PHILADELPHIA (AP) — There's excitement brewing for fans of the original "Star Wars" trilogy.

Writer Brian Wood and Dark Horse Comics began a new monthly series Wednesday that focuses on Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo and Chewbacca, along with R2D2 and C3P0, as they seek to establish a foothold for the rebellion in the aftermath of the Death Star's destruction.

Wood, whose previous comics include the acclaimed "DMZ" and "Northlanders" at Vertigo and the ongoing "The Massive" at Dark Horse, called the new series about the classic "Star Wars" characters the only such series he could write.

"I know the original trilogy best," he explained, noting that George Lucas' creation has spawned its own universe of expanded characters, books, comics and more.

Disney has already announced plans to revive the "Star Wars" franchise after the events of "Return of the Jedi" in 2015. Milwaukie, Ore.-based Dark Horse has been publishing "Star Wars" comics for more than 20 years.

Woods called the new series — illustrated by Carlos D'Anda — a way to examine the events that transpired between the end of the first film, "Star Wars: A New Hope" and the second film, "The Empire Strikes Back," by detailing the next, furtive steps for the rebellion and the Empire's efforts to stop it from spreading.

"The basic approach is sort of how everybody, including the Empire, is kind of reeling from that battle in various different ways," Wood said. "The rebellion is in need of a home base, Darth Vader is dealing with serious disapproval from the Emperor for having failed to stop the Death Star's destruction — he's actually been demoted!"

Leia has lost her home world. Luke lost his family. Han and Chewie have seen their smuggling business hurt by their association with the rebels.

"Everyone has suffered enormous losses," Wood said.

Wood said the challenge for the series is keeping track of all the story possibilities, given the established mythology of the "Star Wars" universe and the sheer number of characters.

"It's a big cast! The droids, Ben Kenobi is there, all of the Empire, too. It's a very large cast so that's kind of a tricky thing," he said.

And most readers already know what happened to the characters, good and bad.

"It's writing the story knowing what the audience knows but what the characters don't. Obviously, Luke and Leia don't know they're related — I can't ignore that," Wood said.

"It's a very enjoyable challenge walking that line," he said.


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