Amid a clamor for translations, LINE Webtoon is bringing its popular telling of the original Star Wars trilogy to the U.S., giving fans of the Saga who don’t read Korean the chance to experience the retelling of the Episodes IV, V and VI in a different manner.
The series, originally titled Star Wars: Story Before the Force Awakens, and available only in South Korea and in Korean, is expanding its reach, said JunKoo Kim, the founder and head of LINE Webtoon.
“Our fans in the United States are in for something special as they now have a chance to dive into the epic Star Wars story in a totally new way, only on LINE Webtoon,” Kim said in a statement. “This immersive digital comic experience offers a brand new experience for Star Wars fans and perfectly showcases the appeal of our digital storytelling format.”
And, remember, the stories told are canon. They’re similar to the original trilogy, but there is more depth and detail for certain characters such as Lars and Beru, along with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s doings on Tatooine.
It’s a change of course, given there were no plans to make it available outside of South Korea. Now, it will also be released in Indonesia and Thailand, too.
Starting Oct. 1, episodes will be posted online at LINE’s website and loaded on its app, available for iOs and Android, too. Episodes will be released Sundays and Thursdays. But don’t expect much beyond the events of the original trilogy, the company told Coffee With Kenobi in an interview by email. For now, the focus remains on that core trilogy.
Coffee With Kenobi: What prompted the decision to reverse course and translate the Webtoon into English?
LINE Webtoon: It was very exciting to see the epic tale presented in a different digital comics format. The delivered content was certain to give new experience and bring back old nostalgia for Star Wars fans through a medium that was not adapted before. Although the Webtoon was originally developed in Korean, we (as another group of Star Wars fans) believed it was only justice to officially bring the Webtoon into English for original Star Wars fans who deserve every available Star Wars content.
CwK: Given its reception in South Korea, and the small yet devoted cadre of people outside of the nation who follow it — myself included — are there plans to expand the translation to other languages in a bid to expand its reach?
LINE Webtoon: The original comic was only available in Korean in Korea, but we are happy to bring it to even more fans in other countries and of other languages. These include Taiwan (Chinese Traditional). We are planning to roll out the Star Wars comic to even more fans with translations in both in Thailand (Thai) and Indonesia (Bahasa) in the coming months.
CwK: Is there any notion that perhaps a similar approach could be taken with the prequel trilogy to enhance the canon and, perhaps, offer Easter eggs for the upcoming trilogy that starts with The Force Awakens.
LINE Webtoon: This Star Wars comic is based on original trilogy. There are no plans to cover the prequel trilogy or anything related to The Force Awakens.
CwK: Branching farther afield, has there been any discussion about bundling the Webtoons into the printed page or putting them up for sale through Marvel’s digital storefront?
LINE Webtoon: A webtoon is best enjoyed when it is in its scroll-format, and we believe the readers can get the most immersive experience when they read the comic in its originally intended format. So, as of now there is no plan to put this into a different medium.
Matt Moore has been perpetrating journalism since 1985, reveling in Star Wars since 1977 and reading comics since 1974.
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