WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: Poe Dameron #28, by Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta, on sale now.
Marvel's Poe Dameron comics have been revealing quite a lot of details over the last few months in the wake of Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With Charles Soule's story picking up right after that film ended, we've learnt quite a few things as the book addresses unanswered questions from the movie.
We've found out about Poe being Force-sensitive, who's replacing Han Solo as Chewbacca's new co-pilot aboard the Millennium Falcon, and also, garnered key insight into the minds of key players like Rey, General Leia, Finn and of course, the titular hotshot pilot as they finally catch a breath following Luke Skywalker's sacrifice on Crait.
However, Issue #28 focuses on someone who doesn't get much attention apart from a few beeps and boops here and there: R2-D2. Instead of treating the droid as a mere supporting cast member, though, Soule dives deep and brings us his personal testament on the toll the entire Star Wars franchise has taken on him throughout the decades.
The issue opens up with a conversation between two unknown individuals, reminiscing over the endless wars fought, specifically focusing on the end of The Force Awakens when the rebels took out the First Order's Starkiller base. The identities of both individuals are a mystery, but just like Soule describing how the Black Squadron saved the day at Maz Kanata's castle, the chat goes it depth into J.J. Abrams' movie, explaining just how the Rebel Alliance broke down Starkiller's shields from outer space and the ensuing ground attack. At first glance, it seems like it's Luke and Leia having a Force conversation, but when C-3PO interrupts the duo, we find out it's actually a misdirection: the conversation's really occurring between R2-D2 and BB-8.
Threepio chastises the pair, asking for quiet so he and Rey can decipher the Jedi texts she stole from Luke when she left Ahch-To, but by that time, we've already gotten a sense of the true personalities of both droids. BB-8 is laid back and like a kid, detailing how nervous he always is flying with Poe but how much he appreciates these daring adventures, especially because it's about liberating the galaxy. Most importantly, he stresses on the intelligence of the rebels and their never-say-die attitudes, which inspires him against Kylo Ren's armies. As BB-8 gets to the more experienced folks he reveres, he praises R2-D2, who's humble, but eager to take the opportunity to pass down advice and go into his own backstory.
R2-D2 mentions his adoration for the likes of Rey, Han and Leia, and the ambition they inspire in everyone. But in his wisdom, he urges to BB-8 never give up. He's going into sage mode, much like a Jedi Master and treating BB-8 as his apprentice. In this unofficial passing of the torch, Luke's former bot speaks of his own time in the field and the price all these dogfights have attached to them. He waxes on about death and despair, but how he thinks ultimately, the Light will prevail.
It feels like a therapy session with R2-D2 recounting his experiences across all three trilogies, emphasizing how important it is to share all these war stories. He insists they need to get it out their systems, and as grief-filled as it is at times, fighting oppression is something R2-D2 deems his "destiny," because he feels he's meant to record as much as he can for history's sake. While he may not be present in every battle, he's an archivist, documenting the evolution of the galaxy.
Sure, he's incurred losses along the way, from owners like Anakin Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke himself, but what keeps him booted up is hope. And this is what he imparts on the young droid, the philosophy that in a dark galaxy, no matter how deep you are in the trenches, always remain hopeful and believe in the Light side of the Force.