Anthony Daniels co-writes C-3PO's 1997 adventure!

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

Many say that the best way to write a character is to really get inside of them and figure out what makes them tick. So, who better to work on a story focusing on everyone’s favorite protocol droid, C-3PO, than his big screen portrayer Anthony Daniels?! He, Ryder Windham and Brian Daley wrote a one-shot called STAR WARS DROIDS: THE PROTOCOL OFFENSIVE with art by Igor Kordey that debuted in 1997. 

Star Wars: Droids - The Protocol Offensive (1997) #1

Star Wars: Droids - The Protocol Offensive (1997) #1

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Set a few years before the events of “A New Hope,” this tale starred Threepio and his longtime pal R2-D2 during a time when they represented the Tion Hegemony in their efforts to set up a trade route with Tahlboor, home to the warring Hobors and Troobs. Said negotiations took place on a space station hovering above the planet.

The two droids proved themselves to their new owners after Artoo fixed his boss’s datapad and Threepio revealed that the existing interpreter had not been strictly truthful. After everyone agreed to allow ol’ Goldenrod to act as translator, they took a recess which gave readers a look at the extensive ship, including its huge bar and casino.

Once there, General Krax of the Troobs attempted to buy Threepio, a request that Tion representative Jake Harthan denied. However, Madam Krax won the droid in a game of Sabacc played against Harthan’s father! This move lead to even more mistrust on the side of the Hobors whose Chief Nimondro saw this exchange of property as potentially detrimental to the process of making a fair deal. 

To prove their power, the head of the Hobors said the planet spoke through him and then called up a huge beam of light that shot out from a mountain and nearly blinded everyone on the ship floating in orbit. Having demonstrated his powers, Nimondro then demanded that they reconvene the talks on planet and also desired to purchase Artoo because he’d help them win at space slots!

That night, the two groups went to war after it seemed like Nimondro’s daughter Larka killed Krax’s son. Worse yet for Threepio? It sure looked like Artoo helped facilitate the young woman’s escape!

As Jake and Threepio tried to figure out the best way to get off planet and avoid this war, Artoo tried keeping the supposed murderess alive in a cave with a monster. After receiving the coordinates from his partner, Threepio stole a speeder bike of sorts and took off to save his friend! From there, Threepio learned some very interesting truths about the Hobors, including the secret behind their supposed power. Nimondro also learned something, that his daughter loved the Krax boy and would never harm him. 

In an attempt to stop the impending war, Threepio made a transmission to everyone explaining that Larka had not killed her lover, but instead it had been committed by Jake Harthan himself so he could use the weapon hidden in the mountain to take over his own planet.

In the morning, with Jake no longer a threat, the two groups started making inroads to peace, but Larka planned to leave the planet with her new droid friends.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

STAR WARS DROIDS: THE PROTOCOL OFFENSIVE marked the one and only time Anthony Daniels wrote a Star Wars comic, so far. As Ryder Windham noted in the book’s Afterword, he came into contact with the actor while working on various DROIDS projects. He also came to know Brian Daley who had not only written the Star Wars radio adaptations, but also Han Solo-starring novels. He worked with Windham to come up with the story which Daniels also had input in. The idea would be for Daley to write the script with Artoo’s words and then Daniels would fill out Threepio’s lines. Daley wrote up a rough outline, but then had to work on the radion version of “Return of the Jedi,” which he completed just before passing away in 1996. Windham eventually came back to the Star Wars fold to help finish the story which came out in 1997.

Before “A New Hope,” Princess Leia goes undercover as seen in the second arc of STAR WARS: EMPIRE.

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Boba Fett discovers a relative he never expected in STAR WARS: BLOOD TIES!

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

If there’s one thing we know about the Star Wars Universe, it’s that familial relationships can be complicated. The Skywalkers alone could offer a counselor enough material to fill a series of books, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Take Jango Fett for instance. As we learned in the Prequels, he made a deal with the Republic so they could use his DNA to make their Clone Army. Part of that exchange involved him getting one whose growth hadn’t been accelerated, so he could have a son, Boba.

In the 2010 four issue limited series STAR WARS: BLOOD TIES by Tom Taylor and Chris Scalf, it became clear that this decision came with more complications than most would have assumed.

