The original ‘Star Wars’ took the world by storm in 1977 and merchandisers scrambled to slap the movie’s logo and various characters on every manner of product you can imagine.  One of the most visible and fondly remembered ‘Star Wars’ items was the Marvel Comics series.

The comic was a smash success, despite Stan Lee’s reluctance to publish it at all (comics that adapted movies generally sold poorly).  This one broke the mold lasting for 107 regular issues, three annuals and a four-issue miniseries that adapted ‘Return of the Jedi’.  (‘A New Hope’ and ‘Empire Strikes Back’ were adapted in the regular ongoing series.)  Besides the film adaptations, the rest of the stories were original tales, but the fact that they had to take place in between the movies (which kind of fed into one another) led to some slightly awkward plotlines with original characters and some rather crazy scenarios and locales.

Issue #107 ended the series, which like most ‘Star Wars’ licensing, had dropped in popularity following the end of the original trilogy.

In the early 1990s, Dark Horse picked up the rights and began publishing a line of comics, which was popular enough to eventually include several ongoing titles and miniseries, some of which featured characters from the movies, others that explored the “expanded universe” from the popular novel series and others that were completely original but set in the same universe.

But when Disney purchased Lucasfilm LTD and Marvel Comics, it became apparent that Dark Horse‘s days holding the ‘Star Wars’ license were numbered.

The rest of this article may be considered to contain SPOILERS so proceed with caution.

And now, it’s time to get a first look at the first title that marks the franchise’s return to Marvel, ‘Star Wars: Vader’ and boy, is this a mashup I never thought I’d see.

Written by Keiron Gillen with art by Salvador Larocca, ‘Star Wars: Vader’ features a meeting between the two biggest bad guys in the ‘Star Wars’ universe, the titular Darth Vader and… Jabba The Hutt.  Very little else is known about this series, even when it takes place in ‘Star Wars’ chronology.

Check out this preview art, first then we’ll discuss:

Now, in the first page, it appears that Vader kills Bib Fortuna so it would have to be after ‘Jedi’, right?  Unless that isn’t Bib Fortuna and Jabba just has a habit of hiring beings from that race to work in his palace.  The second image would seemingly place the story pre-‘Jedi’, since some of the characters like Max Rebo died in that film, including arguably Boba Fett, even though that was reversed in the expanded universe novels.  We also get a glimpse of the other ‘Empire’ bounty hunters… but also glimpsed is Walrus Man/Ponda Baba and we know how he wound up in ‘A New Hope.’  Could this story take place that far back?  Or is this simply another member of his race?

What do you think?  Are you intrigued to see where these new comics take the ‘Star Wars’ story?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter