|Chronological and political information|
Template:Qlisten Darth Nihilus was a Human male who became Dark Lord of the Sith following the Jedi Civil War and the dissolution of the Sith Triumvirate, of which he was formerly part as the Lord of Hunger. Along with Darth Sion, he was a main perpetrator of the First Jedi Purge, which drew the Jedi on the brink of extinction, one of the few survivors of the Battle of Malachor V, a spawn of the Mandalorian Wars. Betrayed by his own apprentice, a Miraluka by the name of Visas Marr, he fell in the Battle of Telos IV at the hands of the Jedi Exile, in 3,951 BBY.
- "The less said of that one, the better—even a stray thought may draw him."
All that is known of Nihilus' true beginnings is that he survived the Mandalorian Wars where he was said to have lost everything, including his friends and family and assumed his dark persona on Malachor V. Although his role in the wars is a mystery, it is very likely that he may have been among the faction of Jedi that defied the Jedi Council and followed Revan to war. In the Battle of Malachor V, the close of the conflict with the Mandalorian invaders, he was trapped on the planet by mass shadows along with most of the two fleets that filled the space around the planet, where the Mandalorians had committed all of their forces in a last attempt at defeating the Galactic Republic. The Jedi General that commanded the Republic fleet was a woman whose ties to Nihilus remain unknown, despite the belief of Jedi Masters such as Vrook Lamar and Kreia that the Sith Lord had learned to bond from the Jedi Exile in the crucible of the war. When the Exile gave the order to activate the Mass Shadow Generator, the superweapon conceived by Military engineer Bao-Dur killed all but a few of those who were crushed on the planet's surface. Drawing upon the Force, Nihilus lifted the Ravager beyond the mass shadows and left with it. At some point he visited the Trayus Academy, an ancient training facility located into the depths of the planet. He trained under Darth Traya with fellow Sith Lord Darth Sion, each of them honing different teachings of the dark side of the Force, until the three joined in the creation of the Sith Triumvirate, styling themselves as unique titles such as the Lord of Hunger.
His hunger came from the practice of feeding upon the Force, something his Master perceived as detrimental to the goals of the Sith, but that would make him stronger for a time. He was a wound in the Force, and eventually his power grew beyond what Traya could match. He allied himself with Darth Sion and challenged her, and when she was stripped of her power and cast out, the Sith were left with no defined leadership and many factions, all seeking to take what little remained of Revan's Sith Empire. However, Nihilus was now the new Dark Lord of the Sith and helped Sion, his most trusted companion, continue their their war of silence and shadow.
Eventually Nihilus became so absorbed by the dark side of the Force that his physical body began erode. Knowing he would die if he did not act soon, Nihilus ripped his spirit from his body and encased it in the armor he wore. Allowing the dark side to consume him, as his body dissolved completely. Using the force he was able to keep his robes, armor and mask held together giving him some form, allowing him to use his force powers and wield a lightsaber, but apart from that he had no longer a physical form.
Dark Lord of the Sith
Encounter with the Exile
- "There is no strength in the hunger he possesses... and the will behind his power is a primal thing. And it devours him as he devours others—his mere presence kills all around him, slowly, feeding him. He is already dead, it is simply a question of how many he kills before he falls."
With Traya overthrown, Nihilus had moved into a position of power. The Trayus Academy kept on producing legions of Sith Lords, Assassins and Marauders, who spread death and the following of the dark side like a disease. What they experienced first hand in his wake allowed them to become stronger near Force-sensitives, and feel their prey through the Force. The pinnacle of such techniques is something Nihilus alone ever achieved, however. He obliterated Katarr, wiping out the entire Miraluka colony, along with all other life on the planet, with the exception of a young Miraluka that he chose to keep for his own—Visas Marr.
As he walked on the surface, Darth Nihilus found the woman, put her in a deep sleep, and brought her aboard his ship. Days later, Visas awoke and confronted the Dark Lord. When she asked him why she had been spared, he didn't speak even though he answered. He showed her a vision that crippled her ability to see through the Force and carved out the flesh where her eyes would be had she been human. A vision of the galaxy as he saw it through his senses, people on other planets unable to feel the Force, disconnected from one another and lost in the crush of humanity, a chaos to which he brought order. She eventually became his most trusted and only apprentice, even developing a powerful Force bond with her Master.
