Fear Attracts the Fearful: What to Expect in the Upcoming Star Wars: Tales from Vader’s Castle

It’s now late September and Halloween is right around the corner. And what’s more suitable for a good scare than the castle of Darth Vader? As was announced at the publishing panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July, IDW will be releasing five weekly issues throughout October titled “Star Wars: Tales from Vader’s Castle” starting October 3rd and wrapping up on Halloween (10/31).

Written by Cavan Scott (Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space, Star Wars Adventures), and illustrated by Derek Charm, the series will include many familiar faces from all corners of the Star Wars galaxy such as Count Dooku, Hera, Kanan, Han, Chewbacca, and even Ewoks, which will allow the story to go in all sorts of directions. What’s exciting for me is that Francesco Francavilla, who is one of my favorite artists, is taking on the task of illustrating the variant covers. Those of you who aren’t familiar with Francavilla’s work are in for a treat. He’s known for his atmospheric art style which is an overt homage to the days of pulp noir comics of the 1940s (see The Black Beetle). No one is more appropriate to illustrate the haunts of Vader’s Castle than Francavilla. I only wish he was illustrating the entire issue.

The foreboding lair sits upon the molten world of Mustafar where the Dark Lord rose from the ashes of fallen Jedi, Anakin Skywalker. Much like Castle Dracula, the mere sight of Vader’s Castle is enough to strike fear into the bravest warrior. We first see images of Vader’s castle in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when Imperial Director Orson Krennic visits Vader with news of the destruction of Jedha and the status of a new Imperial superweapon, the Death Star. Taking place before these events, we see in Marvel’s Darth Vader #21, Sidious gives Vader the okay to have an Imperial architect build his castle to his exact preferences. I won’t give anything away, but I highly recommend reading that series.

Variant covert art by Francesco Francavilla

In an interview with starwars.com, Scott explained that the Creative Director at Lucasfilm, Mike Siglain approached him about the idea, and that they both shared a love for the old Universal monster movies and Hammer Horror films. These films gave rise to actors such as Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin) and Christopher Lee (Count Dooku).  In fact, it was Christopher Lee’s involvement in the Hammer Horror films that sparked the idea of having Count Dooku included.

Vader’s Castle isn’t the first time horror and Star Wars have intermingled. Deathtroopers (2009) and its prequel, Red Harvest (2010) told stories of zombie stormtroopers and viruses no one wants to catch. Those two books didn’t hold back on the gore factor. However, I’m curious to see how Scott and Charm balance the creepiness and also having to write for a younger audience. I, for one, can’t wait for this series to start next Wednesday. It’s the perfect mix of Star Wars and Halloween for fans of all ages.

For more information on Star Wars: Tales from Vader’s Castle visit https://www.starwars.com/

Works Cited

Brooks, Dan. SDCC 2018: IDW’S TALES FROM VADER’S CASTLE TO BRING THE GALACTIC FRIGHTS THIS OCTOBER – EXCLUSIVE. 20 July 2018. 24 September 2018 <https://www.starwars.com/news/sdcc-2018-tales-from-vaders-castle>.

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