Star Wars 80: Ellie is the eightieth issue in Marvel's Star Wars series of comics.
The search for Tay Vanis ends! C3PO [sic] finds true love at last—but there's a tragic twist! "Lady" written by Jo Duffy, pencilled by Ron Frenz and inked by Tom Palmer, is the untold tale that takes place right before THE RETURN OF THE JEDI.
The search for Tay Vanis continues. On an unidentified planet that has been depopulated by the Empire, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and C-3PO have landed on the world in the Millennium Falcon posing as moisture processor traders. The last message from Vanis had led them directly to the dead world, but their search had gone cold. The Rebels decide to ask the hangar bay manifest droid, LE-914 to search for Tay Vanis in her database. However, the search triggers an alarm in the computer, sending a detachment of stormtroopers to capture the Rebels. During a firefight, LE-914 is able to save C-3PO from being destroyed by stepping in front of a blaster shot, absorbing the energy from the blaster bolt. Skywalker and Organa are able to fight off the Imperial troopers, and the group escapes with "Ellie" back to the Millennium Falcon. LE-914 tells the Rebels Vanis' last location, at a castle on the planet. However, on their way, they spy Vanis' crashed X-wing starfighter. Skywalker searches the wreckage and finds a holographic recording from Vanis. The Rebel pilot begins to tell his story of how he was fleeing from Darth Vader and had left the datatapes regarding the Empire's secret weapon with his droid, LE-914. Vanis states that the droid had been ordered to destroy the datatapes if no Rebels had found them in two days.
The Rebels are shocked that they had the tapes with them all along. Especially since the two days have obviously passed, and the tapes have likely been destroyed. However, during the playing of the message, "Ellie" has disappeared. Although puzzled that the droid and the tapes have gone missing, the Rebels decide to go on to the castle and find Vanis. After infiltrating the building, the Rebels overhear an Imperial officer informing his friend of the campaign against the people on the planet, eventually eliminating them all. As the two friends split up, Skywalker takes the Imperial officer hostage, demanding that he bring them to Vanis. The officer claims that there is information on Vanis in a locked room, and he uses his keycard to open it. The opening of the door triggers a hologram of Darth Vader. As the Rebels stare in awe of the Dark Lord, the Imperial officer is able to grab Leia's blaster. However, Leia is able to grab Luke's blaster, killing the Imperial.
Vader's hologram begins to speak, telling Skywalker that he knew he would come, using the Force. Vader had captured Vanis some time ago, having kept him in the castle, concealing his location from everyone but his troops in the facility. Vader had led the Rebels on a fruitless quest in order to keep them out of the way. At the same time, he had kept several of his more ambitious officers out of the way searching for the same man. Although Vader's plan to keep the Rebels out of the way and harmless has succeeded, he gives the Rebels the contents of the locked room. Inside is Tay Vanis, tortured by Vader and left in a persistent vegetative state. Distraught over Vanis' condition, Skywalker claims that they should bring him back to the Alliance Fleet, hoping that they can do something to save him. However, at just this moment, LE-914 appears once again. "Ellie" claims that they cannot take Vanis with them, as the Imperials are on the way, and there is no time, especially since LE-914 claims that saving his life while he is in this state would not be a kindness. Before the Rebels are to depart, "Ellie" gives them the datatapes. She had kept them intact despite Vanis' orders to destroy them, since she had believed rightly that the Rebels would eventually come along. As the Rebels watch, LE-914 goes to her master, embracing him and self-destructing, killing the both of them. Skywalker and Organa are depressed over their friend's death, and they begin to leave. However, Skywalker decides that Vanis and LE-914 deserve a monument, and he goes to the castle's power station, setting the building to self-destruct. The castle explodes as the Rebels make their way back to the Millennium Falcon, and Skywalker contacts Admiral Ackbar to tell the Rebel commander that Vanis was gone before they had arrived but that they had obtained the tapes. In the last shot of the comic, a close-up is given of C-3PO who stares at the wreckage of the castle as the rain falls upon his metal frame, giving the illusion of 3PO weeping…perhaps reflecting his own personal feelings.
This is the final comic in the Tay Vanis arc that began in Star Wars (1977) 73. This is also the first mention of Admiral Ackbar in Marvel's Star Wars. This is the final issue taking place before Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, as the next comic, Star Wars 81, takes place following the film.
Originally, Ellie was entitled Lady and was intended to appear in the previous issue, but it was pushed back when Hoth Stuff! was published in issue 78. This issue was originally scheduled to feature Jawas of Doom, which appeared in the next issue.
In this issue Luke has and uses a lightsaber, despite having lost his in The Empire Strikes Back. The same is also true of issues 45, 49 and 51 of this series. Issues 51 and 59 show a hilt that resembles that of his first lightsaber, while the art in this issue shows what might be his second lightsaber, although the blade color is a very light red instead of blue or green.
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Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
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