Lando Calrissian wasn’t always the “respectable leader” we see in the films…

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

LANDO #1 begins just the way a limited series starring Lando Calrissian should—with the loveable scoundrel wooing a beautiful woman. In the same scene, Charles Soule elegantly provides a full understanding of Lando’s current place in the galaxy—and he’s not exactly the administrator of a profitable tibanna gas mining facility yet. Rather, he lives a life much like the one lived by his old friend Han Solo, constantly on the run. And in massive debt.

Lando (2015) #1

Lando (2015) #1

  • Published: July 08, 2015
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 04, 2016
  • Writer: Charles Soule
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Just as Han has Jabba the Hutt, Lando owes his fair share of credits a soft-spoken crime lord named Papa Toren, who’s got just the operation in mind for Lando to wipe that debt away. It’s a simple robbery involving the theft of a ship full of priceless art from “some rich Imperial.” By issue’s end we learn that said rich Imperial is none other than Emperor Palpatine. Oops…

As a whole, LANDO is worth your time not only for Soule’s spot-on characterization of someone we love from the films despite limited screen time, but also for “buddy film” vibe between Lando and his closest friend, Lobot. Yeah, that’s right—the silent bald guy in “The Empire Strikes Back” with a huge cybernetic implant going around his head. He’s not so silent here, asking intelligent questions in the face of Lando’s unorthodox line of thinking…but by the end of the series, we’ll learn why he’s not so chatty by the time Episode V comes around.

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Star Wars comics reveal how Darth Vader learned his son blew up the Death Star.

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

We’ve all seen “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”—and we all know that Darth Vader was aiming to capture Luke in Episode V despite not knowing his identity during the Death Star trench run. So…how did that happen? How did Vader learn that he almost gunned down his own son? Shared between both STAR WARS #6 and DARTH VADER # 6, one of the greatest moments in Star Wars comic book history reveals this crucial moment in Star Wars lore.

Darth Vader (2015) #6

Darth Vader (2015) #6

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STAR WARS #6 made headlines when it was released for revealing that Han Solo may have a wife, but the arguable bigger revelation is the one Boba Fett conveys to Vader in the issue’s final pages. The bounty hunter had learned of Luke’s identity in STAR WARS #5, and issue #6 kicks off with him encountering Luke—the rare instance of Fett’s prey successfully fleeing. The issue concludes with the revelation. Vader does not take it well…

DARTH VADER #6 ends similarly, but with a more introspective look at the news from the Dark Lord’s perspective. We see thoughts of Padme go through his mind—as well as Palpatine’s lie to him that he killed her. Then, four simple words that should pack a huge emotional wallop to fans: “I have a son.” We know what happens from there.

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The Sith Lord’s first ongoing series begins with one of the best single Star Wars issues ever.

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

Though several limited series of the past had featured Darth Vader as their—for lack of a better word—protagonist, not until 2015’s Marvel relaunch of Star Wars comics did the Dark Lord of the Sith receive his own ongoing title. It was worth the wait, though—DARTH VADER ranks among the best Star Wars comic series ever, and its first issue kicks things off memorably.

Darth Vader (2015) #1

Darth Vader (2015) #1

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Anyone who’s seen “Return of the Jedi” remembers Luke Skywalker’s dramatic entrance into Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine. Set shortly after the events of “A New Hope,” DARTH VADER #1 offers an alternate take on this scenario. Vader’s entrance closely mirrors his son’s that will occur a few years later, though with decidedly more sinister methods—mostly involving a lightsaber—used to reach the gangster. “I have only killed two [guards],” the man once known as Anakin Skywalker tells Jabba. “Do not make me reconsider my generosity.”

As the issue continues, we realize its ties to Jason Aaron’s STAR WARS, with references to Vader’s first direct altercation with Luke mentioned—and the fact that Vader’s appearance at Jabba’s Palace is “unofficial,” with the “official” one to occur in STAR WARS #4. We also experience a conversation with the Emperor in which Palpatine expresses his disgust with Vader for the destruction of the Death Star, and that now he will be taking orders from Grand General Tagge. When Palpatine asks Vader if he has anything further to report, he willfully neglects to mention important facts such as the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

DARTH VADER #1 proves that writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larocca absolutely get this character and this universe. And they won’t let up for the duration of the series’ 25-issue run.

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A new era of Star Wars comics begins...

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

“I have a very good feeling about this,” says C-3PO within the first few pages of STAR WARS #1. Beyond simply speaking for himself by turning one of Star Wars’ most well-known phrases on its head, he’s even more so speaking on behalf of us, the fans. The first Star Wars title published by Marvel since the 1980s, this issue represents a rebirth for comics set in a galaxy far, far away, with every action taken and word spoken officially now adopted as Star Wars canon.

