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Marvel's Darth Vader Comics Lays Foundation For Major Star Wars Rebels Thread

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Darth Vader #19, by Charles Soule, Daniele Orlandini, Giuseppe Camuncoli, David Curiel and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.

Marvel Comics has devoted a lot of time to giving us background on Darth Vader, the former Jedi known as Anakin Skywalker who turned to the Dark Side. We're learning more about his Force abilities, where his Death Squadron came from, more of his connection to Rogue One, as well as how he went about hunting down the remaining Jedi and spying on the Rebel Alliance.

While some of this insight has been garnered in the Star Wars comics, it's the Darth Vader title which gets really personal, and the latest issue sends him on one of his most unforgiving missions. And in so doing, it lays the groundwork for a major plot thread we saw in the recently concluded Star Wars Rebels animated series.

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Following an intriguing test of endurance with Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader #19 sends the Sith Lord to finish what Order 66 started. As a result, he ends up on the doorsteps of a hiding Jedi Knight, Eeth Koth, on a mysterious planet. Koth, a Zabrak (the same species as Darth Maul), is in a huge bind because his wife, Mira, has just given birth to a daughter, and they're now at Vader's mercy. He tells the villain he's forsaken his Jedi ways and is now a priest, but Vader's having none of it. Both men start to fight as Mira escapes with child.

Sadly, Vader has dispatched his Inquisitors to hunt the duo down. It seems they want to kill them, but when Mira begs for her child's life, she's allowed to leave. However, they use the Force to pull Mira's baby away from her hands as she takes to the air, claiming it for themselves. Mira has no choice but to live to fight another day, all part of a sadistic game carried out by the one of the deadly Sisters in the Inquisitors to make the mother hateful and distrustful towards women.

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When the baby's brought before Koth in the midst of his fight, the distraction allows Vader to scythe him down and take the child himself. Just when it seems he's going to slaughter the newborn, the issue cuts to Vader delivering it to the Grand Inquisitor on Coruscant. As they convene a meeting, it's revealed this is the beginning of Project Harvester.

Rebels introduced this as a project the Grand Inquisitor was carrying out for Palpatine, finding Force-sensitive kids and turning them into weapons of the Empire. If they are the offspring of Jedi (which isn't allowed, as Jedi aren't supposed to be in relationships), then they'd be more susceptible to turning to the Dark Side.

This built up a sense of purpose for the Inquisitors, and we see Vader vouching for them here, admitting they're ready to continue hunting babies for the Emperor -- something the Jedi Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger and Co. would take issue with in the cartoon.

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Proceedings conclude with the Grand Inquisitor sending Vader back to snuffing out Jedi Knights, while the junior Inquisitors get ready to pursue more younglings. It remains to be seen how the fate of these babies will tie into Darth Vader, as hints were dropped they could be groomed as Inquisitors or maybe even as Lord Vader's secret apprentices.

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