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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Answers a Question From Empire Strikes Back

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #39, from Simon Spurrier, Caspar Wijngaard, Lee Loughridge and VC's Joe Caramagna, on sale now. 

Marvel's Star Wars: Doctor Aphra has intersected with the events of the original trilogy as criminal archaeologist and scientist Chelli Aphra roamed the galaxy, sometimes working for Darth Vader, and other times running from him.

In her latest arc, following a botched plan to kill Emperor Palpatine, Chelli has been taken prisoner by Vader and given a new role: to help him locate the new Rebel base in the aftermath of the Battle of Yavin, as depicted in A New Hope. And in Issue 39, Chelli obtains key intelligence which answers a question from The Empire Strikes Back.

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In the beginning of Empire, the Imperial Star Destroyer Executor sent out dozens of drones to scour a certain quadrant of the galaxy for the Rebels. One of those scouts arrives on Hoth, from which it transmits data that leads to the Imperial attack that kick-starts the film's plot. However, we never found out how the Empire knew where to look. We simply assumed Vader's minions were searching the entire galaxy to locate its quarry, But now we discover Chelli had a major role to play in the discovery.

After she and her father, Korin, kidnapped by Vader as well, are taken to the Asteroid-Helix near Karga in Issue 38, the Sith Lord doesn't like the shrine he finds there. He had hopes to discover clues in the ruins of a Force cult to the Rebels' whereabouts, but instead he experiences Force ghosts of those close to Anakin Skywalker. An enraged Vader departs, ordering his Stormtroopers to execute one of the Aphras on their way off-planet. Korin volunteers, but their ship is pulled in by the Rebel leader Magna Tolvan, who is Chelli's ex.

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Magna hunts down Chelli, angry the archaeologist betrayed and abandoned her in failed assassination of Palpatine. They fight in a trash compactor, but end up sleeping together. Although Magna thinks their flame has rekindled, as she sleeps, Chelli extracts information from her. The doctor uses her mind-reading tech to steal information from Magna's mind, and learns the Rebels are on Hoth.

Chelli ejects herself in a pod while Korin is sent to Vulaada, Aphra's assistant on the Kartovian Formation on Ash Moon I, where the good doctor hopes they can survive the war to come. The scientist then contacts Vader's ship and sends a message for him to "dress warm," indicating she's sold out the Hoth location and put the tyrant on the path to attacking the Rebellion.

So this is how Empire starts, with Chelli once more proving to be a traitor. However, this time rather than being flat out-selfish, she's doing so under duress, as she knows Vader will murder her and everyone she holds dear if she doesn't give him what he desires.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #40 goes on sale Dec. 11.

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