Darth Vader to face Rebel Alliance onslaught alone in Marvel's 'Star Wars: Vader Down'

Want to see the true power of Darth Vader? Bring everyone you have and corner him. But don’t say you weren’t warned.

The oversized single-issue “Star Wars: Vader Down,” written by Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen with interior art by Mike Deodato and Salvador Larroca and covers by Mark Brooks, launches a six-part story in November that will cross over in issues of the Aaron-scripted “Star Wars” and the Gillen-penned, Larroca-drawn “Darth Vader.” In the tale, Vader will crash on a planet, and the Rebel Alliance will send everyone – Han, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca and more – in an attempt to deal once and for all with the Dark Lord of the Sith.

“There’s kind a of big ‘Star Wars’ movie coming out this year,” the wry Gillen said in describing the event during Marvel’s Saturday “Cup o’ Joe” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, “so we thought we should do something big. … Darth Vader facing off against a Rebellion army by himself – that’s the core image.”

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The announcement came during the convention’s annual panel with Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, who makes it a point to reward the readers who join him with reveals, and wasn’t the only “Star Wars” title the House of Ideas first showed fans at the convention.

“Chewbacca,” a five-issue miniseries written by Gerry Duggan (“Deadpool”) with art by Phil Noto (“Black Widow”), will put everyone’s favorite Wookiee in a perilous situation like Vader’s in “Vader Down”: Chewie will crash and be stranded on an Empire-occupied planet after the Battle of Yavin, and have to work his way back to his friends while also aiding a young girl, it was announced earlier during Comic-Con.

Gillen, on the panel along with other Marvel writers and editors, gave some insight into the creative process of working with Lucasfilm’s story group in mapping out the comics’ overall plots while answering a reader’s question. He said that knowing how the story ends in the fims is actually an advantage – that when something feels wrong, he knows it is – and that the collaborative effort to orchestrate the “Star Wars” timeline across media is “like symphonic writing.”

Answering a question about including bounty hunters in Vader’s solo series, Gillen said the scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” where the Sith lord gives instructions to a group of them taught him that “A) Vader likes micromanagement, and B) he knows bounty hunters…. He at least knows Boba Fett well enough to brief him. … I kind of like the image of Vader walking into a seedy bar.”

One reader asked the panel, “When will we ever see a Jedi knight in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’?”

That brought plenty of laughter, but no comment.

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