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Darth Nihilus

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Darth Nihilus was an antagonist who reigned as a Dark Lord of the Sith during the era of strife following the Jedi Civil War in Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Before becoming a Sith Lord, he lost everything during the Galactic Republic's war against the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders. He survived the activation of the Mass Shadow Generator superweapon during the war's final battle at the planet of Malachor V, which surrounded the planet with a destructive spatial phenomenon known as a mass shadow. Experiencing the shadow that obliterated almost everything on and around the planet made Nihilus crave Force energy. The affliction painfully ravaged his body while rendering him a wound in the Force. He was found by a seeker of these, the Sith Lord Darth Traya, who told him that she could teach him to feed his endless hunger. He accepted her offer of apprenticeship at the Trayus Academy on Malachor V, where he, over time, became one of three concurrent Dark Lords of the Sith.

Character development[edit]

An interview with Knights of the Old Republic II lead designer Chris Avellone said: "With Darth Nihilus, it was more of the sense that he'd given himself over to the Dark Side so completely he had no personality left. He was just a feeling of hunger. There wasn't even evil behind it."[1] The mask was designed for Nihilus to preserve its physical form.[2]

Darth Nihilus's visual look was quick to define; Eurogamer describes him as "a concept created and greenlit in all of 15 minutes".[3] Character modeller and lead concept artist Brian Menze was asked to create a Sith Lord "based on" No-Face from Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away (2001).[4] One idea behind Nihilus's design was that there should be nothing behind the mask – representative of him being a void. A "pet peeve" of Avellone's is Nihilus art with him having a visible nose; Menze had drawn a nosed Nihilus for a magazine cover and Avellone had "let it go", to Menze's now regret. When developing the character Menze earned lasting prestige and stated that "that character has gone on to be bigger than the game we created, and I'm very thankful for that".[3]


Knights of the Old Republic II[edit]

Nihilus is a shadowy figure who wears a red and white mask and is dressed in a black cloak, which is displayed on the game's cover art. His origin is never explained; all that is revealed of his early life is that he was found by Kreia after the Mandalorian War.[5]

Through a vision Traya shares with the player, it is revealed that Nihilus and fellow Sith student Darth Sion turn against their dark mistress. They cast Traya down, strip her of her power, and expel her from the Sith Order. Nihilus destroys the Force-sensitive planet of Katarr and much of the remaining Jedi Order with it; Sion leads his sect of assassins in destroying the remaining Jedi.

Nihilus ravages and consumes whole worlds to feed his insatiable appetite for power. This is conducted from the bridge of his flagship, the Ravager, which is a playable location. Nihilus enslaves his crew and others around him, such as Visas Marr. Nihilus sends Marr on a mission to bring the player's character, the Jedi Exile, before him so that he can consume his power. Instead, the player frees Marr her from Nihilus' bonds and she subsequently turns against her former master.[6]

Nihilus travels to Telos, expecting to find hundreds of Jedi there. Upon arriving, Nihilus finds no "Jedi" on the planet and the player invades his ship. On the Ravager's bridge, Nihilus attempts to absorb the Exile's Force energies, only to weaken himself. The Exile, together with Canderous Ordo and Marr, defeats the Sith Lord. After his death, his body dissolves. Marr also gives the player the chance to take the Sith Lord's mask after he is defeated.[3] there was also achievements depicting to Claim Darth Nihilus mask.[7]

Other appearances[edit]

Nihilus appeared in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes[8] Darth Nihilus also appears in The Sith Lords and in the Star Wars: Legacy comic series. Darth Traya found and trained Nihilus on Malachor V. With Darth Sion, Nihilus later betrayed her and drove her into exile.[9]


Eurogamer's Robert Purchese described The Sith Lords's villains as "far more memorable" than those of the first game, Revan aside, and described Nihilus as the most recognisable of them.[3] Nihilus, along with the other Sith Lords, was put as the 2nd top Star Wars villain who didn't appear in an earlier list based on reader's comments by IGN's Jesse Schedeen, Schedeen commenting "[a]t the very least, Nihilus probably wins the award for coolest-looking Star Wars villain ever".[10] IGN also put the character as their 56th top Star Wars character.[5] Glixel listed him as one of twenty "awesome" Star Wars characters originating in games, and considered him "terrifying" and "more of a malevolent ghost than a typical self-serving Sith".[11]

Nihilus was listed from the gamer as 4th strongest Sith Lords,[12] but Screenrant listed Nihilus as 15th weakest star wars character.[13]


  1. Dahlen, Chris. "AVC at GDC '10: An interview with Alpha Protocol creator Chris Avellone". Games.
  2. Sullivan 2012-10-26T20:30:00.299ZXbox 360, Lucas. "Gaming's masked maniacs revealed - What are they trying to hide?". gamesradar.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Purchese, Robert (31 July 2013). "Fear is the path to the dark side". Eurogamer.
  4. Menze, Brian. "Comment on Electronic Games Monthly cover". DeviantART. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Darth Nihilus - #56 Star Wars Character - IGN". web.archive.org. 25 June 2013.
  6. Annabel, Travis (13 May 2018). "Why Knights of the Old Republic 2 Tells My Favourite Star Wars Story".
  7. Grayson, Nathan. "Star Wars KOTOR II Getting New, Player-Created Achievements". Kotaku.
  8. "Darth Nihilus Arrives in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes with Dark Side Game Update". Hardcore Gamer. 16 February 2017.
  9. "Rogue One & the Many Bloody War Stories of Star Wars". Den of Geek.
  10. "Top Star Wars Villains: Fan Favorites". 25 April 2008.
  11. Davison, John; Gervais, Noah. "20 Awesome 'Star Wars' Characters that Came From Games". Glixel. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 17 October 2017.
  12. "25 Star Wars Sith From Weakest To Strongest, Officially Ranked". TheGamer. 16 January 2019.
  13. "10 Star Wars Characters Even Stronger Than Darth Vader (And 10 Who Are Weaker)". ScreenRant. 17 July 2018.

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