Luke, Leia, and Han continue making the galaxy safe five years later!

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.

As we all know, the Rebel Alliance didn’t blow up the second Death Star and walk off into the sunset with the galaxy instantly eschewing the Empire and its ideas. Eventually, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo helped bring about a new era of peace across the cosmos, but not instantly. In 1991, author Timothy Zahn published the first entry in the Thrawn trilogy of novels that picked up five years after the end of “Return of the Jedi.” STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE came out as a six-issue comic adaptation by Mike Baron, Olivier Vatine, and Fred Blanchard in 1995.

As the story began, Luke looked to rekindle the Jedi Order while the now-married Han and Leia expected twins. Still, the Alliance now had other problems, like trying to find people who would run their shipping lines. Even Han Solo had trouble finding smugglers who would go straight! At the same time, the Empire lived on through a man named Grand Admiral Thrawn. He studied a culture’s artwork to help understand its people in order to both manipulate them and predict their movements. He also teamed up with an old Jedi by the name of Jorrus C’baoth who wanted to meet Luke and Leia, regardless of their own feelings on the subject.

Meanwhile, a smuggler by the name of Captain Karrde also played into the action heavily as he worked with Luke Skywalker’s future wife Mara Jade, found himself sought by Solo to establish shipping lanes, and also sold Force-blocking creatures called Ysalamiri to Thrawn and his people. As it happened, most of the major players in the story wound up on Myrkr, Karrde’s home base planet, meaning he had to deal with a visiting Thrawn, a captive Skywalker, and an intrusive Han along with Lando Calrissian.

Star Wars: Heir To The Empire (1995) #1

Star Wars: Heir To The Empire (1995) #1

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As these things go, Luke escaped, but wound up having to work with Jade while Han and Lando eventually discovered that Karrde had held their friends captive, which did not sit well with them. While all this transpired, Leia hid out on Kashyyyk with Chewbacca because a race of aliens called the Noghri continued to hunt her down across the vastness of space at the behest of Thrawn. Originally, they served The Emperor, but with his passing sought other employment.

At the end of the day, Luke and Han reunited. They soon made their way off planet along with Lando and stumbled into a battle that Thrawn had orchestrated. Thanks to their friendship with Lando, though, they all figured out a way to stop the assault and flew off in victory, preparing for the next battle with this dangerous new enemy in the process.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Though this particular story now finds itself categorized in the Legends universe, that doesn’t mean Grand Admiral Thrawn’s been left out in the cold. Instead, he’s been re-integrated into the current, official canon, first in episodes of “Star Wars Rebels” and then in a book published earlier this year called “Thrawn” written by none other than Timothy Zahn! A sequel called “Thrawn: Alliances” will debut next year!

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Kieron Gillen stirs up conflict in a galaxy far, far away!

Though the Empire has already razed the sacred moon of Jedha, they’ve come back for more. In their attempts to raid the Kyber mines for the powerful crystals that fuel the Death Star’s weapons system, Imperial forces will encounter some familiar foes…but will Luke Skywalker be among them?

On January 3, Luke wavers between his allegiance to the Rebellion and his quest to become a Jedi in STAR WARS #41! Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca present a few unexpected challenges in the fight against the Empire as the story continues.

Gillen stopped by Marvel HQ to speak about where Luke—and the Rebellion at large—find themselves in issue #41.

Marvel.com: With Luke preoccupied with his Jedi training, who might step up to lead the fight against the Empire?

Kieron Gillen: “What’s the right thing to do?” is just one of the questions that haunt this story. Hell, it haunts all fiction—or at least my own. I think you can chase that through the cast in the arc. Some of the characters go the other way—chasing the martyr journey that Jyn Erso ended up taking. Okay, that might be a bit philosophical for an answer, but to be more specific, Han would be the person I’d keep an eye on for the rest of the arc.

Each of the main three characters have their own arc in “The Ashes of Jedha,” and they rise and fall at different times. Luke’s started earliest and peaks with the training. Han starts lower and builds bigger later.

Marvel.com: How do Han and Leia react to Luke now that he’s gone off to do his own thing?

Kieron Gillen: I’d say the head-to-head between Leia and Luke says it all. It’s a fair question. What is practical in a situation? Either way, someone will have to make amends.

Marvel.com: Since the Death Star attack, what strategic value does Jedha hold for the Empire and the Rebellion respectively?

Kieron Gillen: For the Empire, it’s what it always was—a place rich in the resources they want. They’re a gauntlet squeezing the last bit of juice from the orange. The Empire needs all the orange juice it can get. Conversely, for the Rebellion, they don’t think the Empire should be allowed anything with Vitamin C in at all. They want the Empire to get scurvy. Any time the Empire try to buy some fruit juice, they’re arrive, swatting away the grasping gauntlet-y fingers.

