Chuck Wending, author of the bestselling Star Wars: Aftermath novels, says Marvel Comics has fired him from their Shadow of Vader series over his political outspokenness.
The writer posted to Twitter on Friday to say he was removed from the five-volume series with two issues unfinished, and another as-yet-unannounced project was canceled.
Shadow of Vader was announced Oct. 5 at New York Comic Con with plans to debut in January. Each issue focuses on a character who is dealing with (or cleaning up after) Vader’s actions as the Emperor’s galactic enforcer.
Wendig said he believed the decision rested solely with Marvel Comics and not with Lucasfilm’s publishing division. He does not currently have any novels or other projects in the works with that department.
Marvel Comics did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Wendig told EW he thinks the decision to fire him over his political tweets will have wider implications for writers and artists in general.
“It’ll be chilling,” he said. “It’ll make creators with smaller voices than mine be afraid to speak out.”
Fellow writers defended Wendig after news broke of his firing, among them novelist and comics scribe Joe Hill, who compared it to Disney firing Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn after far-right trolls resurfaced a series of the filmmaker’s decade-old vulgar jokes.
Wendig became the target of the trolls after a furious tweet about Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court caught the attention of right-wing pundits, drawing an avalanche of equally rancorous replies from their followers.
He saw it coming:
One of Wendig’s landmark contributions to the Star Wars canon was the introduction in Aftermath of the first openly gay hero, the Imperial defector turned Rebel agent Sinjir Rath Velus. (The earlier novel Lords of the Sith introduced the first LGBTQ character, the villainous Moff Delian Mors, a lesbian Imperial officer.)
His firing is the second removal of an outspoken freelance writer by Marvel Comics. Chelsea Cain, whose female-friendly first Marvel superhero comic, Mockingbird, inspired a social media harassment campaign against her after it was canceled, learned last month that a new series about The Vision that she was writing with husband Marc Mohan was being canceled by Marvel Comics before it was even released.
As with Wendig, Marvel did not comment publicly on the reasons for ending the series, leaving many fans to wonder if Cain’s politics played a factor.
A source at the comic book company told EW that Wendig’s firing was a response to his use of profanity and vulgarity in expressing his views, not the views themselves.
Wendig said the tone of his tweets was never previously questioned by Marvel until he was abruptly fired.
Marvel did not present specific social media guidelines for its creators, but the source said there are “ongoing conversations with creators” about what they say and do publicly.
—Christian Holub contributed to this report.