Star Wars: The High Republic has introduced a new kind of threat that the Jedi Order must confront: Drengir. These amorphous, plant-like creatures are stranded in the Outer Rim areas, but as a result of the events in the novel Star Wars: The High Republic lies in darkness, the Drengir have awakened and have only one goal in mind: To consume life. The first encounter between a high-ranking Republic Jedi and a Drengir resulted in the crushing of one of the youngest and brightest Jedi knights; in a later act of aggression, the Drengir allegedly infected several Jedi with an evil swarm spirit and took control of them.

The origin of Drengir and his connection to the dark side are still a big mystery in Star Wars: When High Republic writer Kavan Scott spoke to the Nation podcast, he explained a bit more about why Drengir is a unique new threat in Star Wars history.

Cavan Scott described Drengir and said the historical High Republic group was intrigued by a Star Wars-inspired idea: The Empire Strikes Back: That in addition to living beings, there are parts of nature that can turn to the dark side:

I think for me the magic comes from the Empire fighting back when Luke is sent to the Imperial court, and that place is steeped in the dark side, Scott explains. So I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that power permeates the environment and the surroundings, and that’s what holds it all together. And there are places where there is light. There are also places that are dark. And it will pass away – it will be nature, which is light, and nature is dark. And there would be such bright environments that would be so dark.

As Cavan Scott notes, the idea that the Force is largely tied to specific locations or natural environments is deeply embedded in Star Wars lore – and in real life!

We know this from legends and folklore. The Jedi Temple on Coruscant is built on the dark side, like many churches in the real world: Many churches were built in places where there were ancient pagan belief systems – or what we today call pagan – ….. and holy places. They were therefore ordained, which in turn …. I have a degree in theology and a passion for folklore. That’s the kind of thing I do. I love the idea that there is a scary, horrific side that can reach the dark side through nature.

Star Wars High Republic of Drengir (Photo: Marvel Comics/Lucasfilm)

Any other cool things Scott thinks Drengir adds to Star Wars? Classic horror, lost in the woods/trees:

Yes, this is the popular horror story of the outdoors, of woods and forests, and woods and forests, and woods and forests. So, yeah, that’s, that’s definitely where it comes from.

The idea that the dark side works through nature would have made the creators of Star Wars..: The High Republic game offers all sorts of fun new ways for the Jedi to go bad – like corrupting the new trans twins Ceret and Terec, who become the next big threat to their Jedi friends.

Star Wars: Marvel Comics’ High Republic comic is published monthly.

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