Hear the first details of the next major step for the Marvel Universe!

Get ready for an exciting new initiative kicking off this fall across the entire Marvel Universe, Marvel Legacy! Featuring the most popular characters in the world and blockbuster new storylines, the House of Ideas returns long running titles to their original series numbering with a renewed sense of hope, wonder, enjoyment and fun. “We want fans to get fired up. Simple as that,” says Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso. “Marvel Legacy will decide once and for all if the Marvel Universe is big enough for Miles and Peter, Riri and Tony, Thor and Jane Foster, Laura and, dare I say, Logan? Spoiler alert: It is.”

A new era of Marvel Comics kicks off in the fall with MARVEL LEGACY #1, a whopping 50-page one-shot stuffed with twists, surprises, mysteries and revelations, plus a special four-panel fold-out cover by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.

Superstar creators Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic reunite their THOR: GOD OF THUNDER pairing to set the stage for the next chapter of the Marvel Universe.

“This one-shot honors Marvel Comics’ past and it’s a good window into the present day Marvel Universe and then also sets the stage for where we’re gonna go in the future,” comments Aaron. “The main goal was just to be able to give this to someone who’s got no idea what’s going on in the Marvel right now and have that be a good entry point for them and I think it does that.”

As for the plot itself, “We get a peak into the very distant past here so we go back to the prehistoric days of the Marvel Universe,” he adds, offering up a few tantalizing teases. “[We are] seeing versions of Marvel’s biggest legacy characters and different versions we haven’t seen before and [an adventure] of, I guess I could call ‘the Prehistoric Avengers.’ That adventure will have major ramifications for the Marvel Universe going forward.”

Not enough epic foreshadowing for you? Alonso also promises “a last-page reveal that just might break the Internet” while editor Tom Brevoort assures of “the return of a central piece of the Marvel mythos that readers have been mourning in recent months.”

Marvel Legacy initiative spreads out across the Marvel Universe, showcasing epic storylines hearkening back to the glory days of Marvel starring Odinson, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Man, the Avengers, America Chavez, Iron Man, Moon Knight, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Luke Cage, the X-Men, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Deadpool, the Champions, Wolverine, Ironheart, Hulk, The Punisher, and so many more!

“The biggest challenge was in fitting everything that we had into the story, while still actually having a story!” expounds Brevoort. “When we laid out our plans for this [story] at one of our editorial summits, our community of creators was energetic in offering up key elements of the stories they were planning, so much so that it’s an embarrassment of riches. It’s everything that makes Marvel great, exciting, fun and special in a single high-quality package. This is the Marvel that you remember, and the Marvel that you long for.”

But how do we define Marvel’s legacy?

“Marvel’s ‘legacy’ is its universe of amazing but always relatable characters—each and every one of them loved for their strengths and weaknesses,” relates Alonso. “MARVEL LEGACY will prove that yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder, and we love our iconic characters as much as you do.”

“Marvel’s legacy is exciting, dramatic heroic stories featuring human, relatable characters facing situations and struggles that find parallel in the lives of our readers—the world outside your window,” adds Brevoort.

“This one shot being called LEGACY is not a coincidence,” contends Aaron. “This book is very much about that legacy so we see how that legacy stretches back to the distant past and we follow those characters who carry on that legacy in the present and we set the stage for those characters and that legacy will go in the continuing stories to come.”

Beginning this fall, long-running Marvel Universe titles will revert to their classic legacy numbering, honoring and restoring their long history, as new and epic storylines launch under the Marvel Legacy banner. Featuring clean entry points for every series, titles resuming their original numbering will be clearly marked with special trade dress and cover treatments. And that’s just the beginning!

“We’re really setting out to knock you on your ass,” vows Brevoort, “To get you excited and nervous and eager for all sorts of incredible things we’ve got coming up across the Marvel Universe in the next year and beyond. Whether you’re a fan of the core characters or all of the amazing faces we’ve introduced over the past couple of years, whether you’ve been there every Wednesday or you drifted away from Marvel at some point in the past, Marvel Legacy is your easy-access gateway to the future, a shot glass of the Power Cosmic!”

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Writer Jason Aaron reflects back on his run with the Sorcerer Supreme!

We find ourselves at the end of an era, folks. Just as Stephen Strange once faced The Last Days of Magic, writer Jason Aaron finds himself fast approaching the final installment of his nearly two-year run on DOCTOR STRANGE with issue #20 coming May 17. No need to worry, though, because the MIGHTY THOR writer says he has more plans in store for the Sorcerer Supreme.

