The Hidden Empire, releasing in 2022, will conclude Charles Soule’s Star Wars trilogy after War of the Bounty Hunters and Crimson Reign!

War of the Bounty Hunters #5 released today, wrapping up the main arc of the massive crossover event. I’ll have a full review of that issue coming soon, but on the final page, a brand new comic was announced: The Hidden Empire.

Here was the announcement that adorned the final page of the War of the Bounty Hunters final issue:

“WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS was just the beginning, the first installment of an epic trilogy that will span the Star Wars alaxy… Coming soon, the second chapter begins — CRIMSON REIGN! And in 2022, the epic conclusion — THE HIDDEN EMPIRE!”

We had previously learned that the War of the Bounty Hunters story was only the beginning and that author Charles Soule actually had a whole trilogy planned, of which that series was only the first chapter. In August, the second chapter was announced, as Crimson Reign is beginning in December of this year, continuing the story by focusing more on Qi’ra and Crimson Dawn. But we didn’t know what the final chapter would be – until now. It’s going to be wrapped up with the still mysterious The Hidden Empire.

No accompanying announcement was made about this series, and that’s possibly because there’s a whole other story still to come before that one. But we can speculate a bit as to what it’s about, even though we only know the title and the basic premise of what comes before it. I see two potential meanings to it; firstly, it could be referring to Crimson Dawn as a hidden empire, one long kept underground and yet poised to return. Or secondly, it could be referring to the Galactic Empire that, after falling, went into hiding and was reborn as the First Order. Since this story seems to be centering on Qi’ra and Crimson Dawn, that would make the first option seem more likely – but within what we know of the Star Wars universe, the latter option would seem to be the most natural. So we’ll have to wait and see (and, of course, it could even refer to both).

I love seeing such major stories being told in the Star Wars comics, and Charles Soule is the perfect one to do it. I enjoyed the War of the Bounty Hunters story, but I’m especially intrigued to see where Qi’ra’s story goes from here. And it’s cool that there seems to be an endgame in mind for this whole story, and I can’t wait to learn all about it.

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