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'Star Wars' announces 20 new books, first gay character

20 books will occupy 'Star Wars' fans during their 9-month wait for new movie

"Star Wars" fans have another nine months to wait for the next installment of the movie series, "The Force Awakens." Luckily, they'll have a lot to read in the interim. Entertainment Weekly reports that at least 20 "Star Wars" books will be released in the coming months, "titles filled with Easter eggs foreshadowing events" that reintroduce favorite characters.

The books won't just be novels based on the iconic science-fiction franchise; they'll also include children's literature, including sticker books. The publishing project is being managed by Disney Publishing Worldwide, and the books will be released by that company as well as other publishers, including Del Rey and Marvel Comics.

The plot of "The Force Awakens" is a closely guarded secret, so few details about the book series, known as "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens," are available. Disney Publishing Worldwide Executive Vice President Andrew Sugerman told Entertainment Weekly that the books will provide some "Easter eggs" and hints about the new film: "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?"

The news comes on the heels of an announcement that an upcoming "Star Wars" novel will feature the fictional universe's first gay character. The Guardian reports that "Lords of the Sith," by Paul S. Kemp, will introduce Moff Mors, a lesbian. "It’s true that Lords of the Sith has a lesbian character," Kemp tweeted. "Her orientation is a characteristic in the same way as is her brunette hair. It just fit with my conception of her."

Del Rey editor Shelly Shapiro, who manages the "Star Wars" books at the publisher, told the website Big Shiny Robot that Mors will indeed be the first canonical LGBT character in the series.

"There's a lot of diversity — there should be diversity in 'Star Wars,'" Shapiro said. "You have all these different species and it would be silly to not also recognize that there's a lot of diversity in humans. If there's any message at all, it's simply that 'Star Wars' is as diverse (or more so because they have alien species) as humanity is in real life and we don't want to pretend it's not."

[Updated]: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the forthcoming books would reveal what happened in the 32 years between "Return of the Jedi" and the upcoming film.

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