Err…I’m not talking about actual orange juice, by the way.

Marvel.com: Right there with ya! Will we see any familiar faces in this struggle for Jedha?

Kieron Gillen: Well, Chewie has been conspicuously absent. I need to get some Bowcasting action in, surely?

Marvel.com: Oh yeah. Last question: how does it feel to have the chance to tell these stories between the action fans already know so well?

Kieron Gillen: It’s pretty magical. I’m working on the second arc at the moment, and I feel that I’ve really got the characters under my fingers. It feels like such a wonderful period of growth for the three core members and the Alliance, and getting to delineate the adventures they have along the way is so much fun.

What I’m doing is basically what I did with DARTH VADER—look at the gap in time, work out what’s been implicitly changed in that space, and then try to cook up a compelling reason for all those changes. Well, all the changes that [previous series writer] Jason Aaron hasn’t already touched on. That the book leans more towards the military side of the Rebels really brings Leia forward and Han’s conflicted response to it all. The trick ends up being about balance, so all the cast have their parts to play. For me, it’s an ensemble cast and I want to give everyone something.

Also, it never gets boring working out cool things you can do with a lightsaber.

Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca’s STAR WARS #41 hits on January 3!

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Her highness and Jar Jar Binks go on an unexpected 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.

Queen Padme Amidala may not have been the best judge of character when it came to choosing people to fall in love with, but she often demonstrated great care and understanding as a leader, with lines like “There is no need for violence” and “All things have value.” She spoke these platitudes in STAR WARS: EPISODE I – QUEEN AMIDALA, which came out around the time of “The Phantom Menace” film in 1999. Written by Mark Schultz with art by Galen Showman, the one-shot takes place between scenes of “Episode I” on Tatooine before little Anakin Skywalker prepares to drive a podracer in a contest that could win the hyperdrive generator that Amidala needed to repair her ship.

Padme expressed her concern for Annie’s safety, but also for the rough life he lived on planet as a slave. As she trailed off, thinking she’d failed as a leader for assuming slavery had been wiped out across the worlds, Jar Jar Binks witnessed a fly-like creature swoop down and snatch a piece out of Annie’s ‘racer. The runaway Gungan literally ran into Amidala as she wandered and wondered. Not quite understanding the situation, she came along in an effort to keep Binks from getting captured by the slavers.

Star Wars: Episode I - Queen Amidala (1999) #1

Star Wars: Episode I - Queen Amidala (1999) #1

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The ensuing chase left the Naboo natives with some angry Gamorrean guards on their tails, no battery retrieved, and a stolen speeder that Padme hotwired to escape the first problem. However, they did snatch one of the flying Trooshtis. While Jar Jar wanted to eat it, Padme spared its life and treated it well in hopes that it would explain why it stole the battery in the first place. In their attempts to regain the item, the duo wound up outside a decrepit moisture farm, much like the one Padme’s son would live in years later. Once there they discovered that the Trooshti had built an entire colony around a surprise wellspring of water.

Padme soon ferreted out the reason for the thieving of the battery: They needed it to power a pump that brought up the water they built their world around. The Queen of Naboo offered to help fix the problem, but the Trooshti had to deal with the Gamorrean guards attempting to sneak up on them. Jar Jar and the swarm worked well together to flush the Gamorreans away as Padme fixed the pump. To the royal’s surprise, one of the Trooshti pulled the battery out and flew off. Padme and Jar Jar gave chase, leading back to the podracer garage where it replaced the missing part in Anakin’s vehicle.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

If it’s been a while since you watched “Phantom Menace” and would rather read the story instead of watch it to see what happened with Anakin, the podrace, and the rest of the saga, you can always check out STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE. This four issue limited series took George Lucas’ original story and saw it adapted through the comic minds of Henry Gilroy and Rodolfo Damaggio.

Next week, find out what Grand Admiral Thrawn had in store for Han, Luke, Leia, and the rest of the New Republic in STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE.

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Ben Acker and Ben Blacker expand the history of the planet from the new film!

“I’m taking an awful risk, Vader. This had better work.”

So said Grand Moff Tarkin to Darth Vader, as they allowed a Rebel contingent including Princess Leia to escape the Death Star in an attempt to locate the insurgents’ hidden military base. The plan succeeded, until a young upstart among that strategically liberated crew managed to destroy the Death Star before the base could be wiped out.

On December 27, writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker team up with artist Mike Mayhew to guide Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in search of a new home for their Rebellion in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – STORMS OF CRAIT #1!

Soon to be seen in the upcoming “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the mineral world Crait once received a visit from two prominent Rebels fresh off of their first major victory against the Empire. We spoke with Acker and Blacker to hear more about the history of the planet.

Marvel: What can you tell us about the how you two came to work on this particular comic?