Jason worked some of his magic on us to deliver a few poignant thoughts on a comic that means a lot to him and the Marvel Universe. Prepare for things to get strange—well, stranger than usual anyway.

Marvel.com: You’ve been writing DOCTOR STRANGE for nearly two years. What has been your favorite part about writing for Stephen Strange? Put another way: What was been the most magical part?

Jason Aaron: I think to me, the most important part coming in was just making the book fun. DOCTOR STRANGE as a series is one that didn’t always catch on. We hadn’t had a solo DOCTOR STRANGE ongoing in a quite a while so the character is sometimes hard for people to connect with or relate to and his world maybe seems so different compared to the rest of the Marvel Universe and maybe a little impenetrable. So I wanted it to be welcoming to people who’d never read a STRANGE book before, but also at the same time, something that could be embraced by the longtime fans of the character and as part of that, I wanted to make it fun to hang out with Stephen Strange and embrace the fact that he is very different from the all the rest of the heroes of the Marvel Universe; I did want to give a weight to what Strange goes through and let you understand a little bit about what it’s like to be him and the price he has to pay to be the Sorcerer Supreme. It’s not like Cap throwing a shield or Thor throwing a hammer. There’s a real price to be paid every time Doctor Strange uses magic. Sometimes that’s a price that’s paid by other people, by the world at large, but most often that’s the price that’s paid by him. So I think we demonstrated that in a lot of different ways and just how difficult it is to be the Sorcerer Supreme. I like kind of that dichotomy and the fact that Doctor Strange seems to be having a good time, the guy even embraces the weirdest little corner of the Marvel Universe, but at the same time, you don’t really wanna be Doctor Strange. It’s not a fun gig.

Marvel.com: Which character, hero or villain, have you most identified with and why?

Jason Aaron: I think it was nice to add a character like Zelma [the librarian] to the mix, someone who came into Strange’s world with fresh eyes, someone who didn’t really even believe in magic before that and certainly didn’t embrace the weirdness in a way that Strange does so I liked seeing [the weirdness] through her eyes and seeing how that experience has changed her along the way, which we really drive that point home in the last issue, issue #20.

Marvel.com: Under your direction, Stephen went from the top of his game as a Sorcerer Supreme to seeing magic die off. Can you discuss the process of crafting this roller coaster-esque odyssey for such a unique character and the challenges therein?

Jason Aaron: I like the way of sort of establishing Strange and the beat he walks as Sorcerer Supreme and what it’s like to him. I like the idea of [villains] who really [burn] his world to the ground—I think from there we start to kind of rebuild it. [We put] a few more limits on his powers; Strange has become kind of a deus ex machina for a while in the Marvel [Universe] where he could always just sort of show up and wave his fingers and save the day so I wanted to get away from that and show it’s a lot harder for him to be who he is and to do what he does, show him really have to fight and struggle for it, sometimes literally. We wanted him to be able to mix it up a little bit more and not just stand around and shoot magical energy blasts, but have to pick up a weapon and jump into the fray more than we’re used to seeing.

Doctor Strange #20 cover

Marvel.com: Another theme in the comic is the existence of supernatural horrors just beyond the veil of human comprehension, which was brought to vivid life by Chris Bachalo’s artwork. Was the cosmic horror and weird fiction of H.P. Lovecraft an influence at all?

Jason Aaron: Sure. I’ve read a lot of Lovecraft and love it. I think, again, that Doctor Strange is very different from all the other heroes in the Marvel Universe and that he’s the guy who walks a very different sort of beat and has to deal with threats that most of the other heroes may not even know exist. We wanted to drive that home and Chris has been a huge part of that. Right out of the gate in issue #1 we did the bit where we kind of see the world through Doctor Strange’s eyes; we call it “Strange Vision” where we see the normal world kind of go into black and white and we see all the things that only someone like Stephen Strange can see in pop and color. Chris is the perfect artist to do stuff like that. He really took it to another level on this. All along the way, once he was on board, he’s been filled with all sorts of crazy ideas with stuff to put in this book, visually, and has taken it to some really wild, imaginative places.

Marvel.com: What was it like writing this comic in the midst of big releases like the “Doctor Strange” movie that helped propel Stephen to a status of fame that he may not have enjoyed before?

Jason Aaron: Yeah, I think that’s really cool. Certainly anything that helps get more eyes on the comics, I’m always a fan of. I really enjoyed the movie, I really liked the tone of it and it felt like the movie and the comic were kind of pulling in the same direction in that regard. I’m really excited to see Strange pop up again in the [Marvel] Cinematic Universe.