The series started off with Jango taking a mission to knock off a masked individual for Count Dooku. He took Boba along with him and had the boy help with the mission, but Jango went in for the kill himself. When he did, he realized that his target was one of his own clones! Jango killed him without much thought, but still decided to secretly send the clone’s son, Connor Freeman, money. 

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010) #1

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010) #1

  • Published: August 25, 2010
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: Tom Taylor
  • Cover Artist: Chris Scalf
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Years later though, the secret came out when Gilean hired Boba Fett to grab Connor for a nasty crime lord named Tayand who Freeman owed money to. Fett showed up just in time to save Connor from a group calling themselves the League of Bountyhunters, but the ensuing battle failed to kill a few of his competitors. 

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010) #2

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010) #2

  • Published: September 29, 2010
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: Tom Taylor
  • Cover Artist: Chris Scalf
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Connor and Boba had some time to talk and try to figure out why Jango sent Connor money, but the family reunion came to a crashing halt when the remaining Leaguers blasted them with their ship, grabbed Connor and seemingly killed Boba.

Of course, Boba Fett’s way harder to kill than that, just ask the Sarlacc. The infamous bounty hunter followed Connor’s captors to the ice planet Cilare, where Tayand kept his headquarters. Fett literally swooped in to save Connor from the Leaguers, but only to claim the bounty himself, even after Freeman explained that the whole thing was really a mistake.  

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010) #3

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010) #3

  • Published: October 27, 2010
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: Tom Taylor
  • Cover Artist: Chris Scalf
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To everyone’s surprised, after getting the bounty for Connor, Boba offered to clear his debt to Tayand, but the crime lord wanted blood instead. The surprises continued after this negotiation failed when Connor offered Fett three credits as a bounty to take out Tayand and he accepted!

Fett quickly made good on the bounty, and then ran out of there with Connor and the help of an enraged Rancor. With all their enemies out of the picture and Connor’s bounty to Boba paid, they both took what they wanted and went their separate ways without truly knowing their connection to one another. 

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010) #4

Star Wars: Blood Ties (2010) #4

  • Published: November 24, 2010
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: Tom Taylor
  • Cover Artist: Chris Scalf
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FROM THE JEDI TEMPLE ARCHIVES

If you’ve ever wondered what made Boba Fett such a renowned figure in the Star Wars Universe, BLOOD TIES goes a long way in showing just a few of the reasons. First off, his dad trained him from a young age to follow in the family business. In fact, the series started off with Jango spraying Boba with the scent of a giant monster’s main prey. Leaving the boy with a jet pack, he commanded him to bring back one of the monsters’ teeth. When Boba succeeded, Jango explained that he did all this so that the boy would know that he’s already faced the scariest thing in the universe and survived, so everything else should pale in comparison.

Next week, C-3PO gets in on the action with STAR WARS: DROIDS – THE PROTOCOL OFFENSIVE, co-written by Anthony Daniels!

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Jason Aaron and Leinil Yu pit Leia and some unlikely allies against a jailbreak!

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

When last we left the Jason Aaron-penned STAR WARS series, it had crossed over with DARTH VADER in a story called VADER DOWN that left his right hand woman Dr. Aphra in the hands of the enemy.

In STAR WARS #1619 – drawn by Leinil Yu – Leia Organa took Aphra to a top secret Rebel prison called Sunspot because of its closeness to a star. Accompanied by Sana Starros, Leia found herself constantly explaining why they didn’t just kill all of their enemies when a mysterious masked sentient staged a riot on the prison! 

Star Wars (2015) #16

Star Wars (2015) #16

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Meanwhile, Han continued getting Luke and himself in trouble as he failed to correctly cheat while playing Sabacc and lost all of the Rebellion’s supply money in the process. This lead them to a smuggling job revolving around herding Nerfs before they heard Leia’s distress call and made way for Sunspot.

Back at the prison itself, the masked attacker unleashed some of the worst criminals in the galaxy to see whether Leia would kill them or not. Realizing they needed more help, Leia freed Dr. Aphra to back her and Sana, which also revealed that the two women had a history together that didn’t end well.

