Darth Vader is an iconic villain, even outside of the Star Wars universe. As such, there are very few people today who wouldn’t immediately recognize Vader’s heavy breathing and dark mask. Even his name has become associated with the Dark Side and evil! However, there’s one part of Vader that a lot of people seem to forget. It’s a skill he used when he was Anakin Skywalker, and the latest issue of the comic suggests he’ll use it again. Yes, that’s right – Darth Vader returns to pod racing! Of course, spoilers are ahead for issue 24 of Darth Vader.
Darth Vader Returns
Image: Marvel Comics/Disney
In the latest issue of Darth Vader from Marvel Comics, the writers suggest that Darth Vader returns to podracing. If this is true, this will be the first time he’s played the sport since Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Greg Pak wrote this newest issue of Darth Vader, while Raffaele Ienco, Alex Sinclair, Joe Caramagna, and Paul Renaud worked on the illustrations. During this issue, Vader listens to a group of slaves talking about their lives. They come from Gabredor III and tell Vader about the hardships that they have faced. Naturally, Vader can relate to these, as he was a slave when he was a boy.
Interestingly, though, this group of slaves includes some figures that Vader will recognise. These are Wald and Kitser Banai, who were Anakin’s friends when he still lived on Tatooine. Working with Sabé, Darth Vader returns to the planet to try and find an Imperial Governor working alongside Crimson Dawn. If you don’t remember, Crimson Dawn is a crime syndicate that terrorised parts of the galaxy near the end of the Clone Wars. Darth Maul was the leader of this group.
Darth Vader Returns to Podracing
Sadly, Governor Tauntaza cuts Vader and Sabé’s time short. Governor Tauntaza, the person the pair are searching for, decides to wreak havoc on the citizens of this jungle planet. He creates an artificial sandstorm, which he uses to try and siphon energy from the planet.
The sandstorm hurts Kitster and Sabé, separating them from Anakin Skywalker. So, Darth Vader returns to them to rescue them from their plight. Unfortunately, Governor Tauntaza is one step ahead of him and takes all the ships away from the slave group. Additionally, the other speeders available don’t work correctly. So what is Vader left to do?
Well, use an old podracer, of course! Vader spots Kitser’s racer, and one of the locals advises him that “no one could ever drive that but him.” Clearly, this local had no idea they were talking to, as Vader replies, “We shall see.” Finally, the comic ends on this cliffhanger, suggesting that, in the next issue, Darth Vader returns to his old sport.
Before the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Skywalker repeatedly tried podracing. Unfortunately for him, he lost a bunch of these races. It wasn’t until Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon came to visit that he was finally able to win. He might’ve been only ten years old, but he still managed to beat the others during a Boonta Eve Classic!
Anakin Skywalker Podracing
In the film, Qui-Gon Jinn tasked Skywalker with podracing to help Queen Amidala. Amidala’s ship was stuck on Tatooine, and only Watto had the parts needed to repair the ship. However, he refused to give them up to Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan, even after they used Jedi mind tricks on him. Watto said he’d only accept money, leading Anakin to enter the race to win the credits. Additionally, Qui-Gon also bartered Anakin’s freedom in this race, too. Eventually, Skywalker won, and Qui-Gon freed him from the shackles of slavery.
However, it’s important to remember that Anakin’s mother remained a slave during this time. Perhaps when Darth Vader returns to podracing, he’ll remember the sadness of this moment. It could remind him of everything that he’s lost, leading the character to an even darker path. After all, podracing was hardly a happy time for the boy.
You can pick up issue 25 of Darth Vader now. Marvel Comics is releasing issue 26 on August 24th.
What are your thoughts on Vader’s return to podracing? Do you like the sport? Let us know your thoughts!