"He is a wound in the Force, more presence than flesh, and in his wake life dies… sacrificing itself to his hunger."
Darth Nihilus was a Human male who reigned as a Dark Lord of the Sith during the era of strife following the Jedi Civil War. Before becoming a Sith Lord, he lost everything during the Galactic Republic's war against the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders. He survived the activation of the Mass Shadow Generator superweapon during the war's final battle at the planet of Malachor V, which surrounded the planet with a destructive spatial phenomenon known as a mass shadow. Experiencing the shadow that obliterated almost everything on and around the planet made Nihilus crave Force energy. The affliction painfully ravaged his body while rendering him a wound in the Force. He was found by a seeker of these, the former Jedi Kreia, who became the Sith Lord Darth Traya and told him that she could teach him to feed his endless hunger. He accepted her offer of apprenticeship at the Trayus Academy on Malachor V, where he, over time, became one of three concurrent Dark Lords of the Sith.
Together, they formed a triumvirate with Darth Traya at its head and her other apprentice, Darth Sion, as the third member. The trio chose individual titles for themselves, Darth Nihilus becoming the Lord of Hunger. The apprentices grew in strength throughout their training and eventually overpowered their Master. Sion defeated Traya, while Nihilus sapped her energy. The two Sith then combined power to sever her connection to the Force and sent her into exile. Nihilus' affliction developed to the point where the Dark Lord was forced to call upon the dark side of the Force to encase his spirit within his mask and armor to stay alive. He and Sion then began a Jedi purge, causing the virtual extinction of the Jedi Order. Nihilus was responsible for the devastation of the planet Katarr in 3952 BBY, killing and absorbing the Force energy of the Jedi at the Conclave on Katarr along with every other living thing on the world save one Miraluka woman named Visas Marr. Marr was collected from the surface and Nihilus began to train her as his Shadow Hand.
One year later, Nihilus sensed a growing presence in the Force and sent Marr out to eliminate it. That presence was a female exiled from the Jedi Order, Meetra Surik, who was on a quest to find the few Jedi Masters who had survived the Purge with the aide of Darth Traya, who had put away her Sith trappings and identified herself once more as Kreia. When Marr attempted to assassinate Surik, the exiled Jedi defeated her and convinced her to turn to the light side of the Force in the process. Although Nihilus returned to lurking the fringes of known space, he was eventually tricked by Kreia into initiating the Battle of Telos IV in an attempt to absorb a Jedi Academy that lacked any Force-sensitives aside from the headmistress. Nihilus met a large Republic and Mandalorian fleet at Telos IV that distracted him. Meanwhile, his flagship, the Ravager, was secretly boarded by a small force consisting of Surik, Marr, Mandalore the Preserver, and his Mandalorians. The trio confronted and slew Nihilus in the ensuing duel while the Mandalorians rigged explosives that destroyed the ship. The Sith Lord's armor maintained his spirit and was collected for burial on the Sith homeworld of Korriban, where his soul could be contacted with a holocron of his own creation.
"The less said of that one, the better—even a stray thought may draw him."
Malachor V after the battle
The Human male who would one day be known as Darth Nihilus, Dark Lord of the Sith, was alive at the conclusion of the Mandalorian Wars, a galaxy-wide conflict between the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders and the Galactic Republic. Amidst those battles, he lost everything: his family, friends, as well as his will to live. He was on the planet of Malachor V during the final battle of the war in 3960 BBY, when Jedi General Meetra Surik gave the order to activate the Republic's Mass Shadow Generator superweapon. The generator killed almost everyone on the planet's surface and in orbit nearby.
The future Dark Lord survived the superweapon's destruction of the surface and assumed a dark persona while grieving his losses, in part as a means of survival. He was trapped on the planet by the artificially-created mass shadows along with the bulk of the opposing, disabled fleets that filled space around the planet—where the Mandalorians had committed all of their forces in a last attempt at defeating the Republic—and took ill suddenly due to the shadows' effects. His emotional pain then manifested as an emptiness that swept over his idle body and it soon began to manifest as an intense "hunger." Without intent, he drained the life-force of another survivor. The act was an unpleasant experience for him, but the hunger and his painful memories faded for a brief moment alongside his sickness. Nonetheless, the emptiness returned more relentless and severe than before. He indulged in absorbing the energy of other survivors, but the more he fed, the shorter the hunger was appeased and the more powerful it became.