Han and Luke eventually showed up to help, but got captured almost immediately. Finally standing in front of Leia, Sana and Aphra, the masked man revealed himself as Eneb Ray, a spy first seen in STAR WARS ANNUAL #1 (see below). 

Star Wars Annual (2015) #1

Star Wars Annual (2015) #1

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Thanks to some planning with Artoo, Leia used an Ion Pulse to incapacitate Eneb as well as the whole prison itself. As the station started falling towards the sun, Ray raged, wondering if Leia truly had what it would take to make the hard decisions, the kind that would swiftly topple the Empire and pave way for a new world.

Leia proved her strength as a leader by correctly evaluating the situation and developing a plan that resulted in the least amount of loss. She also allowed Dr. Aphra to escape, which would not sit well with Ray who now counted himself among the Rebel’s prisoners, but with a key-looking shape up his sleeve, or more accurately, in his tooth.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

For the full story on what happened to former Rebel spy Eneb Ray, check out STAR WARS ANNUAL #1 by Kieron Gillen and Angel Unzueta. Deep undercover on Coruscant as Tharius Demo, Ray got new orders from Leia when a group of anti-Imperial senators came up for execution. After breaking into the prison and finding the politicians, he heard that the Emperor himself would see them before their murders. He came up with a quick plan involving other Coruscant spies to finally kill Palpatine, but the effort proved fruitless as the former senator showed his own immense power, shocking Ray with Force Lightning in the process, which presumably gave him the look he sported in Rebel Jail.

Come back next week for STAR WARS: BLOOD TIES, a father and son story about Boba and Jango Fett!

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Luke, Leia, Lando, Chewie and the droids deal with a post "Empire" galaxy.

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

Last time we visited the original run of STAR WARS from Marvel Comics, the issues chronicled the adventures seen on the big screen in “The Empire Strikes Back.” That film, of course, ended with Han Solo kidnapped in Carbonite and Vader telling Luke about his parentage.

Fans would have to wait until 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” to find out what happened to all of their favorite characters…unless they read the Marvel series! Now part of the Legends continuity, STAR WARS #4548 showed some harrowing adventures featuring Luke Skywalker testing his new hand in space, Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon, C-3PO and R2-D2 on Droid World and Princess Leia facing off against Darth Vader on a banking planet.

In the first issue, Archie Goodwin and Carmine Infantino shined the spotlight on Luke as he flew in his X-Wing fighter for the first time after getting a robotic replacement hand. Perhaps that explained his slow reflexes and the destruction of his transport. Thanks to some clever thinking and use of the Force, he and Artoo made their way to an Imperial ship that housed a rampaging Probe Droid. Ultimately, though, our heroes walked away with both their skins and a win as they blew up the Imperial ship and made off with another X-Wing.  

Star Wars (1977) #45

Star Wars (1977) #45

  • Published: December 23, 1980
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Larry Hama
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Lando and Chewie took center stage in STAR WARS #46 by Wally Lombego and Infantino as they flew the Falcon in an effort to find their good buddy Han. Instead, they stumbled upon a legendary Rebel fighter named Cody Sunn-Childe who had turned away from violence upon gaining an immense amount of power that allowed him to essentially create his own pocket of reality. However, with the Empire always looking for more worlds to conquer, they soon appeared on Sunn-Childe’s metaphorical doorstep and brought the war to him. 

Star Wars (1977) #46

Star Wars (1977) #46

  • Published: January 20, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: J. M. DeMatteis
  • Cover Artist: Ed Hannigan
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From there, Goodwin and Infantino sent Artoo and Threepio to another world intent on staying out of the fracas between the Empire and Rebellion: Droid World. Their mission revolved around getting schematics for the Empire’s Warbot, but they stumbled upon a robo revolution in the works. After the war came to a close, Droid World overseer Kligson turned the whole place into a rocket and took off for deeper space to move even further away from the Empire’s reach. 

