Star Wars Newspaper Strip Spotlight – ‘The Constancia Affair,’ Part 1

The story arc from the Star Wars Newspaper strips titled, ‘The Constancia Affair,’ was published Sundays from March 11 to July 8, 1979. It was the first of only two Sundays-only story arcs printed. The story was written and colored by Russ Manning.

The story begins deep within a secret Rebel stronghold, with C-3PO walking out on a thermometer-looking ramp, which has a railing. Looks like the Rebels already have a tactical advantage. Threepio approaches a gigantic wall of blinking panels (which he calls an overgrown adding machine, which didn’t seem too far off to me as far as appearance goes), and addresses it, explaining that he is to tell her everything he knows about Luke Skywalker. But before Threepio can begin his tale, the machine, called Mistress Mnemos, automatically spits out everything it knows about Luke, including several notable details. Russ Manning must’ve been trying to bring some semblance of human time-telling to Star Wars, as Luke was recorded as having been born in the Sidereal era. Luke was also recorded as having been the child of Master and Mistress Tan Skywalker.

As soon as Mistress Mnemos announces that recording circuits are open, Threepio tries to begin his tale with his early history, revealing another notable detail: Threepio was originally recorded as having been built on the planet Affa. We know now, of course, that he was activated on Tatooine after his creation by Anakin Skywalker. Mistress Mnemos gets Threepio back on track, and the first image of his tale shows an upside-down Imperial Star Destroyer spewing yellow laser-fire while chasing a Y-Wing. The Y-Wing looked to me more like an enlarged version of the Republic Y-Wing than a beat-up Rebel bomber, but you can judge for yourself. Threepio says that the ship “twists and turns in frantic flight… then, it zigs when it should have zagged!” and “The victors sail on toward the stars…” It seems to me that Threepio is a better storyteller than he lets on. The Imperial Star Destroyer, now right-side up, rejoins its companion nearby and flies by. The Imperial convoy takes no notice of R2-D2 and Threepio floating nearby with some sort of joystick-looking contraption wired to them.

Aboard the bridge, an Imperial officer that looks more like a disgruntled Soviet out of a Cold War-era comic, buzz cut and all, comments on the fleet’s horrible aim, and orders that “In one hour, the fleet will commence laser beam target practice!” If all Imperials were as rigorous as this man, the Rebels might’ve lost the war. It is explained that the joystick-looking box is in reality a signal beacon/scanner, which scans no ships lurking nearby, and then reactivates a startled Threepio and Artoo. Threepio soon realizes that he is floating in space after having been deactivated by Luke. Threepio is irritated by Artoo’s apparent silence, so he pulls himself over to Artoo to fix what he assumes is a broken speech-unit (known nowadays as a vocabulator). Artoo then brings his dome up to Threepio’s head, explaining that there isn’t any air to carry sound, which an indignant Threepio hurriedly says that he knew all along. Threepio then comes to the startling realization that if he and Artoo are floating in space, Luke must be dead, and the pair of droids are lost in space!††††

Threepio recalls his last memory: being in Luke’s spaceship, then being deactivated. Then, as Threepio’s energy levels diminish, he comments that his feet are growing cold, which is impossible for a droid, though B1 Battle Droid RO-GR complains of it several times during the non-canon LEGO Star Wars animated series ‘The Freemaker Adventures’. Threepio is then taken aback by Artoo asking if Threepio knows any good warbat songs. Threepio responds with “I don’t know any warbat songs! What is a warbat, anyway? What kind of strange owners have you had, my friend?” Warbat music also makes an Canonical appearance in the recent book release Alphabet Squadron, as part of a battle playlist compiled by B-Wing pilot Chass. Just as Threepio says his goodbyes, he spots a purple streak of energy in the distance: the drive flare of a spaceship!

COMING UP

Will Threepio ever sing a warbat song? Who is the pilot of the mysterious approaching ship? Will our heroic pair of droids remain lost in space? Find out the answers to these questions and much more in part 2 of, ‘The Constancia Affair!

Author Bio – Jonathan Marroquin

Hi, my name is Jonathan Marroquin. My first memory of Star Wars is seeing a dusty VHS tape in the corner, which my grandpa explained was a sci-fi movie. I fell in love with it immediately. In the next few days, I watched Star Wars: A New Hope more times than I could count. I like to say Star Wars was my first love, and it’s stayed true to me ever since. A LEGO enthusiast and stop-motion animator, I enjoy writing fan fiction in the Star Wars and Harry Potter universes. I also design LEGO starships both Canonical and Star Wars-inspired in my spare time. May The Force Be With You, Always!

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