WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Star Wars #47
The new Star Wars canon just made a stronger link between the animated Clone Wars and the original movie heroes Luke, Leia, and Han Solo. The TV series followed the adventures of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, but when they aided the threatened king of Mon Cala, they never expected their children would one day rescue him all over again.
That's the shocking twist delivered in Star Wars #47, following the Skywalkers and their original trilogy friends in their early efforts to strengthen the Rebel Alliance (set before The Empire Strikes Back). That mission brings them to the planet Mon Cala, and a reunion with King Lee-Char.
But the Mon Calamari king discovered by Luke and Leia isn't the same one that Anakin once knew.
The main Star Wars book is only the latest case of Mon Cala becoming a more pivotal world in Disney's new extended universe. After Rogue One placed greater emphasis on the best Mon Calamari leaders beyond Admiral Ackbar, the comics kept the momentum building. And no story held greater potential than that of King Lee-Char, the prince who had to align with the Jedi to claim his throne from the Separatists who sought it (in Season 4 of Clone Wars).
It was fan service when Marvel's Darth Vader comic had Anakin remember Padme upon his arrival to Mon Cala shortly after Episode III. Whether by freak coincidence or design, the story of his twin children has also returned them to Mon Cala, although close to two decades into the future. As Vader heads underwater on Mon Cala to bring it under Imperial rule in one comic, Luke and Leia are looking to free it in their own.
Needless to say, the boy Anakin helped claim the throne in Clone Wars is now the biggest obstacle to Darth Vader - and the best chance the Rebel Alliance has. Three layers of thematic resonance is pretty showy, even for Star Wars. Fortunately, the original trilogy's heroes have reached their prisoner.
Unfortunately... his present state may mean he can go no further, either in this story or the larger Star Wars saga.
Since the mission requires that Leia, Luke, Han, and Chewie can get King Lee-Char out of his maximum security, underwater prison, they've got a serious problem. Issue #47 concludes with the above image: the exiled, imprisoned king hooked up to a variety of machines claimed to be all that's keeping him alive. But even that isn't certain.
We're assuming that the next issue will clarify Lee-Char's need for the machines - does he simply need to return to the water? His homeworld? - and see the heroes concoct a plan. But no matter the outcome, it seems destined to go their way. Fans of the Star Wars timeline know that the Mon Calamari eventually do side with the Rebels, aiding the resistance almost more than any other group.
Whether they pull it off with King Lee-Char or not, he now stands in select company. After being helped onto his throne in youth by Anakin Skywalker, he may now be restored to it by Luke and Leia. The Star Wars galaxy is a small world, after all.
Star Wars #47 is available from Marvel Comics.