Last year, Lucasfilm and Del Rey announced a wide-ranging Mandalorian publishing program (something that typically accompanies most big Star Wars releases), which would have included a new novel by Adam Christopher, and a visual dictionary for the series.
Yesterday, Del Rey announced that the novel was now no longer being published, but that Christopher was working on a new Star Wars novel.
In a Tweet, the publisher noted that “due to the ever-expanding world of The Mandalorian, we will no longer be publishing THE MANDALORIAN ORIGINAL NOVEL at this time, as the story continues to unfold on screen,” and that Christopher is already at work on another novel.
Due to the ever-expanding world of The Mandalorian, we will no longer be publishing THE MANDALORIAN ORIGINAL NOVEL at this time, as the story continues to unfold on screen.
— Star Wars Books (@DelReyStarWars) March 9, 2021
DK Books issued a similar statement for its upcoming The Mandalorian Ultimate Visual Guide.
Due to the ever-expanding world of The Mandalorian, we will no longer be publishing The Mandalorian Ultimate Visual Guide at this time, as the story continues to unfold on screen.
— DK Books US (@dkpublishing) March 9, 2021
The specific reasons for the novel’s cancellation aren’t clear, given that we didn’t know anything about the plot of the novel, or where it sat in the timeline in relation to the series. The book was set to come out last December, but was eventually bumped back to the fall of 2021.
The move does highlight the complexity of storytelling in a big, multimedia franchise. Last fall, Lucasfilm unveiled a big expansion for the Star Wars franchise on Disney+, which included not only a third season of The Mandalorian, but a handful of spinoff shows: The Book of Boba Fett, (set to come out December 2021), The Rangers of the High Republic, and Ahsoka, all of which will apparently “intersect with future stories and culminate into a climactic story event.”
Clearly, there’s a lot of organization and planning that goes into writing those shows and figuring how how to move the action forward, and film has always had an overriding priority for canon in the Star Wars universe—it’s likely easier to shift a book out of the way and start fresh once the story is a bit more firmly laid down. After all, most of the Expanded Universe was created after the “final” Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi.
With its cancellation, Christopher’s book joins a rarefied collection of unpublished Star Wars novels, which includes an early EU book called Heart of the Jedi by Kenneth C. Flint (which you can read in its entirety here), a handful of books slated for the New Jedi Order that never came to fruition (from Michael A. Stackpole and Michael Jan Friedman), an Imperial Commando sequel and a Boba Fett novel by Karen Traviss, a Clone Wars-era novel by William C. Dietz called Escape from Dagu, post-NJO novel Blood Oath by Elaine Cunningham, and KOTOR-era book Mandoria by Alex Irvine.
Hopefully, we’ll learn more about Christopher’s next book before too much longer.