In the Devastation of Katarr, Nihilus killed much of what remained of the Jedi as well, for a secret conclave had been called on the planet by Jedi Master Atris, at which the most powerful members of the Jedi Order were to attend, including Zhar Lestin, Dorak and Vandar Tokare. His flagship, the Ravager, a relic of the Battle of Malachor V, roamed the borders of known space, and as it neared Katarr, Nihilus spoke, and every living thing that was touched by the Force was killed. Almost halfway between Onderon and Dantooine, the planet also represented for Nihilus a threshold to Republic space, which he trusted he could enter undetected, with the Jedi and the Miraluka not being a factor.
At this point, Nihilus' next move was to ally himself with General Vaklu, the leader of the Onderonian separatists and the cousin of Queen Talia, monarch of Onderon. He wanted to aid Vaklu in breaking away from the Republic so the planet would fall under his influence and become a staging ground for the Sith. Colonel Tobin, Vaklu's second in command, became his contact.
Meanwhile the Jedi Exile had returned to Republic space, and as she reestablished her severed connection to the Force, Nihilus felt a disturbance in the Force that only his apprentice, Visas, could identify. The seer was sent to defeat the Exile and bring her before Nihilus so that he could consume her, but when the Exile defeated Visas instead, the Miraluka questioned her conclusions on what her Master once showed her, his cause, and was swayed to serve the Exile against the slayer of her people.
- "The Jedi have struck. They had a secret Academy buried on Telos, and they are showing themselves at last. We are all in danger."
- ―Kreia to Tobin
Nihilus' plans for Onderon failed when the Exile stopped the Onderon Civil War. She became a factor in Republic politics when Atris, intent on using her as bait for the Dark Lord, arranged for her return in 3,951 BBY aboard the Republic warship Harbinger, and broadcast knowledge of her presence through the coreward databases. In a startling turn of events, the Peragus Mining Facility was destroyed, restoration efforts throughout the Outer Rim were doomed, and secessionist movements on planets such as Onderon got out of hand. The Exile came under the tutelage of Nihilus' former Master, who had forsaken her Sith identity of Darth Traya following her exile, and now sought to use the Exile against the Lords of the Sith. Queen Talia was supported by the Exile so that Onderon would remain within the Republic, and Vaklu eventually struck in the putsch of the Second Battle of Onderon with the help of Nihilus' forces.
Some time earlier, following the First Battle of Onderon, the Exile had joined forces with the Mandalorians under Canderous Ordo, the first Mandalore since the Mandalorian Wars. When a detachment of Sith was dispatched to Iziz from the nearby moon of Dxun, they were still unaware of the presence of a base that Nihilus had established in Freedon Nadd's tomb, the Sith had stayed clear of their patrols even though they were awfully close to the Mandalorian Outpost. Freedon Nadd's tomb was filled with dark energy, a Force nexus on which Nihilus hoped to feed, but when Kreia recognized a greater threat in what seemed to be merely a staging base, the Exile took action against it. The Dxun Force Adept, a follower of the Jedi Exile, was put in charge of an expedition through the jungle, aimed to the eradication of the Sith from the place. Two more of her comrades accompanied the leader, and a squadron of Mandalorian warriors provided by Mandalore. A ritual was being performed in the crypt to draw upon the power of the tomb and influence the outcome of the civil war, but it was broken by the strike team.
Meanwhile, the Exile and Kreia headed to Iziz, where Sith Lords and Dark Jedi had joined the Onderonian separatists and were marching to the Iziz Royal Palace with Sith wranglers and huge beasts. Vaklu was stopped, and Colonel Tobin became part of Kreia's deception to draw out Darth Nihilus. Confident that their Sith associate would be drawn to Telos IV, she told Tobin that it was there that the Jedi were hiding. When Nihilus set his fleet out to the planet, Republic Admiral Carth Onasi and Mandalore engaged them in the Battle of Telos IV. He realized he had been betrayed, and it left him no other choice than to feed upon Telos anyway, or his hunger would have consumed him.
- The Exile: "What did you see when you looked at him?"
- Visas: "A man, nothing more."
