Just in time for Halloween, StarWars.com released concept art and new details surrounding the villains set to appear in the upcoming Star Wars: High Republic series of novels and comic books, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll break down the interview and share the backstories and plot details around two villains the article mentioned: the Nihil and the Drengir.
In an interview with StarWars.com, Lucasfilm Publishing creative director Michael Siglain spoke about the desire to create villains who would truly scare the Jedi, even at the peak of their Order’s power and strength throughout the galaxy. “All five authors, as well as the Story Group and Publishing teams, had thoughts on what would scare them — and why — but everyone agreed that had to be something new,” he said. This isn’t a familiar story of Sith versus Jedi or even Clone versus Droid. These new villains sound like they will push the Jedi to limits of their abilities and may threaten the galaxy in a way we haven’t seen before, especially because the High Republic takes place during an era of peace and prosperity with the Galactic Republic at its height.
The High Republic, set 200 years before the Skywalker saga, kickstarts with an event known “The Great Disaster” which sees starships across the galaxy launched out of hyperspace. While details surrounding the event remain scarce, it will in some way involve the brutal and nightmarish warriors known as ‘The Nihil’ who can appear anywhere at anytime. According to Charles Soule, author of Light of the Jedi, “They use bizarre, intimidating tactics — chemical weapons, poison — anything that might kill you, they’ll use.”
Space pirates, bounty hunters and sects of bloodthirsty marauders are no strangers to the Star Wars universe, with groups like the Death Watch, the Crimson Dawn, and Black Sun coming to mind, but the Nihil are unique in the way they use hyperspace that’s incredibly deadly and effective, especially in the wake of the Great Disaster they most likely engineered. What makes the Nihil even more intimidating is their power structure and strict adherence to a code of honor, if you could call it that. “The Nihil take what they want. If you stand in their way, they will kill you and everyone you love. But even chaos agents can have goals…and the Nihil’s plans run directly through both the Republic and the Jedi Order,” says Soule.
The warriors are organized into the three divisions called Tempests, each with their own captain who wields complete control. One of the faces of the Nihil is Marchion Ro, the Eye of the Nihil who Soule promises fans will love to hate. While Marchion Ro doesn’t give the orders in the Nihil’s organization, events revolve around him. According to Soule, “He is also, in every sense, a bad guy. And it’s been fantastic building someone around which to focus the darker elements of our High Republic story.”
But the chaotic and unyielding Nihil aren’t the only villains the Jedi face in the wake of the Great Disaster. The Drengir are terrifying amorphous beings covered in tentacles who are unlike any monsters we’ve seen before.
“As the Jedi struggle to deal with the aftermath of the Great Disaster, a new creeping terror rises from the ground beneath their feet. The Drengir are sentient plant-life who are looking to reap a terrible harvest across the galactic frontier,” says Cavan Scott, writer of Marvel’s upcoming The High Republic series.
Star Wars concept artist Iain McCaig sketched monsters during the early development of the High Republic and a creature covered in vines caught Scott’s attention. He began outlining the plant-like Drengir and their culture and background, while drawing on his knowledge of how real plants communicated with each other. These sinister and creepy monsters are linked to fate of one of the High Republic Jedi, but their motivations and and role in the story are still a mystery.
So there you have it–plant monsters and anarchistic marauders are about to make their grand entrance into the Star Wars universe. There’s a lot of hype surrounding the High Republic and these baddies, and we’re being told that this publishing event is like nothing we’ve seen before. What do you think of the villains mentioned above? Are you excited for Star Wars: The High Republic? Let me know in the comments, and as always, stay nerdy!