Star Wars: Edge of Balance - The Drengir May Be Evolving

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance, Vol. 1 by Shima Shinya, Justina Ireland, Mizuki Sakakibara, Nezu Usugumo, Mayuko Hirao, Jimmy Presler, Justin Hoeger, and Fawn Lau, on sale now. The article also contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott and Star Wars: The High Republic #8 Cavan Scott, Ario Anindito, Mark Morales, Annalisa Leoni and VC's Ariana Maher, also on sale now.

Throughout the Star Wars: The High Republic subseries, the Drengir and the Nihil have been the main enemies. The Nihil are a band of deadly marauders intent on taking whatever they want for their own, and the Drengir, a race of sentient plants, are particularly horrifying because they are only concerned with consuming "meat," specifically, other sentient species. These plant-beasts use mind control on their victims, a power granted in part by the dark side of the Force.

While the Drengir were thought to have been defeated, new developments reveal that the Drengir threat may be more dangerous than ever. In Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance Vol. 1, Jedi Knight Lily Tora-Asi aids in the founding of a Jedi Temple on Banchii and with efforts to settle the planet with refugees from Nihil attacks. The first volume of the manga focuses on a Drengir attack on Banchii, but this invasion could foreshadow future Drengir evolutions forced by Nihil experiments.

RELATED: Star Wars: The High Republic - Edge of Balance Vol. 1 Builds on Jedi Lore

A new kind of Drengir emerge as the main threat in Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance. At the beginning of Vol. 1, a refugee, Mr. Kooba, is shown clutching a container of seeds, which are later revealed to be Drengir seeds. Lily later finds him unresponsive in his garden, though he seems to snap out of his fugue state. Since the Drengir use mind control, Mr. Kooba's unresponsive state probably is an early sign of the Drengir's influence on him; however, Doctor Silar attributes his state to the shock and stress of having to resettle in the wake of the Nihil's attacks.

Later, the deadly severity of Mr. Kooba's condition becomes apparent Lily and her Padawan Keerin find Mr. Kooba turned completely to wood in his garden, and soon after, they find the Drengir. However, the way that the Banchii Drengir attack their victims differs from those that have been shown in the past. While the Drengir have always drained the life from their victims, the specific method, turning their victims to wood, is new. Thus, the Banchii Drengir's method of attack reveals something far worse: the Drengir are evolving.

The Drengir at first seem unstoppable -- any attack against them seems to create more Drengir. Thankfully, Lily defeats the Drengir on Banchii by working with her fellow Jedi to incinerate them. Later, she learns from Jedi Master Stellan Gios that the Jedi believe that they have neutralized the Drengir threat after capturing the Great Progenitor (Star Wars: The High Republic #8). The Great Progenitor's capture coincides with the Drengir attack on Banchii and the attack on the Republic Fair on Valo, so it's not clear whether Banchii's Drengir would have stopped attacking when the Great Progenitor was captured.

RELATED: Star Wars: How the Jedi Defeated One of the Galaxy's Oldest Threats

Lily also learns that the Drengir were brought to the planet by Mr. Kooba, but he may have been tricked into thinking that the seeds were for crops, not flesh-eating monsters. The end of Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance Vol. 1 reveals that the Drengir's presence on Banchii was a Nihil plot, and another refugee, Mr. Zaret, is revealed to be a Nihil spy. Stellan also confirms that the Banchii Drengir's ability to turn their victims to wood is a new ability. The modifications to the Drengir imply that the Nihil may have begun conducting their own experiments on the Drengir, which makes sense considering their brief alliance with them during the Republic Fair on Valo.

In Cavan Scott's Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm, the Nihil also unleashed a new weapon, a creature known as the Great Leveler with the ability to attack Jedi psychically through the Force and potentially turn them to fragile stone. The Banchii Drengir’s method of turning victims into wood seems surprisingly similar to the Great Leveler’s petrification, meaning that the two could be connected. The similarity also could imply that the Great Leveler and the Drengir share similar roots in the Dark side of the Force.

Thus, even though the Drengir have seemingly been defeated by the capture of the Great Progenitor, the events on Banchii hint that a new evolution of the Drengir may continue their path of terror. While Banchii seems like a remote settlement, Lily, Keerin and the younglings Nima Viv'nia may actually be at the epicenter of a new Drengir invasion and the Nihil's latest plot to control the galaxy.

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Jennifer Roy (230 Articles Published)

Jennifer Roy is a children's literature scholar and a freelance writer. She currently is focusing on writing content for CBR. She received her Ph. D. in English in 2020. A common thread of her scholarly work is a focus on the use of adaptation and particular motifs to tell and retell stories. You can find her on twitter at @jen_d_roy.

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