For other uses, see Nihil (disambiguation).
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Pan Eyta: "Who are we?"
Nihil: "THE NIHIL!"
Lourna Dee: "What do we ride?"
Nihil: "THE STORM!"
Kassav Milliko: "Who guides us?"
Nihil: "THE EYE!"
―Tempest Runners Pan Eyta, Lourna Dee, and Kassav Milliko rally the assembled ranks of the Nihil[src]

The Nihil were anarchistic marauders from the fringes of the Outer Rim Territories who raided planets on the Galactic Frontier, coming to prominence during the High Republic Era. The Nihil saw themselves as a counterculture to the expanding Galactic Republic, who they believed they were encroaching on Nihil territory as well as robbing people of their freedom.

The Nihil began as a small pirate group operating out of Thull's Shroud, near Belsavis, who were at one point, approached by Asgar Ro with the offer of the Path engine, a device which he promised would allow them incredible mobility through hyperspace. Following this, Ro became the Eye of the Nihil where he eventually was murdered, and his son Marchion succeeded him.

In the aftermath of the Great Hyperspace Disaster, the Nihill began to defend their way of life from the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order. The Nihil as a result caused havoc throughout the Republic Frontier, such as an attack on Trymant IV and the torching of the planet Nelgenam and were believed to have helped seed the carnvirious Drengir species along the Galactic Frontier, causing thousands of deaths. The Republic and Jedi eventually forced the Nihil to scatter.

The Nihil were obsolete by the time of the Galactic Empire, though rhetoric and imagery associated with the marauders survived, as did their technology, such as the design of the Path engine.


"This man Ro is utilizing rhetoric and imagery associated with an obsolete criminal organization known as the Nihil."
―Wilhuff Tarkin[src]


"The Nihil don't make excuses."

The Nihil were a criminal organization[9] of anarchistic marauders[1] based in the Outer Rim Territories. The Nihil operated by a code of taking what they wanted and killing those that stood in their way.[10] They viewed themselves as a sort of counterculture that opposed the expanding Galactic Republic, who they believed were encroaching on Nihil territory as well as robbing people of their freedom. After receiving access to the Paths from the Ro family, they adopted the Rule of Three to divide the proceeds of their raids, with the Eye of the Nihil receiving shares from raids that utilized the Paths. They saw themselves as riders of a "storm," and to that end used weather-related terminology in their structure and ranks, as well as a symbol of three lightning bolts. Indeed, their name alone was like a plague or hunting creature, spreading across the Outer Rim in a way that could not be fought or escaped.[2]

Above all, the Nihil sought to take whatever they wanted and destroy whatever they could not own. As such, they would preform various criminals actions, including acting as thieves, raiders, kidnappers, and murderers, and worked anywhere they could; the Nihil undertook operations in realspace and on planets, working anywhere from within wilderness to in cities. Additionally, to the people of the Outer Rim, it seemed that the marauders moved like they were spirits and killed like they were demons, with these victims being left to question whether the Nihil were monsters or a group that merely acted with the savagery one would expect from such a beast. Hiding their faces behind masks, the Nihil actively wanted the galaxy to see them as monsters.[2] Their rhetoric and imagery outlived the organization's prominence.[9]


The Nihil operated from a location known as No-Space, which contained the Great Hall of the Nihil. The group was divided into three Tempests, each led by a Tempest Runner[2] who wielded sole control over the unit.[10] Below the Runners were the Storms, Clouds, and finally the Strikes. Promotion was driven by recruitment and reputation: Strikes brought new blood into the Nihil, and when they had enough recruits under them, they became Clouds; Clouds could become Storms if they gained a strong enough reputation.[2]

Alongside the Tempest Runners was the Eye of the Nihil, a position created after Asgar Ro gave the Nihil access to the hyperspace Paths. In votes with the Tempest Runners, the Eye had a double vote, and was considered the symbolic head of the organization. However, they did not give orders. This changed[2] around 232 BBY[3] after the Battle of Kur, when Marchion Ro united all of the Nihil under his rule with the promise of expanding their operations throughout the galaxy and defending their way of life from the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order.[2]

Technology and tactics[]

"I've read Old Republic records of Nihil ships doing impossible things with lightspeed. Jumping in close to planets…blinking across battlefields almost instantaneously…it was like magic."
―Chelli Aphra[src]

The Nihils' Path Engines enabled them to seemingly appear anywhere.

