The battle droids of the Separatist army have long been the laughing stock of Star Wars, and are now the deadliest threat Darth Vader has ever faced.


Warning: spoilers for Darth Vader #30 ahead!Sith Lord Darth Vader has made countless enemies over the years, few of whom survived to cross him. But star wars latest would-be Sith slayer calls back not only to Vader’s earliest days as a Sith, but also to his time as Anakin Skywalker. While the droid armies were rarely a threat to Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars, the battle droids he killed in the past have risen again, better than ever. They’ve learned from their mistakes, and now they’re poised to become one of Vader’s most challenging foes yet.

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The droid army of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, also known as the Separatists, was never meant to be the most elite fighting force. The ubiquitous B1 Battle Droid in particular was designed to be cheap, mass-produced and expendable, overwhelming opponents through sheer numbers. While the battle droids are considered something of a joke in the galaxy and by fans alike, under the leadership of Jul Tambor, they may very well hold the key to Vader’s defeat.

Related: Star Wars’ Separatists Knew Sith Secrets, Even Palpatine Didn’t


Jul Tambor has assembled an army of special battle droids

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Darth Vader #29 by Greg Pak and Luke Ross introduced Jul Tambor, the grandson of Techno Union chairman and separatist council member Wat Tambor. Wat, along with the rest of the ruling Seperatist Council, was assassinated on Mustafar by Darth Vader shortly after Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side. The latest of the Tambor line, Jul has two clearly stated goals: to finally free Skako Minor’s Skakoan homeworld from Imperial rule and to kill Darth Vader. IN Darth Vader (2020) #30, Calling on his Separatist heritage, Jul has assembled a legion of Separatist battle droids to carry out his missions. The Skakoan revolutionary hasn’t acquired any old Separatist droids either, he’s scraped and repaired ones that have personally fallen in battle with Darth Vader. These resurrected droids have recorded countless hours of their final moments against Vader, providing Tambor with a treasure trove of data. “His traits. His abilities. His strengths. His weaknesses.” Of the latter, Jul has already established that Vader has at least one: Sabé, Padmé’s former handmaiden, with whom Vader has become dangerously attached.

Battle Droids are a real threat to Vader

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Not only is it clear that Vader is capable of weaknesses – the droids’ abundance of data opens the door for more to be discovered. This is surprising given the reputation of Separatist battle droids. While the BX-series command droids and B2-series super battle droids (which are present in Jul’s force) have proven to be potent combatants, most of his force is the vulture-headed B1 battle droids, widely considered to have some of the most ineffective, comical. incompetent soldiers the galaxy has ever seen. However, there is some precedent for the lowly B1s rising above their station: as early as the first Battle of Geonosis, over a hundred Jedi were slaughtered by the combined fire of the droids, while hundreds more would meet a similar fate throughout The Clone Wars. With their combined fire tactics refined by data Jul Tambor has acquiredit would be foolish to dismiss the very real threat they represent to Vader.

At least one of Jul Tambor’s goals, to kill Darth Vader, is doomed to failure: Vader is destined to die by returning the light aboard the second Death Star, meaning Jul cannot be his undoing. But his resurrected, data-mined battle droids can still prove an effective foil for the Sith Lord i Star wars canon, and could lead to the death of Sabé or Padmé’s other handmaidens, whom Vader has recruited to meet this new threat and save their friend. Darth Vader is powerful, but he has weaknesses, and Jul Tambor’s stockpile of droid info is about to lay them all bare.

Next: Marvel Announces Deadly Darth Vader Anthology

Darth Vader #30 is on sale now from Marvel Comics

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