SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Doctor Aphra” #4, on sale now.
So far, Marvel’s line of Star Wars comics have done a thorough job of incorporating the new canon introduced in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” into the franchise’s larger mythos. This has been going on even since before the film came out, with previous issues of “Poe Dameron” and “Doctor Aphra” including nods to the latest “Star Wars” film. For some series, like “Doctor Aphra,” that makes sense considering it takes place in roughly the same time period as “Rogue One.” That movie and “Doctor Aphra take place immediately on opposite sides of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.” That means that the events of “Rogue One” could eventually affect the plot of “Doctor Aphra.” With “Doctor Aphra” #4, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Kev Walker, that finally happens.
That connection comes in the form of Imperial Captain Tolvan.
Introduced in “Doctor Aphra” #3, Tolvan is the Imperial officer in charge of the clean up and investigation of the abandoned Rebel base on Yavin 4. In the previous issue, Aphra’s quasi-partner-in-crime Black Krrsantan rolled out a massive destraction so that Aphra and her father could sneak into the great Massassi Temple. Tolvan picked up on Black Krrsantan’s distraction and sent her troops to investigate. Unfortunately for Tolvan, her forces were taken down by the lone Wookiee and some of Yavin 4’s deadly megafauna. That issue ended with Aphra and her father triggering an ancient Massassi device.
Issue #4, the latest issue, picks up with Tolvan noticing that device’s activation and realizing that Black Krrsantan has been a distraction. She sends her troops after Aphra, but the rogue archaeologist and her team get away in their ship (the Ark Angel) before Tolvan can terminate them. That’s two failures for Tolvan in two issues.
Afterwards, we learn that this is just Tolvan’s latest disappointment. She reports to Admiral Ozzel via holoprojector, who reveals that Tolvan was previously stationed on Eadu and in charge of maintaining security at an Imperial science outpost on the world. If Eadu sounds familiar, that’s because it was prominently featured in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Eadu is the planet where the scientists behind the Death Star’s creation — including Galen Erso — were stationed. That’s also the planet where Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook was stationed. It’s also the planet where Galen Erso spotted an Imperial pilot having a crisis of conscience — and recruited him. While on Eadu, Erso recorded a message containing information on the Death Star’s design flaw and gave it to Bodhi Rook, who then carried the message all the way to Saw Gerrera on Jedha (and, eventually, to Jyn Erso and the Rebellion). This massive security breach happened under Captain Tolvan’s watch — and her role in “Doctor Aphra” is part of her punishment for that failure.
In another nod to the “Star Wars” movies, Admiral Ozzel tells Tolvan that she should be happy she was serving under General Tagge and not Darth Vader, as Vader is “less forgiving of failure.” This is foreshadowing as Ozzel will later be killed in “The Empire Strikes Back” by Vader after the botched Imperial assault on the Rebel base on Hoth.
The issue ends with Captain Tolvan and her Imperials pulling up stakes and prepping to depart Yavin 4. Will Tolvan be able to redeem herself in the eyes of the Empire? “Doctor Aphra” #5, which arrives in stores on March 8.
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