Star Wars: Darth Vader’s Rise of Skywalker Connection Revealed | IGN

When Marvel announced its current Darth Vader series would be forging a connection to the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we were certainly intrigued. How can a book set just after the event of The Empire Strikes Back impact the final chapter of The Skywalker Saga? With the release of Star Wars: Darth Vader #6, we have our answer.

Read on to learn exactly how Vader’s story intersects with the events of Episode IX, but beware of full spoilers for Star Wars: Darth Vader #6!

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This issue kicks off writer Greg Pak and artist Raffaele Ienco’s second story arc, “Into the Fire.” If you haven’t been following the series so far, Vader has lately been on the warpath, hunting down anyone and everyone responsible for hiding the existence of his son Luke. The Dark Lord of the Sith was even confronted with the spitting image of his late wife Padmé, only to realize it was actually her decoy Sabé. Though Vader finally killed Sabé and her team in issue #5, seeing a recording of Padmé’s final words to Obi-Wan Kenobi has opened up new turmoil within his conflicted mind.

As you might imagine, Emperor Palpatine is none too thrilled at the thought of Anakin Skywalker reawakening within Darth Vader. This new storyline sees Palpatine trying to erase Vader’s weakness by reminding him of the power of fear. Palpatine tortures Vader with a barrage of Force Lightning, destroying most of Vader’s cybernetic components and leaving him helpless. Palpatine then returns Vader to the exact spot on Mustafar where a broken Anakin Skywalker was transformed into a Sith Lord.

Darth-Vader-02 Star Wars: Darth Vader's Rise of Skywalker Connection Revealed | IGN
Art by Raffaele Ienco. (Image Credit: Marvel/Lucasfilm)

Palpatine is testing Vader’s ability to channel fear and hatred into strength and survive the harsh wastelands of Mustafar on his own. But just to make things difficult, Vader is forbidden from calling upon the Force for aid.

As Palpatine and Mas Amedda monitor Vader from afar, they see him making his way to the ruins of the Techno Union facility he and Obi-Wan trashed in Episode III. Vader clearly intends to harvest spare parts to rebuilt his missing limbs. But Palpatine has another trick up his billowing sleeves. He dispatches the Sith assassin known as Ochi of Bestoon to hunt Vader.

Darth-Vader-01 Star Wars: Darth Vader's Rise of Skywalker Connection Revealed | IGN
Art by Raffaele Ienco. (Image Credit: Marvel/Lucasfilm)

And there we have our Rise of Skywalker connection. Ochi of Bestoon made his franchise debut in that movie, though he was already long dead by the time Rey and friends stumbled across his corpse on Pasaana. Thanks mostly to The Rise of Skywalker novelization and other supplemental materials released alongside the movie, we know Ochi was a Sith loyalist and feared Jedi hunter who served Palpatine for many years. It was he who was tasked with hunting down Palpatine’s granddaughter, forcing Rey’s parents to hide her on Jakku. We can probably count on this series to shed much more light on the relationship between Palpatine and Ochi and why the Emperor needed another assassin besides Vader in the first place.

That said, this may not be the only way Star Wars: Darth Vader draws a line between the original trilogy and Episode IX. It’s worth remembering that one of the earliest scenes in The Rise of Skywalker also took place on Mustafar, where we saw Kylo Ren and his forces massacre a group of cultists safeguarding the Sith Wayfinder. That Mustafar sequence also has a deleted scene where Ren is confronted by a creature called The Eye of Webbish Bog. We could easily see the comic fleshing out these mysterious characters and explaining why Vader left behind a cult to guard a priceless Sith artifact.

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How do you want to see the series build on the events of The Rise of Skywalker? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.
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