Star Wars (1977) #47

Star Wars (1977) #47

  • Published: February 24, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Frank Miller
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Finally, in STAR WARS #48, Larry Hama and Infantino saw Leia visit the banking planet of Aargau to strike a deal to get funding for more X-Wings. To everyone’s surprise, Darth Vader also happened to be on planet as well. Using a series of schemes that still follow the rules of the planet, he tries to kill her and Viscount Tardi while she defends them all using her cunning. The pair even face off against each other with Vader wielding his lightsaber and Leia, a blaster. That ended with a draw, each one going their separate ways, not fully succeeding in their plans, but also not fully failing.  

Star Wars (1977) #48

Star Wars (1977) #48

  • Published: March 24, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Larry Hama
  • Cover Artist: Carmine Infantino
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From the Jedi Temple Archives

Let’s talk about some of the legendary creators involved in these few issues. Goodwin and Infantino racked up impressive runs and takes on these characters. You might notice another famous name in this batch if you look at the cover to #47, which a guy named Frank Miller composed (as well as #43 from the previous arc). Fellow legend Larry Hama also got in on the action by drawing the cover to #45 and writing #48. You might also wonder about the writer of #46, a fella named Wally Lombego. That’s actually J.M. DeMatteis, who took his real name off the project after interior changes altered his vision for the story’s main message of pacifism.

Our heroes plan a jail break in STAR WARS #1519 by Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen, Leinil Yu and the gang!

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John Ostrander, Jan Duursema and Dan Parsons chronicle the birth of the Jedi.

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

In Star Wars lore, Jedi have become so important that they essentially make up the backbone of the entire mythos. But where did they come from and how did they get there? John Ostrander and Jan Duursema answered that in the 2012 – launching STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI and STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI – FORCE STORM series. 

The introductory #0 issue contained a handbook-style rundown of the people and places who would become very important in thisLegends continuity story ranging from Tho Yor to Xesh. 

Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi (2012)

Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi (2012)

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The line of limited series’ kicked off with the Force Storm storyline. Readers first discovered the Tho Yor, temple-like ships that visited worlds, drawing Force sensitives inside and then eventually moving on to Tython in the Deep Core. Once attuned with the Force, the Tho Yor left the main temple so the Je’Daii could hone their various skills on the danger-filled planet and achieve balance in all things.

The story itself picked up 12 years after Queen Hadiya lead some of the Je’Daii’s own children against them in the Despot War. Though she had been killed, plenty of damage had been done before her defeat.

Another threat loomed, the Infinite Empire, a group of Rakata using Force Hounds like Xesh to track down worlds they could use, so Tython immediately became a target upon sensing it in the Deep Core.

Je’Daii Journeyers Shae Koda, Tasha Ryo and Sek’nos Rath sensed a great disturbance in the Force, even seeing visions of Xesh before he crash landed right in front of them and attacked with his Forcesaber. The Je’Daii came out on top, but Xesh’s threat still loomed.

Eventually we learned that slaves on the Infinite Empire’s ship sabotaged them, leading to the crash and Xesh’s lack of memory. After facing their own pasts as manipulated by the growing Force Storm, the Je’Daii jumped in to save Xesh from an attacking beast. After tossing him his Forcesaber to help them, though, he simply walked away!

However, after watching the three Journeyers defend one another from a huge monster, Xesh broke from his years of selfish warrior programming and joined in to help Shae defeat the beast.

After quelling the storm and defeating Xesh, the Je’Daii healed the Force Hound and Tasha asked to look in his mind to help him sort out his memories. Once inside, she discovered that the Infinite Empire harnessed Force-wielders not only for space travel, but also as a planet-shaking weapon.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI #0 dives deeply into the world of this series and dropped plenty of interesting tidbits about what would become the Jedi Order. Upon becoming acquainted with the Force through meditation, the Je-Daii would then travel to various temples established all over the planet dedicated to knowledge, art, science, healing, martial arts, balance and even building weapons. Furthermore, the sense of balancing the light and dark in the universe stemmed from the planet’s moons Ashla and Bogan. Respectively bright and dark, if a Je’Daii seemed leaned too far towards one side, they would be sent to the corresponding moon and told to contemplate the other. After healing, the Je’Daii masters sent Xesh to Bogan so he could better understand the light.

Return to the original STAR WARS with Archie Goodwin, Carmine Infantino and the gang as they chronicle a post-“Empire” galaxy!

