This week marks the start of War of the Bounty Hunters, the new Star Wars event comic from writer Charles Soule and artist Steve McNiven that promises an epic confrontation between some of the biggest crime figures in the galaxy, set in the period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Marvel's been keeping a lot of the details surrounding this event close to the vest, but they did tease a major last-page reveal, and now that the issue is out, it's pretty clear they delivered on that — and the adventure is only getting started.
Spoilers ahead for War of the Bounty Hunters #1.
In a prelude to the series released earlier this year, we learned that after leaving Bespin with Han Solo's carbonite-encased body, bound for Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine, Boba Fett ran into a little bit of trouble. Someone stole Solo out from under him, sending him on a search to get the smuggler's body back before Jabba started asking questions. War of the Bounty Hunters #1 picks up on Boba mid-search, just as he realizes there's another problem to deal with: Someone's put a contract out on his head, and it's open to every hunter in the galaxy.
As Fett deals with an onslaught of bounty hunters, some of whom he thought were his friends, the book begins cutting back and forth between his adventures and a mysterious hooded figure who's just obtained Solo's carbonite form. This hooded figure, it seems, has orchestrated the contract for Fett's life, and is also using Solo's body as a bargaining chip to set a meeting with not just Jabba, but all of the major Hutt crime lords in the galaxy.
At last, we learn the organization behind the Solo/Fett conspiracy is none other than Crimson Dawn, the dormant crime group hoping to make a comeback in the era of the Rebellion after years out of the game. If you saw Solo: A Star Wars Story, you probably remember the Crimson Dawn name, and if you remember that name then there's a good chance you can guess who was under that hood.
That's right, it's Qi'ra, the character played by Emilia Clarke in Solo. Introduced as Han Solo's love interest and childhood friend from Corellia, Solo shows Qi'ra's rise in the galactic crime world, working for Dryden Vos before teaming up with Han Solo once again and eventually finding her way to a major role within the Crimson Dawn organization, ultimately working for Maul himself. Though she was set up for major developments in the film, Qi'ra hasn't really been a major player in Star Wars continuity since Solo... until now.
So, what does her War of the Bounty Hunters appearance mean in the grand scheme of things? Well, continuity-wise we know that Maul is dead at this point, so Qi'ra seems to be leading this new era of Crimson Dawn. We also know that by the time of Return of the Jedi she seems to be out of the picture, at least mostly. So, that leaves a brief window for this event to resolve the issues of this long-lost couple, show us Qi'ra's expanded role in the world of crime throughout the galaxy, and perhaps give her a chance to tee up future appearances in Star Wars media.
We'll hopefully learn more about what Qi'ra's been up to and how she got Crimson Dawn back online when War of the Bounty Hunters returns with a new issue continuing the story on July 14.