With the special edition films and prequel trilogy on the horizon, Lucasfilm decided to create a project in 1996 to increase the hype for the coming releases-by releasing a Star Wars multi-media event. Called “Shadows of the Empire”, it would deal with the events between “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”-an era seldom covered at that point by most Expanded Universe stuff, which had mostly been dealing with the post-Return of the Jedi stories, or the long-ago Tales of the Jedi material. “Shadows” spawned an novel, video game, action figures, and even a soundtrack (although not by John Williams)-and of course, a limited comic series by John Wagner and Killian Plunkett.
The novel mainly dealt with the POV of the main heroes, while the comic was more centered on Boba Fett, but also featured some material not in the novel, such as the Rebel Fleet up against an Imperial strike cruiser. Likewise, the video game focuses mainly on Dash Rendar, a sort of stand-in for Han Solo (who is still frozen in carbonite) who helps out Luke and co.
The primary story of “Shadows” deals with the villainous Prince Xizor-ruler of a criminal empire which uses a shipping organization as a legitimate cover-who wishes to usurp Darth Vader as the Emperor’s second-in-command by messing up Vader’s attempt to find his son-by killing him (and also Vader as well). This frustrates Luke and his friend’s attempt to rescue Han Solo as well. Even Boba Fett, who captured Solo and is bringing him to Jabba the Hutt, isn’t quite free of harm-the other “Empire Strikes Back” bounty hunters want to steal Han from him to receive Jabba’s bounty.
Vader also employs a mercenary named Jix to keep any eye on Luke after he’s targeted by Xizor’s people.
Apart from it’s focus on Boba Fett and Jix, and a few extra scenes here and there, the comic series mainly sticks to the plot of the ‘event.’-with Vader finally taking out Xizor, Luke helping the Bothans steal the location of the second Death Star (although of course this is a rouse organized by the Emperor as we known from Return of the Jedi; it’s also revealed Xizor had a role in that deception) Luke and his crew escaping from Xizor’s clutches)(with Leia getting the bounty hunter outfit she would use to infiltrate Jabba’s palace, and Boba Fett getting Han Solo to Jabba.