SDCC: Aaron & Gillen Take "Vader Down" in Marvel's First "Star Wars" Crossover Event

Your lack of faith is disturbing, if you didn't think Marvel Comics would eventually host a crossover between "Star Wars" and "Darth Vader" to create an epic event. Announced yesterday at Comic-Con International, the two flagship titles of Marvel's "Star Wars" line of comics will collide in November with the launch of "Star Wars: Vader Down." The event begins with the oversized "Vader Down" #1 and continues throughout issues of "Star Wars" and "Darth Vader."

Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca, the creative team behind the monthly "Darth Vader," as well as superstar artist Mike Deodato, join "Star Wars" writer Jason Aaron for "Vader Down."

SDCC: "Star Wars," "Darth Vader" Cross Over in "Vader Down"

CBR News connected with Aaron and Gillen and the co-writers shared details on the event that kick-starts a showdown between Darth Vader and the entire Rebel Fleet. The main cast of Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca were also discussed, as were three new characters to the "Star Wars" mythos: Aphra, BT-1 and Triple Zero.

Aaron also compared the crossover to the first assembling of Marvel's Avengers while Gillen teased a story reminiscent of "The Empire Strikes Back" due to the massive changes it causes for the status quo of Marvel's "Star Wars" comic book line.

CBR News: The very title of this crossover doesn't sound good for everyone's favorite Sith Lord. What can you tell us about "Star Wars: Vader Down"?

Jason Aaron: We were all really excited about the event, which really kicks the story off and that's when Vader finds himself grossly outnumbered and surrounded and cut off from the rest of the Imperial Forces. Because of what he's up to, he can't make a call and bring in a fleet of Star Destroyers to rescue him so this story become very much about Vader making a stand against a massive army of Rebels. The title "Vader Down" nicely sums up what you're getting into.

Kieron Gillen: Our working title was "Get Vader." [Laughs] That didn't feel Star Wars-y at all but "Vader Down" because of the certain militaristic sheen felt like it would work.

In the solicitations for "Star Wars: Vader Down," the headliners are named, emboldened with exclamation marks: "Luke! Vader! Leia! Aphra! Han! Chewie!" With all due respect to your creation Kieron, one of these names does not belong here for "Star Wars" fans not currently reading the Marvel comics. What's it like seeing Aphra listed up there with the heavy hitters?

Gillen: [Laughs] Let's just say that we're pitching our tents. Heading toward this crossover, Jason and I have been building the cast and expanding the world between "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" for 12 issues each and now we get to throw our toys together. And we started to think about certain scenes that we wanted to see like when Aphra meets Han Solo for the first time. For me, the point of that line is that we're going to throw the whole cast in here together and we're going to get to see what happens. And one of the most exciting things about the crossover is seeing how they all interact.

And we're going to see "all manner of Droid, good and evil!" too. That means the long-awaited face off between Artoo and Threepio and Triple Zero and BT-1, right?

Gillen: Absolutely.

Aaron: And of course Artoo is going to win. [Laughs]

Gillen: I'm very afraid.

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Both of you told me when these series launched that "Star Wars" and "Darth Vader" weren't going to be adaptations of the movies but were going to be comic book stories infused with the "Star Wars" vibe. Conversely, does "Star Wars: Vader Down," your first big crossover, feel more like "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" or "Return of the Jedi"?

Aaron: Let's put in Marvel Cinematic Universe terms. [Laughs] We've been doing "Iron Man," "Captain America" and "Thor" and this is "The Avengers." Everything that we've been doing goes on the screen at the same time and you get watch all of those characters interact for the first time. It's a mammoth story.

Gillen: It is like "The Avengers" because it's definitely the biggest story that we've done so far. It's literally enormous. In terms of the "Star Wars" movies, it feels like "Empire" because of the interesting status quos it creates going forward. Coming out of the other side, it's not like we've just done a crossover and now we're going our separate ways. We've impacted each other's books in meaningful ways and "Vader Down" really sets the pace for the second year.

Kieron, we have spoke at length about Darth Vader multiple times, but Jason, we have yet to discuss the iconic villain with you. What does Vader mean to you in terms of his centrality to the Star Wars mythos?

Aaron: Well, it's really not up for debate that Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker is the most important character in all of the "Star Wars" films so far. In many ways, it's been his story. And that's been clear in the books that we've done for Marvel. In "Star Wars," we came right out of the gate with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker coming face-to-face by the end of the first issue. And Kieron has been charting Vader's own path in his book so it's not surprising that when we get to our first big crossover and slam these books together in as big a way as possible that Vader would be at the heart of the story.

And Kieron, what about your thoughts on the Rebels? As a writer, were you keen to explore Luke, Han and Leia?

Gillen: This is probably very similar to the answer I gave you about Vader but "Empire" was the first movie that I saw in the cinema. And Luke, Leia and Han were the very broad archetypes that led to my formative ideas about heroes and heroines. These are the things that stick with you and to get a chance to dance with these characters is a very big thing. Luke, Leia and Han are primary colors of what a hero should be. The differences between Luke and Han are seen through all of popular fiction in terms of what those archetypes are. And working with my original archetypes, that's a hell of a thrill. My mum has fancied Han Solo for 40 years so now that I can say that I've written Han Solo, my mum will be very proud.

"Star Wars: Vader Down," a six-issue crossover written by Jason Aaron & Kieron Gillen and drawn by Salvador Larroca & Mike Deodato, begins in November from Marvel Comics.

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