Utilizing bizarre and intimidating tactics that included chemical weapons and poison, the Nihil could seemingly, at will,[10] appear from nothing anywhere and at anytime; that was thanks to the Path engines, which, when attached to a starship's regular engines, allowed the ship to travel through hyperspace in a manner unlike anyone else in the galaxy. In fact, the way they traveled through hyperspace was thought to be impossible by the Republic. To the Jedi Master Avar Kriss, the path engines appeared to be unnatural; she felt that—for lack of a better term—hyperspace was "sick" during the Great Hyperspace Disaster caused by a Nihil path engine-equipped craft. She had sensed that something had gone wrong, noting that the disaster should never have happened.[2]

One of the gas attacks the marauders employed was firing white canisters of a blue-grey gas. Thick and dense like a storm cloud, the war cloud gas was lethal and instantly filled the air with a poison that made breathing feel like fire. The marauders also held the ability to shield their ships behind a stormcloud-like effect upon entering a star system; within the blue-grey cover, their ships remained hidden from sight and sensors, though their lights could be seen through the dense swirl of vapor. It also served to intimidate their foes and enabled the Nihil to suddenly fire weapons. However, that had the chance of causing enough light to allow foes to see into the storm and know what ships were attacking. Nevertheless, the Nihil had the chance to fire quickly from cover before launching ships out once their cover was blown.[2]

Nihil ships could also fire blasts that held ion cannon-like abilities, completely shutting down ships that were impacted by the blasts. These blasts looked as though they were lightning strikes and held a huge amount of energy. Although deflector shields could hold back the lightning-like blasts for a time, the strikes would deal major hits to that starship's shielding. To those not in the Nihil, their craft generally appeared ugly; many Nihil ships were blocky ships with spikes, seemingly placed with no pattern in mind, protruding out. To Chief Executive Officer Larence Garello, the ships looked as though they were purposely made for destruction, specifically as if they were to made to beat enemies to death. For a Nihil raid, typically most of the force was made up of small starships, those designed for one or two pilots, while larger ships came in lesser numbers, while the Tempest Runner's flagship—the largest ship in the raid—could be placed in the center of the force.[2]

Members of the Nihil

The marauders utilized various type of starships, including battleships[11] and warships. The ships were divided into three types; Stormships, Cloudships, and Strikeships. Each of the Tempest Runners also had a corvette-sized flagship.[2] At Trymant IV, the Nihil used a large starship with spider-like appendages.[12] No matter their classification, all Nihil starships were painted with the group's symbol as if it was war paint, making it, other than the path engines, the only thing showcasing they served the same force. Despite the loner attitude they kept, the group had extensive contacts, including prominent Republic officials such as chief aide Jeni Wataro, throughout the galaxy and participated in mainstream activities, such as viewing operas in Pan Eyta's case. When the group would participated in a raid, a third of the bounty would go to the the Eye if the raid used the Paths but the rest would go to their secret bank accounts, known as their black accounts.[2]

Nihil often recruited new members from people who felt disenfranchised and forgotten by the Republic.[2] Members of the Nihil, who were individuals of numerous species, wore heavy masks and helmets that often featured tubing, and were equipped with various weapons and pieces of armor.[13] The masks' purpose was both symbolic and practical: they gave the pirates an intimidating appearance, while protecting their identities and themselves from the poisonous gases they frequently unleashed in battle.[2] Nihil pirates Gwishi and Klinith Da both utilized blasters, while Klinith also carried knives.[14]



The Nihil paths came from Mari San Tekka, who was held captive by the Ro family.

The marauder group known as the Nihil began as a small pirate group operating out of Thull's Shroud, near Belsavis.[2] Sometime during the High Republic Era, a time period approximately between 300 BBY and 82 BBY,[15] they were approached by Asgar Ro, who offered them the use of the Path engine, a device which he promised would allow them incredible mobility through hyperspace. Ro subsequently became the Eye of the Nihil, sole granter of the Paths the engines traveled through hyperspace. Unbeknownst to the Nihil, the source of the Paths was the hyperspace prospector Mari San Tekka, who was kept alive in a medical pod after having been captured by the Ro family some time prior. Eventually, Asgar was murdered, and his son Marchion succeeded him as Eye of the Nihil. The three Tempest Runners at this time were Lourna Dee, Kassav Milliko, and Pan Eyta; Marchion suspected one of them murdered his father.[2]

