“I am your father.” Forty years later, those words remain one of cinema’s greatest twists. Even if you’ve seen The Empire Strikes Back hundreds of times, you can’t help but get a shiver down your spine when Luke’s greatest enemy reveals his identity, showing that good and evil remain inextricably linked.
While author Adam Christopher isn’t promising a twist quite so monumental, he does have plans for a similarly shocking reveal for his upcoming novel Shadow of the Sith. Set after Return of the Jedi, Shadow of the Sith pairs Luke Skywalker with his ally Lando Calrissian when a Sith kidnaps the latter’s daughter. In addition to Sith assassin Ochi of Bestoon, who was first introduced in The Rise of Skywalker, Luke and Lando must also deal with a mysterious new Sith warrior, a woman known to the heroes.
Along with a new excerpt from Shadow of the Sith, io9 also offers a glimpse of this new villain via a poster included in Barnes & Noble exclusive editions of the book. The poster shows a female figure cloaked in darkness, tendrils of dark hair waving from her hood. By the glow of the Sith’s red lightsaber, we can see black claws protruding from thin blue fingers, topping arms wrapped in bandages. The Sith’s face is obscured by a skull-shaped mask, not unlike those worn by Jason Voorhees, Casey Jones of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, or Marvel baddie the Taskmaster.
The novel excerpt takes readers inside the mind of this new villain, where she’s overcome by “a relic… [a] presence from an older time, a malignancy that somehow survived, somehow found a way.” A “terrible” voice, one “as familiar as her own” echoes inside her head, repeating the word “Soon.” Waking from nightmares, the Sith answers a call from her master, a “figure, cloaked in darkness, the hood barely concealing a face that is wrapped tightly in heavy black bandages, in the manner all cultists of the Sith Eternal hide their features.” As she begins to hear her master’s bidding, the woman wonders if, one day, the Sith “will ask too much.”
As you can see, this excerpt only offers hints about the Sith. But “if you’ve been reading the canon Star Wars novels,” io9 promises, “the true identity of this masked figure will be a familiar face to you.”
Fan theories are already starting to pop up regarding who this “familiar face” might be. While some continue to cross their fingers for the return of beloved Legends character Mara Jade, who did have a past with the dark side in that timeline, others have pointed out it’s much more likely that it’s a character named Kiza from the Aftermath books by Chuck Wendig. A blue-skinned Pantoran, Kiza was a member of the Acolytes of the Beyond, a Sith-worshipping cult that sought to acquire dark side relics in the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. No stranger to killing in the name of the Sith, Kiza could certainly be the villain under that creepy mask.
Either way, while Ochi has become a popular character in the comics, especially in Marvel’s ongoing Darth Vader series by Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco, this other Sith baddie is poised to deliver a much bigger surprise. Will the reveal prove to be as memorable as Vader’s confession? Find out when Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith releases from Del Rey on June 28.