- Darth Nihilus' mask is removed: "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords"
His ship was assaulted by the Mandalorians, and Mandalore accompanied both the Exile and Visas Marr into a confrontation with Nihilus on board the bridge of the Ravager. Four proton bombs were set in strategic locations throughout the ship beforehand, the fourth being obtained from the missile bay after a premature detonation risked putting the entire plan in jeopardy. Colonel Tobin, however, met the Exile one last time, and agreed to help the Mandalorians detonate the charges. On the vessel, Visas had a chance to visit her old meditation chamber, stopping to meditate for a moment and finally coming to terms with the destruction of her homeworld, forsaking vengeance and embracing the light side of the Force. During the confrontation, the Exile, whose tie to the Force had previously been severed and whose leech-like nature was basically of the same nature herself, could not be consumed by Nihilus, so that when he tried, he exhausted himself and was made vulnerable. They engaged in a quick fight, with the Exile learning of his weakness and turning fight. Visas also entered into a trance and tried to disrupt the link with her former Master, undermining his connection to the Force, and the three of them managed to defeat Darth Nihilus and escape the vessel's destruction. Before making for the orbital shuttle they used to board the ship, his mask was removed by Visas, who wanted to see the face of the one who had wounded her. His body then dissolved in an aura of dark side energies as the bombs aboard the Ravager exploded, and the rest of the Sith fleet decimated by the Republic.
- "Lord Nihilus, you escaped death by containing your consciousness within your armor. How?!"
- ―Darth Krayt
At some point during his life, Darth Nihilus made a holocron that eventually fell into the hands of Darth Krayt millennia later. On Korriban, in 137 ABY, Krayt accessed this holocron along with those of Darths Andeddu and Bane, seeking their advice on how to stop the Yuuzhan Vong creatures from consuming his body. The only response he got from Nihilus was a statement in the Sith Lord's peculiar language, which his comrades didn't bother to translate.
Personality and traits
- "He cares nothing for the Sith or its teachings… or the Jedi. And when the Jedi are dead, he will feed on the galaxy, the Republic, and eventually, consume the Sith as well."
Darth Nihilus was a figure of the shadows. He always craved greater power, a trait typical of many Sith such as Naga Sadow and Palpatine. Unlike most Sith Lords, however, he cared very little for the Sith as an organization. It was almost certain that once Nihilus had consumed the last of the Jedi, he would have turned on the Sith and hunted them down and devoured them as well. Nihilus saw death as the sole purpose of life, and power as the means to achieve it. The cause of such nihilism remains unknown, possibly the horrors of the Mandalorian Wars were a determinant factor, or perhaps its roots ran even deeper, involving the Jedi and his disillusionment on their beliefs. He was cautious, as his actions during the campaign against the Jedi showed, and was known as an aggressive, dominant figure who would not abide a threat to his power. Nihilus, however, was still Human enough to have feelings, as his bond with Visas persisted until their confrontation on the Ravager. She was his only apprentice, and her betrayal was met with much anger.
Powers and abilities
- "One cannot have power of that magnitude and still think and perceive the universe as we do."
Darth Nihilus wielded a red-bladed lightsaber and fought in a one-handed aggressive style; however, he rarely had to use it. He had learned the greatest of the Sith teachings but such practices took the form of dependence. The hunger he possessed was a means of severing connections between life, the Force, and feeding upon the death it caused the closer he came to it. It would make him stronger, but only for a time. Force-sensitives and worlds rich in the Force would draw him—the Miraluka colony of Katarr was one such place. His reach in the Force eventually extended to a point where he could feel Force users throughout the galaxy, cleanse entire planets, killing everything that was touched by the Force. Prolonged use of this power made him a threat to all life, as his hunger grew as well. The hunger controlled him, not the other way around. He was a wound in the Force, his mere presence casting echoes that would slowly kill all around him, feeding him. His very speech caused pain and death to all who heard it. The ones who served him, in time, like his crew on the Ravager, became utter slaves.
Nihilus could also use the Force to lift starships, as he did on Malachor V with the Ravager, he tore it from the mass shadows that surrounded the planet and kept it together even though it had suffered extensive structural damage.
Through the Force, Darth Nihilus had been able to escape death by containing his consciousness in his armor—an ability that Darth Krayt would inquire of Nihilus's holocron millennia later.
Behind the scenes
Darth Nihilus first appeared as a major antagonist in the computer and video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. His story was later elaborated in the six-page comic Unseen, Unheard featured in Star Wars Tales 24.
Like many Sith Lords, Nihilus' name has a second meaning (nihil is Latin for "nothing"). He has no loyalties to anyone but himself, and will consume both Sith and Jedi with his hunger, which notes that his name fits his current personality quite well. Nihilus is also derived from the term "nihilism," or "belief in nothing," most notably denial of concepts of truth and purpose. Another Latin-derived term from nihil is English annihilation which means "total destruction" or "to become nothing."
