In addition to its highly-anticipated upcoming film, the Star Wars brand returns to comics next January. The announcement was made during the Cup O’ Joe panel at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con event during the weekend of July 24 to July 27, 2014. The release of the new comic book titles from Marvel, who now owns the rights to the comics, kicks off with the ongoing series Star Wars and Star Wars: Darth Vader. Along with these two titles there will also be the release of a five-issue miniseries titled Star Wars: Princess Leia. All three of the titles take place in between the events of the first two Star Wars films from the original trilogy.
Back when the original film made its debut in movie theaters in 1977, Marvel Comics released their own Star Wars comic book. Over time, the rights to the comic book brand went to Dark Horse Comics. But in the recent years, Disney not only bought the Marvel brand, but also bought the Lucasfilm company, which owns the rights to Star Wars. Hence, Marvel and Star Wars are back together.
The first comic book, titled Star Wars, was written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by John Cassaday, and will feature all of the main characters from the original films, including the lead trio of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. Of course, readers will also see the return of lovable wookie Chewbacca and droids C-3PO and R2-D2. However, the main focus of this title will be on Luke Skywalker as he continues to ponder who is the evil Darth Vader, and searches for more answers about his father, Anakin Skywalker. Little does he know that both Vader and Anakin are the same person.
In the original Star Wars, the evil Darth Vader was once Anakin Skywalker, an ambitious Jedi knight, or warrior for peace. Anakin was found as a boy on the distant space planet of Tattoine by Jedi knight Qui-gon Jin. Though the other Jedi felt that training him would be dangerous, they got talked into it. Anakin Skywalker received his training from Jedi knight, Obi-wan Kenobi. As he got older, Anakin Skywalker’s lust for power began to corrupt his mind.
This was noticed by villain Darth Sidious, who was secretly posing as a politician for the good side in order to take down the Jedi knights and forge his own empire. Using his way of persuasion, he convinced Anakin Skywalker to join his side. Hence, he became Darth Vader. As Vader, he fought against everything for which the Jedi stood, drove his wife, Padme, away and made his mentor, Obi-wan Kenobi, an enemy.
During an epic battle with Obi-wan, Vader got brutally injured to the point of death. When Darth Sidious found him, he was able to revive Vader by giving him mechanical armor. Only through this armor could he continue to live. While being revived, his wife died while giving birth to their son, Luke. When he learned of her death, he assumed that his son died with her. Unbeknownst to him, Luke was taken to Tattoine by Obi-wan to be raised by Anakin Skywalker’s stepbrother and wife and was kept under the watchful eye of Obi-wan until Luke Skywalker was ready to learn the ways of the Jedi.
While the first Star Wars title in its return to comics puts the focus on Luke, Star Wars: Darth Vader, written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Salvador Larroca, gives readers the perspective of Vader and his empire. Vader is pondering how a simple young man like Luke Skywalker was able to destroy the Death Star, Vader’s space station and the most powerful weapon in the galaxy. He finds himself in the position of proving to the emperor, Darth Sidious, that he is worthy of leading the empire and able to take down the Rebel Alliance, of which Luke is a member.
Readers and fans of the first Star Wars film will acknowledge this story line as a nod to Vader’s line about Luke, “The force is strong with this one.” As explained in the first movie, the force is an energy field created by all living things and is the source of a Jedi’s power. In the movie, Vader senses that Luke has strong Jedi potential and could either become a great enemy or a great ally. Little does he know that he is his assumed-dead son.
Finally, there is a five issue mini-series titled, Star Wars: Princess Leia, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Terry Dodson, which will be released in March of 2015. The series gives readers the background on how Princess Leia became the leader of the Rebel Alliance, an army of individuals who stand up against Darth Vader and his corrupt empire.
Since the first film made its debut back in 1977, Star Wars has become not just a movie franchise, but a pop culture phenomenon. Anticipation has been building up for the newest film, which is being directed by JJ Abrams, is currently in production and will feature the cast of the original trilogy. As attendees of the San Diego Comic-Con event cheered at the news that the brand is returning to Marvel for new comics, it is clear that Star Wars will always be loved by many.
By Andrew Cerecedes