How a Star Wars comic inspired by The Fantastic Four can save Rangers of the New Republic

Lindon Javes. Photo:
Lindon Javes. Photo: /

When it debuted in 2019 on Disney +, The Mandalorian TV series introduced fans to the titular Mandalorian Din Djarin and his Force Sensitive Foundling and Order 66 survivor, Grogu. In addition to those two characters, other characters were introduced or reintroduced in The Mandalorian. The success of the series spawned several spinoffs based on these characters.

The Book of Boba Fett saw Tamuera Morrison once again don the battered Mandalorian armor of the notorious bounty hunter turned Crime Lord, Boba Fett. Next, there is Ahsoka, which will see Rosario Dawson portray Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice Ahsoka Tano. Another character from The Mandalorian was also set to have a spinoff of her own: Cara Dune portrayed by Gina Carano.

The Cara Dune character, a former Rebel Shock Trooper born on the planet Alderaan and eventual ally to the Mandalorian, was expected to be a central character in the show Rangers of the New Republic which would take place around the same timeline as The Mandalorian would have been produced by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni.

However, Carano, a former MMA fighter turned actress, was fired from The Mandalorian by Lucasfilm due to several social media posts that the company found “abhorrent and unacceptable.” While Carano’s Cara Dune became a popular character on The Mandalorian, many fans took to social media to express their anger at the actress’s posts by posting the hashtag #FireGinaCarano.

With Cara Dune apparently gone and the Rangers of the New Republic not seeing the light of day, there is one way Filoni and Favreau could resurrect the show that never was: a short story comic from a Star Wars Legends comic anthology: Star Wars Tales Volume 3.

Enter The Rebel Four, written and illustrated by comic creator Jay Stephens. The comic was about a ragtag group of four freedom fighters from the Rebel Alliance. And this particular group was not a typical Rebel strike team. These Rebels were based on the Marvel Comics superhero team, The Fantastic Four.

First in the group is “F4-MF,” an IG series droid based on Mister Fantastic, Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four. Next, there is Soo Rcharrz, a Rebel with pale skin and blonde hair who is based on the Invisible Woman, Sue Storm Richards, the second-in-command of the Fantastic Four and Reed’s wife. Third, there is “Faleam Onn” a humanoid appearing Rebel with red skin armed with flame throwers and a jetpack who is based on the Human Torch, Johnny Storm (“Faleam Onn” is a play on Jonhhny’s catchphrase “Flame On.”), the comic relief of the group and brother to Sue. And there is “Grimm Grimm,” a Wookie that is based on The Thing, Ben Grimm, the muscle and heart of the Fantastic Four.

The comic is brilliant as Stephens channels Kirby and Stan Lee with his writing and art. The comic starts of with F4-MF hollering “It’s Rebellin’ time!” which is a play on The Thing’s catchphrase, “It’s clobberin’ time!” The second panel shows that these rebels were a force to be reckoned with however when they encounter Darth Vader, drawn similar Doctor Doom in this comic, they meet their end. And the panels of the comic show familiar yet tragic imagery that alludes to the abilities of the Fantastic Four.

F4-MF is “stretched to pieces” which references Reed’s stretching abilities. Faheem  is “burned to a crisp” which resembles Johnny activating his fire-based abilities. The Wookie Grim Grimm is “crushed by rocks” which is an allegory to the Thing’s rock-based form. And Soo is “blasted into nothingness” as she resembles Sue becoming invisible.

Vader is angered at how he easily bested the Rebel Four and laments to an Imperial Officer of his desire to face a Jedi in combat. When the officer praises him for the victory, Vader Force-chokes him and the comic ends with the narrator stating that the Sith Lord’s “secret desire of Jedi combat will be fulfilled sooner than he imagines and that someday soon, the bitter twisted man called Darth Vader shall finally be at peace.”

While The Rebel Four was no match for the former Anakin Skywalker, one can argue that they would make interesting and unique characters for the Rangers of the New Republic TV series, similar to The Bad Batch in terms of having special abilities that together would make the group effective in completing their missions for the fledgling New Republic.

A character like Soo Rcharzz would definitely be a replacement for Cara Dune as the leader of the Rangers. Armed with a blaster, she could be the group’s equivalent to Clone Trooper Hunter from The Bad Batch. Since she is based on the Invisible Woman, stealth or reconnaissance could be her specialty. Like Dune, she could be an expert hand-to-hand combatant.

Since The Mandalorian introduced fans to IG-11, an assassin droid who went from bounty hunter to Grogu’s unofficial nurse, it would be awesome to see another IG assassin droid reprogrammed to fight for the ideals of the New Republic. And that would be where MF-F4 comes in.  In addition, the droid could have a unique backstory as to how he was reprogrammed. Since he is based on Mister Fantastic, perhaps he could be a droid who once belonged to a scientist Soo had a relationship with, just like Sue and Reed’s relationship in the comics. Somehow, the Empire kills the scientist and MF-4F vows to protect his master’s former lover. In addition, the droid could bond with his teammates, similar to how IG-11 briefly bonded with Din, after the reprogrammed droid healed him and volunteered to sacrifice himself to let the Mandalorian and his allies escape from Moff Gideon. In addition, like Mister Fantastic, F4-MF could serve as the brains of the group, similar to Tech from The Bad Batch.

Due to being armed with flamethrowers and being the analog to Johnny Storm, Faleom Onn would win the humor of Star Wars fans with several wisecracks and jokes. In addition to his wit, Faleom could also be the team’s demolitions or weapons expert while having an explosive personality. I could also see a sibling-like bond between Onn and Rcharrz since their mainstream counterparts are siblings which would make for a great dynamic on the show.

Lastly, Grimm Grimm with his brute strength and meek attitude would serve as the muscle (Similar to Wrecker from The Bad Batch) and the voice of reason for the group. With Wookies being at least a couple of centuries old, a character like Grim, Grimm would probably have seen a lot in his lifetime, similar to Chewbacca. And it is likely that Grimm Grimm would have been around during the Clone Wars and perhaps fought alongside Jedi Master Yoda and the Clones stationed on his homeworld, Kashyyyk. And due to his experiences, he could also be the team’s storyteller.

Since the storyline would take place around the same timeline as The Mandalorian, there is no doubt that the four Rangers could encounter Mando and Grogu or perhaps, find themselves dealing with Crime Lord Boba Fett. Or the group could also find other recruits to the group like the former Imperial agent Migs Mayfield, portrayed by Bill Burr, or others to join them.  But, since the Rangers are dealing with New Republic affairs, it would be no surprise if they start piecing together the puzzle involving events and happenings that would lead up to the Cold War and the birth of the Galactic Empire-inspired military junta, First Order. And it would be no surprise if the group has to rub elbows with the Centrist and Populist politicians of the government. An the storyline would also be similar to that of The Bad Batch which was a transitional story that saw how the Galactic Republic became the Galactic Empire. Fans will see the ins and out of the New Republic and the symbols or allusions of its eventual fall at the hands of the First Order.

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Do you think Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau should use Jay Stephens’ The Rebel Four to resurrect The Rangers of the New Republic tv series? Please share your comments below!