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An anthology comic book series in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Star Wars Tales was one of several series released to cash in on the release of The Phantom Menace. It ran for about five years and told the stories of characters from the films, existing Expanded Universe material or completely new protagonists. Stories could focus on any number of ideas - some were serious and dramatic while others in the same issue could be straight-up comedies or parodies; some were action-oriented while others relied on mystery and suspense. In short, there was something for just about every Star Wars fan to enjoy.
The canonicity of the series is disputed. The first twenty issues were officially classified as "Infinities" stories, meaning they were completely non-canonical, although some characters, concepts and stories appearing in these issues have been referenced in other EU works. The last five issues of the series, published after long-time editor Dave Land stepped down, are canonical so long as they don't conflict with established ideas.
Notable stories include:
- Indiana Jones discovering the remains of Han Solo after his death in crash landing on Earth.
- Darth Vader and a resurrected Darth Maul fighting to the death to decide who is more worthy to be Palpatine's apprentice.
- Darth Vader hunting and slaying the Dark Woman.
- Darth Vader finding C-3PO's parts on Bespin.
- A multi-part story featuring Badass Normal mercenary Darca Nyl hunting down the Dark Jedi who murdered his son (Nyl later showed up in the Rebellion comics).
- Actor Allusion: The famous Indiana Jones discovers Han Solo's skeleton story.
- Badass Normal: Darca Nyl. He has no sensitivity to the Force but he can wield a lightsabre convincingly enough to make people think he's an actual Jedi Knight.
- Body Horror: The transformation of Awarru Tark/Stauz Czycz in the final stage of his duel with Darth Vader.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Very much the case in Life, Death and the Living Force, an early story featuring Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome
- Crowning Moment of Funny: Between the humorous stories and the off-panel adventures of the comic staff, there are many to be had.
- Canon Dis Continuity: Some elements of the series are Canon Dis Continuity while others are considered canon so long as they don't directly contradict the films or other, higher-level canon stories.
- Evil Is Petty: A story about Leia's childhood suggests that Tarkin was driven to destroy Alderaan out of being a frequent victim of water ballon attacks by the young princess. "Soon, soon."
- Eviler Than Thou: During their fight, Maul boasts that he can easily defeat Vader because his hate is stronger. When Vader defeats him he demands to know what Vader could possibly hate enough to muster the strength to win. Vader's answer: "Myself."
- Fan Service: Vader vs. Maul is essentially this (of the non-sexual variety).
- Heroic Sacrifice: Skippy the Jedi Droid in a story written by Peter David.
- Hey, It's That Guy!
- High Octane Nightmare Fuel: Moment of Doubt qualifies for some fans.
- Kansas City Shuffle: In the story Routine, Han Solo outsmarts an Imperial captain by misleading him into thinking he is smuggling contraband. It turns out he's actually smuggling the spaceships.
- Never Mess with Granny: the Dark Woman manages to give Darth Vader a run for his money despite her advanced age.
- No Name Given: The sharp-shooting rock miner protagonist of Incident at Horn Station (who turns out to be a Jedi knight) is never named. Subsequent stories were meant to reveal his identity but they never materialised.
- Not So Different: After defeating an assassin who transformed himself into a monstrous killing machine for the sake of avenging himself against the Empire, Darth Vader wonders if they were that different after all.
- Only Sane Man: George R. Binks, father of Jar Jar, in the non-canon story that features them stranded on a desert island.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The heroes of Three Against the Galaxy, who were later declared canonical but haven't been seen since that story. Then again, the ending suggests that this might be the point.