I realized that Tomura Shigaraki’s character development seems closely tied to the dialogue of the “Sacrifice” cinematic trailer of Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire. Check it out:
“A man can have anything, if he is willing to sacrifice.”
“With your birth comes a solemn vow: you will have nothing. Your privilege is the dirt.”
“In the darkness, only ambition will guide you.”
“The oath you swear, the promises you make, they are yours alone.”
“Your freedom will be the wars you wage.”
“Your birthright, the losses you suffer.”
“Your entitlement, the pain you endure.”
“And when darkness finds you, you will face it alone.”
Remember the Emperor’s Royal Guard from Star Wars? I will be featuring soldiers in my fantasy books that are similar to the Royal Guard. My characters will have the same red robes and cloaks, but they will have armor and weapons that are medieval in nature and aesthetic. One example will be the usage of a polearm known as a bisento. Another example will be a type of helmet known as a barbute, which is a 16th century Italian helmet.
I have been doing some brainstorming for the vengeful character in my fantasy series and I decided to give him some companions. These companions will be like a medieval version of the Knights of Ren from Star Wars. I won’t say if these characters will become bad guys or good guys, but they will be complex characters and play a significant role in the story.
“Corrupt the kyber crystal. Teach it your pain. Teach it your anger. Hear it sing a hymn of darkness. Make it bleed.“
Some people have wondered why the lightsabers of dark side practitioners were red. In Legends, it was because the crystals were synthetic. However, the new Canon provides a far more satisfying explanation. The minerals that power lightsabers, kyber crystals, are living things. In order to submit to the will of a dark side practitioner, the crystal must suffer and bleed. To achieve this, the Force wielder would imprint their own dark side rage and hatred into the crystal. When the crystal and the blade it generates becomes red, it effectively becomes a slave to the will of the dark side practitioner. So far, there are three prominent examples of this ritual.
After claiming the lightsaber of a Jedi he killed, Darth Vader returned to Mustafar to perform the ritual. Initially, Vader’s efforts backfired and the crystal rejected him because his dark side rage was no strong enough to make the kyber crystal submit. However, after renewing his resolve and commitment to the dark side, Vader was able to make his kyber crystal suffer and bleed. The power Vader summoned was so intense that it ravaged Mustafar with earthquakes and devastating storms.
While preparing his Final Order fleet of Star Destroyers on Exegol, Palpatine harvested a mountain of kyber crystals to power the planet-killing cannons of his fleet. He had his Sith Eternal cultists working around the clock to make the mountain of crystals submit to his will. The hellish pain that the crystals were enduring was so intense that you can hear the crystals scream like a damned soul. The dark side energy the bleeding crystals were producing was so powerful that it completely overwhelmed someone of Darth Vader’s caliber. Vader even screamed like he never screamed before as he was bombarded by the crystal’s power. It is possible that Palpatine was feeding off of the crystal’s pain since he was completely unaffected by its energy. According to Palpatine, the dark side energy his mountain of kyber crystals were producing was unlimited power that was strong enough to burn his target’s flesh and mind, ready to incinerate them in an instant.
After his fall to the dark side, Kylo Ren performed this ritual on the kyber crystal of his Jedi lightsaber. Kylo Ren imprinted his rage and hatred so intensely that the crystal cracked in his hand. In addition, the ritual produced a pulse of dark side power that rippled through the Knights of Ren’s ship. Because his crystal cracked, Kylo Ren’s lightsaber was unstable and crackled, which threatened to make the lightsaber explode. To counter this, Kylo Ren remodeled his lightsaber so it would have its cross guard. The cross guard acted as filters that vented the excess energy produced by the cracked kyber crystal.
Overall, I like this explanation for red lightsabers better than the one in Legends. It provided a much deeper look into the philosophy of the dark side. It also symbolizes the cementation of a dark side practitioner’s commitment to the dark side.