Ben Blacker: We’ve worked with editors Jordan White and Heather Antos a number of times, most recently on DEADPOOL V GAMBIT (available in collected edition now!), and it’s always a pleasure receiving a call from them. Jordan and Heather know we’re enormous Star Wars fans, as they’ve read and publicly and privately raved about our young adult novel series, “Star Wars: Join the Resistance” (the first two books are available now!). So, to answer your question, they phoned us up and asked if we wanted to write this one-shot. We didn’t have to think about it. This is classic Star Wars!

Ben Acker: When Jordan and Heather call us up, we say yes. We said it even louder than usual about working on Star Wars with them.

Marvel: STORMS OF CRAIT takes place decades before the planet’s upcoming appearance in “The Last Jedi,” so what’s it like crafting this story while simultaneously sowing seeds that might connect to the film?

Ben Acker: It was the most fun tightrope to walk, getting to write for these characters. Our YA novel series takes place in the era of “The Force Awakens,” so this time we got to write the characters in the time period we grew up on. That didn’t feel like a tightrope at all!

Ben Blacker: It actually didn’t feel too precarious because, while the book does set up a location that will pay off in the new movie, our story takes place entirely in the time between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” Once we had that time period nailed down, the difficult part was keeping the characters consistent with the timeframe. Obviously, we end up knowing a lot more about the lives of Leia, Luke, Han, and Chewbacca than they do at that time. They’re still pretty young and untested, despite their recent success in destroying the Death Star. So, we had to put ourselves in that mindset and remember, like, they don’t know what an Ewok is yet.

Marvel: With the Rebels on the run, how did they come to select this particular planet? Did anything make it particularly appealing to Luke, Leia, and company? 

Ben Acker: It’s got some strategic advantages to it, so that it makes sense as a base, but I’d hate to spoil anything by saying much more than that. Also, Leia has personal reasons to make a go of the planet.

Ben Blacker: Leia has an emotional connection to Crait, which forms the heart of the story. She’s the one who brings them there and she has a lot at stake.

Marvel: Mike Mayhew’s art—as well as the images fans have seen in the movie trailers—present Crait as a very visually striking planet. Will we discover the reasoning behind the unique red and white color of the world?

Ben Blacker: It’s a really cool location. Visually, obviously, it’s striking and a palette we haven’t really seen in the Star Wars universe yet. I don’t know if we can really talk about the color scheme, as the reasons for the white planet with red beneath sort of plays into our story. What we grabbed onto, beyond that, is that Crait was a mining planet. That fact helped us create a new character who’s an old ally of Leia’s father and opened up the story in both action and emotion.

Ben Acker: I’m not even sure we can say that! But since you brought up Mike Mayhew, he’s amazing, isn’t he?

Marvel: Absolutely! What did Mike’s contributions to the story do to make this book really stand out?

Ben Acker: I feel like I was just talking about him! He’s so good at it. He’s an absolute perfectionist to boot. He makes the comic feel completely cinematic; you can all but hear John Williams coming off the page. It’s dazzling to see. There is a fight scene involving a lightsaber that made me feel like a kid, but my favorite bit is these three panels about midway through the book…a series of Luke reacting to something. Mike just nails the expressions. I can’t wait for you to see the book, but I especially can’t wait for you to see the three panels of Luke on page 16.

Ben Blacker: Mike has created a stunning book. I think we’re pretty good writers, and our script got the job done. But Mike makes this an incredible read. Besides the usual stuff you expect with a great artist—the acting of the characters—Mike has an incredible attention to detail. The opening is an absolute knockout. It feels like you’re watching one of the movies. And with his stuff on Crait, you can really feel the roughness and bareness of the planet. And then there’s the titular storm, which is exciting.

Marvel: Things surely can’t go too smoothly for our heroes in this story, so what villains might we get to see in this story? How do they factor into the Rebels’ search for a new base?

Ben Blacker: You’ll see some familiar baddies from the Star Wars comics. There’s a lot going on in this brief book. And you might even say that the planet Crait itself acts as an antagonist to our heroes. I wouldn’t, though, because that’s dumb.

Ben Acker: And I’d just like to say it might be fun to see things go smoothly for the Rebels someday!

Marvel: How do you create a sense of tension while knowing so much about where these characters go after this story’s over?

Ben Blacker: It all comes down to the emotions of the characters. The story has to matter. They have to care about things. The stakes for both Leia and Luke feel big in this story.

Also, we kill Chewbacca. The wookiee you see in “Empire,” “Jedi,” and “The Force Awakens” is not Chewie.

Marvel.com: Ben…

Ben Acker: No spoilers, but the end of this book involves Han going to the store and getting a new wookiee, who they all call Chewie Three (the Chewbacca in “A New Hope” is Chewie Two).

Marvel.com: Ben.

