WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars #71, by Greg Pak, Phil Noto and VC's Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Marvel's Star Wars recently depicted the Rebels making some questionable decisions in the wake of the events of A New Hope, all in the name of war. Princess Leia and Han Solo went off to Lanz Carpo, in an attempt to trick the Empire into attacking the traitorous planet, while Luke Skywalker ventured off to a mysterious refueling station, hoping to lure Imperial fighters there.
The plan felt sketchier when Chewbacca and C-3P0 were tasked with turning the volcanic planet K43 into a Death Star. It's even rockier because the planet is inhabited by the Kakran, which leads to the shocking revelation that Darth Vader is forging a secret alliance to turn them against the Rebellion.
Chewie and C-3P0 are admittedly trying to stop the explosive charges they placed there to turn the planet into a massive bomb to destroy Imperial vessels in its orbit. They didn't know the Kakran still existed, as they didn't register on their life-scans. That leads to a tense confrontation -- no surprise, as the Rebels are attempting to destroy the Kakran's home world. However, the Kakran's leader speaks with C-3P0 in hopes of arriving at a diplomatic solution.
He actually taps into the droid's memory bank using telepathic powers, because Threepio is an "ore" or, as the leader says, a cousin, made from metal. It's a cool ability that permits the Kakran to see the droid's connections to humans, also known as "the flesh." They seemingly come to an understanding, with C-3P0 warning Chewie they have to stop the detonation, as he now views these people as family.
Sadly, by that time Vader arrives with his guards, as intimidating as ever. But instead of attacking the rock beings, he makes it clear he has an alliance in mind, stunning C-3P0. We don't find out what exactly, as it's a cliffhanger. However, it's certainly what sets Chewie up to fight the Sith Lord as the book comes to an end in November.
What's interesting is it's a play on Vader making another sneaky alliance in the past when he co-opted Lando Calrissian's Cloud City. That was done by Lando out of necessity, however, whereas here Vader may have just gotten a new legion of soldiers who can't help but think the Rebels wanted to snuff them out by blowing up K43.
It shows Vader's cerebral side, as he knows these rock warriors will be more valuable assets as allies on the frontlines rather than needless casualties of war. They have reason to hate the Rebels; they only require someone to tip the scales. It's a political ploy learned from Emperor Palpatine himself, and clearly, amid all his rash killings, Vader does possess a modicum of diplomacy.
Star Wars #72 goes on sale Oct. 2.