Marvel’s newest Darth Vader series opened with a huge twist for the Dark Lord of the Sith, as Vader was confronted by none other than his dead wife, Padme Amidala. But is this really Padme? And if so, how did she manage to survive and stay alive all the way up to the Original Trilogy era?
Star Wars: Darth Vader #2 has the answer. Read on to learn the truth about Padme’s return, but beware of spoilers ahead!
This new series is set shortly after the events of The Empire Strikes Back. Having recently confronted Luke Skywalker and failed to turn him to the Dark Side, Vader is now obsessed with hunting down and punishing everyone who helped Luke remain hidden. So far, that journey has taken him from the Lars homestead on Tatooine to Padme’s abandoned apartment on Coruscant to a planet called Vendaxa. It’s there Vader was confronted by the sight of his wife at the end of issue #1, seemingly alive and well and definitely very angry.
The sight of Padme awakens even greater feelings of turmoil and longing in Vader. However, it’s not long before he and his new droid companion ZED-6-7 realize the truth. It’s not Padme at all, but her former handmaiden Sabé.
First introduced in The Phantom Menace (where she was played by a then-unknown Keira Knightly), Sabé is the most significant member of Queen Amidala’s entourage of handmaidens. It was she who impersonated the Queen during the Battle of Naboo, and Sabé remained at her friend’s side for years afterward as Padme transitioned from queen to senator. She last appeared in the 2019 novel Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow, which revealed Sabé and bodyguard Captain Tonra went into hiding after the end of the Clone Wars to investigate the cause of Padme’s death.
This series appears to be picking up where Queen’s Shadow left off. Vader convinces Sabé to accompany him on his quest, insisting she was betrayed by the Jedi and would have supported the Empire had she lived. After slaying a group of beasts and presiding over the burial of Sabé’s dead soldiers, the two leave Vendaxa. Sabé reveals she and her team were able to steal video recordings from Padme’s apartment on Coruscant. However, they were never able to penetrate the Imperial encryption protecting those recordings. That’s where Vader comes in. Unfortunately for him, the encrypted recordings have been stashed away on Naboo. He’s about to visit the very last place in the galaxy he wants to be.
We can’t imagine this unlikely alliance is going to end well for either character. It’s probably only a matter of time before Sabé stumbles across Vader’s true identity and role in Padme’s death, at which point even C-3PO wouldn’t be able to calculate the odds of her survival. As for Vader himself, this mission seems to be awakening painful memories he’s spent two decades trying to keep buried. The goal with this series may well be to show how Vader began walking the path to redemption and reclaiming his Anakin Skywalker identity even before killing his master aboard the Death Star.
This is hardly the only big development in the world of Star Wars comics this year. Marvel’s relaunched Star Wars series revealed how Luke Skywalker’s blue lightsaber was recovered on Cloud City and why Han Solo wasn’t the only character to be frozen in carbonite. Meanwhile, the final issue of Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren shows how Ben Solo completed his journey to the Dark Side. We’ll have the full scoop on that story later today.
For more major Star Wars revelations, check out our breakdown of all the reveals in the Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker novelization, including the definitive answer to how Palpatine survived the events of return of the Jedi.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.