Ben Acker: Nobody knows what happened to Chewie One. It’s one of the great mysteries of Star Wars along with what kind of alien Yoda is. R.I.P. Chewie Two.

Marvel.com: Ben!

Ben Acker: A good thing about writing for Star Wars has been that even our joke-around answers become totally canon. We’ve gone mad with canon power and we abuse it terribly. Ben Kenobi is really Darth Vader! Kenobi is Vader! Vader is Kenobi! Canon!

Marvel.com: Final question now: how did it feel writing a kind of backstory for a planet from an upcoming movie? Were there any “wow” moments?

Ben Acker: The thrill was connecting the characters we older fans grew up on with the ones in the current movies. They walk literally the same ground, but in different ways. It’s pretty heady to connect it all. It felt like one big “wow” moment to write. I hope it feels that way to the readers.

Ben Blacker: I think the biggest “wow” is Mike’s art. Seriously, people will be stunned by how beautiful it looks and how much it really evokes the feeling of watching the movies. Beyond that, though, what the Marvel Comics Star Wars books have done really well is tuck stories into the cracks and backgrounds of the movies, providing a depth and scope to the greater universe that feels thrilling for fans. As fans, getting to provide some of that backstory has been a particular joy.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – STORMS OF CRAIT #1, by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and artist Mike Mayhew, drops on December 27!

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Mike Mayhew shows off his original art for this key Star Wars story!

Over the years, Star Wars has introduced us to some of the most amazing and fantastic settings ever seen. With “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” debuting on December 15, we’ll find ourselves on another new planet by the name of Crait.

Like everything in the Star Wars Universe, though, this locale has a deep history, ready for exploration in comic book form! That’s where STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – STORMS OF CRAIT comes in by writers Ben Blacker and Ben Acker along with artist Mike Mayhew. The series will rewind to the time when Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo checked to see if Crait would make a suitable home for the Rebellion.

We talked with Mayhew about getting a first look from Lucasfilm, working with these iconic characters, and how he changed up his style for this project.

Marvel.com: You’ve worked on the Star Wars books before, but this is a direct tie-in with one of the movies. Has that changed the process for you at all?

Mike Mayhew: It did change my process somewhat.

My Star Wars art has gone through an evolution, starting with my adaptation of George Lucas’ original screenplay “The Star Wars.” With that book, I wanted the cinematic, photographic art to make readers feel like they were watching an alternate universe version of the first film, and was less interested in making “comic art.”

That photo-real sensibility carried over into my work on Old Ben’s Journal from STAR WARS #15 and #20, where it made sense that the stories would feel like “prequel” films on paper.

This year I was able to move the “realism” bar higher on my series of STAR WARS covers for issues #3337. It was my first time using some new 3D rendering techniques, like PBR rendering, or “physically based rendering,” which allowed me to get very realistic images without spending time setting up “lights” around [a] 3D model.

When the opportunity came for STORMS OF CRAIT, I wanted to see if I could make a Star Wars story with that technique I used on the recent covers.

Marvel.com: I’m sure you can’t get into specifics, but were you able to get a look at elements from the film to help you get a feel for what kind of planet Crait is?

Mike Mayhew: Long story short, it was a guessing game. I remember getting some images of Crait from Lucasfilm at the beginning thinking I was getting some special insight and it turns out 90% of what I got was already online. So, I basically saw what was available for you all to see and had to figure it out from there.

For the purposes of our story, it made a lot of sense to show how Crait was similar to Tatooine. In the beginning of our story that connection plays in the mind of Luke Skywalker. This story takes place after Luke has blown up the Death Star. He’s on the road to being a Jedi and all of the sudden finds himself on a barren planet doing soil samples with farming gear for the Rebellion. It’s not quite the high adventure he’s always dreamed of, and feels he’s worthy of.

Marvel.com: The classic, original Star Wars heroes feature in this story. What was your approach to capturing old school Han, Luke and Leia?

Mike Mayhew: I had a lot passion to make a “film on paper” that featured the original cast from the movie. There are so many tales about how long and arduous it was for George Lucas to cast the first film, but we can all agree on how incredibly charming they are and that they have undeniable chemistry.

While admiring the work of artists like John Cassaday on Marvel’s current incarnation of the STAR WARS comic, I’d always been conscious about how much extra work it would be to have to create hundreds of images that feature the original cast. Capturing the likenesses [is] a very tricky and unique problem. There isn’t the latitude you might have in portraying Tony Stark or Steve Rogers in a comic. The world knows Han, Luke, and Leia by the actors that originated them. They weren’t originally “comic characters” who could be open to some interpretation. So, the expectation of seeing the actor is there on some subconscious level. And that’s a very, very hard thing to fake or make up, especially consistently over a larger body of work. I think I came close to what I hoped was possible in terms of creating images that felt like “film stills” from a long, lost Star Wars episode. That’s pretty much my approach to all my Star Wars art.