By around 232 BBY,[3] Ro had plans to strike against the expanding Galactic Republic, for reasons connected to his family history. Furthermore, he also detested the Republic and believed, in order to fight the expanding government, he needed to reform the pirates.[2] Between 233 BBY and 232 BBY,[3] the Nihil began to grow in prominence in the Outer Rim; merely a year before the Great Hyperspace Disaster, individuals like CEO Larence Garello and his employees had never heard of the pirates, only for their name&mdadh;which spread as if it uttering the word was talismanic—and actions to spread quickly, yet their origins remained shrouded in mystery. In effect, for all the tales of savagery the people of the Outer Rim heard about the Nihil, more remained unknown about the organization than what was public knowledge.[2]

To these civilians, the most important thing to remember was that the Nihil took whatever they wanted and destroyed what they could not take. Even though some stories of an individual surviving a Nihil encounter would sometimes be spread around, there were no such stories of people fighting the pirates away.[2]

Agents of chaos[]

Causing a great disaster[]

"If I had to guess, she's worried this was some kind of attack. I know it's unlikely, but it's not impossible. Enemies don't usually announce their intentions to hit you ahead of time."
―Pevel Kronara discusses Supreme Chancellor Lina Soh's reaction to the Great Disaster[src]

Marchion Ro had plans to use the Nihil against the Republic.

To continue his plans, Ro arranged for a Nihil Stormship to be sent on a Path which intercepted with a hyperspace lane—something the Republic thought was impossible to do—in the Outer Rim near the Hetzal system. Encountering the Nihil ship at Hetzal's transit point, the freighter Legacy Run—detecting the ship in their path with only ten seconds until a possible impact—was torn apart attempting to avoid a collision. Thus began the Great Hyperspace Disaster; many of the starship's fragments exited hyperspace and began to rain upon the Hetzal system. Hoping to rescue as many people as possible, a joint-Republic Defense Coalition-Jedi Order effort was launched from Starlight Beacon to the star system, yet the Republic remained unaware of what had caused the event. While some feared the crisis could be an attack, Republic Admiral Pevel Kronara felt that was unlikely, knowing enemies did not normally broadcast intentions to attack before a conflict.[2]

Several of the fragments of the Legacy Run that rained up the system still contained living passages, while another held liquid Tibanna. Towards the end of the disaster, the Jedi needed to band together to ensure that container did not collide with an R-class star and destroy the system; their success was broadcast to various worlds by technician Keven Tarr, with only those who hated the Jedi being upset by the disaster's outcome. However, the salvation of the Hetzal system did not mark the end of the Legacy Run crisis; remaining fragments of the starship still traveling in hyperspace came to exit into other Outer Rim systems, resulting in the Emergences. The First Emergence occurred in the Ab Dalis system, where only one of seven fragments hit the planet Ab Dalis. That single impact resulted in twenty million deaths. Even though Ro was the only member of the Nihil to know they were responsible for the Great Hyperspace Disaster and these Emergences, the Nihil nevertheless took advantage of the crisis in the Ab Dalis system.[2]

Under the command of one of the Nihil fleet's warships, which was the largest ship in the attack force, the Nihil chose to enter the system. As a six freighter convoy—containing the entire workforce of Garello Technologies and many of its resources—traveled away from Ab Dalis to the outer edge of the system, the massive force of Nihil ships arrived in the system, and their craft were covered by a massive storm-like effect. Unable to scan anything in the storm, the convoy's captain—a Shistavanen employee named Odabba—nevertheless ordered all craft to moved around it just in case, but the Nihil suddenly opened fire, shutting down in the freighter Maree's Diligence before the other convoy ships raised their deflector shields. Nevertheless, the freighters were not designed for battle nor were they joined by guard fighters, giving the Nihil an advantage. Firing two more shots, the Nihil targeted another ship, which—due to its raised shields—was not crippled, yet it still took a major hit from the blasts. Additionally, the shots had given enough light to briefly illuminate the inside of the storm, revealing to the convoy that many ships were awaiting them.[2]

