One of the most frightening aspects of phase one of the High Republic storytelling was the Nameless, a mysterious species who pose a particular threat to the Jedi.
We don’t know much about them, but do come to learn gradually more as the stories unfold. The first appearance of this strange species came in The Rising Storm, when Nihil leader Marchion Ro unleashed his secret weapon, which he had taken great strides to obtain, on the Jedi. This weapon, the “Great Leveler,” turned Jedi Master Loden Greatstorm to stone and struck fear into the other Jedi. Ro would use more of the species on other Jedi in later encounters, including in the elaborate plan to destroy Starlight Beacon.
Trail of Shadows #5 and other stories fill in some of the details about the creatures, while remaining plenty of elements of mystery. The creatures were called the Shrii-Ka-Rai by some, or Eaters of the Force. Others call them the Nameless, but regardless of what they are called, they pose a particular threat to Jedi and others who use the Force. They drive those Force users mad and cause terrifying hallucinations, all while essentially separating them from any connection to the Force. This caused any Jedi to come into the proximity of the Shrii-Ka-Rai to become disoriented and delirious, not thinking straight and not being able to use the Force. If they remained in the presence of these creatures for long, Jedi were turned to stone or dust and killed. As Marchion Ro put it, “They make Jedi afraid, then weak… then dead.”
Interestingly, the Nameless were connected to a haunting nursery rhyme that was sung to Jedi younglings as a way of scaring them so that they would go to sleep, as the rhyme went, “Shrii ka rai ka rai, we’re coming to take you away.” Stellan Gios and Emerick Caphtor both heard the song and remembered it, but what was initially thought to be nothing more than a made up nursery rhyme proved to be much bigger and bear a mysterious connection to these dangerous creatures.
So it definitely seems like the Nameless, or the Shrii-Ka-Rai, or the Eaters of the Force, are set up to be a major threat moving forward. In fact, I wonder if this threat helps explain why phase two of this era will be set long in the past. That’s a decision that confused me when announced and, to be honest, one I’m still skeptical about even now, but I wonder if part of the reason for going back in time is showing us more and more about the Nameless? I think that would work well.
But while we await the start of phase two later this year, I think it’s very pertinent that phase one ended with the threat of the Shrii-Ka-Rai looming large over the Jedi, striking fear into them. I remember in some of the promotion for The High Republic a big deal was made out of the question “What scares the Jedi?” and how that seemed to be a pivotal moment for the storytellers. And as phase one closes, we have seen exactly what scares the Jedi: the mysterious Nameless, which the Jedi don’t know about, don’t know how to stop, and which can essentially separate them from the Force while killing them.
And that weapon is in the hands of Marchion Ro, who is intent on overthrowing the Jedi and the Republic. These are dark days for the heroes, and they likely will remain so until some answers are provided on the Eaters of the Force.