by Mark Mitchell
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
I’ve always considered Marvel’s Star Wars comic to be an extension of the Original Trilogy — a way to continue telling stories with the characters and within the framework that most fans are familiar with — but Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Star Wars 43 surprises by also acting as a satisfying coda to 2016’s Rogue One. From closing the book (for now) on Jedha to calling back to Princess Leia’s final line in the film, Star Wars 43 neatly bridges the gap between “old” Star Wars and “new” Star Wars in way that fulfills the promise of post-George Lucas single canon Star Wars cross-media world-building.
And as sterile and filled with corporate buzzwords as that all sounds, it’s effective when it works.
Gillen smartly echoes the films in other ways, borrowing that medium’s cross-cutting editing techniques to build the climax to his “Ashes of Jedha” arc. We have Leia negotiating with secret rebel Queen Trios, cut with Luke’s fight with Commander Kanchar, cut with Han storming the Empire’s orbital drill. The format allows it to read as thrilling, even if the action itself feels a bit perfunctory. Unfortunately, from the beginning “Ashes of Jedha” suffered from a sense of reheated leftovers being served up (especially when it comes to the specifics of the mining expedition), but Gillen is able to make the best of a bad situation and the issue ends wide open with possibilities for the future.
I’m generally a skeptic when it comes to Lucasfilm’s current initiative to tie every new piece of Star Wars media into the others; the failures can be painful and not really worth the effort. But those times, like Star Wars 43, when all of the pieces are put into place and fans can see the whole story in a brand new way make the failures easier to swallow.
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