Darth Vader Would’ve Learned About Leia, if Not for Four Simple Words

In Star Wars lore, Jedi hero turned tragic villain, Darth Vader, never knew he had a son in Luke Skywalker or a daughter in Leia Organa, and thanks to a few simple words uttered during a particularly brutal torture session carried out by an original Star Wars comic character, Doctor Aphra, Vader almost learned his late wife gave birth to not just Luke but Leia as well!

A close call shown in the first volume of Marvel’s 2015 Darth Vader solo comic, Darth Vader #10, by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca, focuses on Vader’s attempts at finding the pilot who destroyed the Death Star: the one and only Luke Skywalker. Still unsure of Luke’s true lineage but informed enough to have an accurate idea, Vader enlists the services of the as-yet-to-be-redeemed archeologist, Doctor Aphra, and her sadistic torture bots, “Triple Zero” and BT-1, to find out more about this “rebel pilot.”

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Tracking down a prequel-era character named Commodex Tahn, Doctor Aphra immediately sics her droid cohorts on Tahn to get more information on Luke. Revealed to be the mortician who prepared the body of Padme Amidala, the mother of Luke and Leia, after she dies at the end of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Commodex Tahn is about to spill the beans on both siblings before four words ensure that Leia’s real identity would be safe for some time to come.

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Doctor Aphra overplays her hand
Unknowingly overplaying her hand, Aphra slips up when talking to Commodex Tahn, who — after being thoroughly tortured by Triple Zero — is ready to tell Aphra whatever she wants. Fishing more than she probably should about how she knows Senator Amidala had a child that was then hidden away from Vader’s grasp, Aphra utters four words that effectively allow Commodex Tahn to seal his lips about Leia while unfortunately giving up Luke in the process: “She had a son.”

Clear that Tahn was about to give Aphra info on Luke and Leia before she got specific about Vader having a boy, this turns into a pivotal moment in Star Wars lore as Tahn realizes he can confirm what Vader more or less already knows about Luke, while still keeping Leia’s ties to him a secret. Furthermore, Vader and Leia met multiple times after this issue’s events, so it’s a big deal that Vader only learned of one of his offspring here instead of both of the twins, putting Luke more directly in his crosshairs, to be sure, but simultaneously giving Leia a bit more protection from the Empire than she would have had otherwise.

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By the end of this issue, Vader may not have found out about Leia, yet up until Aphra’s unknowing misstep, he totally could have. Because of this, Leia stays safe from the wrath of the Dark Side for a little longer, with the words “She had a son” changing the course of Darth Vader’s life in a way that he never knew or suspected.

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