Star Wars: The High Republic #3 may well explain why the Jedi lost confidence – they unleashed a dark side “plague” on the galaxy!
This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic #3 by Cavan Scott and Ario Anindito.
Star Wars: The High Republic may well explain why the Jedi lost confidence – because they were responsible for unleashing a dark side plague across the galaxy. The future of Star Wars lies in the past, specifically in the glory of the High Republic Era, some 200 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. This was a time when the light of the Jedi shone brightly across the galaxy and a confident Republic expanded into the Outer Rim, but when terrible threats emerged from the shadows to rail against the light.
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Tragically, this is the peak of the Jedi Order. The Jedi were destined to lose their way, forgetting their boldness and retreating to the Temple on Coruscant, living more in fear of the darkness than in certainty they could dispel it. Their very understanding of the Force shrank over the centuries, as they forgot the diversity of views they had previously celebrated and became focused on just one interpretation of the Force. Taking advantage of the Jedi’s retreat, the Sith maneuvered themselves into a position of power, and soon the Jedi had been rendered almost extinct after Darth Sidious transformed the Republic into an Empire.
But what could cause such a crisis of confidence in the Jedi Order? That story is being told in the Star Wars: The High Republic transmedia initiative, and it is only just beginning. But one disturbing possibility is that the Jedi themselves unleashed a dark side plague across the galaxy.
The Drengir Are The Greatest Threat Of The High Republic Era
Claudia Gray’s novel Into The Dark introduced a race known as the Drengir, dark side beings more formidable than even the Sith. They’re a race of plant-like creatures who look on most other races as “meat” to be consumed, and they possess a knowledge of poisons and toxins that is unparalleled within Star Wars lore, to the extent they’re even able to break the will of seasoned Jedi. Apparently, the Drengir were originally encountered by the Sith, who were unable to destroy them, but instead found a creative way of restraining them using powerful Force relics. The Jedi dismantled these relics, believing them to be of the dark side, and only afterwards realized the threat they had been holding at bay. Fortunately Padawan Reath Silas was able to scatter hyperspace pods the Drengir intended to use across the galaxy before the aliens could launch invasions across the cosmos.
But Star Wars: The High Republic #3 reveals the Drengir have escaped their homeworld nonetheless, with young Jedi Keeve Trennis discovering them on an agricultural colony in the Sedri system. It is reasonable to assume Reath Silas made a simple mistake when he sent out those hyperspace pods; he neglected to check whether any of them contained seeds. A short story in the Target edition of George Mann’s Star Wars: The Dark Legends suggests Drengir seeds can grow almost overnight in fertile soil, drawing all the nutrients into themselves and killing the crops. That appears to be what is happening in the Sedri system – but, more concerningly, Star Wars: The High Republic #3 may well suggest the Drengir are even more dangerous.
The Drengir May Be Able To Influence The Minds Of Other Creatures
Keeve can sense something is badly wrong with the people of Sedri Minor. For some reason, the inhabitants keep offering him loaves of bread to eat, and after he refuses a number of these offers he finds himself confronted by a hostile colony leader who is clearly fearful something will be discovered. Shortly afterwards, Keeve finds a young boy who leads him to the Drengir – and whose willingness to take risks forces her to press on even when he would rather be cautious and pull back. It all feels as though the Drengir themselves are influencing the colonists, bending them to their will. Such an ability is alluded to in Into The Dark, when they manipulated one Jedi into attacking his fellows, but this feels subtly different.
The bread may offer an important clue, however. Imagine if a person ate a loaf of seeded bread containing Drengir seeds; it is not inconceivable the seed would take root in their body, allowing the Drengir to influence them. Thus the colonists who kept offering Keeve bread could well have been serving the Drengir, attempting to introduce Drengir seeds into the Jedi’s body. And the boy who leads Keeve into danger could likewise be a pawn of the creatures, explaining his willingness to take insane risks that force Keeve into a position where he is trapped in what seems to be the Drengir larder.
The Jedi Have Introduced A Horrific Threat To The Galaxy
The agricultural worlds of the Mid and Outer Rim provide food to the entire galaxy. Now, it is possible some of those foods have been contaminated by the Drengir, and that anyone who ingests them will fall under the creatures’ influence. Worse still, the Drengir could use their agents to place just one or two of their seeds in shipments of grain and wheat, allowing them to spread to other agricultural worlds or to planets that process the crops. The best comparison to the Drengir’s expanding influence would frankly be to a plague, one that is rooted in the dark side of the Force, spreading exponentially – but even that could fall far short of the reality, simply because this plague would be controlled by a sinister consciousness.
The Drengir appear destined to be defeated, although their threat may still exist in the classic Star Wars era. But this sequence of events could help explain why the Jedi began to doubt themselves; because they had unwittingly played a key part in releasing the first seeds across the galaxy, triggering this entire catastrophe. For all the Jedi are guided by the light side of the Force, they had still made a single terrible mistake that will lead to an unimaginable degree of sorrow and suffering. The light will surely drive the darkness back once again, but the Jedi will learn a painful lesson along the way. Star Wars: High Republic #3 is in stores now.
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