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Witness the tough choices one Jedi makes in the wake of Order 66 & the growing shadow of the Empire.

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

The dawn of the Empire marked an era of great struggle and strife throughout the cosmos. Senator-turned-Emperor Palpatine – also known as Darth Sidious of the Sith – enacted his secret, sinister plots to gain complete control.

That’s the setting for the 2006 Legends Continuity series STAR WARS: DARK TIMES. In the first arc, which ran for issues 1-5, Welles Hartley, Mick Harrison and Doug Wheatley introduced readers to Former Jedi General Dass Jennir and Bomo Greenbark, a Nosaurian, fighting against Clone Troopers on New Plympto.

The duo survived the battle at Half-Axe Pass by falling into a large hole. It worked out as the Troopers rolled in and killed all of the rebels. From there, they wound up on the Uhumele, a ship captained by Schurk-Heren and piloted by Crys Taanzer. Wanting to find his captured wife and daughter, Bomo asked them for help. To earn heir passage, Jennir orchestrated a way for them to get off-planet before the Troopers could fully inspect their ship.

They then set out for the horrid slave planet Orvax IV to save Bomo’s family. The idea of selling slaves did not sit well with the newly christened Darth Vader either, having been one as a child. Palpatine explained it away as a more humane alternative than killing them, but Vader remained unconvinced.

On Orvax, they found Bomo’s people, but discovered that his wife Mesa died while trying to save their daughter Resa, who had just been sold. Sending everyone else back to the ship, Jennir used his Jedi abilities to track down the seller. After finding out who bought her, Dass shot the being in the head to keep their mission a complete secret.

As the Uhumele set course for Esseles, where Resa had been taken, Vader traveled to Murkhana where a group of Clone Troopers reportedly failed to follow Order 66 – the command to kill all Jedi – after working with one for so long. The Emperor sent his underling to quell independent thought, sending a message to the former Anakin Skywalker at the same time.

Back on Esseles, Jennir, Bomo and the crew decided to go into Dezono Qua’s villa guns blazing to get Resa back. Upon confronting Qua, he admitted to not only buying Resa, but also eating her. Jennir stepped in to kill the monster in part to spare Bomo from having such a thing on his conscience. They all moved on feeling the dark reach of the Empire towards further adventures.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Dass Jennir and Bomo may have gotten along well enough in this first arc of DARK TIMES, but that hadn’t always been the case. In fact, the Jedi originally found himself on New Plympto in order to squash the Nosaurian Separatist movement. Enemies became allies, however, after Palpatine took over and issued Order 66. With the Clone Troopers flipping the script on Dass, he joined up with the Nosaurians to push back the tide of white armored killers. However, as seen in the first issue of this series, their efforts proved woefully minor as their fellow warriors ended up on the wrong end of Trooper blaster fire while the women and children were sold into slavery. If you’re wandering what happened to the rest of the Nosaurians on Orvax IV after they discovered what happened to Bomo’s family, it’s not great. Dass Jennir stood over their cage and told them it would be better to survive as slaves to be hunted down if he attempted to free them. Not exactly the behavior we expect from a hero of the galaxy, but then again, this proved a highly difficult time for everyone not associated with the Sith.

Move from the rise of the Empire to the very beginning of the Order in the pages of STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema and Dan Parsons.

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Kir Kanos makes his presence felt in his continued attempts to cripple the Empire.

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

Kir Kanos stood against one of his own, Carnor Jax, to help restore galactic order in CRIMSON EMPIRE. With the sequel, he took a more subtle approach by pretending to be a bounty hunter in order to get closer to the Black Sun and some of their less-than-legal associates.

The creative team behind the original tale – Mike Richardson, Randy Stradley and Paul Gulacy – returned to continue chronicling the exploits of the former Royal Guardsman with the 1998-launching six issue limited series STAR WARS: CRIMSON EMPIRE II – COUNCIL OF BLOOD.

Readers also saw the return of another familiar face from the first series: Mirith Sinn. The one-time rebel vowed to kill Kanos because of his apparent involvement in the death of her husband.

All of these characters wound up clashing together thanks to the machinations of Grappa the Hutt, the shady gangster who ruled Genon with a unique brand of loyalty revolving around fear and murder.

