Palp Fiction

New Star Wars comic brings back a shocking Sith villain from Episode IX

Vader vs. Ochi? Sign me up!

Darth Vader is cleaning up Rise of Skywalker's mess. In the Sith lord's canonical comic book series (set after the events of Empire Strikes Back) Vader is set to encounter multiple villains from Star Wars: Episode IX, which could give fans the closure that the J.J. Abrams movie failed to provide.

The cover for Darth Vader #8 (revealed in September ahead of its December release) showed Anakin Skywalker taking on a monster that almost made it into The Rise of Skywalker, and in Darth Vader #9, he'll encounter an even greater threat: Ochi of Bestoon.

You probably remember Ochi from Rise of Skywalker. His assassin's dagger was one of several plot devices driving the movie's jumbled plot forward, and he showed up briefly in a flashback to kill Rey's parents. Ochi was presented as a deadly assassin and a Sith loyalist, but we didn't see much to actually convince us this was true. However, based on the cover of Darth Vader #9, we may finally see the character in action.

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Vader vs. Ochi!StarWars.com

In a blog post revealing the cover, StarWars.com also shared a few new details about the upcoming comic and confirmed the flying assassin on its cover is Ochi:

THE ASSASSIN RETURNS!
In his search for vengeance in the depths of MUSTAFAR, DARTH VADER has seized the mysterious key to the EMPEROR’S greatest secret.
But the key itself needs a key — which only the deadly assassin OCHI OF BESTOON seems to have. Vader and Ochi are in for the fight of their lives with the fate of the Emperor in the balance — but how much of this is all PALPATINE’S plan?
And what happens when the SITH LORD and the SITH ASSASSIN start to figure that plan out?

Based on this description, it seems like Darth Vader #9 could delve into Emperor Palpatine's actions in The Rise of Skywalker, including how he survived his apparent death at the end of Return of the Jedi (which hasn't happened yet in this comic). All this talk of keys is definitely giving us Episode IX vibes, so don't be surprised if Lucasfilm uses this comic run to clear up some of those movie's most glaring loose ends.

I also can't help but notice Vader's totally badass robot limbs in this cover art. Honestly, it makes me wonder why he even bothers with regular robotic looking arms and legs when this is even an option. Of course, it's worth noting that the covers of these Star Wars comics aren't always canon. Think of it more as art inspired by the story, and less like a piece of the story itself.

That said, Ochi is definitely involved, which means at the very least we'll learn more about one of the biggest underexplored plotlines in The Rise of Skywalker.

The Inverse Analysis — I can't help but wonder: Could this reveal possible plans for a future Star Wars movie? Disney has several films scheduled for later this decade, but so far they're all shrouded in mystery. It's easy to argue that Lucasfilm is using its Darth Vader comic to slice off some loose threads before embarking on a new journey, but it's also tempting to imagine that this could be the setup for an epicVader spinoff movie. Vader vs. pretty much anyone would be enough to fill theaters. Vader vs. Ochi? Sure, why not?

Darth Vader #9 will be released in January 2021.