Marvel.com: What hints and/or spoilers can you offer up about issue #20 before it drops in May?

Jason Aaron: I think it kind of sums up my run-up to this point. It’s the big issue; it’s drawn by the two artists who’ve handled most of it in the art so far: Chris Bachalo, the main artist, and then Kevin Nowlan who’s drawn a few bits here and there. So the two of them together, I think they’re the perfect pairing for this series. It’s a story that goes to a lot of different places, kind of focuses on Stephen and the core group of supporting characters around him and like I said, sums up my run so far and kind of sets things up for the new writer Dennis Hopeless to [take on] these same characters and take them forward into some new and different stories.

Marvel.com: And going off that, can you say anything on where Doctor Strange will go from here? Is he gonna be making any cameo appearances in MIGHTY THOR?

Jason Aaron: Maybe. You never know. I really enjoyed writing that team-up issue of STRANGE where we saw Doctor Strange and Thor teaming up so yeah, I don’t think I’m done writing Doctor Strange in some capacity.

Marvel.com: Is there anything in particular that you hope readers have taken away from your run on the title?

Jason Aaron: Just, you know, don’t ever touch Doctor Strange’s refrigerator…

Join Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, and Kevin Nowlan for DOCTOR STRANGE #20 on May 17!

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Finally find out what felled the Odinson with writer Jason Aaron!

WARNING: This article contained SPOILERS for UNWORTHY THOR #5, available now!

As Thor fans know, the Odinson has had a pretty difficult go of it lately. With the loss of his worthiness, he has found himself on a bit of a journey of self-discovery. As UNWORTHY THOR wraps up, we’ll see what this arc means both for his role in the larger Marvel Universe, and his place in the MIGHTY THOR series moving forward.

We chatted with writer Jason Aaron about what lies ahead for the Odinson.

Marvel.com: UNWORTHY THOR has forced the Odinson to figure out who he is without his worthiness. Can you give us your take on the journey he has gone through?

Jason Aaron: Everything I’ve done over the last few years with making Thor Odinson unworthy and bringing Jane Foster in was about telling a very specific story with her and with a different sort of Thor. But I also wanted to give Thor Odinson his own journey, so I wouldn’t just push him aside. I like the idea of watching him wrestle with his unworthiness and seeing how that changes him, how it makes him a very different sort of character. I think this [limited series] gave us the biggest version of that kind of story that we’ve done. We’ve seen a darker, angrier, very different kind of Thor Odinson.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about your experience writing both UNWORTHY THOR and MIGHTY THOR simultaneously?

Jason Aaron: I love writing Thor. I’ve been doing it for several years now and I have a big pile of Thor stories I’ve wanted to get to. It felt great to have the chance to write two Thor books at once. And to get to work with artists Russell Dauterman and Olivier Coipel at the same time felt like an extravagance of riches. Olivier is already established as one of the best Thor artists ever, and I see Russell rising up the ranks, as well. His art just gets better and better with every arc. And I’ve enjoyed doing these two very different Thor stories at the same time; now we’ll see the two characters collide, and the Odinson’s story will get wrapped up again with Jane Foster’s.

Marvel.com: This is the last issue of the UNWORTHY THOR series; could you tell us a little about what’s next for the Odinson?

Jason Aaron: You can expect to see him pop up in the pages of MIGHTY THOR very soon. He has missed a lot in the time he has been away, so he’ll have a lot to catch up on. And as you can see from the tease at the end of the UNWORTHY THOR #5, we still have more story to tell with the hammer of the Ultimate Thor. After the current MIGHTY THOR arc wraps up, we’ll dive into the story of a brand new Ultimate Thor—yet another very different sort of Thor added to the mix.

Marvel.com: You mentioned the hammer of the Ultimate Thor, which the Odinson encounters in UNWORTHY THOR. What role will it play in his story moving forward?

Jason Aaron: It will have its own big arc, when someone else comes along and picks up the hammer, and gets transformed by it in a different way. This hammer is a little different in that it’s a relic from a dead universe, a holdover from the Ultimate Universe that somehow survived through the events of Secret Wars. The exact nature of that hammer, how it differs from the hammer of Thor in the mainstream Marvel Universe, how it affects someone who wields it, we’ll answer those questions in the pages of MIGHTY THOR.