Sinn offered her experience as a soldier to Grappa in exchange for help in finding Kanos, so she could exact her revenge. At the same time, Kanos himself arrived on Genon, posing as the bounty hunter Kenix Kil.

Meanwhile, the existing Imperial Interim Ruling Council continued to struggle for stability on Ord Cantrell. More than a few outside forces intended to steer the good ship diplomacy, though, by way of murder, mutiny and manipulation.

It should come as no surprise that one of those outside forces proved to be the increasingly in-over-his-head Grappa who worked with Black Sun to replace some of the Council with clones loyal to them!

With plans going sideways all over the place – including Sinn’s attempt at uncovering the connection between Grappa and Black Sun for the Rebellion – Kanos and Sinn wound up on Xo, the home planet of the super creepy Xanibar. He saved her, allowing himself to be captured in the process, but Sinn returned to save him with some of her Rebel pilots.

Kanos later arrived on Ord Cantrell in his full red garb to take out the self imposed Emperor Xandel Carivus who had just been abandoned by his puppeteer, the mysterious Nom Anor. He unseated the head of the Empire before going his own way.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

A few months after CRIMSON EMPIRE II came to a conclusion, Stradley joined forces with Javier Saltares for the STAR WARS – THE BOUNTY HUNTERS: KENIX KIL! Set between the first two CRIMSON volumes, this tale showed how Kir Kanos adopted the bounty hunter alias in order to topple the empire of a small-time hood named Banjeer on Baramorra. After posing as a potential employee, Kanos showed Banjeer the error of his oppressive ways by, well, killing him.

Witness the early days of Papatine’s reign in STAR WARS: DARK EMPIRE as chronicled by Randy Stradley and Douglas Wheatley!

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In the early days of the Empire, an insurrection almost cripples the Emperor and his minions!

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

New regimes always take a certain amount of time to truly establish themselves. Though “Revenge of the Sith” saw Palpatine take control and the debut of Darth Vader, it still took time for the Empire to become the nearly all-powerful force witnessed in “A New Hope.” And it almost all came crumbling down soon after inception!

The Haden Blackman and Agustin Alessio five-issue limited series STAR WARS: DARTH VADER AND THE GHOST PRISON introduced the world to Laurita Tohm, a valedictorian in the first class of Imperial cadets. As it turned out, he remained one of the few soon-to-be-graduates in his group not part of General Gantis’ plot to overthrow Palpatine by nearly killing him with a virus and blowing up sizable portions of Coruscant. His reasoning? He despised how many of his trainees the Emperor sent to their graves in his mad quest for power.

Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Ghost Prison (2012) #1

Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Ghost Prison (2012) #1

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Tohm found himself in Darth Vader’s sphere of influence in the heat of battle and proved his worth. Before long, they made their way to the Emperor’s quarters to discover their leader a victim of poisoning. Trachta also stood by his side and the trio pledge to save Palpatine by taking him somewhere safe.

Remembering his days as a Jedi, Vader took Tohm to the old Jedi Temple where they both watched holovids of Anakin Skywalker wondering where his prisoners of war wound up. Though they refused to tell him, they discussed it after he left the conversation, letting Vader know about the ghost prison, also known as The Prism.

Set up as a way to hold dangerous prisoners during wartime, the prison essentially fueled itself and used but one Jedi as a guard. Vader made short work of her and his cohorts soon hooked Palpatine up to the facility’s advanced medical equipment to get him healthy again.

Realizing they’d need some kind of back-up in their mission to return Palpatine to power, Vader ordered all of the prisoners released and then told them to fight for their lives. 207 of them began the trials with only 33 surviving.

Meanwhile, Gantis continued amassing allies loyal to him, but still had to deal with Grand Moff Tarkin who left the nascent Death Star building site to come take command in Palpatine’s absence. Figuring out the play at hand, Vader and his crew contacted Tarkin and boarded his ship much to Gantis’ surprise!

Though Gantis had a good number of men on his side, they mostly ranked as new soldiers while Vader, Trachta and Tohm came backed by borderline maniacs and trained killers. They also had the revived Emperor on their side which turned the already tipping scales in their favor.