“When your power eclipses mine I will become expendable. This is the Rule of Two: one Master and one apprentice. When you are ready to claim the mantle of Dark Lord as your own, you must do so by eliminating me.“
Darth Bane to Darth Zannah, Star Wars
So far in the story of My Hero Academia, the vestige of All For One has taken over the body of Tomura Shigaraki. It turns out that All For One’s idea of a successor is not someone who would replace him but someone who would become a new body for his essence to inhabit. According to Hawks, despite being the most sinister supervillain in Japan, All For One is not truly capable of feeling true hate. This could be why he was unable to steal the One For All quirk because he lacked a suitable amount of hate to fuel his willpower. Therefore, All For One took Shigaraki under his wing so he could nurture and encourage his hatred. When Shigaraki’s hatred was strong enough, he would be given the All For One quirk. With Shigaraki’s hatred combined with the vestige of All For One, All For One himself would have a strong enough willpower to override the vestiges of One For All, which will allow him to steal it. Based on the vestiges of One For All, that has been All For One’s plan from the very beginning.
However, I do not think everything will go as All For One has planned. All For One’s foresight is frightening and impressive, but it clearly has limits such as when he admitted that the Paranormal Liberation War did not go exactly as he planned. In the vestige world, All For One himself hinted that there is a possibility that Shigaraki may be able to usurp him as the true wielder of the All For One quirk. I think there is a real possibility of this happening. As mentioned before, All For One is evil, but he has no true hatred in him while Shigaraki is overflowing with it. That means that Shigaraki has a way to fuel his own willpower that All For One lacks.
I think Shigaraki’s hatred is going to get a serious boost that will not only allow him to usurp the All For One vestige, but also complete his transformation as a supervillain. It has long been theorized that Shigaraki received his Decay quirk from All For One when he was a child. This was hinted in a flashback when a mysterious man that resembled All For One returned Shigaraki to his family after finding him in the streets. That would mean that Shigaraki was originally quirkless like Deku was before receiving One For All, which would be yet another parallel these two characters would share. This would also mean that All For One was indirectly responsible for the tragedy that Shigaraki suffered when he killed his family with the Decay quirk. In other words, All For One orchestrated Shigaraki’s trauma in order gain custody of him. I would not be surprised if All For One used some kind of telepathic quirk to influence the minds of Shigaraki’s family in order to further increase the trauma Shigaraki would endure. If this is true and Shigaraki finds out, that would definitely give him an even bigger motivator to turn on All For One. It would also make Shigaraki an even darker supervillain than before because his family abused him, hero society abandoned him, and his own master used him and destroyed his life. All of this would make Shigaraki even more hate-filled and may make the sliver of good Deku glimpsed in Shigaraki evaporate.
While the One For All quirk has a symbiotic relationship between its wielder and the vestiges of its previous users, the All For One quirk acts more like a parasite where the wielder and the vestige fight over control of one body. Here is the reality of Shigaraki’s situation. Either he overthrows All For One and gains control of his power or All For One overthrows him and gains control of his body. There is no middle ground.
“Through the ages…I’ve seen evil take many forms. The Sith. The Empire. Today, it is the First Order.”
Maz Kanata, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Since Rise of Skywalker, I have been brainstorming on where the Star Wars story will go in the future. The return of the Sith has been thwarted, but the dark side has ways to return. The dark side is an integral part of the Force and will never go away. Due to this, it will always find a way to turn others against the light. The question is what form will the dark side take in future installments? What kind of evil will Rey Skywalker’s Jedi Order face?
“I thought there were only two Sith.”
“These are not Sith.”
“But they could be should you fall.
Ochi of Bestoon, Darth Vader, and Darth Sidious
“Only two Sith, just as you say, but any one of these might replace you.”