Marvel.com: In this issue, we finally learn what Nick Fury whispered to the Odinson in Original Sin that made him unworthy. He said, “Gorr was right.” What kind of impact did you hope this reveal would have on the Odinson’s story?

Jason Aaron: The idea with this mystery stretches back to the beginning of my run on Thor. We still see the effects that Thor’s battle with Gorr the God Butcher had on him, and the overall meaning of what Gorr did and why. I think as long as I’m guiding Thor’s ship, that idea of worthiness and what it means to be a god in the Marvel Universe will remain prominent themes. And I think this reveal shows that these questions still plague Thor Odinson, and I don’t expect that to go away anytime soon.

Follow the fate of the Odinson yourself in UNWORTHY THOR #5, on sale now, and in future issues of MIGHTY THOR!

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Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen unite for a Star Wars event crossover!

By now, fans know of a new disturbance in the force, and it takes the form of “The Screaming Citadel”—the next crossover taking place in the STAR WARS and DOCTOR APHRA series. This five-issue event sees Luke Skywalker pair off with the unlikeliest of allies: Doctor Aphra!

Beginning in May, the story opens up with STAR WARS: THE SCREAMING CITADEL one-shot from Kieron Gillen and artist Marco Checchetto, and it continues in STAR WARS #31 with Jason Aaron and into Gillen’s DOCTOR APHRA #7.

We spoke with both Aaron and Gillen about their second crossover collaboration and a little of what we can expect to see from them when they take us to The Screaming Citadel!

Marvel.com: Gentlemen, this May you both will be working together on a new crossover called “The Screaming Citadel,” which will take place between the DOCTOR APHRA and regular STAR WARS series.

Before we dig into the specifics of the story, can you share a little bit about how you both came together for another crossover event? Is this something we can expect on an annual basis akin to the summer events, or was this something that grew out of your respective series?

Jason Aaron: Just like with [previous crossover] “Vader Down,” this grew out of what Kieron and I were doing. It was definitely something that came out of our stories organically. It wasn’t the case where we had to wedge this event into what we were already doing. It was very natural.

I take that all back. We really can’t stand each other and only work together when forced to do so.

Kieron Gillen: I respond best to gunfire and I believe my family is being held by Marvel, so my involvement was guaranteed.

Jason Aaron: They’re doing fine; we’re feeding them well!

Kieron Gillen: What a relief! But really, Jason and I have been doing this for a few years now, and we’ve grown accustomed to sharing the characters and talking about our stories and their shared histories. And sometimes, we figure it’s time for them to get together.

It’s one of the thrills of doing something like this is exploring the characters’ personalities, and discovering who might end up being more antagonistic. So, we see Luke and Doctor Aphra going off together on this adventure, and we get to see some very different interactions here.

Jason Aaron: I think in writing the issues so far reminds me of how much fun it was writing “Vader Down” and mixing up the casts together. And it reminds me how much there still is left on the table. We did that crossover and the whole thing was these two casts fighting against each other, but we really only scratched the surface of what’s out there for stories. It’s been a blast getting back to that.

Marvel.com: So, let’s talk angry architecture: what exactly is The Screaming Citadel? Is this something new that you came up with?

Kieron Gillen: We bandied about some ideas and wanted to go about telling a very different kind of story. It’s going to end up being a horror story! But it has to be more than just monsters as the world of Star Wars is already filled with them. So, we just tried to take all the parts of the horror genre that we liked, but then went about doing them in different way.

It’s a weird alien world, but we very clearly put the poor villagers at the bottom of an enormous castle! The gothic elements will be there—just different in some regards.

Jason Aaron: I think, story-wise, it’s growing out of what Kieron’s doing in DOCTOR APHRA. You can see the seeds are there. Then when we talked about the best way to mix our casts together again, some of the different gothic elements came up – and that’s what we seized upon and got everyone excited about. Like Kieron said, we haven’t really seen a STAR WARS story like this, at least not in the comics we’ve been writing the past few years. But it makes sense given what Kieron’s set up in DOCTOR APHRA and with the characters whom we’re throwing into the mix. It feels very [natural].

It’s surprised me how easy and fun it’s been to write these characters in this horror-driven setting.

Kieron Gillen: I tend to be one who is self-deprecating and feels guilt when I enjoy something, and I have to be honest, it’s been a real joy writing this. It’s almost as if something [has] gone wrong because I’m really having fun with it! It comes quite freely and there are a lot of ideas coming out of all of this. It has a real “pulpy” energy to it.

Marvel.com: This storyline will see Luke Skywalker reluctantly team with Doctor Aphra as they investigate The Screaming Citadel, an infamous castle located on the edge of space.

