This article contains spoilers from the book Star Wars: Cataclysm and any High Republic novels before. The events of Quest to Planet X and Path of Vengeance will not be touched on.
While Yoda was first introduced in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, most recently, he’s been making himself known in the High Republic era.
When the storytelling initiative began exploring the period before The Phantom Menace, the first wave of books and comics made an active effort to keep Yoda out of the bigger picture. While he is involved (particularly in the High Republic Adventures comics from Dark Horse), when all of the bigger events started happening, the Grand Jedi Master was nowhere to be seen.
Yoda had basically vanished, not telling anyone where he went. But at the end of Midnight Horizon, the small Jedi re-appeared, informing all Jedi that they needed to return to the Temple on Coruscant—he had vital information to share.
The Path of the Open Hand’s Weapon
It’s here that readers are introduced to the Path of the Open Hand, a cult that believes it wrong to utilize the force in any way. The group is led by the mysterious Mother—who quickly leads them to fanaticism.
Naturally, their self-appointed greatest enemies are the Jedi Order.
So, the organization pulled a lot of strings and, over the course of several stories, instigated a massive battle between the Path and Jedi during the events of the Cataclysm book. Really, the event could be classified more as a massacre.
It’s here that The Mother put her living weapon to work: The Leveler. As it lurked on the battlefield, it quickly made work of any Jedi it crossed patches with.
However, by the end of the battle, no one figured out what the mysterious creature was. They only had brief glimpses from a distance and a feeling of a terrible, horrifying disturbance in the force.
While debriefing after the battle, the topic of the strange creature came up between Yoda and Master Creighton Sun. The two worry about how little they know of the threat.
The duo is quick to point out that if it becomes wider knowledge that there is a creature out there capable of wiping out force users with ease, it could destroy the Jedi Order.
So, Yoda suggested it best to keep its existence a secret and leave mention of it out of the archives—at least until they know more.
But what exactly is The Leveler, and why is it so dangerous?
The Horrifying Leveler
The Leveler, or the Nameless as it was coined for a while, has been the big hidden threat of the High Republic era. It quickly became the secret living weapon of Marchion Ro, leader of the Nihil raiders, in Phase 1.
The stories with the creature haven’t messed around either. Every time it comes against a Jedi, it mercilessly kills them.
Whenever a force-weirder (not only the Jedi) is in the proximity of The Leveler, they are struck with an immediate overwhelming wave of pure, paralyzing fear. Oftentimes, this is accompanied by horrendous hallucinations of the victim’s deepest darkest fears.
Nearly everyone who has come up against one of these creatures has died, unable to offer any struggle before meeting their end. The aftermath sees the victim become a hallowed out, ashy shell of their former shape—one that easily crumbles with any contact.
There have been some rare instances of people surviving brief or close encounters with the beast. Among them are Bell Zettifar, the Bond-twins, and Vidlar Mac.
So far, Yoda himself has not come face-to-face with any Leveler.
From what readers currently know, people can control The Levelers with a mysterious rod of power, one that’s referred to as a force artifact. Both The Mother and Marchion Ro were in possession of one of these.
When Will Yoda Reveal His Secret?
Phase 1 did the leg work in setting up the era and introducing The Leveler, Phase 2 offered readers some further backstory, and now it's time for it all to pay off in Phase 3—which officially begins this November.
With these High Republic projects, Lucasfilm successfully created a scary new addition to the expansive Star Wars franchise - fans know it's serious when even Yoda gets skittish.
One would think that by the end of The High Republic’s Phase 3, the Nameless will be neutralized for good. After all, one would think they’d come up at some point within the many conflicts that occurred over the next couple of hundreds of years.
The final book in Phase 2, Path of Vengeance, is now available to purchase. It’s bound to include some new exciting pieces of information about The Leveler and serve as the next step towards Phase 3.