Charles Soule’s critically acclaimed Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters miniseries came to a close in October, but not before unleashing a new entry point into the world of Lady Qi’ra’s scheming. Crimson Reign is Soule’s next Marvel miniseries, and this time he is bringing together the combined forces of Qi’ra’s Crimson Dawn organization, her advisors Margo and Trinia, the Knights of Ren, Chanath Cha and the Orphans, Deathstick, and the Archivist to bring down Darth Sidious.
Some readers might balk at this concept, given the fact that we know that she will fail at bringing down Sidious in any real way—Return of the Jedi first premiered nearly forty years ago after all. However, I love how the Star Wars storytellers have been finding new ways to build onto the stories that we already intimately know. War of the Bounty Hunters further contextualized a key point in Boba Fett’s story with Han Solo, carefully knit Qi’ra into the canon of the original trilogy, and served as a launchpad for richer storytelling. Now we’re presented with an opportunity to not only bring Qi’ra to the forefront, but we’re also learning more about the Knights of Ren—who will eventually lure Han Solo’s son away from the light.
The first issue of Crimson Reign, entitled “The Orphans,” serves in a lot of ways as a prelude to the story that Soule is likely building to. We are introduced to the key players, given a little background on who they are, and are presented with Qi’ra’s game plans. Soule chose to use the Archivist as a narrator, introducing us to each group, revealing vague details about what lies ahead, and also further connecting the story to the larger Star Wars world, by linking the Archivist with Yoda.
Essentially Qi’ra has called together a group of people who have a chip on their shoulder because of Palpatine. Together she hopes that they can exploit the secret they know—that Emperor Palpatine and Darth Sidious are one and the same—and use it to tear down both Palpatine and Darth Vader.
In a series of too-brief flashback panels, we also get a glimpse into Darth Maul’s training of Qi’ra, which I hope will be further expanded upon. That eleventh-hour reveal in Solo: A Star Wars Story made Qi’ra such an intriguing and compelling character and I hope this comic run will allow us to see more of her history with Darth Maul.
In addition to introducing readers to the cast of criminals, “The Orphans” focuses on the aforementioned ground of orphans led by Chanath Cha. Towards the latter half of the issue, we learn that, as a child, Chanath Cha swore an oath to Darth Vader that she would not take revenge on him for murdering her parents in front of her. Of course, she had no intention of abiding by that vow and she reveals that she has been hunting Vader, to no avail. This is the reason she was quick to take on Qi’ra’s offer, because it gets her one step closer to finding Darth Vader. I have a distinct feeling that this isn’t going to go well for Chanath or The Orphans.
Towards the end of the issue, Ren has a bit of hilarious dialogue that sent me reeling: “Plenty of women like to get low. Especially the fancy ones. But I’m not going there. One of us would end up dead.” I swear to God, Charles Soule, if Qi’ra and Ren have any funny business I will lose my mind. Han Solo’s ex-girlfriend with the guy who will eventually lure his son away? I might actually be here for that.
Crimson Reign is presented as a tragedy and I, for one, cannot wait to watch the fall of the Crimson Dawn. With a story by Charles Soule and artwork by Steven Cummings it has certainly been set up to be an unforgettable event.
Maggie Lovitt is a writer at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery.
In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.