Marvel.com: The story features Luke and Leia looking to see if Crait could be a new home for the Rebellion. What can you say about the obstacles that stand in their way and the process that went into designing them?

Mike Mayhew: The main thing that [that] hinges on whether Crait is a viable home for the Rebellion is a friend of Leia’s father named Trusk Berinato. I really enjoyed exploring who he might be visually and character-wise. I imagined him to be a rogue, like Lando, which is my favorite type of character in Star Wars. I was excited for him to make an impression, since he was the first “original” character I’d visually created for Star Wars.

The white, salt crust and red dust and earth of Crait have a lot of visual potential. For instance, the red dust can have all sorts of characteristics when the Rebellion Ski Speeders leave trails of it, or it might be different when something crashes into the ground. We get to dig deep into the depths of the planet surface as well in trenches, and even in mines that are of interest to the Rebellion.

And, spoiler alert, there is a storm. I wanted [the] storm to be visually distinctive and lend itself to the action. During the storm there is a chase, so I use the storm to heighten the sense of speed, or during battles I use the storm to add to the danger and drama. I think it’s going to make for a dynamic and unique visual, especially following the blue sky pre-storm scenes that look more like the Crait we’ve seen in the “Last Jedi” trailer.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Ben and Ben on this project?

Mike Mayhew: Ben and Ben were great to work with! From the first reading of the script I knew we had the right mix of great character moments and hardcore Star Wars action that would give readers the story they deserve. There are all the hallmarks of great Star Wars storytelling, from space battles, to strange planets, otherworldly characters, and even the familiar climax that cuts back and forth from one hair-raising action set piece to another. I can’t wait to see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and think Ben and Ben really crafted a story that will stand as a companion piece to the film.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – STORMS OF CRAIT #1, by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker and Mike Mayhew strikes down on December 27!

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The legendary Wookiee helps a young girl save her people from slavery.

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.

Certain beings have a tendency to draw specific personality types to them. Call it a trick of the Force or happenstance, but that just seems to be the way of the universe. For Chewbacca, the renowned Wookiee and hero of the Rebellion, dashing heroes with a bad side seem to seek his sturdiness out as a kind of ballast.

In STAR WARS CHEWBACCA, the 2015-2016 five issue limited series by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto, our favorite Kashyyyk native happened to have landed on a planet called Andelm-IV that needed help. Before even seeing Chewie we met a brave young woman named Zarro and her father Arrax who ran afoul of the local gangster Jaum.

The villain had set up an operation turning locals into slaves and making them mine the Beetle Caverns. Arrax hatched a quick plan to get Zarro out of the mine. Once topside, she eventually allied herself with Chewbacca who had taken to a Sabacc table in order to make enough credits to buy a part to fix his ship.

Zarro tried to convince Chewie to help her planet, but finally agreed after she mentioned that they’d basically been enslaved and no one in the galaxy seemed to care. With some true muscle at her back, Zarro allowed herself to get recaptured. She activated a tracker that told her new partner her location. He struggled with the tight entrance because of his time as a captive years prior, but pushed through to help.

Chewbacca (2015) #1

Chewbacca (2015) #1

  • Published: October 14, 2015
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 11, 2016
  • Rating: Rated T
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Their mission succeeded, but Jaum’s enforcer Tyvak did try to blow Chewie up, which did not sit well with our furry friend. Having escaped the treacherous mines and gotten the captives to freedom, Chewbacca and Zorra teamed up once again to stop Jaum for good.

They then enlisted a local inventor named Sevox to get droids and explosives to achieve their goal. Loaded up with tools and disguises, Chewie and Zarro made their way into Jaum’s hangar where the plan kind of blew up in their faces. A firefight quickly broke out followed by the malfunction of their droid bomb and the capture of the freedom fighters.

Transported up to an Imperial Star Destroyer, Zorra and Chewbacca acted quickly on their feet and convinced the ship’s commander that Jaum’s true alliance lied with the Rebellion! She even wove the existence of the droid bomb into her story, so when it blew up, the Empire believed her lies!

The duo made it back to Andelm-IV in a stolen TIE Fighter. After a teary goodbye, Chewbacca made his journey back to Kashyyyk where he presented a young Wookiee with the bandoleer of his or her fallen mother or father, a fighter in the war against the Empire. Having achieved his initial goal, Chewbacca returned to the stars with some assistance from the recently arrived Millennium Falcon.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

What would a hoodlum like Jaum want with Andelm Beetles that he’d go so far as to enslave people and make dangerous deals with the Empire? Well, their larvae contained a mineral called dedlanite that could be used to make blasters. With the Imperials on a back foot after losing the first Death Star, they needed to make sure their Stormtroopers and other agents remained well-armed against the growing threat of the Rebellion.

