Disney is trying to build a fanbase for Star Wars in China by partnering with Tencent’s China Literature to license and distribute 40 translated Star Wars novels for Chinese readers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
- The new partnership was unveiled in Shanghai, earlier this week.
- Under this new partnership, the two companies will also work together to develop and publish the world’s first authorized Star Wars online novel written by a Chinese author.
- The new Chinese Star Wars novel will be written by one of China Literature's most popular in-house writers, an author who goes by the Chinese pen name "His Majesty the King."
- "His Majesty the King” is known for his incredibly popular Xianxia martial arts novels published by Tencent's Qidian reading platform.
- The story is reportedly still in development, but according to Disney and Lucasfilm it will introduce a new Chinese hero and will "combine native Chinese elements and the narrative style of Chinese literature to tell the story of Star Wars."
- Star Wars has never been the massive hit in China that it is in most of the world.
- The original films never saw a wide release in China and of the more recent films, The Force Awakens eaned the most at the box office at an underwhelming $124 million.
- China Literature claims 217.1 million monthly active users across its platforms, which include services like Qidian.com and QQ Reading.
- All 40 of the licensed Star Wars novels are being made available to Chinese users for free, during a promotional period from now until October 22.
- The collection of novels includes the novelizations of the original trilogy, Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn” trilogy and more.
What they’re saying:
- Wu Wenhui, CEO of Literature: "We hope that more Chinese readers will be exposed to the Star Wars story, helping Star Wars renew its vitality in China,"
- James Waugh, vice president of franchise content and strategy at Lucasfilm: "It is really exciting to be able to embark on a journey to define the Star Wars narrative for the vast number of Chinese readers. We hope that in the future, we will have the opportunity to present more fascinating Star Wars stories and content experiences to Chinese readers, gripping them with the spiritual core of the Star Wars brand."