Star Wars Comics history: Return to the Dark Empire

Due to the success of “Dark Empire”, a sequel soon found it’s way into development. However, at the same time the novel series moved beyond “Dark Empire” with it’s Jedi Academy trilogy, set a year later. Therefore, the sequel series had to tie-up loose ends from the original Dark Empire, setting the stage for the Republic reclaiming Coruscant, the birth of Anakin Solo, and Luke finally being able to rebuild the Jedi Knights. When we last left Luke and co., he’d just recovered from nearly falling to the dark side due to the manipulations of a cloned Emperor Palpatine, as well as foiled the reinvigorated Empire’s latest plan to reclaim the galaxy. Leia also discovered she was pregnant with Han’s second son. The Rebels still largely reside on the Pinnacle moon of Da Soocha, as Coruscant has descended into anarchy fought over by various Imperial factions.

 

The main mission this time is for the Alliance/Republic to steal a shipment of powerful battle droids on their way to Byss, the new Imperial throneworld. Meanwhile, the Empire sends out it’s ‘darksiders’, a group of dark Jedi enforcing the Emperor’s will to foil both the plans of the alliance and Luke.

 

Luke and Leia both go on seperate missions to help restore the Jedi. Luke-aided by Jedi hopeful Kam Solusar (a former dark Jedi)- goes to the devastated Jedi library planet of Ossus, where he meets a bunch of force-sensitive primitives, one of whom which he begins a brief romantic relationship with, as well as a cache of Jedi knowledge and lightsabers. Leia seeks the knowledge of Jedi purge survivor Vima Da boda, who they last encountered on the Hutt moon Nar Shadda. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly welcome there; Han’s friends-Shug Ninx and Salla Zend-have lost their ship, another old friend-Han’s old academy friend-Mako Spince-has betrayed them to the Empire, and not only have the ‘darksiders’ arrived, they have to deal with Boba Fett again as well, still going after the Hutt bounty on the Solo. It all culminates in a Star Destroyer crashing into Shadda’s control tower, while Fett pursues the Solos into space.

 

To make things worse, it turns out the Emperor isn’t dead after all, he’s managed to find yet another clone body. He’s also got a new toy-the Galaxy Gun, a new weapon with the destructive potential of the Death Star, but with much improved range-able to launch planet-destroying missiles through hyperspace, allowing him to target anything. He targets the Rebel’s Pinaccle base, presumabely destroying the Rebel leadership.

 

Meanwhile Han and co. evading Boba Fett in a gas cloud, discover an isolated civilization led by surviving Jedi, Empatojayos Brand. Agreeing to help them revive the Jedi knights, he also outfits the damaged Falcon with a lightning weapon able to disable Fett’s ship.

Meanwhile, Lando and Wedge carry out their plan to capture the droid shipment on Byss, and use them to also attack the Emperor’s citadel. However, plans go awry when the Emperor orders the use of dark-force enhanced Rancors, of which even the new battle droids are no match for. Thankfully the survivors of the rebel force are rescued by Shug and Salla Zend, who were on Byss looking to find their lost ship.

 

Everybody regroups on New Alderaan, where Han and Leia’s offspring Jaina and Jacen have been kept safely. However, the Empire soon finds out about the base, nearly killing Luke and costing the life of his girlfriend from Ossus. With Lando and co. arriving with the cavalry as walkers descend on the base. They find out the Rebel leadership was order to safely evacuate the Pinnacle moonbase, and have now settled in an ancient old Republic space station. There, Anakin Solo is born, Luke has a vision of the three young Solos helping to rebuild the Jedi, and the rebels plan their counterattack, which will culminate in the third chapter of the saga, “Empire’s end”.

 

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