Firing a final blast as a signal, various Nihil ships of different classes suddenly flew out to attack the convoy. As their convoy tried to return fire, those aboard the freighters began to panic upon realizing it was the Nihil who were attacking, forcing Obadda to give a likely-futile retreat order back to Ab Dalis. As company CEO Larence Garello reflected on all he had heard about the Nihil, a large number of the Nihil attack ships focused upon the disabled Maree's Diligence, swirling around it before firing harpoon-like projectiles into the hull of the freighter. With each hook deep into the hull of the un-shielded ship that still had thousands of innocents aboard, each of these attack craft simultaneously turned to make their engines face the disabled freighter. Each of the vessels, still attached to the Maree's Diligence via the cables, then activated their engines, enabling them to rip the Maree's Diligence apart. Garello was wracked with guilt upon seeing the ship tear apart, remembering that he had asked his workers to bring their families with them off Ab Dalis, while Obadda tried to instill hope in his passengers to keep up the convoy's limited defense, having contacted the planet and claiming they simply needed time for aid to arrive.[2]

However, with the planet having been consumed by corruption and then hit by the Emergence, there was little hope of help coming against the Nihil. Then, the largest ship in the Nihil fleet again fired another "lightning" blast, deactivating the freighter it hit, just like the Maree's Diligence. However, as the Nihil surrounded the newly-deactivated craft, the ship exploded—theorized by Garello to be a reactor issue or a different error—and took many of the surrounding Nihil with it. Just as Garello felt a twinge of triumph at his employees taking some of the Nihil down, the Nihil fleet focused its attention on the flagship and began to board the vessel. As Garello and his employees tried to arm themselves, the Nihil smashed open the door to the bridge, which went flying and crushed a Klatooinian crewmember, before shooting three canisters of blue-grey gas into the bridge. With the canisters exploding before they even hit the floor, the Nihil entered the bridge with their masks on. Garello, just as he died from the gas, spotted the pirates and realized he had no hope of surviving the encounter.[2]

Spreading destruction[]

"This evacuation isn't for you. Good luck with the apocalypse though!"
―A Nihil, to Zeen Mrala and Krix Kamerat[src]

As the Republic Defense Coalition blockaded hyperspace routes in the Outer Rim to protect against the Emergences, which led to strife as worlds in the region suffered from a lack in supplies, members of the Nihil were involved in a raid on Elphrona and a battle against the Jedi Order in the Kur Nebula, in which Ro sacrificed Kassav's Tempest in an attempt to deflect attention away from the greater organization, hoping the Jedi would believe the Nihil were dealt with.[2] As fallout from the Great Disaster entered the Trymant system, the Nihil arrived above the planet Trymant IV in a large starship. Nihil landed in Bralanak City as burning debris descended on the city, evacuating select residents of the planet, including the Elders.[12]

Wishing to drive the Republic from the remote area near the edge of the Dalnan sector, the Nihil sent the pirates Gwishi and Klinith to sabotage the luxury liner Steady Wing as it departed the remote outpost of Port Haileap with an important Republic individual aboard. Arriving at Port Haileap on a stolen cargo hauler, the two impersonated mechanics, intending to incapacitate the real mechanics with ovax gas and damage the Steady Wing's escape pods to leave no survivors.[14] A number of Nihil raiders torched the paradise planet Nelgenam, causing the world to become a desolate wasteland and its famed library to fall into ruin.[16]


"The library was a depository of stories from across the galaxy, although it was thought destroyed by Nihil raiders centuries ago."

Around 82 BBY,[17] towards the end of the High Republic Era,[15] the Jedi Padawan Sean recalled the Nihil as an illicit organization that once invaded the Galactic Republic.[18]

By the year 0 BBY,[8] the Nihil had become obsolete. During the time of the Galactic Empire, the warlord Burnium Ro utilized rhetoric and imagery associated with the organization. As such, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin of the Empire sent his protégé, Lieutenant Commander Ellian Zahra, to destroy Ro and his operation.[9] Around 3 ABY,[19] Beol De'Rruyet of De'Rruyet Industries claimed to possess a Nihil path engine and have the ability to replicate it, which would subsequently unlock the ancient method of lightspeed travel. As the unveiling of such technology would have a significant effect on the galactic economy, Domina Tagge of the Tagge family intended to stop De'Rruyet, recruiting the rogue archaeologist Doctor Chelli Aphra to ascertain whether De'Rruyet's claims were true.[20]

Behind the scenes[]

"Our main villain are the group called the Nihil. We kind of like to refer to them as space Vikings."
"Their motto is 'You can't take it with you. But we can take it from you.'"
Jennifer Heddle and Michael Siglain describing the Nihil in the announcement trailer for Star Wars: The High Republic[src]