Star Wars (2015) #1

Star Wars (2015) #1

  • Published: January 14, 2015
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 27, 2015
  • Rating: Rated T
  • Writer: Jason Aaron
  • Cover Artist: John Cassaday
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thankfully, the issue’s story and art perfectly match the cinematic tone of its source material. You can practically hear the actors’ voices and John Williams’ score in your head as you read Jason Aaron’s words and marvel at John Cassaday’s spot-on, dynamic art. Set within the months following the destruction of the first Death Star, we follow all of our favorite characters—Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca and the droids—as they infiltrate an Imperial outpost. Things go well for a while…but then Darth Vader shows up. After an incredible moment where he defends himself against a barrage of blaster fire, Vader ignites his lightsaber—with Luke right before him.

Now at issue #36, STAR WARS continues to delight fans on a regular basis. And it’s still a very good feeling to read it.

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The tyrannical rule of Emperor Palpatine begins…

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

“I’m sorry, Senator Braxis,” a familiar out-of-frame character states at the beginning of STAR WARS: DARK TIMES #1. “The Imperial throne cannot interfere in local politics.” In one single opening panel, the tone is set for the 17-issue series to follow, as the Emperor refuses to assist a planet in need. On the same page, Palpatine’s associates inform him that anti-Imperial sentiments have been rounded up and eliminated, and that other planets in turmoil are being put in their place. It’s clear that optimism has no place in this new era for the Star Wars galaxy.

Star Wars: Dark Times (2006) #1

Star Wars: Dark Times (2006) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Beginning shortly after the end of “Revenge of the Sith,” the very title of STAR WARS: DARK TIMES should immediately resonate with Star Wars fans, per an Obi-Wan Kenobi quote about the glory days of the Jedi Knights from “A New Hope”: “Before the dark times. Before the Empire.” Picking up after STAR WARS: PURGE, DARK TIMES serves as a direct continuation of STAR WARS: REPUBLIC, offering numerous story arcs with new and established characters as they adapt to the new galactic order.

Most of issue #1 focuses on a battle of natives versus Imperial forces on New Plympto. Not only do we see the hopeless struggle of the Triceratops-like Nosaurians, we also get a inside the heads of the clone troopers: “When the fighting ends, what then for men bred only to be soldiers?” we’re asked. “What future is there for men of action when peace breaks out?” Anyone familiar with what becomes of the clones comes to realize the phrase “dark times” extends to more than just the good guys…

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The Jedi attempt one last stand against Darth Vader after Order 66.

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

In late 2005, Star Wars fans found themselves in an unfamiliar position—actually knowing exactly what happened on Anakin Skywalker’s road to becoming Darth Vader for the first time in the franchise’s history. With no new movies in sight, they turned to the Expanded Universe (now known as Legends) to learn more about something else they remained very curious about—the years between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope.” One of the first stories set in this new Star Wars writers’ playground was STAR WARS: PURGE.

As far as Emperor Palpatine was concerned in the early days of his galactic rule, Order 66 did its job. Though some Jedi survived, he wiped out enough of them to eliminate the threat they posed to his rule of the galaxy. But Darth Vader wasn’t done—especially when it came to tracking down his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Star Wars: Purge (2005) #1

Star Wars: Purge (2005) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

PURGE presents the new Sith Lord with his first great test since Obi-Wan defeated him on Mustafar. Driven by vengeance, Vader continues to purge the galaxy of any remaining Jedi, but not before first using them for information on Kenobi’s whereabouts. Knowing this, a group of eight surviving Jedi sets a trap—surely, eight Force users against one gives the Jedi a huge advantage. You probably already know how things turn out for them…

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A rare look at Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship as master and apprentice before the Clone Wars.

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago today—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

Between the events of “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones,” Obi-Wan Kenobi mentored Anakin Skywalker for eight years. That’s a lot of time for Anakin to shape his skills and for many adventures to unfold—but as far as official canon is concerned, few stories have been told that explore this time period. Writer Charles Soule and artist Marco Checchetto changed that with STAR WARS: OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN.

Two plots unfold throughout the five issues. The primary story finds Obi-Wan and his Padawan on a remote planet called Carnelion IV, where the duo has responded to a distress signal. The common belief is that society no longer exists on the planet, but it doesn’t take long before the two find themselves in the midst of a civil war between clans known as the Open and the Closed—and neither is particularly friendly.

Perhaps even more notable, the subplot introduces us to some of Palpatine’s earliest interactions in mentoring Anakin himself. Instead of exposing Anakin to anything remotely Sith-like, the secret Darth Sidious opts to win over his trust by exposing him to corruption in the Senate through a field trip to the dangerous depths of Coruscant. He stresses he is there to do the right thing—the perfect manipulation to seed the trust he seeks in eventually becoming Anakin’s dark master.