Luke isn’t quite the farm boy fresh off Tatooine anymore, but he’s still a far cry from the space-savvy Aphra. What brings these two unlikely characters together?

Jason Aaron: They need each other. Luke has been on a quest to become a Jedi; to be what he needs to be to win this war, to defeat Darth Vader, and to save his friends. He knows he has to be better and he has to keep working towards becoming who he needs to be. He’s been on that road since STAR WARS #1, and the stakes keep getting raised in that quest. We’ve even recently seen C-3PO taken captive by the Empire, so now Luke is starting to lose his friends and he can’t always save them.

He’s desperate to get whatever he needs to be the person they need. Aphra shows up and shows him a chance to get there.

Kieron Gillen: To be fair, Luke doesn’t instantly trust Aphra. The last time they met, she was working for Darth Vader and she tried to kidnap him. But Luke sees an opportunity with her, and Aphra needs Luke for something, so it feels natural for them to come together. The problem is that Aphra’s also very well aware that no one else will let her do this.

Marvel.com: Now, there is the Queen of the Screaming Citadel that readers will meet as well when Luke and Aphra arrive on her planet. Why haven’t we heard about her before? What sort of dangers or threats might she pose? Are we looking at some sort of “fringe” dark side force user?

Jason Aaron: It’s a big galaxy and there are lots of characters we haven’t met yet. In Kieron’s first issue, there’s a very good reason given for why this is happening when it is happening. There’s only one day when this adventure could get going.

Kieron Gillen: That’s a good question! She’s a very reclusive figure, semi-legendary, but only within this one, isolated area of the galaxy. And she really doesn’t let people speak about her. That’s how we’ve got the character set up. You see, there’s more than the dark side going on in the galaxy, and that should make you feel creeped out, you know? There’s a lot going on in that area that’s quite unusual.

Marvel.com: There are some aspects of this—whether right or wrong—that brings to mind the supernatural Nightsisters and Mother Talzin of the animated The Clone Wars series. Are there any direct or indirect connections to this with the Screaming Citadel and it’s terrifying queen?

Kieron Gillen: The Nightsisters were there for us originally, but there is no connection between them and the Queen, even if it was something we were chewing over early on. Would you say that’s fair, Jason?

Jason Aaron: Yeah, that sounds about right.

Kieron Gillen: I’d say by ways of comparison, the Queen occupies a very different sort of space.

Marvel.com: Many Star Wars fans cite The Empire Strikes Back as the best of the movies—past or present—as it took a much darker bent and was the first to really let the bad guys win. Given that you’ll be taking a turn towards a more supernatural direction, how far into the dark side do you plan to go with this story?

Jason Aaron: That’s a good question! It’s certainly going to have a different tone than “Vader Down,” but it’s not going to be terribly grim. In fact, I think it’ll be a little funnier. Yes, it looks a lot darker and we’re playing with some old horror tropes, but whenever you get the casts of these characters together, it’s going to be funny. We’re certainly trying to mine for whatever laughs we can find!

Kieron Gillen: I’m not even sure it could compare to any of the other Star Wars movies because it has its own set of stakes. It’s like a “high adventure” movie. The fact that they’re going into someplace as creepy as it is makes sense, but there’s the adventure. It’s more like an Indiana Jones adventure film than anything else. That creepy danger with the humor and pulpy adventure.

Marvel.com: Something more along the lines of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom then?

Kieron Gillen: I’d say that’s a really good comparison!

Marvel.com: Last question: Once readers are on the other side of this storyline, where do you see both Aphra and Luke? Put another way, how do you see this storyline affecting who they will become down the road as heroes or anti-heroes?

Jason Aaron: I don’t think we can specifically, but we can say that like “Vader Down,” it’s not a detour, it’s a next step. This crossover will have ramifications for both characters.

Kieron Gillen: It’s important for the DOCTOR APHRA readers to know this arc is not something you can skip and go right into the third arc. It’s going to play an important role in character building for her that you’ll need going into that eventual third arc. Luke is the farm boy, of course, but he’s not quite the same as he used to be. And Aphra has been this cynical monster who’s been around the galaxy, but maybe she’s not as bad as she thinks she—even though she can be pretty bad.

At the same time, they both have some similarities. They both lost their families in the war. They get to know each other and they also get under each other’s skin. That’s the real emotion core to this book, you know? I’m sure both will be better—and worse!—for the experience!

Make your way to The Screaming Citadel starting this May!

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