Next week, Mark Schultz and Galen Showman pay a royal visit to Padme in STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 – QUEEN AMIDALA.

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Luke's life was in the hands of Leia, Chewbacca and Lando in STAR WARS #50.

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.

As the original Marvel STAR WARS series reached its mid-century mark in 1981, the book had covered a great deal of ground. It began by adapting the original 1977 film before moving into all original stories and sticking around long enough to tell the story of 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back.”

With STAR WARS #50, the series had returned to covering all new ground. At this point, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO and Lando Calrissian carried on, with the safety of the kidnapped Han Solo never far from their minds.

In fact, #50 began with Lando and Chewie flying the Millennium Falcon in an effort to avoid the Empire and find their friend. Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson, Tom Palmer and Walt Simonson threw a wrench in that plan when the duo found themselves following Princess Leia back to the new Rebel base on Golrath.

Once there, we all learned the emergency that garnered Leia’s attention: The Crimson Forever. A mysterious disease had infected a group of Rebels including Luke! It all seemed to stem from a strange red gem that they discovered on a seemingly abandoned Imperial Star Destroyer.

Leia then admitted that she brought the Falcon back to this base because she needed to hear from Chewbacca. Han had told her about a job they pulled that sounded like it might be related to Luke’s current condition. Chewbacca then told the story himself with Threepio translating for him.

After joining up with the Rebellion, Han and Chewie did their best to avoid the Imps, landing on an out-of-the-way planet called Terminus. While trying to remember the location of “that cantina where those two swamp maidens danced,” they got blasted and woke up on Klysk’s ship. He intended to use our heroes and a group of other mercenaries to fly to the Red Nebula, out beyond the known galaxies.

Star Wars (1977) #50

Star Wars (1977) #50

  • Published: May 19, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Tom Palmer
What is Marvel Unlimited?

There Klysk wanted the mercenaries to steal a pair of red gems guarded by a local priest as well as a huge hairy beast that took a liking to Chewie! Han left his friend behind momentarily to carry the gems to Klysk and his crew. They refused to help get Solo’s second away from the beast and left them both there. After a series of double crosses and reveals, Han and Chewie left the planet with an understanding that the gems, when separated, could lead to chaos.

With one of the gems in hand, the Rebels realized they needed to track down the other. While traveling to the Red Nebula, they encountered another seemingly abandoned ship, this one controlled by Domina Tagge who had sworn vengeance on Luke Skywalker back in STAR WARS #37. She arranged the whole thing to spread disease, but things did not exactly go as planned.

Thanks to some quick thinking by Leia and Lando, our heroes traded Tagge’s salvation for her gem which, when combined with the other, reversed the effects of The Crimson Forever, saving Luke in the process.

With the immediate threat over, Leia sent Domina Tagge and her bounty hunters off in one ship and launching the red gems off into the Great Void.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Though they don’t wind up playing a huge role in this story, some pretty infamous bounty hunters appear in this story. We first saw IG-88 walking through the plague-filled empty ship that brought Lando and Leia to Domina Tagge. She’d hired the droid as well as Zuckuss, Dengar and 4-LOM to steal the gems from the Red Nebula, succeeding where Klysk failed. However, they didn’t plan on the gems releasing the Crimson Forever in their own ship, which lead to the deal with Leia. However, before they left, Lando mentioned to the bounty hunters that Domina might have a price on her head with the Empire. As it happened, this acted as her last appearance in the original Marvel series, so we can imagine what happened there!

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Miller and Andrea Mutti show what happens with the Dark Lords of the Sith rule an entire planet!

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 you hear about a world with a strong, very old Sith population that essentially took over upon arrival, you might think the place filled with blood and red face paint, but that’s not the case in John Jackson Miller and Andrea Mutti’s STAR WARS: LOST TRIBE OF THE SITH: SPIRAL. Instead you get a multi-faceted tale of legend meeting reality and embracing the potential for great good or evil!

This Legacy story took place during the time of the Old Republic, placing it 25,000 to 1,000 years before the Battle of Yavin. The planet Kesh played the setting of this story. Over two thousand years prior to the beginning of SPIRAL, the Sith ship Omen crashed on the planet, leaving Sith Lord Naga Sadow’s minions to create a new society for themselves, taking advantage of the fact that the Keshiri worshiped them. 

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #1

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #1

  • Published: August 08, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
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Back in the present of the story, the Keshiri celebrated the coming of the Sith. Well, not everyone. A rebel calling himself Death Spinner ran afoul of Officer Takara who had him arrested and sent to Grand Master Hilts.

