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Could the Latest Darth Vader Comic Contain Hints for Star Wars: Episode IX?

Speculation abounds!

darth vader with hand outstretched to Luke in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

I’ll admit, for a Star Wars fan who lives for the extra-canonical materials, I have not been keeping up with Marvel’s Darth Vader series by Charles Soule. However, the final issue immediately caught my eye when Twitter began going absolutely wild over it, and when several articles popped up analyzing the contents.

So, I got my grubby paws on it and immediately understood what all the fuss was about. It’s good—like really, really good.

**Spoilers for Darth Vader #25 to follow.**

The story begins with Vader leaving his corporeal body behind to literally go into what seems to be a spirit realm, previously unexplored by any character in the series onscreen. He walks past visions of his former self—a child, a padawan, a Jedi—until he reaches a temple in which he finds the spirit of Padmé, his beloved wife.

She tells him Anakin Skywalker is dead before throwing herself over the edge of a balcony, after which she is destroyed by a bolt of lightning. Vader then sees a beam of light, from which he can see a young man carrying a blue lightsaber; he is returned to his body immediately after.

Fans knew that Vader had been searching for a way to contact the dead via his palace on Mustafar, in an attempt to bring his wife back to life. He has also been facing off against a Sith Lord named Momin in an attempt to steal his mask, which contains the power to open the veil between worlds.

This is a great tie-in to the Acolytes of the Beyond from Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath series, which featured Sith devotees who sought ancient relics in hopes of resurrecting Darth Vader. We didn’t know for sure if these artifacts possessed that kind of power in the books, so knowing now that they do contain dark energies changes the game.

The entire issue is very similar to the Star Wars Rebels episode “The World Between Worlds,” which featured Ezra Bridger traveling to a space in which time was a nebulous concept. Both issue and episode contained echoes of past and future dialogue following the characters as they walked towards their destiny. Vader saw his past, as a child and padawan, and his future, including Luke and his fight with Ahsoka. Both worlds seem to be outside the natural and enter the metaphysical.

It’s worth noting that Vader’s vision is marked by death and violence, while Ezra’s journey is a lot more … well, dare I say, balanced? Vader is tapping into the Dark Side via his fortress and mask, while Ezra’s journey is via the Lothal Jedi temple and a mural of the Mortis trio. There’s already a difference of energies, so while I’m inclined to view Ezra’s journey as “truth,” I think the Dark Side was at play in manipulating what Vader saw.

The issue also implies that Darth Sidious manipulated the midichlorians to create Anakin, hence the reason why he was a virgin birth. This would imply that Anakin might not actually be the Chosen One, but rather a pawn of the Dark Side. However, taking into account the fact that Sidious then left Shmi on a desert, Outer Rim planet away from the Jedi and the ability to be manipulated by him, on the off chance Qui-Gon would stumble on him, sort of casts this theory into doubt. Until someone at Lucasfilm comes forward and confirms this to actually be canon, I’ll take it as a theory for now.

There’s also a striking moment in which Vader is faced with ghosts of Obi-Wan and Palpatine, as he hears the infamous “I am your father” line. That takes on a whole new meaning if Palpatine is actually responsible for creating him, but I choose to believe that it’s more of a, adopted father moment. They’re probably not going to undo years of believing in Anakin being the Chosen One, and of the Skywalker bloodline being a product of the natural Force, just for a twist in a comic book.

So what does this mean for Episode IX? Given that Luke will return in some capacity, and Anakin is rumored to make an appearance, I wonder if they aren’t planning to involve the metaphysical to some degree. This is purely speculation, mind you; I am usually Very Wrong about Star Wars, so I accept that I am probably wrong about this. However, the sudden inclusion of this kind of Force weirdness in two major properties makes me wonder if Rey won’t find a way to access a world between worlds in Episode IX.

A great deal of fuss has been made about “balance” being achieved in the Force by the end of Episode IX. Surely, that must be the intended ending if the Skywalker Saga is coming to a close. It might be necessary to really delve into the cosmic mysteries of the Force to do so. You can’t have light without some element of dark. In order to solve the problem presented here, Rey might have to journey a bit farther than Luke or Anakin ever did, and reach into the Mortis mysteries.

Mortis, for those uninitiated, is a three-episode arc from The Clone Wars. It really delves into the idea of balance in the Force, as embodied by the Father, the Son, and the Daughter. With balance already being key to this trilogy—check out the opening poem from the Journal of the Whills that talks about the main themes—it makes sense that the Mortis arc might come into play here, as that’s the canon’s big way of discussing balance.

What do you think, Suevians? Will a world between worlds be referenced in Episode IX, or is this something that will be explored in extra-canonical materials?

(image: Lucasfilm)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.