The Star Wars universe is much bigger than the movies, and some of its most fascinating characters come from books, comics, and TV shows meant to supplement the films. Ahsoka Tano is one of the most famous Jedi in the galaxy, but her first appearance was Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and, more recently, Marvel's Star Wars comics have introduced another great character: Doctor Aphra to the forefront.
Doctor Chelli Lona Aphra is a morally ambiguous archaeologist first introduced in 2015’s Star Wars: Darth Vader #3. Aphra proved popular enough to launch her own comic book series in December 2016, aptly titled Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, and has since gotten her own action figure, a short story, and was even a playable character in the since forgotten video game Star Wars: Force Arena.
Now, Doctor Aphra is getting an all-new story in Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original. Written by Sarah Kuhn, here’s everything we know about the series, the characters, release date, and more.
Who is Doctor Aphra and what is her backstory?
Doctor Aphra was recruited by Darth Vader following the events of A New Hope. She’s basically the Indiana Jones of the Star Wars universe, as she spends her time searching for and acquiring ancient artifacts. She’s particularly into Jedi artifacts and travels throughout the galaxy in her starship Ark Angel.
Her moral compass is pretty wonky and falls along the lines of being an anti-hero. A big part of Aphra’s personality is how wildly unpredictable and ambitious she can be. She’s a wild adventurer who enjoys taking risks and is also a tech genius who knows her way around droids and weapons. Aphra is also a lesbian, which makes her the only leading LGBTQ+ character represented in the world of Star Wars.
Darth Vader essentially hired Aphra to help him build a droid army. However, their working relationship didn’t last long and the Sith lord opted to kill her instead by launching her into space. Needless to say, Aphra survives and goes briefly into hiding before carrying on with her archaeological exploits in hopes to pay back her debts.
When is the release date for Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original?
The audiobook will be released by Random House Audio on July 21.
Is there a trailer for Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original?
Not yet, but you can check out the announcement video here:
What is Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original about?
The audiobook pretty much follows the story of Aphra’s introduction in Darth Vader #3, but goes far more in-depth, with new adventures and additional scenes. Here’s the official synopsis, courtesy of Random House:
Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra, rogue archaeologist, is in trouble again. A pioneer in the field of criminal xenoarchaeology, Aphra recognizes no law, has no fear, and possesses no impulse control. To her, the true worth of the galactic relics she discovers isn’t found in a museum, but in an arsenal. This viewpoint has led to a lot of misunderstandings. After her latest plan goes horribly wrong, her roguish ways are on the verge of catching up to her, when suddenly Darth Vader, terror of the galaxy, swoops in with his lightsaber ignited, and…saves her life? Don’t get her wrong—it’s not like she’s ungrateful. Sure, her new boss is a lord of the Sith. And OK, she may have just become a pawn in a deadly game being played by him and HIS boss, who happens to be the Galactic Emperor. And yes, the life expectancy of anyone who disappoints Vader can be measured in seconds. But she’s back doing what she does best. She’s got a ship to fly, a heist to pull, and two unorthodox but effective metal buddies: Triple-Zero, a protocol droid specializing in etiquette, customs, translation, and torture; and BT-1, an astromech loaded with enough firepower to take down a battlecruiser. Together, they might just find a way to get the job done and avoid the deadly performance review that waits at its conclusion. Just kidding. She’s doomed.
Who is in the voice cast of Doctor Aphra?
The audiobook includes the following cast of actors, some of whom will be very familiar to fans of the Star Wars movies:
- Emily Woo Zeller as Aphra
- Jonathan Davis as Boba Fett
- Sean Patrick Hopkins as Luke Skywalker
- Sean Kenin as Triple-Zero
- Nicole Lewis as Sana Starros
- Carol Monda as Maz Kanata
- Euan Morton as The Emperor
- Catherine Taber as Leia Organa
- Marc Thompson as Darth Vader
How is the Doctor Aphra audiobook different than the comics story?
For one, there will be extended scenes that will expand on the story from the Star Wars comic. Most importantly, the Doctor Aphra audiobook will be told from Aphra's perspective. Speaking with StarWars.com, here's what Kuhn said about the notable differences:
"The framing device is that she’s making a recording about her exploits, so she’ll do things like rewind and delete bits if they don’t sound cool enough and then re-record them... Exploring all the ways we could really use the format to bring her character out was so much fun, because it made her way of telling us this story so revealing, almost like a character unto itself. And it helps us see her more fully — even the vulnerabilities she’s buried so deep."
Fans should also expect a lot more exploration of Aphra's relationship with Sana Starros, a bounty hunter and smuggler who famously went after Han Solo.
Do you need to read any of the other comic books?
No, not really. We know that the Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original is based on the comic that first introduces Aphra, so if the audiobook is where you’re getting started, then that's the perfect way to get to know Aphra before diving into further stories.
Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original will be released on July 21.