It should be noted that Nihilus never speaks a clear word in the game, he simply emits patterns of sounds similar to the Sith holocrons found on Telos IV. It has been theorized that he speaks in the Sith language. On the other hand, alien languages such as Rodese were subtitled, while Nihilus' words were not (though this can be attributed to the fact that in the game, the Exile uses a sonic sensor to translate foreign languages, and it is unlikely that ancient Sith was included). Another possible explanation was Nihilus traded his ability of speech for power, just as Kar Vastor did. In addition, Visas stated in Unseen, Unheard that the Miralukans could hear Nihilus' voice when the Sith devastated Katarr: "When my Lord spoke, every living thing on Katarr died." It should be observed that Visas seems to understand at least some portions of what Nihilus says to her, although this communication might be telepathic rather than purely verbal.
A possible outcome to the final battle with Nihilus is to convince Visas to sacrifice herself, thus shattering the bond she had with Darth Nihilus. Severely wounded, he is no match for the Jedi Exile. This was originally thought to be cut content.
Darth Nihilus' mask can be obtained if the Exile asks Visas Marr to do so. It cannot be worn; however, it does give the player a Force Point boost.
In promotional material for the game, Nihilus is seen as the personification of the dark side, an opposite to Atris (although she represented the light, Atris had been corrupted by the dark side all along). Concept art shows a confrontation between the two, but Atris never actually interacts with Nihilus during the game.
In a bug that might occur when Nihilus dies, his body is surrounded by dark side energies but the body itself does not disappear. A Sith lightsaber, a Dark Jedi Master Robe and a rare lightsaber crystal may then be found in his remains.
Depending upon the character path the player takes, at Nihilus' defeat Visas says either that she sees "a thousand graveyard planets and an eternity of hate and hunger" or "just a man, nothing more."
Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, being written from the in-universe point of view, features three conflicting records about the end of Darth Nihilus. According to the first, he was slain by Brianna, an attendant to Jedi Master Atris. Another record indicates that Visas Marr was involved in defeating Nihilus, while the third record suggest that Nihilus was able to kill the Miraluka before he died. It should be noted that while the second and the third records describe respectively the light side and the dark side options of the game, the first record contradicts the game directly: not only does Brianna only join the player's party if playing as a male Exile, but she is also unable to accompany him to the Ravager, since only Visas Marr and Mandalore are taken by the Jedi Exile on the mission to defeat Nihilus.
In Star Wars: Legacy, Darth Krayt asks Nihilus' holocron how he was able to retain his consciousness in his armor. Speculation from this suggests that Krayt could be referring to a possible death at Malachor V at the end of the Mandalorian Wars when the Mass Shadow Generator was initiated, if not another death that has yet to be seen or referred to before the Battle of Telos IV.
The initial plot written by Obsidian Entertainment stated that his mask was made out of Revan's skull, but the developers scrapped the idea to leave the fate of the character open.[source?]
On June 13, 2007, influential radio shock jock Howard Stern mentioned Darth Nihilus on his Sirius Satellite Radio radio show. Gary Garver interviewed a fan that had dressed up as the character, and the bit was played on Stern's show. A few days later on the June 19, 2007 episode of his show, Stern mentioned Wookieepedia, and proceeded to read from the Wookieepedia entry on Darth Nihilus.
In an interview conducted by a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic fan website, Chris Avellone is asked what his intentions for Darth Nihilus were. Though he did state that his origin story is non-canon, Avellone thinks of Nihilus as like the Jedi Exile's "other half", pursuing a different path after Malachor V was torn apart.
- Unseen, Unheard
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (First appearance)
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Legacy 5: Broken, Part 4 (Appears in holocron)
- Star Wars Miniatures: Champions of the Force
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- The New Essential Chronology
- Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties
- "Heritage of the Sith"—Star Wars Insider 88
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- ↑ The Sith Lords: Conversations with Kreia and Visas.
- ↑ Hasbro Sith Evolutions Set
- ↑ Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties
- ↑ The Sith Lords: Item description of Nihilus' mask.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Unseen, Unheard
- ↑ The Sith Lords: Conversations with Visas.
- ↑ The Sith Lords: Conversations with the Jedi Masters, particularly Vrook Lamar.
- ↑ The Sith Lords: Conversation with Jedi Master Kavar in the Iziz Royal Palace.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Star Wars Legacy 5: Broken, Part 4
- ↑ Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- ↑ The Howard Stern Show
- ↑ Chris Avellone interview
- ↑ My Dearest Wish
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