Comics that Should Make a Comeback: Star Wars Rebellion

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In 2002, Dark Horse launched a new Star Wars series, “Empire.” The title would be set in “the era when Emperor Palpatine held the galaxy in his iron grip!” The stories would take place shortly after the original Star Wars movie, though a few would be set in the days and years leading up to that (especially some interesting arcs telling the life story of Biggs Darklighter, one of the X-Wing pilots who died in the first movie). The series was fairly well done, showing the Imperial Perspective, spotlighting minor characters (such as the aforementioned
Biggs Darklighter) and even showcasing major ones like Princess Leia.

In 2006, the title was relaunched as Star Wars: Rebellion. The new series concentrated more on new characters, like imperial officer Lt. Janek Sunber (who had been introduced in “Empire”) and rebel soldier Deena Shan. It also illuminated other aspects of the galaxy, such as the criminal underworld. 13359 And, naturally, the title kept tabs on the famous characters we know and love, like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

Earlier this year, Dark Horse announced that it was discontinuing the series after only 16 issues- and after having just participated in the cross-era crossover “Vector.” The reason given was that this particular era of Star Wars history was too full. There wasn’t room for more stories. It would become too unbelievable for Luke and Leia and the rest of the gang to have this many adventures in the three years between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.”

I think there’s some truth to that statement. That era of Star Wars has been mined pretty richly. The original Marvel comic book series was set during that time. Many of the Star Wars novels are set in that time, as well. And between the two series, Dark Horse has published over 50 issues of stories from that era. It’s pretty crowded with additional adventures.

Even so, I respectfully disagree with Dark Horse’s decision to discontinue the title. I think there was another solution. It’s a solution that could continue a title that was being produced at a high quality. And, importantly, it’s a solution that would insure that at least one Star Wars title was starring the 16214 familiar and beloved characters from the original trilogy (Dark Horse is publishing a Clone Wars comic, featuring characters from the prequel era).

The solution is relatively simple. Move the book forward in time. The era between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” may be crowded, but the era between “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” is not. It’s not completely empty. The original Marvel series continued between those two movies. And there are a few novels set in that time, such as Princess Leia’s showdown with Black Sun’s Prince Yizor. But there aren’t that many. There’s a lot more room for stories set between the second and third movies.

Perhaps authors have avoided that time span because Han Solo is unavailable. He is, admittedly, one of the most popular characters in the Star Wars canon. And it might seem limiting to choose to tell a story which can’t make use of Han Solo. But that shouldn’t be a problem for Rebellion. Han Solo wasn’t a big a part of this title in the first place. It concentrated on Luke and Leia, or the new characters. That focus could continue unimpeded.

As a bonus, Rebellion would get to add Lando Calrissian to the cast. He may not rival Han’s Swunder1 popularity, but he has his share of fans. And he would be a fun addition to the cast. There’s a lot more room to play with him than there is with Han Solo- potential love interests, possible character growth and the like. After all, Lando’s character growth happened mainly off-screen. How did he become a Rebel General anyway?

There is also the issue of what to do about Han’s capture. It might seem awkward, even unheroic, for the Star Wars heroes to be engaged in other adventures while Han remains captured by Boba Fett and then Jabba the Hutt. But that situation can be turned into an asset. We already know that three years passed between “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” So we know that they weren’t able to rescue Han right away. That leaves the renewed Rebellion title a couple of options. They could easily follow the blueprint of the original Marvel series. Those stories included several feints and failed attempts to rescue Han, including confrontations with the other bounty hunters. They also forced Luke and Leia to choose between their personal friendship and the greater needs of the rebellion. After all, there’s a war to fight, with or without their best friend.

They could also blaze an entirely new trail. Rebellion could work towards “Return of the Jedi” rather than continuing on from “Empire Strikes Back.” The majority of the stories written between those two movies were done without the knowledge of what would happen in the trilogy’s finale. Even those that were written after “Return” was released were set on the sidelines rather than in the heart of the 15014 rebellion. The revived Rebellion series could completely change that, which would open up three very strong storylines.

One, they would be able to tell Luke’s journey in becoming a Jedi. We would see him return to Dagobah and resume his training under Yoda. The wizened master might even send him off on missions and quests designed to improve his skills or teach him lessons. After all, Luke is a much more accomplished Jedi at the outset of the third movie than he is at the end of the second.

Two, they would be able to tell the story of the rise of the rebellion. The earlier series, “Empire,” gave us a glimpse of other rebel heroes like Biggs Darklighter. The new series could focus on the continued conflict, from the perspective of both those who are in charge and those who are on the frontlines. I’m sure there are stories to be told about Jan Dodonna, Carlist Rieekan, Mon Mothma and especially Admiral Ackbar. And the stories from the frontline can be divided between both new heroes like Deena Shan and familiar ones like Wedge Antilles (whose X-Wing series exploits take place after “Return of the Jedi” rather than before it).

And three, they could get started on the plan to free Han Solo. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Princess Leia make contacts in the underground and establish her identity as the bounty hunter Boushh? There are probably some good stories about the hard choices Lando had to make while undercover as one of Jabba’s bodyguards. Think of the moral choices that faced undercover agents like Donnie Brasco. How far would Lando have to go in order to please his unsavory employer?

These stories would mean that Rebellion would have a definite end point. Or, at least, that it would eventually have to jump forward in time once again. But, in the mean time, it would also mean that Rebellion was a focused title driving towards a definite goal. And that would be a lot of fun to read.

At least, that’s my idea.

Views: 109

Comment by Cavaliere (moderator emeritus) on October 11, 2009 at 2:51pm
I have the three tpbs of Rebellion because that's the era that interests me. Most of what Dark Horse does for Star Wars is outside that area so I don't bother with it. I love your Empire to Jedi ideas. I hope that you send this to Dark Horse, my friend...and may The Force be with you!
Comment by Chris Fluit on October 12, 2009 at 4:50pm
Thanks a lot, Jeff. If you enjoyed the Rebellion tpbs, I suggest you pick up some of Empire tpbs as well. Three of the early ones are especially good (The Imperial Perspective, Darklighter, The Heart of the Rebellion).
Comment by Cavaliere (moderator emeritus) on October 12, 2009 at 8:33pm
Done. I already reserved Empire vol 1 from the library system last night.
Comment by Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) on October 13, 2009 at 3:49pm
I think the reason you don't that many stories between Empire and Jedi is that there is less time work with. Only about a year or so. I personally wouldn't have a problem with that, but others might...well actually...others would.
Comment by The Baron on October 14, 2009 at 3:30pm
I'm not so big Warshead as Chris, but I recently read Star Wars - The Essential Atlas which, in addition to describing the major planets of the Star Wars universe, gives a potted history of the "galaxy far, far away" from the Dawn of Time to about a hundred years after Return of the Jedi. It draws from the various novels as well as the films and includes alot of detail. It's interesting, because it portrays the Old Republic as never having been a perfect bastion of morality itself. If it was me, I wouldn't mind a story set in the earliest days of Galactic civilization, when interstellar travel was difficult and time-consuming, and the jedi still fought with swords made of metal, instead of light...

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