In Star Wars: The High Republic: Eye of the Storm #2, Marchion Ro’s plan to takeover of the Outer Rim could have an unforeseen flaw.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic: The Light of the Jedi, Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm, Star Wars: The High Republic: Out of the Shadows and Star Wars: The High Republic : Eye of the Storm #2, on sale now.
Throughout the Star Wars: The High Republic subseries, Marchion Ro and the Nihil’s main goals have been to keep the Republic and the Jedi out of the Outer Rim and to thoroughly defeat them in the process. To achieve these aims, the Nihil used hyperspace in new and innovative ways to cause the most chaos and destruction possible, including attacking and destroying ships in transit. In the finale to Phase I, Marchion Ro divided the galaxy literally by weaponizing the hyperspace lanes into the Outer Rim in an attempt to keep the Republic out of what he considered to be his territory. However, he may have overlooked a key issue with his plans: there are other paths through hyperspace that he does not know, and the Jedi could use these paths to get around his blockade.
Marchion Ro weaponized the hyperspace lanes through the use of stormseeds in Star Wars: The High Republic: Eye of the Storm #2 by Charles Soule, Guillermo Sanna, Ariana Maher, Jim Campbell, Antonio Fabela, Ryan Brown and Danny Khazem. Marchion indicated that he would allow some ships to use hyperspace, but presumably he really meant that he would only allow the Nihil and their allies. While the network seemed to currently be on the border between the Outer Rim and the rest of the galaxy, he could extend the network to surround planets within the Outer Rim who did not fall under his command. Ultimately, the journey would take far longer than normal and may not be practical or feasible for most planets. The stormseed network will devastate the Outer Rim and any planet or community that does not pledge loyalty to the Nihil.
However, Marchion’s plan may fail due to the source of his hyperspace knowledge: Mari San Tekka. As shown in Charles Soule’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, Marchion’s family kidnapped Mari decades before the subseries began and tricked her into giving them more information on hyperspace paths. The Nihil used these paths to gain a large tactical advantage against their targets and move more quickly throughout the Outer Rim than anyone else. Mari that she was helping the Republic until Marchion took Loden Greatstorm prisoner. In Cavan Scott’s Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising StormLoden revealed the truth to Mari before he escaped, but Marchion used the Great Leveler to kill Loden before he could reveal Mari’s existence to the Jedi.
While Mari’s situation seemed hopeless, she was still able to provide the Jedi with the possible means to defeat Marchion Ro. Justina Ireland’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Out of the Shadows revealed that Vernestra Rwoh had a special ability to have visions in the Force that were specifically triggered by traveling through hyperspace. Mari San Tekka reached Vernestra through these visions, and Vernestra was able to find Mari right before she died. In her final moments, she gave Vernestra one final hyperspace path to an unknown location within the Outer Rim.
Significantly, Vernestra chose to keep the path a secret between herself and her Padawan Imri Cantaros. Vernestra reflected, “she could feel it wasn’t a thing to share just yet, the way she only felt when the force was leading her toward a decision.” This decision, guided by the Force, could ultimately save the galaxy. Marchion and the Nihil infiltrated the Starlight Beacon and the Galactic Senate. If Vernestra had told the Jedi Council, the Nihil’s operatives might have been able to report the information back to Marchion. As it currently stands, Marchion still seemed completely unaware of Mari’s final hyperspace path, which may also mean that this path was outside of the stormseed network as well.
Therefore, while Vernestra’s whereabouts in the wake of the Starlight Beacon’s destruction are not currently known, she could be the key to unraveling Marchion’s plans. If so, she would gain justice for Mari San Tekka in the process, one of Marchion and the Ro family’s greatest victims. Thus, even though Phase I of the subseries ends on the villains’ victory, there are still paths that the Jedi can take to ultimately stop them.
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