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Comic Book / Star Wars: Crimson Reign

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"This is the story of the fall of Crimson Dawn. This story is a tragedy."
The Archivist

Crimson Reign is a 2021-2022 Marvel Comics five-part miniseries set in the Star Wars universe. It is the second part of a trilogy written by Charles Soule which focuses upon Qi'ra and Crimson Dawn, with the first part being War of the Bounty Hunters and the finale Hidden Empire. While not a massive crossover event like the preceding series, the events of Crimson Reign do tie into the events of each ongoing comic series.

With her plan to reintroduce Crimson Dawn into the criminal underworld complete, Qi'ra is now moving on to the second stage of her plan: the destruction of the Sith. To do so, she has gathered together a coalition of those who have a grudge against the Sith or lost power to them, including the Knights of Ren, Chanath Cha and the Orphans, and the assassins Deathstick and Ochi of Bestoon.

Star Wars: Crimson Reign contains examples of:

  • The Bus Came Back: Chanath Cha, introduced in Star Wars: Lando and last seen in Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, returns here as an ally of Crimson Dawn.
  • Call-Back:
    • In Issue #1, Chanath recounts to the other Orphans how Vader killed her parents after they failed to assassinate him.
    • In Issue #5, Palpatine and Vader discuss the latter's duel with Qi'ra in War of the Bounty Hunters, and the likelihood that she was trained by Maul.
    • Also in Issue #5, Qi'ra tells Cadeliah her backstory, including flashbacks showing Lady Proxima and the moment when Qi'ra killed Dryden Vos.
  • The Cameo: General Grievous appears in a one panel flashback in Issue #2, showing him and his Battle Droid lackeys killing most of Deathstick's family.
  • Captain Obvious: Mas Amedda in Issue #2, when all the Imperial Guards in the room suddenly drop dead.
    Mas Amedda: They're... they're dead, my lord.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Archivist was a former colleague of Korin Pers.
    • Issue #3 features appearances by a Thought Dowser and Accresker Prison.
    • When Qi'ra is recounting how the Empire made a big presentation of announcing the Jedi's deaths, there's a one panel flashback to a scene from the first issue of Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith where Mas Amedda publicly burned a pile of lightsabers, including Yoda's.
      • Also, Qi'ra specifically refers to it as one of Yoda's lightsabers, patching a continuity problem from The Book of Boba Fett (specifically, Luke being in possession of Yoda's lightsaber despite the aforementioned burning).
    • In Issue #4, the Knights of Ren break into Fortress Vader through the cave Vader built it over during Dark Lord of the Sith, and later pass through the chamber where Vader met with Director Krennic, with his servant Vanee briefly appearing.
  • Evil is Petty: One of the Knights of Ren spits into Vader's personal supply of bacta.
  • Evil vs. Evil: While the degree of evil varies, all of the individuals and groups Qi'ra has gathered under Crimson Dawn's banner to destroy the Sith have either selfish motivations for doing so or are utterly ruthless and willing to do anything to gain revenge.
  • The Faceless: Director Barsha, the ISB agent who confirms to Palpatine and Vader that Crimson Dawn is responsible for the syndicate war, is framed in shadow so that nothing of his face is visible.
  • False Flag Operation: Crimson Dawn attacks all of the major syndicates throughout the galaxy and leaves no survivors in their raids while also spreading misinformation through their spies that each of the other syndicates are responsible for the attacks. This sets off a galactic gang war, further fueled by Qi'ra's lies that the Empire is looking to replace the Hutts as their main underworld contact with the strongest remaining faction.
  • Framing Device: A holocron of the Archivist is recounting the events of the series to two unknown individuals.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Qi'ra and her allies will not be responsible for ridding the galaxy of the Sith, as Luke and Rey will ultimately be the ones responsible for that. Indeed, the Archivist's narration at the end of the first issue states that this story is a tragedy and about the fall of Crimson Dawn.
  • Kick the Dog: When discussing Crimson Dawn in Issue #5, Palpatine takes the time to call out Vader's failure to retrieve Han's carbonite block.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In Issue #4, one of the Knights of Ren spits in Darth Vader's personal bacta supply while infiltrating his castle. Moments later, the Knights run into Vader himself, and Vader immediately crushes the offending Knight's neck.
  • Mob War: Crimson Dawn starts one amongst all of the galaxy's other syndicates, both to create a power vacuum and to undermine the Empire.
  • Mythology Gag: Qi'ra mentions the leader of Black Sun is Prince Xizor. Xizor was the Antagonist of Shadows of the Empire in the Legends continuity, which took place roughly around the same time this story does.
  • Revenge: The reason Qi'ra was able to recruit many of her new allies — they all lost something to the Sith and want payback.
  • Saved by Canon: Whatever happens to the rest of Crimson Dawn and their allies, we know from the Sequel Trilogy that the Knights of Ren and Ochi will survive for decades to come, and end up serving the Sith.
  • Tempting Fate: At the end of the first issue Qi'ra states that she really believes that her plan will work after its first stages go off without issue, just as the narrator, the Archivist, calls the story a tragedy.
  • We Need a Distraction:
    • In Issue #2, Deathstick tips off the Imperials to the Rebel base where Cadeliah is hiding, so that she can sneak in during the attack and grab the girl when everyone else is distracted by the fighting.
    • The miniseries ends with Qi'ra sending out an order to the entirety of her agents across the galaxy to create as much chaos as possible, in order to keep the Empire busy while she begins her endgame.