This might be my favorite chart to illustrate just how much trouble we collectors are in, wallet-wise! Here you can see the total number of movies, novels, comic stories, TV episodes, magazine articles, commentary, behind-the-scenes books, etc. released within or about the Star Wars universe, ever since that first Alan Dean Foster novelization in 1976 all the way up through today. In 1977, there was more written about Star Wars than there were Star Wars stories to write about. The first big spike in fiction and nonfiction, including adaptations and commentary was in 1980 with the release of Empire Strikes Back, and then again in 1983 for Return of the Jedi. For the next couple of years, we had the Marvel Comics and the Droids/Ewoks TV shows. Beginning in 1987 and moving through to 1990...almost nothing, except for the West End Games roleplaying series - and no one was writing about Star Wars either. Then came 1991 and the Renaissance really started to get into gear, with more new novels and comic books than we'd ever seen. Lucasfilm itself got into the game in 1995 with the THX release of the original trilogy, complete with new editions of the original novels and comics adaptations. Momentum keeps apace until the 1997 Special Edition releases, and stays pretty constant through the prequels in 1999, 2002, and 2005. We get a bit of a dip in 2006 and 2007, and it looks as though maybe Star Wars has passed its peak, until late 2008 when the Clone Wars TV series debuts, and boom - we've got a steady stream of new content AND non-fiction interest into the next decade. But then...in 2012 writing about Star Wars skyrockets with the announcement of the Disney / Lucasfilm acquisition, and we are off to the races for good. Disney finally takes hold of the Star Wars canon in 2014, and proceeds to ramp up content like never before. In 2015 there is more Star Wars to buy, watch, and read than ever - more than three times the number of fictional stories, and almost five times the number of non-fiction stories, compared to 2005, the year the last live action Star Wars movie was released. It may never get that big again, but we are at a new plateau under Disney's licensing magic, and it looks like we're on this new plateau to stay. Save your credits!
This chart forms the basis for what the Happy Beeps Publishing Catalog terms the five Star Wars Publication or Production Eras - Classic Star Wars (1976-1987), The Renaissance (1987-1998), the Prequel Era (1998-2008), the Clone Wars Era (2008-2014), and the Story Group Era (2014-today). It's a loose segmentation, as you can see by browsing the catalog, but it's useful once you start to dig into the triggers for how content production sped up or ramped down over various categories. Stay tuned to Chart of the Day for more breakdowns, and let us know what you'd like to see!