Following War of the Bounty Hunters and the forthcoming Crimson Reign (pictured above), Charles Soule is set to wrap up his trilogy of event Star Wars stories set before Return of the Jedi with a new event series called The Hidden Empire, if the latest rumors are true.
Comic book rumor website Bleeding Cool has reported that The Hidden Empire, Charles Soule’s final event series in the trilogy, is going to hit the shelves at some point in 2022, with no official start date provided. It can be presumed that, if his Crimson Reign miniseries wraps up in the late Spring like it seems that it may, then the miniseries should get started in the Summer.
War of the Bounty Hunters, much like Shadows of the Empire in the Legends continuity, has concerned itself with the conflict to try to bring Han Solo’s carbonite-frozen body to the right owner, and specifically Jabba the Hutt. While it was initially presumed that Boba Fett delivered the Han-sicle to Jabba without a hitch, both stories have indicated that there was a substantial conflict behind the scenes. The canon iteration of the story saw the unexpected return of Qi’ra from Solo: A Star Wars Story, leading the crime organization Crimson Dawn after the death of her former boss, Maul. Crimson Dawn, which has an increased focus in the canon version of the story here, is set to be brought even more into the forefront with the sequel series Crimson Reign. (Rumors of a live-action Crimson Dawn television series for Disney Plus, set shortly after the events of Solo, have been the subject of rumors for a long time.)
Marvel Comics have not officially announced Crimson Reign‘s tie-ins like the ones that War of the Bounty Hunters got, although recent hints in the current Darth Vader comics that Crimson Dawn will be involved strongly indicate that this is the plan, and it stands to reason that The Hidden Empire should also follow suit in order to tell one long-form story. Bleeding Cool has indicated that both Crimson Reign and The Hidden Empire will indeed be line-wide events, rather than just a miniseries. It remains to be seen if these two events will close out the pre-Return of the Jedi era, but the stories seem to be positioned in a way where they could cap off that point in the timeline. Regardless, the title of The Hidden Empire leaves room for speculation, as it’s not clear if we’ll be delving into more of the secretive criminal underworld with factions like Crimson Dawn, or if we’ll be getting into the origins of the First Order contingency plan and the secrets of the Sith Eternal and their Final Order, previously showcased in the pages of Darth Vader.
War of the Bounty Hunters is currently wrapping up, with Crimson Reign set to start before the end of the year, and The Hidden Empire set to arrive after that wraps up.