WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: Poe Dameron #28, by Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta, on sale now.
While Star Wars: The Last Jedi ended with General Leia's rebels escaping Kylo Ren's clutches, by no means was it a triumphant finale on Crait. In order for them to escape, the famous Jedi Master Luke Skywalker Force-projected down from his ocean world of Ahch-To, eventually dying after expending all his energy against his nephew.
However, there was an unanswered plot point which left fans, as well as the Rebel Alliance, feeling hopeless against the First Order. Just before Kylo's army attacked the Crait salt mines, Leia sent a distress signal to allies strewn across the galaxy. Sadly, there was never a response, leaving us them as sitting ducks, only for Luke to save the day.
Now, Marvel Comics has addressed this call for help, as well as another surprising one Leia sent out, in Poe Dameron #28, which continues to fill us in on what happened when Rian Johnson's movie finished.
As Poe regales Finn with certain key elements of Johnson's movie, as well as its predecessor, The Force Awakens, we learn about the contingency measures Leia had in place, and just how proactive she was as a strategist. Knowing she's outnumbered, she always includes back-up as part of her tactics, and this comes full-circle when Poe dissects the events which kicked off The Last Jedi.
Here, we see the hot-headed Poe, endorsed by Leia, and how he took an X-Wing to face the arrogant Admiral Hux, thus buying time for the rebels to escape the D'Qar Resistance Base. But we get way more context for this plan through some 'deleted' scenes. It turns out Poe knew Hux and his henchmen would focus on him once he played to their ego, hence his wise-cracking and crude 'mother' jokes at the start of the film. Apart from Leia sending Poe to poke the beast, she also used this as an opportunity to send her first call for help in the form of the remaining members of the Black Squadron, Poe's expert X-Wing crew.
She instructs the team (Jessika Pava, Suralinda Javos, Temmin Wexley and Karé Kun) to head to the Outer Rim to drum up allies because after leaving D'Qar, the First Order will be in hot pursuit of her flagship. And so the Black Squadron departs, seeking help while Leia's army goes on the run. Now, as the film plays out, Hux and Co. are shockingly tracking the rebels through hyperspace, which leads them to Crait where they attempt to hole up, and once more try to signal for aid. However, Leia's SOS to the Outer Rim is unsuccessful, which left the audience wondering if the beacon was ignored, if the other rebels chose not to come, or if they were scared to join the fight. There were theories too the First Order had secretly wiped them out without Leia knowing.
In the present, as the rebels make their getaway, Poe reveals to Finn, apart from external rebel strongholds, the message from Crait was also sent in the hopes the Black Squadron would pick it up, and rally to their aid, just like they did at Maz Kanata's castle in The Force Awakens. Sadly, it wasn't meant to happen at that point in time, but luckily for them, Luke swooped in. Just as Poe's about to continue his story, C-3PO coincidentally comes bearing tidings the Black Squadron has finally made contact and left a message. Poe's ecstatic but the droid quickly bursts his bubble, telling him it's not really good news.
So, at long last we have a rough idea regarding the fate of the Black Squadron. We know why they weren't helping the rebels but most importantly, they've now established a line of communication. The thing is, with the First Order streaking through the galaxy hunting all rebels, things seem as bleak as ever. Hopefully, the Black Squadron, even if they didn't rustle up help, are still alive somewhere, with a glimmer of hope of rejoining their colleagues.