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The next big ‘Star Wars’ villains are actually named after a Sith Lord

The Nihil are going to be the new villains of ‘The High Republic.’ Here’s why that name sounds familiar

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A scene from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

A scene from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Lucasfilm Ltd

Lucasfilm announced its next campaign for the “Star Wars” franchise with “Star Wars: The High Republic” — a set of stories and events set 200 years before the prequel trilogy and the Skywalker Saga.

  • The new campaign will show the Jedi Knights at their prime, before they became egotistical and dogmatic warriors who suffered a major downfall at the hands of Emperor Palpatine and the rise of the Sith.
  • What’s interesting, though, is that the Jedi will have to face off with new villains who have a similar name to an ancient Sith Lord who may or may not still be a legitimate character in the “Star Wars” franchise.

Who are the Nihil?

  • “Star Wars” announced the new “High Republic” campaign with a teaser-trailer that showed off concept art and sketches of what’s to come during the new books and novels of the “Star Wars” franchise.
  • The teaser explained that the new campaign will include the Jedi Knights in their prime, wielding lightsabers to defend the galaxy like they are Knights of the Roundtable.
  • The teaser hinted at new villains who would “scare” the Jedi Knights called “the Nihil,” who were compared to vikings and outlaws who live on the borders of the Republic.

Why does ‘Nihil’ sound so familiar?

  • For one, the name sounds similar to “Nile” — like that major river in Egypt.
  • Joking aside, the Nihil bares a strikingly similar name to an ancient Sith Lord called Darth Nihilus, who first appeared in the old “Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic” video game.

Who is Darth Nihilus?

  • Darth Nihilus existed about 3,951 years before the Battle of Yavin IV (which takes place in “Star Wars: A New Hope). So that would be about 3,931 years before the prequel trilogy begins.
  • Darth Nihilus has a really captivating backstory, one that you should read more of at Wookiepedia, the home to all “Star Wars” information.
  • Darth Nihilus became the apprentice of Sith Lord Darth Traya. They teamed up with Darth Sion to become the third member of a triumvirate. They trained together and became so strong that Sion defeated Traya. Sion and Nihilus then teamed up to kill multiple Jedi, causing the entire order to go extinct for a brief period of a time.
  • Nihilus was eventually defeated by a group of heroes. His spirit lived on in a burial site on the planet Korriban.

Wait, is Darth Nihilus canon?

  • Darth Nihilus was created before Disney bought Lucasfilm. He is often considered a part of the Legends storylines, which were the original expanded universe before the Disney takeover. But it’s still unclear how the “Knights of the Old Republic” games fit into the canon as Disney has been short to offer an explanation to whether they fit in the story.
  • That said, Darth Nihilus was believed to appear in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” In the film, Kylo Ren descends upon a Sith tomb on Exegol, where statues of ancient Sith are seen. One of those looks like Darth Nihilus.
  • It was later revealed to the statues were references to ancient Sith statues, which I wrote about for the Deseret News. There’s no indication whether Darth Nihilus is one of those statues.


  • Look, there’s no indication whether the Nihil and Darth Nihilus are connected in any way. In all likelihood, the titles are similar because it’s “Star Wars” and there are only so many names that can be used. But it definitely gives off the impression that these Nihil figures are bad news. It’ll be interesting to see if the “High Republic” campaign draws any lines between the two.