"Always Bet on Chop" (German title "Setze immer auf Chop") is a comic strip written by Jeremy Barlow, drawn by Bob Molesworth and edited by Gunther Nickel. The story was published in the 23rd issue of the German Star Wars Rebels Magazine, which was released on September 28, 2016.
The story is framed as told by Garazeb Orrelios, who recounts a mission with Chopper that went awry. One day, the two are tasked to retrieve precious Imperial banking codes from a sporting arena where gladiator droid fights take place. However, Chopper accidentally deletes the codes while trying to download them from a wall-mounted computer interface. Worse yet, a fight promoter named Blik walks in on them. Although Blik does not suspect any wrongdoings, he mistakes Chopper for one of the day's droid contestants, and he urges the two Rebels down a corridor.
The Rebels get separated: Chopper is taken to the Verpine Effor, who will prepare him for the fight, and Orrelios has to follow Blik so he can "finalize the registration." In the arena, Chopper is pitted against a droideka nicknamed The Unwinder. Meanwhile, at the bookie station, Orrelios is exposed when his name does not appear in any of the battledome's databases. Suspicious, the Twi'lek bookie calls security. Meanwhile, in the arena, Chopper manages to avoid The Unwinder's hail of blaster bolts, much to the surprise of the entire audience and the two announcers. Back at the bookie stand, Orrelios bonks the heads of the Twi'lek and Blik together, knocking them out so he can escape. Heading toward the arena floor, the Lasat yells to the astromech droid that it is time to leave. Chopper, however, retorts that he is having too much fun, which irritates his companion. The spectators in the stand are obviously loving the show.
A short distance away, however, a group of stormtroopers are showing Orrelios's holographic image to Effor, who then points toward the arena. At first, the Lasat seems ready to abandon Chopper in the battledome, and runs for an exit. However, he quickly has second thoughts and turns back. Now cornered by stormtroopers aiming their blasters at him, Orrelios is determined not to go down without a fight, even though he is unarmed. Suddenly, Chopper speeds past Orrelios and the Imperials, taking them all by surprise. The Unwinder comes barreling in Chopper's wake, heading right toward the troopers. Chopper then circles back for his comrade, and tells him to get a move on. The two successfully escape as the Unwinder tosses and smashes the Imperial soldiers around.
Later, aboard the Ghost, Orrelios and Chopper are in the crew area, along with Rex. Sitting on the bench's edge, the Lasat tells his tale to Rex, who laughs in delight. Smiling at Chopper with genuine affection, Orrelios still remarks he only wishes they could have gotten that data they were after. Hera Syndulla then appears, revealing that Chopper did upload the Imperial codes as soon as the two Rebels got back. In fact, they could have left the battledome before any of their mishaps occurred. Once again, Orrelios growls at Chopper in wide-eyed exasperation.
"Always Bet on Chop" features gladiator droids, which made their canon debut in "Nomad Droids," the sixth episode of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series' fourth season, but whose origins can be traced to the 1979 Legends novel Han Solo at Stars' End. The comic also features the first canon depiction of a Verpine, a species originally created for Strike Force: Shantipole and retconed into Star Wars (1977) 7, the seventh issue of Marvel Comics' earlier Legends Star Wars comic series in 1977. With its arms ending in mechanical claws, The Unwinder resembles the grapple droideka that appeared in the Legends video game Star Wars: Episode I Jedi Power Battles.
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Notes and references
- "Always Bet on Chop" takes place during the events of Star Wars Rebels, and according to The Star Wars Book it ended in the same year as the Battle of Yavin, or 0 BBY. As "Always Bet on Chop" includes Rex, it can be deduced that it must take place after the events of "The Lost Commanders". Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle! states that Rex was born thirty-two years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places in 0 BBY. Therefore, Rex must have been born in 32 BBY. As it also states that Rex is 28 during "The Lost Commanders", this episode must take place in 4 BBY, and "Always Bet on Chop" takes place some time later.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Nomad Droids"
- Han Solo at Stars' End
- Star Wars (1977) 7
- Star Wars: Episode I Jedi Power Battles