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Star Wars 50: The Crimson Forever is the fiftieth issue of the Legends comic book series Star Wars. It was written by Archie Goodwin, illustrated by Tom Palmer, Walt Simonson, and Al Williamson, and published on May 19, 1981 by Marvel Comics. In celebration of Marvel Comics' 80th anniversary, a facsimile edition of Star Wars 50 was published on May 1, 2019, and the story was continued in Star Wars 108: Forever Crimson.

Publisher's summaryEdit

What is the Crimson Fever [sic] and why is it so deadly that it forces Luke and the others to stop their pursuit of the captured Han in order to stop it?

Plot summaryEdit

Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca pilot the Millennium Falcon from the site of a new Imperial base with TIE fighters in hot pursuit when a Rebel Blockade Runner fires into the TIEs' midst. Leia is on board the Runner, and compels Lando and Chewbacca to abandon their current search for carbonite-frozen Han Solo in light of a greater threat to the Rebel Alliance.

At a former mining colony commandeered as the new Rebel base on volcanic planet Golrath, Leia shows Lando and Chewbacca that 2-1B is operating on a comatose Luke Skywalker, whose only visible change is the crimson pallor of his eyes. On a routine X-wing patrol flight, Luke and his squadron came across a derelict Imperial Star Destroyer with all its personnel dead and turned crimson-skinned. Luke and the other pilots caught the unknown virus as well and were promptly quarantined after returning to base. The others died, but Luke remains only in suspended animation through his affinity with the Force.

Leia remembers a story Han once told her about his and Chewbacca's mission on the edge of the galaxy that involved two red jewels; one such jewel was found out of its canister on the Star Destroyer. Chewbacca hesitates at first, but eventually relates (with C-3PO translating) how he and Han were shanghaied aboard a pirate ship and transported to the Red Nebula. With a crew of pirates and mercenaries, Han pilots the ship safely through the asteroid field that separates the Red Nebula from the rest of the galaxy. Upon landing on a planet orbiting a single sun, Han, Chewbacca, and several mercenaries descend on a temple to remove two red jewels with worth beyond calculating, according to the ship's captain as well as an exile named Klysk.

Upon arrival at the temple, three of the mercenaries encounter the priest and the temple's twelve-foot-tall shaggy guardian. In this distraction, Han reaches for the jewels himself, but the guardian reaches for Chewbacca instead, perceiving a childlike version of herself in the Wookiee. Han returns to Klysk with the jewels, but Klysk takes them and strands Solo on the planet, dooming it in the priest's belief to their destruction by the Red Nebula. The jewels were believed to protect the planet from cosmic forces, and after Klysk pilots his ship into the sun, the priest believes them doomed. Solo then confesses that he replaced the jewels with rocks before he gave them to Klysk; however, one of Klysk's crew tried to make off with a single jewel, and he's found dead with crimson skin -- the first known sighting of what the Alliance came to call the Crimson Forever. Han and Chewbacca are provided with a ship to leave the planet, and Chewbacca's story ends.

Back in the present, Lando, Leia, and Chewbacca pilot the Millennium Falcon into the Red Nebula and find a battle-scarred House of Tagge mining explorer. The then-head of the House, Domina Tagge, explains to a captive Lando and Leia how she hired bounty hunters Bossk, Dengar, IG-88, and Zuckuss to help her find a power that would destroy the Empire and the Alliance in vengeance for her brother Orman Tagge's death at the hands of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The other jewel is on board the ship, but the whole area has been quarantined because the longer both jewels remain separate, the more organic lifeforms are affected by them. The Star Destroyer that Luke's patrol encountered had intercepted the Tagge explorer and confiscated one of the jewels.

After Lando and Leia escape, Domina plays the last card she has; by having the droid IG-88 reunite the two jewels, the effects of the Crimson Forever are reversed for Luke Skywalker. The jewels themselves are dispatched out of the galaxy, and Domina Tagge and the bounty hunters are given transport away from the Star Destroyer. In the last panel, Lando says he told the bounty hunters that Domina Tagge is wanted by the Empire for the destruction of a crew on one of their ships-of-the-line, and suggested that the Empire might offer a substantial reward for her. "They seemed quite interested."

DevelopmentEdit

In celebration of Marvel Comics' 80th anniversary, a facsimile edition of Star Wars 50 was published on May 1, 2019.[3] Additionally, the story was continued in Star Wars 108: Forever Crimson, which was published on May 29, 2019.[4]

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