Afterwards, Trachta not only became a Grand Moff, but also took over as the new cadet trainer. He wanted to bring in the mercenaries as teachers or advisers, but Vader wanted to kill them. Tohm suggested they essentially exile them, a plan the Emperor agreed to. However, the ship exploded not long after take off which didn’t sit well with Trachta.

He made a much greater enemy in Vader, though, when Palpatine mentioned that the young man might make a worthy replacement if Vader ever fell in battle. The next time they saw each other, Vader tossed Tohm off a building while offering a piece of advice: “Never suffer rivals.”

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Trachta first appeared in 2002’s STAR WARS: EMPIRE #1, a book that we will get to shortly. Without giving too much away at this time, that series took place many years later after Emperor Palpatine had fully gained control of the cosmos with the aid of Darth Vader. In GHOST PRISON, we see a younger version of the character who questions which side of the conflict between Gentis and Palpatine truly defended the ideals of the Empire itself and which acted the traitor. The way that Tohm and Vader handled the prisoners-turned-mercenaries also didn’t sit well with the man who revealed in GHOST PRISON #3 that he lost his eyes thanks to a Padawan releasing a detonator to avoid capture.

Next time we check back in on Kir Kanos with STAR WARS: CRIMSON EMPIRE II by Mike Richardson, Randy Stradley, Paul Gulacy and Randy Emberlin.

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Learn the surprisingly heartbreaking story of how Threepio got his red arm!

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” gave viewers plenty of new mysteries to mull over. Who are Rey’s parents? What more can Captain Phasma do? What’s Luke been doing all this time? And, of course, where’d C-3PO get that red arm?

We’ll have to wait for future film installments to get most of those answers, but James Robinson and Tony Harris–the team behind another star-themed book at the Distinguished Competition–answered the appendage conundrum in last year’s STAR WARS SPECIAL: C-3PO.

Star Wars Special: C-3PO (2016) #1

Star Wars Special: C-3PO (2016) #1

  • Published: April 13, 2016
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 17, 2016
  • Penciller: Tony Harris
  • Cover Artist: Tradd Moore
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The issue began with Threepio leading five other droids off of a downed ship. Though the others wondered who died and put him in charge–the answer being Captain Hoff and his whole crew–they begrudgingly followed ol’ goldenrod in their search for a homing device.

In addition to the current Droid Communication Chief for the Reesistance, the group also included rolling arsenal VL-44, military droid PZ-99, construction grunt CO-34, med bot 2MED2 and First Order protocol droid O-MR1. Though technically their prisoner, Omri agreed to help in order to save their digital lives and they set off to find a First Order homing beacon they planned on repurposing.

Before Hoff’s ship crashed, they had a very specific mission to complete: Save Admiral Ackbar. He’d been taken by the First Order who planned on getting every bit of information out of him before killing the legend. The Resistance believed that Omri held the Admiral’s  location in his memory banks and needed to keep him functional to get the information.

As the droids traversed the incredibly dangerous planet they found themselves dealing with everything from bot-eating spiders and super-deep tar to metal-eating acid rain.

Along the way, Threepio and Omri discussed some deep topics like loyalty, programming and memory. Omri said, “And yet for all you know, any one of you could have been serving the other side at some point. As droids, our memories are often wiped.”

Later, upon bringing the subject up again, C-3PO mentioned that he often felt flashes of memories, mostly events from the Prequels. He remained curious about them, but didn’t let their erasure drive him to turning against his human masters.

The journey to the beacon proved fatal for most of the droids, leaving just the two experts alive and Threepio minus his left arm. When they acid rain hit, they took shelter not far from the beacon. Though specifically not going against his programming, O-MR1 transmitted Ackbar’s coordinates to his companion. “I’m not choosing sides, I’m choosing friends,” he said before braving the acid rain to reprogram the beacon.

In the process, the rain stripped him down to his red primer. As he shambled back to the temporary shelter, Omri started falling apart, leaving just the left arm. Poe Dameron soon arrived and they used the coordinates to save Ackbar. Safely aboard a ship, Threepio sported that red arm for the first time. While talking to BB-8 he said, “You have no idea how this arm offends my aesthetic sensibilities. Nevertheless…I will keep it for a while. To remember.”

