Obi-Wan Kenobi will make its grand debut this week on Disney+, and starwars fans have expressed their excitement for Ewan McGregor‘s return as the titular Jedi Master, as well as Hayden Christensen stepping back into Darth Vader’s armor. With series director deborah chow hinting at the two crossing lightsabers, fans may want to turn to Marvel’s run of starwars comics for clues on how the iconic Sith Lord will be handled. Story elements from those comics will also play a major role in setting up the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Marvel has been an essential part of expanding the current starwars mythos in recent years, especially when it comes to exploring the various eras in a galaxy far, far away. From stories that reveal just what Obi-Wan was up to during his years on Tatooine, to the launch of the High Republic, the comics are proof that great starwars stories don’t have to be regulated to the big or small screen. And Darth Vader is one of the characters who has thrived the most under this new line of comics.
Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca
When Marvel launched its new line of comics, it started with two titles: starwars by Jason Aaron (Thor) and John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men) and Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen (Eternals) and Salvador Larroca (Invincible Iron Man). This run found Vader attempting to re-solidify his status as Emperor Palpatine’s most loyal enforcer following the destruction of the Death Star, while also grappling with the revelation that Luke Skywalker is his son. Gillen and Larroca introduced a host of new characters during their tenure on the series, most notable “rogue archeologist” Dr. Chelli Aphra and the Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan. Aphra became a fan-favorite character, even headlining her own ongoing series, while Krrsantan was recently seen on The Book of Boba Fett.
Star Wars: Vader Down by Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen, Mike Deodato Jr. and Salvador Larroca
Eventually, both Vader and the main starwars title would cross over for the “Vader Down” storyline, with Mike Deodato Jr. (Thunderbolts) joining Larroca on art duties. Vader crash-lands on the planet Vrogas Vas after encountering the Rebel Alliance’s fleet, and the Rebellion mobilizes nearly all of its forces to capture him. But the Dark Lord of the Sith refuses to go down without a fight. Aaron described Vader Down as a movie-level event, and it certainly feels like it belongs on the silver screen. Aaron and Gillen have fun writing the different character dynamics, especially when Aphra encounters Luke, and Deodato and Larroca deliver blockbuster action – with Vader mowing down a fleet of Rebel soldiers in a sequence that rivals his appearance of him in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith by Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli
In 2017, Charles Soule (Star Wars: Poe Dameron) and Giuseppe Camuncoli (Amazing Spider-Man) launched a new Vader series subtitled Dark Lord of the Sith. Taking place in between the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope, the series features Vader solidifying the Empire’s reign over the galaxy by crushing any and all pockets of rebellion. This series was responsible for expanding upon the Inquisitors – with Moses Ingram‘s Third Sister serving as the major antagonist of Obi-Wan Kenobi – and showing how Vader built his castle on Mustafar. Soule has continued to write more starwars comics, including The Rise of Kylo Ren miniseries and the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover, with the latter reintroducing Han Solo’s former love Qi’ra as the leader of the criminal syndicate Crimson Dawn.
Star Wars: Darth Vader by Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco
Vader is currently headlining his third ongoing series, and once again it’s taken a shift thanks to the work of Greg Pack (planet-hulk) and Raffaele Ienco (Fantastic Four). After the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Vader is reeling from Luke’s rejection to rule the galaxy as father and son. He then decides to take revenge on everyone who “corrupted” his son from him – traveling back to his home planet of Tatooine as well as other famous starwars locations. In recent issues, Pak has even expanded upon elements and characters introduced in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, such as the Sith hunter Ochi of Bestoon and Palpatine’s cloning facility on Exegol.
Star Wars: Age of Republic/Rebellion
One of Marvel’s more ambitious efforts with the starwars line of comics was the Age of Republic, Age of Rebellionand Age of Resistance miniseries. Each miniseries, as well as their respective one-shot specials, focused on characters from the prequel, original, and sequel trilogies of starwars. Pak would return to write the Age of Rebellion one-shots, while Jody Houser (Mother Panic) tackled Age of Republic and Tom Taylor (Nightwing) handled Age of Resistance. Age of Republic features a one-shot that centers on Anakin during the time of the Clone Wars, while Age of Rebellion features a story that has Vader dealing with the hierarchy of the Grand Moffs in the Empire. Both one-shots showcase the difference between Anakin and Vader; While Anakin was willing to seek help from others during the Clone Wars, Vader views others as obstacles to be crushed.
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