Star Wars has revealed that there were forces within the Empire that conspired to overthrow Emperor Palpatine and erase the Sith influence from the Empire. Not only that, those same conspirators hoped to use Luke Skywalker in order to pull off their scheme. The plot against the Sith has been one of many subplots in the current “War of the Bounty Hunters” crossover arc that’s been running through Star Wars comics. While Palpatine and Vader are distracted by the hunt for Han Solo and the return of Crimson Dawn, one of the Emperor’s closest confidants is plotting to take him out!
Warning: Star Wars: Darth Vader Comic SPOILERS Follow!
“War of the Bounty Hunters” chronicles what happens when Han Solo’s carbonite prison is stolen from Boba Fett while en route from Cloud City to Jabba The Hutt’s palace. Turns out Crimson Dawn (and its leader Qi’ra) stole Solo to auction him off to all the galaxy’s biggest scum and villains – an auction that draws out everyone from the Hutt Clan to every criminal syndicate and bounty hunter working the galaxy, to the Empire itself. After experiencing some dark side visions Vader is particularly eager to hunt down Solo, seeking revenge for the Battle of Yavin and also a way to strike Luke Skywalker’s biggest weakness: his friends.
Vader has been distracted and weakened by the Emperor’s Sith “trials” and “tests,” which Vader has suffered as a result of his attempt to recruit Luke during Empire. There’s one person who recognizes Vader’s vulnerable state: Sly Moore, Palpatine’s former senior administrative aide and chief of staff in the Republic. Moore (a Force user able to sway minds) is one of the few in the Empire who truly knows that Palpatine is also Darth Sidious, and just how formidable the dark lord’s Sith powers are.
During the rise of the Empire, Moore becomes a very pivotal figure. She begins to unfurl a plan to unseat Palpatine’s Sith influence, knowing the Sith lord only truly cares about personal power, not the Empire or its servants. First, Moore plots to kill Vader by hiring the infamous assassin droid IG-88 to take him out. Instead, Vader defeats IG-88 (twice) and tracks the hit back to Sly Moore. However even when Moore and Vader have their big showdown on Coruscant, the administrator manages to sway the Sith Lord by revealing that she knows about his connection to Luke Skywalker – and also where Skywalker can be found. Moore’s assistance isn’t benevolent: she wants to point Vader towards the one person most likely to kill him – a challenge that Vader happily accepts. In excahnge, Vader recruits Moore into his plot against the Emperor, tasking her with winning Han Solo from Crimson Dawn’s auction.
However, at the current point in “War of the Bounty Hunters,” Sly Moore has failed to win Crimson Dawn’s auction, and Vader has shown up at the event himself, ready to wreak serious havoc. The larger Star Wars saga already makes it clear that Sly Moore’s plot fails (horribly); even if Luke Skywalker was eventually responsible for Vader’s redemption the Empire’s fall, Palpatine’s Sith influence would continue from Exegol well throughout the post-Empire era of the First Order. And since Sly Moore knew about Exegol decades before Kylo Ren ever traveled there, there’s heavy implication that rise of the Sith cult came at expense of her life (among so many others).
Sly Moore’s plot against Vader, Palpatine, and Luke Skywalker is unfolding in Star Wars: Darth Vader comic series, as well as the larger “War of the Bounty Hunters” crossover event in Star Wars Comics.