Star Wars comics go gothic horror with The Screaming Citadel crossover

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Feb 9, 2017

Prepare for a dark and stormy night in a galaxy far, far away this summer when Marvel’s Star Wars and Doctor Aphra series engage in a crossover called Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel.

Kicking off with a one-shot of the same name in May, the event will be written by the same authors of last year's epic Vader Down event, comic book rock stars Jason Aaron (The Mighty Thor) and Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine). It will bring together the casts of both titles in a tale that is relatively unexplored genre territory for Star Wars: gothic horror.

Kieron Gillen described the way the writers are playing with the genre in an interview with StarWars.com:

“It pretty much starts in a bar, which is as Star Wars as it gets. So it’s very grounded, we recognize it’s Star Wars. Then we travel with Luke and Aphra, and we go to this place. It’s instantly a Star Wars take on the trope of doing a village and there's a really weird castle up on the hill and it's a bit suspicious, and they arrive there and [the people] seem very friendly but something is definitely off."

As you may have guessed, the hill-castle in question is The Screaming Citadel, and there are things that both Luke Skywalker and Aphra need there, and so they're forced to reluctantly work together. Unfortunately for them, there's also a "sinister alien queen" and "symbiotes" waiting for them there, according to Aaron. The artist of the one-shot kicking off the event is Marco Checchetto (Obi Wan & Anakin), who also designed the titular setting -- you can see some of his concept art below.

Luke and Aphra won’t be going it alone, however: They'll be joined by Han Solo, Princess Leia and R2-D2, as well as more recent additions to the Star Wars mythos, like Aphra's killer droids Triple Zero and BT-1, and Han Solo's old flame Sana Starros. Along with Aphra, Gillen said that Sana is one of the main characters and emotional cores of the story.

"This is such an enormous story for Aphra and Sana. We alluded to their history a little before, and now it's the chance to say, 'Okay, we’re going to put them together and make them really interact in a more extended way.' They're very much part of the emotional arc of the whole thing and how the casts end up coming together is very much linked to Sana and Aphra."

Between the horror angle and the focus on new ideas to add to the Star Wars universe, this is one story that I'm definitely signed up for. The five-issue event draws its lightsaber in May with the Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel one-shot and continues in Star Wars #31, Doctor Aphra #7 and the following issues of each series.

Are you ready to get scared Force-less? Check out the first few covers for the series in the gallery and let us know if you think that horror and Star Wars is something you never knew you wanted in the comments below.