Padmé Amidala’s death was one of the pivotal moments in Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader’s sad life. Prior to Revenge of the Sith, she was a calming and kind influence on him and her memory has haunted Vader across Star Wars media. Now, new comic Darth Vader #4, set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, sees Vader still struggling to process her loss and visiting her tomb on her home planet of Naboo.
In The Phantom Menace, we saw the young Anakin travel to Naboo with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, getting his first taste of adventure and heroism. We visited it again in Attack of the Clones, where the first forbidden romantic entanglements between the young Jedi and Padmé began. For Vader, it’s a place with a lot of memories, and this comic confronts him with them directly in the form of people he once knew as Anakin.
We see Ric Olie, the pilot who once taught Anakin how to fly a Naboo Starfighter in The Phantom Menace, sentence Vader to death for the murders of Padmé and Anakin Skywalker. Later, we see her surviving handmaidens Sabé, Rabé, Eirtaé, Saché and Dormé protecting Padmé’s tomb and vowing not to let him desecrate her grave.
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Perhaps my only slightly nerdy gripe with this is that by the time of The Empire Strikes Back, 35 years have passed since the events of The Phantom Menace, and roughly 22 since Revenge of the Sith. These characters are looking pretty damn sprightly, especially Ric Olie. But oh well, I guess the peaceful Naboo climate does look healthy.
The Darth Vader comic appears set to get to grips with the last embers of humanity burning inside Vader, setting up his turn back towards the light in Return of the Jedi. It’s certainly been interesting seeing his human side and that the Anakin we know is still under the armor throughout Star Wars.