he Qi’ra trilogy recently wrapped up with Hidden Empire, and now Star Wars comics move on to their next major event: Dark Droids. Charles Soule continues to serve as an architect of this era of comics, set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The series begins in August 2023 and tells the story of what happens when the chains come off droids across the galaxy.
In the upcoming event, droids across the galaxy become corrupted and turn against the organics. It's not just droids; anyone with mechanical parts could fall victim. I’m looking at you, Beliert Valance and Darth Vader.
One of the biggest players in this event will be Ajax Sigma. Ajax is a droid revolutionary, giving shades of L3-37, dating back to at least the time of The High Republic. Although he has been dormant now for some time, it seems he will soon return to make his mark on the galaxy. Along with Ajax Sigma, readers will also meet the mysterious being known as the Scourge.
The event consists of two separate miniseries. Charles Soule and Luke Ross will collaborate on the primary Dark Droids miniseries, with five issues. Marc Guggenheim and Salva Espín will be behind Dark Droids: D-Squad, an additional miniseries with four issues. D-Squad is a callback to the classic The Clone Wars arc. However, this time, the team features R2-D2, 4-LOM, Chopper, IG-88, Triple Zero, BT-1, and returning member WAC-47.
Additionally, Star Wars, Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra, and Bounty Hunters will interact with the story of Dark Droids as Ajax’s impact spreads across the galaxy. This will function similarly to Crimson Reign and Hidden Empire.
State of the Galaxy
A lot has happened in the comics since the events of Empire Strikes Back. So where are we now?
The Qi’ra Trilogy
The galaxy has been quite busy in a short amount of time. After Han was frozen in carbonite, Qi’ra reemerged as the head of the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Her agents stole Han’s slab from Boba Fett and drew all of the galaxy’s major power players together for an auction: the Empire, the Rebellion, and the crime syndicates.
Although Jabba ended up with his prize, Crimson Dawn seeded chaos in the galaxy. Qi’ra set her team into action on the ultimate mission: taking down the Sith. She recovered an ancient artifact known as the Fermata Cage, which can use the Force to lock people in time. She planned to lure in Darth Vader and the Emperor to trap them forever.
Qi’ra threw everything she had at the final fight. However, it was not to be. It almost succeeded, but Ren showed up and sabotaged the effort. Qi’ra was able to turn and run while the Empire tore apart whatever was left behind.
Close to the beginning of Hidden Empire, Marvel released a special one-shot known as Star Wars: Revelations. Revelations follows Vader as he returns to the Emperor following a mission. The two enter into a Force vision, which previews events to come. Although it covers much of the events of Hidden Empire, the story also briefly hints at the rise of Ajax Sigma.
Han Solo & Chewbacca
The last comic of note that leads in Dark Droids is the 10-issue maxiseries Han Solo & Chewbacca. As opposed to the other two entries, this series takes place far earlier on the timeline, somewhere between Solo and A New Hope. The comic follows a typical heist for the famous duo, as they make run-ins with Greedo and even Han’s … father?!
While pulling their latest job, the two end up crossing paths with the personality core for Ajax Sigma. They literally bury it away, hoping it will not return. However, as the years go by, that ends up not being the case.
Hopefully, this leaves you with everything you need to know going into Dark Droids when it drops in August 2023. In order to stay on top of everything involving Star Wars comics, keep an eye on Youtini and check out The Cosmic Force podcast every other Wednesday.