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A life on the run for Kanan Jarrus before he joined the crew of ‘Star Wars Rebels’

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago today—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

Ever since its debut on Disney XD in fall 2014, “Star Wars Rebels” has become must-watch TV for fans, exploring the state of the Star Wars galaxy in the years preceding “A New Hope.” Though its motley crew of crusaders against the Empire included no familiar faces when the animated series began, fans all over the world now know and love characters like Ezra, Hera, Sabine and Zeb. Shortly after the end of the first season of “Rebels’’, writer Greg Weissman and artist Pepe Larraz began a 12-issue series exploring the untold past of one particular character in KANAN.

For an entire season, viewers got to know Kanan as a Jedi on the run who mentors Ezra in the ways of the Force, but his past was largely a mystery. The comic takes us back 15 years to the last days of the Clone Wars. Issue #1 beautifully illustrates an epic battle on the planet Kaller, where Jedi Knight Depa Billaba and her Padawan Caleb Dume fight alongside a battalion of clone troopers against Separatist forces. The skirmish is won, and scenes of celebration between the Jedi and their clone companions indicate their strong camaraderie—until one clone receives a command from Palpatine: “Execute Order 66.”

The Jedi fight off their former friends for as long as they can, Depa heroically defending her Padawan and ordering him to run. Caleb follows the order and manages to escape—Depa is not so lucky. From this point on, Caleb faces a life on the run, part of which involves taking a new name: Kanan Jarrus.

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The origin of Jango Fett and the Clone Army revealed!

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago today—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

Until the release of “Attack of the Clones” in 2002, perhaps no character had more mystery surrounding them in the Star Wars Galaxy than Boba Fett. “Episode II” not only enlightened us on his origin, but also introduced a new Mandalorian bounty hunter to capture our imaginations: his “father,” Jango Fett. The movie answered the question of where Boba came from, but the tale of Jango’s back story fell to the comics of the day, namely the four-issue arc known as JANGO FETT: OPEN SEASONS by writer Haden Blackman and artist Ramon Bachs.

Told from the perspective of Count Dooku 10 years before the Battle of Geonosis, the man also known as Darth Tyranus recounts to Darth Sidious why he has selected Jango as the base human for the Republic’s Clone Army. The tale begins with Jango as a child, orphaned and raised by the Mandalorian clan of nomadic warriors. A years-long civil war would break out among the Mandalorians, with a savage group known as Death Watch splintering off with no regard for any sense of honor. By the end, we understand fully why Dooku sees such promise in Jango.

Also heavily involved in production of LucasArts’ video game “Star Wars: Bounty Hunter”—originally available for PS2 and GameCube and now downloadable for PS4—Blackman carefully seeded elements of the game’s plot in this comic as well, most notably Jango’s rivalry with a former ally named Montross. The game even includes OPEN SEASONS as an unlockable reward.

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Mace Windu’s personal one-shot introduces Asajj Ventress to comics—with a literal vengeance!

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago today—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time. 

Star Wars: Jedi - Mace Windu (2003) #1

Star Wars: Jedi - Mace Windu (2003) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

When you cast the eventual Nick Fury as a Jedi, the character becoming popular is a pretty sure bet. Such was the case with Mace Windu, a fan-favorite hero of the Prequel era. A regular in comics of the day, his one-shot is worth a look for two reasons: Not only does it cast the limelight squarely on Samuel L. Jackson’s Jedi Master, it also marks the comics debut of one of the most popular adversaries of the Clone Wars—Asajj Ventress.

Set three months after the Battle of Geonosis that ended Episode II, STAR WARS: JEDI – MACE WINDU centers around a meeting on the planet Ruul of Windu and Jedi dissidents, disillusioned by their role in the Clone Wars. Their conversation provides a fascinating glimpse into the psyches of the galaxy’s protectors at the time, who now find themselves generals in a war. How does one whose purpose is to protect life deal with leading armies of men destined to die? As we find out, some handle it better than others.

At the same time, Count Dooku has heard about this gathering and suspects that the Jedi in attendance could be swayed to fully defy the Republic and join the Separatist movement. To “persuade” them, he sends Asajj Ventress, his dual-lightsaber-wielding apprentice whom some fans had seen for the first time in Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2D-animated “Star Wars: Clone Wars” shorts. Her enthusiasm for fulfilling the mission is only enhanced by her quest for vengeance against Windu, whom she blames for the death of her master before she turned to the dark side.

Ventress may not fulfill all of her objectives by issue’s end, but she has definitely left her mark as a force—with the Force—to be reckoned with in the many Clone Wars battles to come. In STAR WARS: REPUBLIC #71, she would even leave a literal mark on Anakin Skywalker, who has Ventress to thank for the scar over his eye seen in “Revenge of the Sith.”

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