After a long drought, 2015 will be a good year for "Star Wars" fans.
Before it even hits the big screen, the most highly-anticipated movie of the year will hit a bookshelf near you.
That's right, fans can look forward to reading at least 20 new Star Wars books, which will be released this fall ahead of "The Force Awakens." "Force" is already expected to be the year's highest-grossing film, Entertainment Weekly first reported.
Disney Publishing Worldwide and Lucasfilm will join forces to publish the books. The new titles will fill the gap between 1983's "Return of the Jedi," the events of which were the most recent in the universe's chronology, and this December's release. Adding to the excitement is news that the forthcoming titles will be filled with Easter eggs foreshadowing events in J.J. Abrams’ Dec. 18 movie.
Here's what fans can expect: The new "Star Wars" series will be called "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Released by a number of publishers, including Marvel Comics and Del Ray, the books will be considered official Star Wars canon.
Some books will focus on following the adventures of characters from the original trilogy, while others will retell the events of the original movies from the vantage point of supporting characters.
The new book series' target audience is young adult readers who weren't yet born when Han, Luke, and Leia first hit the screen. The books will introduce the characters and story line to these readers before the film hits theaters.
“It’s a way to introduce the heroes and villains of that original trilogy to a new audience that might not be as familiar as the audience that went and saw the films when they first came out,” Disney Publishing Worldwide’s Andrew Sugerman told Entertainment Weekly.
Of course, "Star Wars" is one of the most closely-guarded stories in history, so pulling off a publishing feat wasn't easy. Authors and screenwriters had to work closely together without leaking storylines or revealing too much about the movie in the books.
“'The Force Awakens' is an extraordinarily heavily guarded storyline. To track it, a lot of top-secret meetings were happening up in San Francisco as we worked through this program,” Mr. Sugerman told Entertainment Weekly. “The partnership with the story group and the editorial team always had to be true to the sanctity of the film while making sure that we find these moments to introduce hints, clues, and puzzle pieces. Without revealing what those pieces are, it will just allow readers to speculate about the new film: what could a location mean, or what could a character mean?”
Titles in the "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" series include "Star Wars: Aftermath," "Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens," and "Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy" as well as "Moving Target," which features Leia; "The Weapon of a Jedi," about Luke Skywalker; and "Smuggler’s Run," a Han Solo tale.
The books will hit shelves this fall ahead of Dec. 18's "The Force Awakens," the first of a new trilogy of Star Wars films that Disney will release between now and 2019.