Marvel’s latest Star Wars previews reveal the Empire is about to face the specter of a threat from the High Republic Era. The main Star Wars saga has come to an end, and the various tie-ins are beginning to redefine the franchise once again. Center-stage is a transmedia initiative that will explore the High Republic Era, some 200 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
But, because this is Star Wars, tie-ins have been setting up the High Republic for quite some time now. In Charles Soule’s The Rise of Kylo Ren #2, a flashback saw Lor San Tekka take Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and his apprentice Ben solo to a Jedi outpost established on the planet Elphrona during the High Republic Era. The current Doctor Aphra series has seen the titular archaeologist explore the ruins of a civilization wiped out during that time period as well, and it’s even introduced starships and freighters from the High Republic.
Lucasfilm has just revealed an excerpt from Star Wars #7, by writer Charles Soule and artist Ramon Rosanas, due out on October 7. It seems this issue stars Tarkin’s protégé, a woman named Zahra, and she’ll be sent to deal with a threat to the Empire reminiscent of the Nihil – the mysterious race who will apparently be the villains of the High Republic transmedia initiative.
It seems the Empire has a new threat, a warlord named Burnium Ro. According to Grand Moff Tarkin, he is “utilizing rhetoric and imagery associated with an obsolete criminal organization known as the Nihil.” Previously described as “Space Vikings,” the Nihil were brutal thieves whose motto was “you can’t take it with you but we can take it from you.” There’s been some speculation they were responsible for the destruction of the Starlight Beacon, a massive facility established by the Old Republic to help navigate the chaotic hyperlanes of the Outer Rim. If so, it’s no surprise the Empire is concerned about a potential Nihil resurgence, especially close to the Unknown Regions, which Palpatine was keen to explore.
The “High Republic” initiative was sadly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Lucasfilm Publishing has gradually got things back on track. It’s exciting to see the Star Wars comics begin to set it up, and presumably, Star Wars #7 will drop some tantalizing hints that will soon be explored. The interesting question is whether Burnium Ro is just a once-and-done villain, or whether the Nihil will become a threat in the Imperial era as well, giving the comics a different angle to the traditional Empire-versus-Rebellion dynamic. We’ll hopefully find out on October 7.
More: Star Wars: The High Republic’s New Jedi Debut in First Comic Preview
Source: Star Wars