'Star Wars' Comic May Have Dropped a 'Shadows of the Empire' Easter Egg

In Marvel Comics' Star Wars #61, the inclusion of a very recognizable ship in the Star Wars community may have served as a connection to the noncanonical Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire series of stories. While this could hint at future stories including more elements from that corner of the galaxy, it could have merely been an Easter egg for devout fans.

WARNING: Spoilers below for Star Wars #61

Serving as the final issue of the storyline, Luke, Leia, and Han escape the moon Hubin with Tula Markona, forcing a confrontation with the Empire. The outcome of this battle forces our heroes to procure ships from the Empire, with Tula and her crew hopping into what appears to be a YT-2400 light freighter, which fans might recognize as the ship Dash Rendar customized to create his Outrider.

star wars comic shadows of the empire outrider
(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Shadows of the Empire launched in 1996 prior to the release of the Special Edition trilogy and featured novels, comic books, video games, and toys. The storyline was set between the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, marking the first exploration of this specific time period.

While the initiative spanned multiple mediums, the most successful endeavor was the Shadows of the Empire video game for Nintendo 64. The game's popularity made Rendar and his Outrider some of the more exciting new additions to the saga, due in large part to the character's mercenary sensibilities and the ship's resemblance to the Millennium Falcon. With fans desperate for new stories involving our favorite characters, this combination offered a nice surrogate of a beloved pilot and ship pairing.

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 and confirmed new films would be on the way, the studio decided that the only canonical events in the official franchise were what was seen in the six live-action films and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. This directive disappointed many fans, though various storytellers at Lucasfilm have found ways to incorporate elements of the "Legends" stories back into the official canon.

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One of the biggest outlets to incorporate Legends elements was the animated series Star Wars Rebels, created by Dave Filoni. In Season Three, Grand Admiral Thrawn was introduced as a major threat, which fans recognized from a trilogy of Legends novels chronicling the villain. The complex character has since become a fan-favorite villain, with audiences hoping to see the character debut in a live-action film. Interestingly, Season Three of Rebels also saw an appearance by a YT-2400 light freighter, officially embracing that popular Shadows of the Empire vessel.

Were you excited to see the ship in the pages of the comic book? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!