We soon learned that, even though his family came to Kesh with the other Sith, they’d been cast out by the others and made to live with the locals who were themselves treated as slaves. Hilts wound up sending Spinner off on a ship to Alanciar. Takara – Hilts’ daughter – stowed away in a failed attempt at blazing her own trail that resulted in them both attempting a mutiny in a frigid wasteland! 

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #2

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #2

  • Published: September 12, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Those plans eventually lead them to meet another group from the stars known as The Doomed. This group derived from an earlier confrontation between Light and Dark Jedi who nearly destroyed Kesh, while also establishing the myths that the later Sith used to get the Keshiri to do their bidding.

The Doomed’s leader Kaliska explained all this to Spinner and Takara, but also mentioned an ancient Dark Jedi weapon that had been buried thousands of years before. As Takara agreed to learn from Kaliska and her people, Spinner made off with the secret weapon! When the weapon turned out to be Lord Dreypa, though, everyone involved knew that trouble would befall the entire planet, if not the galaxy.  

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #3

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #3

  • Published: October 10, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Spinner allied himself with Dreypa as a way to exact revenge against the very same power structure that cast his family out while Takara now feared for the establishment. The threat level jumped up several notches, though, when the well-slept Sith Lord remembered his original mission from 4000 years prior: to awaken Dark Side-Spawn Leviathans. 

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #4

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #4

  • Published: November 14, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

With the giants poised to run amok, destroying everything in their path and absorbing Force energy along the way, all of the groups joined forces to face the immediate and deadly threat. As his powers returned, he gained even more knowledge from those opposing him, including the secret fact that the Doomed hid a working Jedi starfighter under what became Takara’s home! 

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #5

Star Wars: Lost Tribe Of The Sith - Spiral (2012) #5

  • Published: December 12, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 07, 2015
  • Writer: John Miller
  • Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Instead of going herself to destroy the ship, though, Takara sent Spinner to handle the task, while also return her injured mother to her home. She remained on the battlefield to hold of Dreypa and his growing number of minions. Instead of blowing the vehicle up, though, Spinner used it to take out several of the Leviathans and then also trick Dreypa into exploding himself on a mountain!

From the Jedi Temple Archives

In this story that’s already set pretty far back in the past, we also got to see even older lightsabers from 4,000 years before the events of SPIRAL. One major difference you might have noticed in the hardware – one that even Dreypa pointed out – is that the older versions used to have power packs worn on the wielder’s belt running directly to the weapon itself. As you can imagine, this made actually using the sword-like implement far more difficult, but laid the ground work for the elegant weapon first seen in “A New Hope!”

Next week we return to the classic Marvel STAR WARS series with issue #50!

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Cade Skywalker struggles with the Claws of the Dragon in STAR WARS LEGACY by Ostrander and Duursema.

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 saw Luke Skywalker’s descendant, Cade, he’d communed with his Jedi forebear and decided to make right a wrong against Jedi Hosk Trey’lis who he had sold out in the beginning of STAR WARS: LEGACY. This latest arc, by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, which ran through STAR WARS: LEGACY #1419, picked up with Cade making good on that promise as he and R2-D2 landed on Coruscant, his former home.

Using the many tunnels he explored as a kid, Skywalker quickly found himself in his old haunts, looking for information and running into trouble along the way. He quickly made his way into the Sith Temple, which had been directly on top of the old Jedi one and got Hosk, but Darth Talon attacked and Nihl finished him off. 

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #14

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #14

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To further push Skywalker towards the Dark Side, Darth Krayt poisoned Cade’s friends Jariah Syn and Deliah Blue with incredibly painful Yuuzhan Vong Coral Seeds. As their bodies turned to spikes, the Sith Lord released Cade and challenged him to save both of them at once. 

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #15

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #15

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After doing exactly that, Cade made a deal with Krayt that if he let Syn and Deliah go, Skywalker would stick around to hear the Sith out. In that very meeting, Darth Krayt not only revealed that he’d been a Jedi previously, but also his true name: A’Sharad Hett. 

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #16

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #16

What is Marvel Unlimited?

At that same time, the assassin Agent Corde – also known as Cade’s mother – re-entered the picture thanks to the machinations of the Moffs who wanted to get their hands on Skywalker themselves. Meanwhile, Syn and Deliah argued about whether to go after Cade or not. They all came together in a bar, along with the Wookiee Chak and his partner Kee to develop a plan of their own for snagging Skywalker.

After explaining his past, Krayt offered Cade the chance to harness his anger instead of burying it, which he actually agreed to! Before long, Cade began his training with Darth Talon as Krayt watched on, hoping to eventually turn the boy to their side so he could heal the dying Sith Lord and Emperor.  

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #17

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #17

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Meanwhile, Cade’s rescuers developed a plan that involved giving some Force neutral Vong Beetles a high-tech upgrade and infiltrating the Sith Temple to release them. They got eyes on him in time to see him making out with Darth Talon. 

