If there's one thing Brian Wood can write the hell out of, it's conflict. Whether it's Conan's barbarian ways, DMZ's political maneuvering or Ultimate X-Men's struggle for survival, Wood can make it gripping, intense and believable -- which is why the idea of his taking on George Lucas' famous space opera in a brand new Star Wars series from Dark Horse is so exciting.One of Dark Horse's San Diego Comic-Con announcements, the publisher has revealed that Wood will be teaming with artist Carlos d'Anda (Batman: Arkham City comics) and cover painter Alex Ross for an all-new ongoing series set right after the original 1977 movie that brings a new vitality to the familiar characters and universe.

"My plan is to pretend that nothing else exists other than 'A New Hope,' at least in the minds of the characters," Wood told Comic Book Resources. "The fact the reader knows so much, especially things the characters don't just yet -- such as Luke and Leia being related, Vader as their father, et cetera -- makes for some fun writing. I love 'Empire,' and maybe in the future I'll catch up to that film story-wise, but for right now I'm enjoying this beautiful moment in time, starting literally days after the Battle of Yavin when everything is set up and the future is wide open."

Part of this wide-open future thankfully involves a new role for Princess Leia, Wood explains: "Leia is not going to be sitting around in a gown attending a lot of meetings -- she has her blaster and an X-wing and is out there with Luke and Wedge working on building the Alliance back up after losing so much. I really wanted to put Leia into the mix, holding her own in battle."

As for the other characters, we can expect to see a Luke who hasn't yet mastered his Jedi powers, and a Han that's "still kind of jerk," apparently. Oh, and also Darth Vader getting spanked for what happened at the end of the first movie. "Vader... is taken to task by the Emperor for not stopping that one X-wing that took out the Death Star," Wood teased. Now that could make for some fun reading.

The new Star Wars series launches in January 2013.

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