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The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars: Dark Droids #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Star Wars: Dark Droids #1 (by Charles Soule, Luke Ross, Alex Sinclair and VC's Travis Lanham) introduces the Scourge, the combined form of the Spark Eternal with ancient technology aboard Amaxine Station. The Scourge seems bent on spreading throughout the galaxy, threatening the Empire and the Rebellion alike. While the event will connect all of Marvel's Star Wars' Original Trilogy era comics, there also are hints that the Scourge's roots may be intertwined with an unexpected foe from the Star Wars: The High Republic subseries: the Drengir.
Because the Drengir are sentient plants steeped in the dark side of the Force as opposed to machines, this might seem like an unlikely connection. However, the Scourge's hunger and desire to spread suggests that the Drengir's influence extended even to Amaxine Station's machines. Comparing the Drengir to the Scourge shows that while the Scourge is a robotic threat, its origins may be more organic upon a closer look.
The Drengir and Amaxine Station Have Ties to Star Wars' Dark Side
The Drengir were first introduced in Claudia Gray's Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark. During the Great Disaster, a group of Jedi are waylaid on their journey to the Outer Rim and must take refuge on the seemingly abandoned Amaxine Station. While they can feel the presence of the dark side on the station, the Jedi assumed it was contained within strange idols they found on board the ship. However, after taking the idols back with them to Coruscant, they realized that the idols themselves were not connected to the dark side. Instead, the idols were being used to hold powerful dark side creatures at bay: the Drengir.
The Drengir are a sentient plant-like race with one main motivation within their hive mind: their hunger for sentient organic flesh. They use the dark side to control their victims' minds and either make them do their bidding or become willing meals. The Drengir's poison also makes their victims more susceptible to their influence. After Padawan Reath Silas is accidentally sent to the Drengir homeworld, he discovers that the Amaxine warriors created Amaxine Station to try to conquer the creatures, but were instead quite literally devoured. Importantly, the Sith were the ones who created the idols that originally contained the Drengir. The Sith's role in the hibernation of the creatures shows that the Drengir, while agents of the dark side, were equally dangerous to beings no matter what side of the Force they followed.
While the Drengir are an organic threat, they worked with technology, particularly on board Amaxine Station. Most notably, even in hibernation, the Drengir were tended by 8-T gardening droids who were willing to attack anyone who threatened their garden. During their centuries of hibernation on Amaxine Station, the Drengir's dark side influence likely began to seep within the station and the technology within, leading their influence to continue even after the Jedi were able to once again contain them. Thus, the Spark Eternal's merging with technology aboard Amaxine Station to form the Scourge ultimately ties the robotic threat back to the Drengir themselves.
Star Wars' Scourge Has Inherited the Drengir's Hunger
Even though the Scourge is a robotic threat rather than an organic enemy, they still have many similarities that ties them to their Drengir predecessors, as seen throughout Star Wars: Dark Droids #1. For example, the Great Progenitor was the center of the Drengir's hive mind and ultimately controlled all their actions. Similarly, the Scourge acts as a hive mind, controlling all the droids it takes over. Like the Drengir, the Scourge seems to be a threat to all beings in the galaxy regardless of their political alliance as their main desire is to spread their influence and take over more and more.
However, the more important clue to the Scourge's ties to the Drengir lies in the Scourge's hunger. When the Scourge first possesses an Imperial droid, they state "I am a droid. I am hungry. Here is food. I am one. And now... I am two." The use of hungry here is immediately suspect since droids in general do not need to eat and do not feel hunger. The Spark Eternal has possessed organic beings before, like Doctor Chelli Lona Aphra, so that may explain where the Scourge now gets this descriptor. However, the phrasing also is close to how the Drengir refer to the organic beings as "meat" they hope to devour. The Scourge is completing a more metaphorical devouring of its droid prey, so they refer to their inorganic victims as "food" not "meat."
Importantly, immediately after this first possession sequence, Star Wars: Dark Droids 1 includes an advertisement for the third volume collection of Star Wars: The High Republic (2021) from Phase I of the Star Wars: The High Republic subseries. This advertisement could just be a coincidence. However, while the third volume of Star Wars: The High Republic(2021) focuses on the battle with the Nihil and the Nameless, the first two volumes of Star Wars: The High Republic (2021) focus on the Jedi's encounters with and eventual defeat of the Drengir. Thus, this advertisement could be a hint at the Scourge's connection to the Drengir as well.
Throughout Star Wars: Dark Droids #1, the Scourge's influence spreads as it metaphorically devours droids throughout the galaxy. The issue ends on a cliffhanger with the reveal that C-3PO, one of the Rebel Alliance's most trusted droid members, has been possessed by the Scourge. Specifically, the Scourge states through C-3PO, "To some of the most powerful and important organics in the Alliance... I am family. And I am hungry." By ending the issue on the statement that the Scourge remains hungry, Star Wars: Dark Droids #1 further emphasizes the subtextual connections between the Scourge and the Drengir.
Thus, while the Star Wars: Dark Droids event connects the Marvel Original Trilogy era comic series, the Scourge's connections to the Drengir also makes the High Republic era more closely intertwined with the Star Wars eras that come afterward. As the event continues, the Scourge will continue to spread throughout the galaxy. Once the Rebel Alliance finally becomes aware of the threat already among them, they might have to look to the High Republic past to discover the Scourge's true origin and find a way to stop this threat once and for all.