Fans of both of George Lucas’ trilogies might appreciate the expansions of the Star Wars galaxy seen in recent comics that pay homage to the prequels.
Warning! Spoilers for Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters and Star Wars: Darth Vader
Star Wars comics are re-writing elements of the canon, while riffing on the prequels. In an unexpected twist, fans of both the prequel and original trilogies might appreciate the expansions of the Star Wars galaxy. Ongoing titles are paying homage to the era and making it more consistent with the established universe.
War of the Bounty Hunters is the latest Star Wars comics crossover event, spanning into multiple series such as Star Wars, Darth Vader, Bounty Hunters, Doctor Aphra, and the main miniseries titled after the event. With a wide range of writers and artists, each series is currently following the fate of Han Solo after being frozen in carbonite. Throughout recent comics, events that seemed relatively simple and straightforward are being overcomplicated for the sake of there being a story to sell. Various plot holes and stories that have infringed upon established canon have understandably annoyed fans.
However, the strongest and most compelling aspect of War of the Bounty Hunters is the way that it expands on prequel characters. Previously a silent and creepy -ooking assistant to Emperor Palpatine, Sly Moore has been given a personality of her own. In Darth Vader #14 written by Greg Pak and art by Raffaele Ienco, she is more fleshed out as a character than she’s ever been. After failing to kill Darth Vader as Palpatine instructed, she returns to a subservient role, showing the extent of her loyalty to the Empire. Similarly, Qi’ra has finally returned after being introduced in the spin-off prequel Solo: A Star Wars Story. Since then, she has taken over command of the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn, and has proven herself as a formidable foe to the Rebels.
Frequently in War of the Bounty Hunters, there have been scenes that come across like loving nods to the prequel era. Whether there’s a brief reference to Gungan bombs, or flashbacks to Revenge of the Sith, or a direct connection to the Siege of Mandalore, each title is spending more time on considering the prequel trilogy than the originals. Much like Dave Filoni’s The Clone Wars, the event has been expanding on the films that belong to the second most ridiculed trilogy in the saga.
By redeeming select elements and making them feel more organic in canon, War of the Bounty Hunters presents a strong case for why the prequels’ world-building is on par with the originals. More than anything else, the event has incorporated the visual stylings that tended to feel jarring in the galaxy as it was first represented. From various planet ambiences, to tech, droids, ship designs, and species, the comics aren’t just filling the gaps between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi — they’re reenforcing the aesthetic that George Lucas had envisioned for Star Wars.
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