Star Wars villains have been a large and sinister part of a galaxy far, far away since the very beginning. It all began with Darth Vader storming Princess Leia’s ship vowing to stop at nothing until he got what he wanted. The High Republic may be a new era being explored through books, comics, and more, but the same tried-and-true formula applies: Give the villain a good motive, and enough mystery, and it’s an immediate sell. Cavan Scott and the other author High Republic authors are nailing it so far with Nihil leader Marchion Ro.
Scott sat down with StarWars.com to discuss The Rising Storm, the future of The High Republic, and what it’s been like to write a brand-new villain like Marchion Ro.
The great antagonist of The High Republic era hasn’t been an easy puzzle to present — or solve — even for Scott himself. “I really struggled at first to know whether we should see in his head,” he said. “My first instinct was that we should never see in his head. But then I kept writing scenes when I did exactly that. Because he’s so fascinating, and because I didn’t want him to be a cypher in [The Rising Storm].”
Unraveling the mystery that is Marchion Ro, however, has turned out to be one of many joys the author has found working on the various books, comics, and the audio project he’s written as part of the new Star Wars era of storytelling so far.
“I do find him a fascinating villain because he is a great manipulator,” Scott said. “He’s not necessarily a great planner, in the way that we’ve seen with the Emperor or, to an extent, Maul — and definitely Dooku.”
Palpatine certainly wins the prize here, since his plan for galactic domination took decades of scheming and waiting to come to fruition… twice. But there’s also something about the Eye of the Nihil that makes even one of the Luminous Five (the five authors associated with The HIgh Republic publishing initiative) terrified.
Though Ro isn’t an extensive planner, Scott did admit his reckless spontaneity gives him a dark, dangerous edge.
“[Marchion Ro is] someone who rolls with the punches and reacts very, very quickly and I think that’s why I find him so interesting and what makes him so scary. Because he’s very difficult to knock down. When you think you’re knocking him down, he’s coming up with a new plan immediately.”
In Scott’s upcoming projectTempest Runner (releasing Aug. 31), we’ll learn more about one of Ro’s biggest competitors, fellow Nihil Lourna Dee. It’s possible we’ll get to know more about the Eye, his backstory, and what it might take to take him out once and for all.
It’s not too late to grab your copy of The Rising Storm wherever books are sold.