Darth Sidious to Darth Vader
The Sith may be gone, but they left behind a dark legacy. That legacy has taken the form of ruins, artifacts, and the cults who worship the Sith like gods. The cults are an intriguing bunch because they themselves are not true Sith and yet they are devote believers of the Sith religion. So far, the new Canon has featured three Sith cults such as the Sith Eternal, the Acolytes of the Beyond, and the Alazmec of Winsit.
The Acolytes of the Beyond was the first Sith cult we were introduced to in the new Canon. The Acolytes were known to collect Sith artifacts such as lightsabers or masks to either returning them to their owners in death by destroying them or using them as symbols of power. They staged attacks across the fledgling New Republic during the last year of the Galactic Civil War. When attacking, they would paint their weapons red to emulate the red lightsabers the Sith would use. Members included Darth Sidious’s closest confidants such as Yupe Tashu and Ochi of Bestoon. Some members joined the Sith Eternal on Exegol, but the rest of the cult’s fate is unknown.
Darth Vader got his own cult known as the Alazmec of Winsit, who were stationed in the ruins of Vader’s castle on Mustafar. In addition to Vader, these cultists worshipped an ancient Sith Lady who once ruled Mustafar in the distant past. They would plant trees on Mustafar in her honor. Several of their number were slaughtered by Kylo Ren, but it is unknown if there were more of them elsewhere on Mustafar.
The most powerful Sith cult so far was the Sith Eternal, who were stationed on the hidden Sith world of Exegol. They were Darth Sidious’s primary supporters alongside surviving Imperials. The majority of the cult was destroyed during the Battle of Exegol when Darth Sidious was destroyed by Rey Skywalker.
“You’re clumsy. Untrained. You use the dark side like a hammer.”
Luke Skywalker to the Knights of Ren
When one considers a potential return of the Sith, one must consider the potential evolution of Sith cults across the galaxy. It remains unknown if the Acolytes of the Beyond were wiped out or vanished into the shadows at some point. The Alazmec of Winsit took heavy casualties at the hand of their god’s grandson, but it is unknown if the whole cult was wiped out or just a fraction. Due to having vast influence across the galaxy, it is possible that not all members of the Sith Eternal died with their compatriots on Exegol. Essentially, if even one member of any of these cults remains, they can rebuild themselves from the ground up. Also, the Alazmec of Winsit and the Sith Eternal were introduced to us in one movie. TWO Sith cults in one movie! That means there is a strong possibility that there are many other Sith cults scattered across the galaxy, hiding in the shadows. These cults gained power and influence due to the presence of Darth Vader and Darth Sidious even after they were defeated. This means the remaining cults could gain more power and influence despite the Sith Eternal’s defeat simply because Darth Sidious was involved.
Not all Sith cultists were Force sensitive, but there is a strong possibility that some of them were. This means they have the ability to learn to use the Force and may claim the title of Sith for themselves. However, these pseudo-Sith would be a shadow of what the true Sith were. With the true Sith gone, their ability to learn would be limited to what they can salvage from holocrons, ancient texts, and self-teaching. Due to this rudimentary and imperfect form of learning, these cultists’ usage of the dark side would be similar to that of the Knights of Ren, which Luke Skywalker described as being clumsy, untrained, and being like wielding a hammer. This would hint that the pseudo-Sith would discard skill and finesse in exchange for raw power.
In addition to their usage of the dark side, these pseudo-Sith would also have imperfect lightsabers. I can imagine their lightsabers to be similar in design to Kylo Ren’s. Kylo Ren’s lightsaber was crudely made with an unstable blade. The lightsabers of these pseudo-Sith may be as crudely made and unstable of Kylo Ren’s, but they likely will not have the crossguard. When these pseudo-Sith cannot build their own lightsabers, they may likely use ones they find that were already built. However, the Acolytes of the Beyond and the Knights of Ren used regular melee weapons instead of lightsabers. This hints that some of these pseudo-Sith won’t use lightsabers at all, but will use normal melee weapons.