The Nihil were created for the Star Wars: The High Republic publishing project. The group was devised as a possible answer to the question of what would scare the Jedi, which was posed by High Republic writer Cavan Scott during an initial meeting.[1] The Nihil first received a mention in the comic story "The Lost Stories, Part 1," written by Scott and published in Star Wars Adventures (2017) 30 by IDW Publishing[16] on January 29, 2020.[21] During the official announcement panel for Star Wars: The High Republic, the Nihil were revealed to be connected to the project, and concept art for members of the group was shown.[1]

In the project's announcement trailer, the Nihil were described as "space Vikings."[22] The look of the Nihil was derived from art that was specifically developed for the initiative. Concepts from other Star Wars works such as Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens that explored individuals such as pirates and scavengers pointed toward a force that was uniform in its non-uniformity.[11]

In writing the Nihil, Charles Soule, author of the novel The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, wished to explore a villain that was truly frightening and lacked a loyalty to any ideology, unlike the majority of villains in Star Wars.[23] Justina Ireland, author of The High Republic: A Test of Courage, saw the Nihil and the havoc they wreaked in different parts of the galaxy as an opportunity for smaller storytelling as well as the Jedi engaging in a battle that did not necessarily involve the light side of the Force against the dark side but instead was simply survival.[24]


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Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 StarWars.com 5 Things We Learned About Star Wars: The High Republic on StarWars.com (backup link)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 The High Republic: Light of the Jedi
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The Star Wars Book dates the launch of the Starlight Beacon, depicted in The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, to 232 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. This corresponds to 232 BBY in the dating system used by Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. As Light of the Jedi depicts the launch, all of the novel's events must take place around that year, including Marchion Ro taking full control of the Nihil, which occurs between the Battle of Kur and the Beacon's dedication. Furthermore, as Light of the Jedi notes the Nihil grew in prominence in the months before the launch, they must have grown in prominence between 233 BBY and 232 BBY.
  4. The High Republic: Out of the Shadows
  5. The High Republic: The Rising Storm
  6. The High Republic Adventures 3
  7. The High Republic 9
  8. 8.0 8.1 The flashbacks of Star Wars (2020) 7 in which the Nihil are mentioned as being obsolete take place prior to the Battle of Yavin, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 0 BBY.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Star Wars (2020) 7
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 StarWars.com Inside Star Wars: The High Republic: Meet the Villains on StarWars.com (backup link)
  11. 11.0 11.1 StarWars.com Inside Star Wars: The High Republic: Meet the Ships and Vehicles on StarWars.com (backup link)
  12. 12.0 12.1 The High Republic Free Digital Sampler
  13. StarWars.com Lucasfilm to Launch Star Wars: The High Republic Publishing Campaign in 2020 on StarWars.com (backup link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 The High Republic: A Test of Courage
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Star Wars Book dates the start of the High Republic Era to approximately 300 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. As Star Wars: Galactic Atlas states that A New Hope begins in 0 BBY, the High Republic Era must have began approximately 300 BBY. 微博 (2020-12-17). m.weibo.cn. Weibo. Archived from the original on December 18, 2020. — the events of The Vow of Silver Dawn occur about fifty years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 32 BBY. Therefore, the events of The Vow of Silver Dawn must take place around 82 BBY. As the source also states that The Vow of Silver Dawn is set towards the end of the High Republic Era, the era must have ended around 82 BBY.
  16. 16.0 16.1 IDWStarWarsAdventuresLogoSmaller.png "The Lost Stories, Part 1"—Star Wars Adventures (2017) 30
  17. 微博 (2020-12-17). m.weibo.cn. Weibo. Archived from the original on December 18, 2020. — the events of The Vow of Silver Dawn occur about fifty years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 32 BBY. Therefore, the events of The Vow of Silver Dawn must take place around 82 BBY.
  18. The Vow of Silver Dawn
  19. The events of Doctor Aphra (2020) 1 are set several weeks after the Battle of Hoth, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 3 ABY. As the events of Doctor Aphra (2020) 6 take place after Doctor Aphra 1, its events, including the appearance of the Nihil path engine, must take place around that year.
  20. Doctor Aphra (2020) 6
  21. Amazon favicon.png Star Wars Adventures #30 on Amazon.com (backup link)
  22. SWYTlogo.png Star Wars: The High Republic | Announcement Trailer on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  23. McMillan, Graeme: How 'Light of the Jedi' Kicks Off 'Star Wars: The High Republic' (2020-09-22). hollywoodreporter.com. The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020.
  24. Patches, Matt: Star Wars: The High Republic author Justina Ireland on a new era of Jedi (2020-03-11). Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on March 12, 2020.

External links[]