Marvel’s Next Star Wars Battle Could Rip the Galaxy Apart | CBR

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WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows #1-2,;Cavan Scott’s Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm; Daniel José Older’s Star Wars: The High Republic: The Race to Crashpoint Tower;  Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance, Vol. 1; and Star Wars: Life Day #1, on sale now.

The Star Wars franchise is no stranger to underworld wars. Most recently, the Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event featured multiple factions fighting over possession of Han Solo when he was frozen in carbonite. The Star Wars: The High Republic sub-series may be headed toward a similar underworld war hundreds of years before the fight for Han Solo. However, instead of fighting over one Rebellion hero, the underworld of the High Republic era might be fighting over biological weapons that could wreak havoc on the galaxy and shift the balance of power away from the Republic and the Jedi, and toward the underworld itself.

Throughout the second wave of the Star Wars: The High Republic series, the Nihil have been testing the Great Leveler, a beast that is particularly deadly to Jedi. In particular, in Cavan Scott’s Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm, the Great Leveler uses psychic attacks through the Force to induce terror in its victims, turning Loden Greatstorm into ash and leaving Padawan Bell Zettifar traumatized.

The Jedi themselves are in the dark about the creature. Jedi Knight Emerick Caphtor takes on the investigation in the first issue of Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows #1 by Daniel José Older, David Wachter, Giada Marchisio, VC’s Joe Sabino, Carlos Lao, David López, Tom Groneman, Danny Khazem, Mark Paniccia and C. B. Cebulski. While he learns that the Jedi have a nursery rhyme that may refer to the creature, he does not learn the Great Leveler’s full identity.

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Emerick joins private detective Sian Holt’s investigation of the death of her former business partner in Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows #2 by by Daniel José Older, David Wachter, Giada Marchisio, VC’s Joe Sabino, Carlos Lao, David López, Tom Groneman, Danny Khazem, Mark Paniccia and C. B. Cebulski. Chancellor Lina Soh believes Emerick and Sian’s cases are related. Their investigation leads them to a Nihil agent attempting to sell a mysterious weapon to the highest bidder. This Nihil agent is unnamed in the issue, but he most likely is Kisma Uttersond, the Nihil’s dark scientist who helped Marchion Ro free the Great Leveler from its icy prison.

Uttersond’s possible presence seems to indicate that the weapon in question that the Nihil are trying to sell is the Great Leveler, the Leveler may be a red herring since it is unlikely that the Nihil would sacrifice their advantage. Instead, there is evidence that the Nihil have been bioengineering Drengir, a carnivorous plant species who devastated the Outer Rim in the first wave of the Star Wars: The High Republic subseries. The Nihil and the Drengir formed a brief alliance in Daniel José Older’s Star Wars: The High Republic: The Race to Crashpoint Tower, and that alliance might have allowed the Nihil to gather some Drengir as test subjects for their nefarious plots.

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There already is evidence for these possible experiments in the series thus far. Lily Tora-Asi and her fellow Jedi fought some possibly altered Drengir in Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance Vol. 1 by Shima Shinya, Justina Ireland, Mizuki Sakakibara, Nezu Usugumo, Mayuko Hirao, Jimmy Presler, Justin Hoeger and Fawn Lau.

These Drengir are particularly interesting because they turn their victims into wood, similar to how the Great Leveler turns its main Jedi victims to stone. At the end of the volume, Mr. Zaret, one of the colonists, is revealed to the audience to be a Nihil spy, which lends some credence to the possibility that the Nihil are bioengineering the Drengir, and they possibly are using the Great Leveler’s DNA as a part of their experiments.

Another possible case of Drengir bioengineering occurs in Marvel’s Star Wars: Life Day #1, particularly in the short story “Deck the Halls” by Justina Ireland, Georges Jeanty, Victor Olazaba, Pete Pantazis and VC’s Ariana Maher. In the short, Kashyyyk is besieged by Life Day decorations that seem to be related to the Drengir. While the culprit behind these decorations is unknown, the decorations show that the Nihil are possibly seeding the Outer Rim, possibly even the galaxy, with these Drengir variants.

In the Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows miniseries, the Nihil already have multiple interested parties in the weapons that they are selling. Whether these weapons are the Drengir or the Great Leveler, they would have a devastating effect on the galaxy if they got into the wrong hands. Emerick and Sian may have to wade through underworld politics to learn more about these weapons and the Great Leveler as well; if they do not prevent the weapons sale, the Republic may plunge into yet another underworld war that could tear the galaxy apart.

KEEP READING: Star Wars Revealed Why Darth Vader Is So Strong – He ‘Absorbed’ Other Jedi

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