One interesting element of the new Star Wars project are the villains. The High Republic‘s creative team seem to be making a concerted effort to move away from the whole Jedi vs. Sith dichotomy and try something new. As explained in the teaser trailer, we’ll see the Jedi struggling to contain the “Nihil,” who are described as “space Vikings.” But who are these guys?
Well, we got our first glimpse at them on the cover art (seen below) for the Marvel comic The High Republic #1. Here we see a Dathomirian and a Twi’lek decked out in some weird looking cybernetic helmets and armor. The fact that we see multiple species indicates that the Nihil may be more of a creed, perhaps working from a philosophy opposed to the Jedi. In addition, their heavy weaponry suggests they’re not Force-sensitive. But one clue as to what their deal is may come in their name.
Fans immediately linked the “Nihil” to Darth Nihilus, who appeared in the 2004 Obsidian RPG Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Darth Nihilus became a kind of “Force vampire,” feeding upon Force energy in order to satisfy his ravenous hunger. Though the Knights of the Old Republic takes place thousands of years before The High Republic, it’s possible that legends of him may have influenced the Nihil’s philosophy. Plus, we know that some kind of Knights of the Old Republic project is being worked on at Lucasfilm. Or, maybe both creative teams are simply deriving the same sort of idea from the word ‘nihilism’?
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Whatever the case, my bet is that the Nihil are a group who would be quite happy if space remained dangerous and uncharted. Perhaps the Jedi will aim to be a civilizing and orderly presence to the galaxy, unaware their good intentions could be seen as a form of galactic colonization?
We’ll have to wait and see, but it’d certainly be nice to get some Star Wars stories about conflicting political stances rather than the straightforward good vs. evil stories we see in the original and sequel trilogies. Don’t you think?