Star Wars: Easter Eggs and References in Marvel's Darth Vader #2

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We’re back with another look inside Marvel Comics’ Star Wars books, this time looking at Darth Vader #2. The second issue is slightly less vicious than the premiere, though Vader does show his talents for… duplicity. You can buy and read it at comiXology here.

Here are the major Easter Eggs from the second issue from Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca, with a focus this week on the mechanical.

The Ships

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There are three major ships showcased this week. The first is the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle. Often just called (and referred to here as) an “Imperial Shuttle,” the Lambda-class was created by Sienar Fleet Systems, the same company that designed and manufactured the TIE Fighters. Its name comes from the Return of the Jedi novel. The ship itself first appeared in the Jedi film, but don’t tell anyone who saw the movies since the 90s that; it was digitally inserted into The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition in 1997, when George Lucas decided to upgrade the special effects and increase the population of many scenes in the original trilogy using modern technology.

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The automated pirate ship attacking the Lambda, which Vader would later use to infiltrate the pirates, was a Corvette class warship. That ship probably looks familiar, too, as Princess Leia was seen flying in one, the Tantive IV, in the very first scene of Star Wars (later identified as Episode IV: A New Hope in full title), while being chased by a Star Destroyer. Chances are, if a ship has a huge engine bank on the back of it, you're looking at a corvette.

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Finally, we have the TIE Advanced. This starfighter is Vader’s personal vessel, and a prototype with slightly increased speed and durability from the standard TIE Fighter. Crazy enough, this is only the second canonical appearance of this star fighter. The first, of course, was at the Battle of Yavin in the climax to A New Hope; Vader’s TIE Advanced was flung away from the Death Star just prior to its destruction in that film, but he wasn’t seen flying it again in later movies. Either this is the exact same one, or a second that he piloted, enjoying the custom build, in-between the first film and Empire Strikes Back.

These are the droids you’re looking for!

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The droid Vader uses to frame his adjutant, Lieutenant Oon-Ai, is an R4 astromech or agromech droid. The pointy-headed droids have seen plenty of action, first appearing in A New Hope, but also getting screen time in Episodes II and III, as well as The Clone Wars. Most recently, an R4 unit helped out the crew of Star Wars Rebels in this week’s episode, “Rebel Resolve.”

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The surprise defensive weapon the pirates deploy is a pair of customized Droidekas. The rolling, heavily-armed droids contain a variety of weapons and are famously hard to destroy, thanks to their personal shield generators, which deflect blaster fire. They were in heavy use during The Clone Wars and seen on the big screen repeatedly during the entire prequel trilogy, as a main heavy infantry class of Battle droid. While they were frequently only armed with blaster canons in those older days, the customized versions provided by the mysterious “Aphra” seen in this issue have blaster and physical cannons, as well as missile launchers (which didn’t wind up being a good thing for them).

Aliens Among Us

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This week’s issue saw far less aliens, with most of the cast being Stormtroopers, human leaders like Tagge, and Vader. However, the three pirates on “The extreme edge of the outer rim” are all familiar and identifiable alien lifeforms in the Star Wars universe. The three are each of a different species, with a Mon Calamari, a Sullustan, and a Twi’lek manning the station. The most famous Mon Calamari, of course, is Admiral Ackbar, a Rebel Alliance leader with one of the most well-known catch phrases this side of the galaxy. Nien Nunb is a well-known Sullustan, who acted as Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot of the Millenium Falcon during the Battle of Endor at the climax of Return of the Jedi. As for Twi’leks, there have been many from throughout Star Wars history, whether they be slave dancers at Jabba’s palace or piloting the Ghost and leading a team of nascent Rebels like Hera in Star Wars Rebels.

That’s all we have for this week – how did you like the second issue of Darth Vader? Sound off in the comments below!