Darth Vader #8 cover reveals connection to Episode IX

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020) #1. Cover Artist:In-Hyuk Lee. Photo: Marvel.
Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020) #1. Cover Artist:In-Hyuk Lee. Photo: Marvel. /

The cover for the unreleased Darth Vader #8 comic is hinting at a character we almost saw in The Rise of Skywalker.

Marvel’s December 2020 solicitations reveal the cover for Greg Pak’s Darth Vader #8, which promises an interesting connection to The Rise of Skywalker. The cover features Darth Vader fighting against the Eye of Webbish Bog, a character that was cut from the film version of The Rise of Skywalker but was included in the novelization by Rae Carson.

The character’s design was revealed in Phil Szostak’s The Art of The Rise of Skywalker. In the novelization, after Kylo Ren cuts through the Vader cultists on Mustafar, he encounters the Eye of Webbish Bog, who directs him to the location of Vader’s Sith Wayfinder.

Star Wars leaks: See the cover for Darth Vader #8

Back to Mustafar?

Though the Eye protects Vader’s Wayfinder in The Rise of Skywalker, the solicitation for Darth Vader #8 seems to suggest that the creature’s allegiance to Vader wasn’t always the case. In fact, the solicitation suggests the Eye’s loyalty was originally to Palpatine.

It reads, “INTO THE FIRE! Hungry for vengeance after his brutal punishment at the hands of THE EMPEROR, can DARTH VADER uncover his master’s secrets in the depths of MUSTAFAR?”

Another thing that can’t be missed is the way Vader’s relationship to Palpatine seems to be shifting as a result of Palpatine’s continued punishment when Vader ever tries to interact with his past.

The current Vader run takes place shortly after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, and it has already begun to explore Vader’s path toward the redemption we’ll witness in Return of the Jedi. With the upcoming arc, it seems we’ll get a closer glimpse into the breakdown of Vader’s loyalty to Palpatine.

Connection to The Rise of Skywalker

Greg Pak mentioned at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con event that after the current arc of Darth Vader, which features Vader’s path of destruction through the galaxy as he copes with rejection by Luke at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader will begin a new journey that will have far-reaching consequences for the Skywalker saga. Pak said, “Vader is going to suffer a terrible punishment and undertake a new journey/quest, and there are key elements that will tie into Episode 9 in a huge way. There’s some doors that have been thrown wide open.”

Possible exploration of Exegol

With the Eye of Webbish Bog’s connection to Vader’s Sith Wayfinder, it seems possible that we may see more exploration of the planet Exegol, which is where the Wayfinder is designed to lead, from Vader’s perspective in the upcoming issues. Perhaps Palpatine will send Vader there for some reason or maybe Vader will discover it on his own. Either way, Exegol is figured prominently in The Rise of Skywalker as the place where Palpatine survived as a decaying clone of himself for three decades, as well as the home of Sith cultists. Connecting Vader to the final episode of the Skywalker saga in this way may help to answer some lingering questions from the sequel trilogy as well as provide deeper meaning to what we saw in the film.

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