SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Poe Dameron" #9, which is on sale now.
So far, Marvel's line of Star Wars comics have made some interesting and fun contributions to the new expanded universe. Recent issues have worked more of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's" mythology into the wider canon, shown Luke Skywalker use his one aspect of his Force powers for the first time and dealt with Princess Leia's post-"A New Hope" emotional state. Now, "Poe Dameron" #9 features a surprising -- and fantastic -- nod to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" that change how you watch the film from now on.
Last month's "Poe Dameron" #8 kicked off a new story arc. After one of C-3PO's many droid spies (or "operatives" as he calls them) cut off communication in the middle of reporting new information on the whereabouts of the evil Supreme Leader Snoke, the protocol droid and Poe Dameron launch their own covert investigation. The pair, along with Poe's Resistance buddy Oddy Muva, traveled to the rough, crime-filled Outer Rim world Kaddak where the operative was stationed.
"Poe Dameron" #9, from Charles Soule and Phil Noto, sees the Resistance crew keeping a low profile as they subtly search for information on the missing droid's whereabouts. While in an open-air bar on level 45 of The Sliver, Threepio unknowingly sets off a chain of events that pay off on the big screen in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." While in the hive of scum and villainy, Threepio narrates aloud as he so often does. He comments that his old friend Han Solo would have felt quite at home here, and notes that he's gone back to the life of a smuggler. He mentions that he's heard that Han has borrowed a significant sum from the Guavian Death Gang -- within earshot of the Guavian Death Gang.
Oh -- and Kanjiklub. And their leader Tasu Leech hears Threepio, loud and clear.
As the main action continues between Threepio, Poe and Oddy, we see the members of Kanjiklub make their way over to the Guavian Death Gang.
Then, in a series of silent panels, we see Leech and Death Gang leader Bala-Tik confront each other -- and then shake on something. If you've seen "The Force Awakens," then you know that Han Solo just double-crossed Kanjiklub by also borrowing more money from the Guavian Death Gang -- and that Threepio just let that slip in front of Kanjiklub.
We see the end results of this silent handshake in the feature film. In "The Force Awakens," both the Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub confront Han Solo and Chewbacca over the double cross and debt. When "The Force Awakens" arrived in theaters a year ago, we had no idea of the context behind this deal gone wrong, nor did we know how these two rival games came to work together to take out Han and Chewie. Now, thanks to some mostly silent panels in "Poe Dameron" #9, we know.
This is also a fantastic continuation of a running joke. Han Solo hates Threepio.
Han calls Threepio "Goldenrod," tells him to shut up, shuts him off when he gets too annoying and just generally berates the protocol droid through all of "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." Threepio also interrupts Han's first kiss with Leia, shows very little compassion when Han gets frozen in carbonite, and seems mostly fine with letting the Ewoks roast the Rebel over an open flame. Now we know that Threepio's knack for never shutting up also got Han Solo into the trouble we see him in in "Force Awakens." Even when they're light years apart, Threepio is still causing Han Solo major problems.
"Poe Dameron" #10 arrives in stores on January 11, 2017.