wars' Dashrendal attempt to rescue Han Solo, the novel focused more on Prince Xizor and Darth Vader, and the comics showed Xizor's agents on a mission to find Luke Skywalker. Multiple aspects of the story were chronicled across different platforms, setting the stage for the cross-media franchise for which Star Wars is known.
9 The New Jedi Order (1999 - 2003)
The New Jedi Order series was a massively coordinated enterprise, with several Star Wars authors working together to create the next all-out war in the galaxy after Return of the Jedi. Spanning five main hardcover novels, 14 paperback novels, three eBook novels, and three short stories, The New Jedi Order chronicles the struggle of the Jedi and the New Republic against the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, which There never was before Star Wars came out. Mark Hamill even reprized Luke Skywalker for the Sci-Fi Channel's TV commercial, an unheard-of move Any Star Wars book.
8 The Clone Wars Multimedia Project (2002 - 05)
The next big Star Wars transmedia project came shortly after Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars multimedia project. The Clone Wars multimedia project was the final Clone Wars timeline before Star Wars: The Clone Wars premiered in 2008. The goal is to chronicle the most important moments of the Clone Wars in real time, and chart the battle in the months following the Battle of Geonosis. The Clone Wars multimedia project did an excellent job of bringing about the release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, setting a precedent for the subsequent Clone Wars series.
7 Republic Commando (2004 - 09)
Republic Commando, another video game spin-off project, was originally part of the Clone Wars multimedia project, although it continued to exist independently in later years. Karen Traviss' first book, Republic Commando: Hard Contact, actually came out months before the video game was released. The further adventures of Delta and the Omega Squads were told in other Republic Commando books and short stories before being renamed with the release of the fifth novel, Imperial Commando: 501st. Imperial commando video The game and second book were originally planned for release, but were canceled before completion.
6 The Force Unleashed (2008 - 10)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was the first Star Wars video game to be created for seventh-generation consoles, and thus required a new multimedia project. Like Shadow of Empire's cross-media approach, The Force Unleashed uses different media to explore parts of the overall story. The novelization expanded some characters, the graphic novel included post-game scenes, and the PS2/Wii/PSP versions of the game had exclusive levels. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, released two years later, similarly received a novelization and graphic novel.
5 The Old Republic (2011 - Present)
The follow-up to the Knights of the Old Republic video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic has been hugely popular since its release. In addition to multiple story expansions over the years, some of which continued plot threads established in Knights of the Old Republic, The Old Republic also has novels, comic series, and short stories. Even without playing the game, the material is easily recognizable thanks to the incredible cinematic trailers that precede each release. After the Expanded Universe rebranded as Legends, the Old Republic became the only Star Wars content releases new stories with this continuity.
4 Star Wars Rebels (2014 - 2018)
Star Wars Rebels helps shepherd a new era in the franchise, with plenty of tie-in media, especially in the early years. John Jackson Miller's Star Wars: A New Dawn is the first novel in the new canon, showing how Kanan Jarrus and Heracindulla met. Marvel Comics' Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Apprentice Greg Weissman and Pepe Laras portray Kanan as surviving Order 66, while Servants of the Empire series for young readers continues with Season 1 storyline. Star Wars Rebels also brought back characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and set up much of The Mandalorian's plot, arguably paving the way for the current era of interconnected Star Wars TV shows.
3 Journey To Star Wars (2015 - 2019)
Beginning with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, each film in the sequel trilogy has a multimedia project ahead of its release. This includes adult and young adult fiction, short stories, comics and reference books, all revolving around characters and elements from upcoming films. While each plan was billed as containing clues to the plot of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, the stories Putting everything on the timeline to avoid any major spoilers. Books that originally belonged to the series eventually received sequels, including Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy, while others such as the Shattered Empire comics formed the basis of later Star Wars media.
2 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story may not have the same level of tie-in media as the Star Wars sequels, but it still deserves recognition for how well-coordinated its story is. Catalyst: A Rogue One by James Luceno (Catalyst: A Rogue One) does an excellent job of providing the context leading up to the film's release, and stands out from Alexander Freed's cinematic novel be consistent. More books and comics will expand on the characters' backstories in the coming months, and Star Wars Rebels will likely add Rogue One ties in the final two seasons, further linking the film and TV show.
1 The High Republic (2021 - Present)
Star Wars: The High Republic, originally announced as "Project Luminous", was the largest multimedia project in the franchise's history. Published in waves and stages across the centuries across a timeline, The High Republic includes numerous novels, short stories, manga, audio dramas, manga, and reference books. Several upcoming Star Wars TV shows Shows and video games will be set in the Republic era, including Acolyte and Star Wars Eclipse. High Republic is one of the most comprehensive transmedia initiatives in recent memory, demonstrating what can be achieved when stories are told through different media, and making it Star Wars' most important multimedia project to date.