Another source of dark side power these pseudo-Sith could draw from would be Sith artifacts such as masks. The Acolytes of the Beyond were known to utilize Sith masks. When such a mask is worn, the wearer would be consumed by an uncontrollable rage and slaughter everything in sight. When Lando Calrissian hijacked Darth Sidious’s personal yacht, he found a treasure trove of Sith artifacts on board. Like Sith masks, these other artifacts corrupted the minds of everyone who either touched them or came near them. The pseudo-Sith may use whatever Sith artifacts they can find as a way to further augment their power in the dark side.
“Soon enough, you will stop denying the truth of so very many things. And you will understand that I am not a traitor, but a visionary! Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hatred leads to suffering. But what the Jedi failed to teach you, what I have learned, is how to persevere, to pass through the suffering, and achieve ultimate power!”
While the pseudo-Sith would be a threat on their own, it is possible more dangerous individuals may join their ranks. Even if Rey Skywalker rebuilds the Jedi Order, it is likely some of her pupils might turn to the dark side. If they turn and find their way to the pseudo-Sith. The difference between the pseudo-Sith and these fallen Jedi would be that the fallen Jedi would have proper training while the pseudo-Sith did not. With this in mind, the fallen Jedi could use their superior mastery of the Force to take over the pseudo-Sith and the Sith cults. After acquiring the dark side knowledge the cults accumulated, these fallen Jedi may become true Sith. When that happens, the Sith’s rebirth can begin in earnest.
“This is how it must be. The Empire became this…ugly, inelegant machine. Crude and inefficient. We needed to be broken into pieces. We needed to get rid of those who want to see that old machine churning ineluctably forward. It’s time for something better. Something new. An Empire worthy of the galaxy it will rule.”
After the Sith Eternal and the Final Order were defeated, the rest of the galaxy rose up against the First Order. With no Supreme Leader or high-ranking generals to lead them, the First Order’s hold over the galaxy began to crumble. However, I do not think we have seen the last of the First Order. When the Galactic Empire fell, it managed to survive in the form of remnants. Most of these remnants were destroyed by Palpatine’s Contingency while the rest formed both the First Order and the Final Order. This time, Palpatine is not around to enact another Contingency against the First Order. This means that numerous remnants are bound to survive the First Order’s defeat. Some may establish holdouts in known space while the rest may retreat to their territory in the Unknown Regions. The surviving remnants of the First Order would then be given an opportunity to rebuild their strength and reorganize themselves just as their Imperial precursors did before them.
“Our time has come. For 300 years, we prepared. We grew stronger. While you rested in your cradle of power, believing your people were safe… and protected. You were trusted to lead the Republic—but you were deceived, as our powers of the dark side have blinded you. You assumed no force could challenge you…and now…finally…we have returned.”
Through the combined efforts of Sith cults and fallen Jedi, I strongly think the Sith will rise again. In the safety of the Unknown Regions, the remnants of the First Order would be able to rebuild their strength just as they did in the past. For both the Sith and the First Order, the slate would be wiped clean, which would give them ample room to rebuild. That would take years or even centuries. If left unchecked, these two factions can regain enough strength to become a real threat once again. Individually, they would dangerous on their own, but what if they combined their power? For these reborn Sith, their power in the dark side would not be enough to conquer the galaxy. To achieve that, they would need to acquire an army, which they can find in the remnants of the First Order. With this in mind, it would be likely that the reborn Sith and the rebuilt First Order would join forces to renew their quest to retake the galaxy.
“General Leia thought they’d destroyed the Emperor at the Battle of Endor, but he came back. More powerful than ever.”
“You think he might come back again.”
“Maybe or some other evil will rise. Evil always rises.”
“Naw. Not for a long time, anyway.”
Poe Dameron and Finn
Overall, the Sith may be gone and the First Order may be fragmented, but I strongly believe there are ways for them to return in future stories in the Star Wars saga. It’s either that or some other evil will take their place. Rey Skywalker’s Jedi Order is going to have their work cut out for them.
