Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars #54
Star Wars: Rogue One heroine Jyn Erso continued to save the Rebellion (and Princess Leia) long after her death. At least, that's what the newest comic in Marvel's Star Wars series has revealed.
Jyn's impact on the Rebellion and indirectly Princess Leia should be obvious to anyone who saw Rogue One or A New Hope. It was her team which acquired the plans to the Death Star, after all, delivering them into Leia's hands to eventually destroy the Death Star. Although Jyn Erso was never mentioned by name in the original Star Wars trilogy, the comics have tried to correct that wrong. In fact, it's Jyn's memory and heroic sacrifice that ensured Leia Organa was able to survive until Empire Strikes Back and beyond.
The Star Wars comics are rapidly running out of room to explore the period of time between Episodes IV and V, but have been trying to explain why the Rebellion was in such a desperate situation when Empire begins. According to the comics, the Rebellion was nearly wiped altogether. It's only due to Leia's direct efforts that the Rebellion survived.
Star Wars #54 sees Leia lead a team onto Darth Vader's flagship, The Executor. Sneaking on board, Leia steals codes that will allow a trapped Rebellion fleet to escape the Empire. But as soon as Leia's team boards The Executor, they're discovered. The only way the Rebellion will succeed is if someone sacrifices themselves to Vader to give the rest of the team the time to escape. Leia obviously volunteers for sacrificial lamb duty - but she's stopped by Davits Draven.
The name might not sound too familiar to every Star Wars fan, but Davits Draven is the Rebellion officer in Rogue One who is vehemently against Jyn Erso (played by Alistair Petrie), voicing his disapproval during her recruitment scene. Draven explains to Leia that he sees this new opportunity as a chance to atone for his Rogue One sins. By sacrificing himself, he can live up to Jyn's legacy and make up for being such an insufferable know-it-all while Jyn was alive.
Draven gets his wish, too: no sooner than Leia agrees to Draven's offer does Vader break through their barricades, and eliminate Draven via Force Choke. The moment explains why Rogue One is Draven's one and only Star Wars movie appearance. (It's pretty hard to continue as a member of the Rebellion once your windpipe is crushed by Darth Vader.)
More importantly though, Draven's sacrifice is another example of how Star Wars has incorporated its new Expanded Universe into the movie canon. Draven sacrificing himself in the comics, motivated by his and Jyn's actions in the prequel movie, so that Leia can surive into the original movies might not seem like a huge deal. Obviously, Leia's life is in no real danger in the Star Wars comics, but it's still a clever way to interconnect the larger Star Wars mythology without cheapening Leia's plot armor.
This comic continues to show love to the Rogue One heroine, after previously confirming Luke named his Rogue Sqaudron after Jyn Erso's team, as well. But she's not the only example of Lucasfilm's new efforts to link back, forward, and sideways: Darth Maul's cameo in Solo also proves that Star Wars isn't afraid to add things from outside the films into their canon. So while Draven's sacrifice might exist solely on the comic page for now, that's not a guarantee that it won't be mentioned or references in some other medium.
Star Wars #54 is available now from Marvel Comics.