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #18

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #18

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Though it seemed like Cade might give himself over to the Dark Side, instead he rebelled and fought against Krayt and his Lords. As they battled, Corde and her crew flew to the Sith Temple and pulled off a nice series of moves to save Skywalker! With the young man safe, Syn, Blue, Chak and Kee blasted off, leaving Corde on planet to take back up her secret identity as a Moff! 

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #19

Star Wars: Legacy (2006) #19

What is Marvel Unlimited?

From the Jedi Temple Archives

As Krayt explained to Cade, he actually served as a Jedi before the Republic gave way to the Empire. Krayt explained that, as a general in the Clone Wars, he learned secrets about Anakin Skywalker that “had they been known, would have gotten Skywalker cast out of the order.” He kept those a secret and came to regret the decision. After Order 66 wiped out most of the Jedi, the man then known as  A’Sharad Hett traveled back to Tatooine to become a War Leader of many Tusken Raider clans, like his dad who you may remember from the STAR WARS Outlander story.

Eventually, Obi-Wan Kenobi showed up and told him he could do better with his abilities and the two fought. In losing, Hett was shamed out of his clan. Obi-Wan wanted him to meditate on becoming a better Jedi, but instead he became a bounty hunter and eventually discovered the Sith ways thanks to an ancient teacher named Xoxaan, but only fully embraced the dark ways after encountering the Yuuzhan Vong in person. While imprisoned by them, he realized that the Sith needed to become a force of order in the universe and set out his plans to revolutionize the group and eventually become Emperor.

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Writer Matt Owens previews a conflict between Jedi!

On November 29, two guardians of peace and justice eschew their philosophical responsibilities as ally faces ally in battle. In STAR WARS: JEDI OF THE REPUBLIC – MACE WINDU #4, by writer Matt Owens and artist Denys Cowan, the Jedi Master looks to put down a rebellion in his ranks after former friend Prosset Dibs challenges his leadership.

We caught up with Owens to discuss the oncoming clash and the complex life of a Jedi.

Marvel.com: What attracted you to the idea of exploring such a complex moral situation between two Jedi?

Matt Owens: The time period of the book afforded a very obvious opportunity for a story about grey areas. You have the Jedi, who have operated according to their specific doctrine for generations, suddenly thrust into an entirely new role and arena. People naturally pause and contemplate that. Now, the degrees of action following that contemplation will vary. Some would still stick to the established Jedi way. Some would quietly question the new direction. Some would loudly question the new direction. Putting these varying degrees in the mouths of a group of Jedi acts as a catalyst for some great conflict. And we are seeing play out right now.

Marvel.com: How has Denys Cowan helped you realize the specific tone of your story? Overall, how has the collaboration been?

Matt Owens: There is an edge—a harshness—to Denys’s art that lines up so well with the tone of this story. It’s a great fit.

There’s a great creative snowball effect to our collaboration. When he sketches off my script, he sees things and adds detail, then I look at them and get more ideas for things to add—which, in turn, inspires him again and so on and so forth.

Marvel.com: Both Windu and Dibs have legitimate arguments leading them to this conflict. How do you maintain such an objective, nonjudgmental stance so that the reader has the choice to side with either Jedi?

Matt Owens: To make any conflict between characters compelling, they both have to believe that they are right. And for that to be interesting to an audience, they both need to have a point of view that can be seen as correct. That can be a difficult line to walk. But that’s the only way to make something true, for people to feel or learn something from it.

Marvel.com: How might this fratricidal fight impact the other members of the group?

Matt Owens: Rissa, as the youngest member of the team, feels incredibly distraught by this. Not only does she not understand Prosset refusing to follow orders and listen to his commander, but attacking another Jedi seems completely insane to her. Kit gets affected as well, but his understanding is more internal. He sees the battle between Mace and Prosset as a physical representation of the two stands Jedi can make right now. Which one will win out in the end? The answer will be important to him.

Marvel.com: How are both Dibs and Windu psychologically affected by this situation?

Matt Owens: Both of them feel torn. Mace doesn’t want to fight his fellow Jedi; he understands that Prosset has gotten frustrated. But at the same time, he has to be a leader, an example. If Mace does not fight to defend the path of the Jedi, then he cannot convince others (or himself) that he’s made the right choice. He wields his lightsaber with a heavy heart.

Prosset does truly believe that the Jedi Council is in the wrong. That everything he knows and loves is being corrupted. He’s acting out of desperation to save himself.

Marvel.com: Last question: how cool does it feel to write a scene where two Jedi throw down?

Matt Owens: It’s so much fun! A simultaneous physical and philosophical battle between two Jedi? It’s a dream come true.

Read STAR WARS: JEDI OF THE REPUBLIC – MACE WINDU #4, by Matt Owens and artist Denys Cowan, on November 29!

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