“Members of the emperor’s fanatic bodyguard fight to the bitter end.“
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
While writing my third fantasy book, I have been doing a lot of brainstorming on a particular group of characters. When I think of an emperor’s bodyguards, I picture a group of warriors who are the absolute best soldiers the imperial military has to offer. This was the case with the Praetorian Guard of the Roman Empire, who served as bodyguards and enforcers of Roman emperors. At their peak, the Praetorian Guards numbered 15,000 strong, but they have been known to turn on their emperors from time to time. I also like the Elite Praetorian Guards from Star Wars: The Last Jedi because they were skilled in both melee combat and martial arts. Using melee weapons or martial arts individually can make a warrior formidable, but when these two styles are combined, the warrior becomes twice as deadly. Snoke’s Praetorian Guards were also fanatically loyal to their master, which was evidenced when they tried to avenge his death. However, the Elite Praetorian Guard of the First Order were too few in number to suitably protect someone as important as Supreme Leader Snoke. The Romans had the right idea because in order to protect a powerful and influential ruler you need to use an entire army and not just a select few bodyguards. My idea of the ideal bodyguards for an emperor are warriors that are fanatically loyal, merciless, persistent, fearless, aggressive, and highly disciplined. For my third fantasy book, a new breed of imperial bodyguards will be introduced. Like the Roman Praetorian Guard, these imperial guards will be organized into a sizable force. Like the First Order Praetorian Guard, these bodyguards will be highly skilled in the use of both melee combat and martial arts. Another twist is that these imperial guards will not be human.
Darth Sidious and various clone trooper commanders
When we were first introduced to the clone trooper army, we thought they were mindless fighting machines that only followed orders and never asked questions. When Order 66 was issued and the clones started exterminating the Jedi, we initially hated the clones. However, when we watched The Clone Wars and saw things from the clones’ perspective, we started to like the clone troopers even knowing what they would ultimately do in the end. The clones were not carbon copies of Jango Fett. Instead, each one had their own unique personality and individuality. They were more than soldiers and products of science; they were men. Their identical genetic code and blood ties to Jango Fett gave the clones a sense of brotherhood amongst them. Later in the series, we discovered the truth behind Order 66. It turns out the clone troopers did not betray and murder the Jedi willingly. When the clones were fetuses growing in vats, a type of inhibitor chip was implanted in their brains. Publicly, these chips were said to make the clones tolerant to war-based psychological trauma and make them more able to follow orders. However, the true purpose of the inhibitor chips was to transform the clones into soulless killing drones for the Sith to use against the Jedi. Once Order 66 was given and the inhibitor chips were activated, all of the clones’ individuality, free will, and humanity was wiped clean. They became no different from the droids they had fought throughout the Clone Wars. While the chips in their heads forced them to mindlessly obey orders, the clones were likely screaming in anguish in the back of their minds. The only way to free the clones was to remove the chips from their brains. The lives of the clone troopers was a sad story. They were bred to be a loyal defense force for the Galactic Republic only to be forced to betray their Jedi friends and later used and discarded by the Galactic Empire.
One of the factors that judges the strength of a nation is the strength of its navy. This fact has been featured both in fiction and in real life. In Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, the Final Order had a fleet of thousands of Star Destroyers that were equipped with cannons that could destroy entire planets. In the final season of Game of Thrones, the Iron Fleet was equipped with scorpions that were so large and powerful that they could shoot dragons out of the sky. During the Napoleonic Wars, the United States created ships such as the USS Constitution that were larger, faster, more powerful, and more durable than any ship that existed at the time. The hull of the USS Constitution alone was nearly two feet thick with solid oak, which was a hard nut to crack. Those early American ships were so formidable that English ships were advised to not engage one alone. For my fantasy series, I am thinking of featuring a powerful armada that will have a similar construction to the USS Constitution and be armed with a highly destructive weapon like the Final Order Star Destroyers and the Iron Fleet.