Timeline Breakdown - Marvel Comics

Jobi-Wan

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Welcome, Rebelscum readers! This week in our coverage we’re delving into the oldest Star Wars Expanded Universe story ever- the original run under Marvel Comics. Make sure to check out our “Expand Your Mind” base article to read about the history of the Marvel era first, and then check in this week for our our “Force Casting” segment where we’ll explore how we’d like to see these stories adapted by Disney now and our “Character Profile” that spotlights one of our favorite characters.

With our “Timeline Breakdown,” we’ll be looking at the other Expanded Universe material you can explore in addition to the original Marvel Comics run. The Marvel Comics are unique within Star Wars Legends. The stylized artwork is distinct from other comic book art, and the stories were even in their own class of canon separate from the other Legends timeline. The monthly serialized adventures were a great throwback to the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers stories that George Lucas grew up loving, and inspired him during the planning of the first film.

In addition to the core series that ran for 107 issues from 1977 to 1986, Marvel Comics also released a few additional Star Wars series.


  • Ewoks (1985-1987): The Ewoks were prominently merchandised following Return of the Jedi, and Lucasfilm noted their popularity and continued with several early spinoff projects. The live-action television movies Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle For Endor continued the adventures of the furry creatures, and Nelvana animation produced the animated cartoon series Ewoks that ran for 26 episodes from September 7, 1985 to December 13, 1986. This Marvel Comics series expanded upon the characters like Wickett, Logray, and Chief Chirpa alongside the new Ewoks from the show in this fourteen-issue comic book series. A fifteenth issue “The Hidden City” was planned, but then scrapped once the cartoon was cancelled.


  • Droids (1986-1987): Alongside Ewoks, the Nelvana animation studio (which also crafted the famous animated segment of The Star Wars Holiday Special) released fourteen episodes of the spinoff cartoon series Droids from September 7, 1985 to June 7, 1986. The show only ran one season and starred R2-D2 and C-3PO (again voiced by Anthony Daniels) in their adventures prior to the original trilogy, and even guest appearances from Boba Fett and IG-88. Marvel began releasing an eight episode comic book series based on the show in April 1986, with a short run after the cartoon was cancelled. The series explored events prior to the show’s run and even concluded with a partial adaptation of A New Hope from the perspective of the droids. Popular villains from the series such as Tig Fromm and Vlix Oncard appeared throughout.


  • Star Wars Annual 1: The Long Hunt / A Duel Of Eagles (1978): Marvel debuted a one-shot spinoff of the core series that featured Luke and Leia fighting a clan of ancient warriors and Han contending with rival smugglers from his past. There’s an interesting timeline discrepancy when Darth Vader sees Luke’s lightsaber and identifies it as belonging to Luke’s father, who is implied to be a separate character who fought in the mythic Clone Wars.


    Star Wars Annual 2: Shadeshine! (1982): The second annual issue was released only months before the marketing for Revenge of the Jedi began (a title which forced the Star Trek films to rename Revenge of Khan to Wrath of Khan). As the rebels continue their search for Han, Luke and Lando stumble across a King Midas-esque golden statue of their favorite smuggler and discover the Shadeshide device on the planet Ventooine.


    Star Wars Annual 3: The Apprentice (1983): The third and final annual issue was released in August 1983 when Return of the Jedi was still dominating the box office charts. In a story set before Return of the Jedi, the young boy Flint is angered when Luke refuses to train him as a Jedi Knight. Darth Vader sweeps in and attempts to turn Flint to the dark side and become his apprentice.

What do you think, Rebelscum fans? Have you read any of these series or annual issues? Are you a fan of the Marvel Comics era? Let us know below, and as always, may the Force be with you!
 
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Vader's off screen dialogue to Flint in The Apprentice as he kneels over his Mother's broken body vowing revenge, to be trained & become someone who matters, ties in perfectly with the death of Anakin's mother in episode 2.

Vader: "I know how you feel... I had almost forgotten what it was like to feel that way.... It has been some time since I heard anyone speak the way you do now!"
 
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The moment you describe about Annual #1 is a little off; Darth Vader didn't see Luke's saber - he wasn't actually in the issue save for this page of recollection that you are referring to.

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