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Whether he knew it or not, C-3PO’s memories could have held many answers for Luke Skyalker and Leia Organa. As seen in “The Phantom Menace,” the droid came about in his current incarnation thanks to a young Anakin Skywalker’s tinkering on Tatooine, putting him together from spare parts. He soon found himself thrust into intergalactic activities thanks to the boy meeting Qui-Gon Jinn, Queen Amidala, Jar Jar Binks and R2-D2. He then took a major role in a series of adventures as seen in the Prequel films as well as the Clone Wars animated series. So, why didn’t he recognize Tatooine when he and Artoo landed there in “A New Hope?” Well, at the end of “Revenge of the Sith,” Leia’s adoptive father Bail Organa had the droid’s memory erased in an effort to keep her true lineage a secret. As seen in this special, though, some of those memories seem to rattle around in that golden dome of his to some extent.

Next week, Haden Blackman and Agustin Alessio offer a major challenge for the newly minted Sith Lord in DARTH VADER AND THE PRISON PLANET!

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Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin present their version of "The Empire Strikes Back" in comic form!

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

After waiting three long years, fans finally got to see the next installment of Star Wars on the big screen! “The Empire Strikes Back” debuted on June 20, 1980 followed a few days later by Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin’s serialized adaptation on comic stands a few days later (a slightly different paperback version bowed even before that).

Now, we’ve all seen the movie more times than we can count and could recite it to varying degrees of success, but back then, one of the best ways to re-live the action, adventure and drama seen on the big screen came in the form of comic adaptations which offered slightly different takes, usually because of the huge lead time needed for comics (see below for a few examples).

The first two issues focused on the Rebels’ adventures on Hoth, starting with Luke’s fateful meeting with the Wampa and Han Solo saving him from hypothermia. The action then ramped up when the Empire discovered the base and attacked with the might of AT-ATs. 

Star Wars (1977) #40

Star Wars (1977) #40

  • Published: July 22, 1980
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Al Williamson
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Luke and company fought long enough to get most of their people off planet and then, in the third issue, he and Artoo split off as Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO flew off in the Millennium Falcon. 

Star Wars (1977) #41

Star Wars (1977) #41

  • Published: September 02, 1980
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Al Williamson
What is Marvel Unlimited?

As most of you will remember, Luke and his astromech pal flew to Dagobah where the former trained with Yoda in the ways of the Jedi, increasing his power with each exercise. Meanwhile, the Falcon found itself flying through a series of challenges all its own from ship-eating asteroids to the ever-present Empire.

Han, Leia, Chewie and Threepio, of course, made their way to Cloud City, where they met Lando Calrissian, a friend of Solo’s from the old days. Though they seemed welcome guests at first, we all know what happened, which helmeted villains showed up and who got frozen in metal. 

Star Wars (1977) #43

Star Wars (1977) #43

  • Published: October 28, 1980
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Al Williamson
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Luke flew in in time to battle Darth Vader while his friends, now aided by Lando, figured out an escape route. They, in turn, fly the Falcon up to save Luke after Darth Vader revealed himself to be Skywalker’s father and he nearly fell out the bottom of Cloud City. 

Star Wars (1977) #44

Star Wars (1977) #44

  • Published: November 25, 1980
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Al Williamson
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Film-goers had to wait another three years to find out what happened with Han, but the adventures continued every month in the pages of STAR WARS!

From the Jedi Temple Archives

In the back of STAR WARS #41, the book’s longtime writer Archie Goodwin recounted how he got working on this adaptation. Living many a fan’s dream, he headed out to California to spend a full week with the Lucasfilm crew to get inside looks at “Empire.” Eventually he returned home with about 750 requested photos and a copy of the script written by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett. If you picked up the magazine adaptation version, you might remember a very different looking version of Yoda. His scenes hadn’t been finished yet when they started working on the comic, so Williamson based his take on Ralph McQuarrie’s character designs. They were able to change those pages to more accurately reflect the film version by the time the story made its way into monthly comics.

If you spent part of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” wondering where ol’ Goldenrod got that red arm, find out next week in STAR WARS: C-3PO by James Robinson and Tony Harris!

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