"There are many factions within the Sith, each attempting to take what little remains from the Jedi Civil War."
After the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Malak was killed at the Jedi Civil War's conclusion in 3956 BBY, the Sith Empire became divided and its followers turned on each other, with many factions rising to stake claim to what little power could be garnered. The man was eventually discovered by the Dark Lord Darth Traya, who had sensed him as a wound in the Force. After locating him, Traya explained that it was the Force that fueled his hunger and offered to train him to devour entire worlds to help appease the hunger at her school on the planet, the Trayus Academy. He followed her there and learned the ways of the Sith alongside another prospective Sith. Traya's hungry pupil and her other apprentice each honed different aspects and skills of the dark side of the Force, until they both became Sith Lords. The man took up the name Darth Nihilus, while the second apprentice became known as Darth Sion, and they joined with Traya in the creation of a Sith Triumvirate. In addition, the three each took a unique title, with Nihilus selecting "Lord of Hunger."
Darth Traya perceived Nihilus' hunger for the Force as detrimental to the Sith's goals. Nevertheless, she taught him how to harness that hunger to make him stronger for a time, as she had promised. Nihilus consumed planets on several occasions, caring only to appease his hunger, allowing the dark side to consume him more and more each time he indulged his ever-intensifying hunger. Alongside his hunger, his power also grew dramatically, until he eventually surpassed his Master. Their views on how to destroy the Jedi Order also became divided, with Sion and Nihilus wanting to destroy them outright while Traya desired a more time-consuming approach. This strained the Triumvirate's already fragile alliance to the breaking point. In 3955 BBY, Nihilus and Sion combined forces to challenge Traya, confronting their teacher in the center of her own Academy. Sion and Nihilus entered the Core and ambushed Traya. Nihilus Force-pushed her into a feature of the platform, after which Sion larruped her into submission. Sion combined his power with Nihilus' to sap Traya's Force energy, cutting her off from the Force before casting her out into exile.
With Traya gone, the Sith were left with no defined leadership and her followers fractured into many factions once again, all seeking to claim scarce power. Meanwhile, the two Sith Lords went about destroying the Jedi Order together, though they did so separately and with different vehicles. On the one hand, Sion killed as many Jedi he could find. On the other, Nihilus traveled the fringes of known space with a large fleet of ships that he had ripped from the mass shadows surrounding Malachor V. He made one such vessel, the Ravager, his flagship and led his flotilla to the largest deposits of Force energies he could find, whereupon he sated the hunger within him and further increased his power. Both Nihilus and Sion were successful in their pursuits and they extinguished the Jedi. Four years after Traya's exile, Nihilus and Sion, having been the ones who defeated her, reunited the fractured Sith to take control.
Nihilus became so absorbed by the dark side of the Force and his hunger that his physical body began to erode. Knowing that he would succumb to death if he did not act soon, Nihilus ripped his spirit from his body and encased it in the armor he wore, thus allowing the dark side to consume his useless body. Using the Force, the Sith Lord was able to keep his robes, armor and mask together, giving him some form while allowing him to use his Force powers as well as a lightsaber. Apart from that, he no longer had a physical form and became simple, primitive intent. Additionally, the Dark Lord constructed a cubic holocron at some point that contained a sum of Sith knowledge and a number of their secrets.
Encounter with Visas Marr
"There is no strength in the hunger he possesses… and the will behind his power is a primal thing. And it devours him as he devours others—his mere presence kills all around him, slowly, feeding him. He is already dead, it is simply a question of how many he kills before he falls."
Darth Nihilus encounters Visas Marr as he walks on the devastated surface of Katarr.
The Trayus Academy continued producing legions of Sith Lords, assassins and marauders, with Sion and Nihilus at its head. They spread death throughout the galaxy and turned many other Force-sensitives to their cause. What his followers experienced while simply being in Nihilus' vicinity allowed them to leech off other Force-sensitives' Force energy, increasing their own power. He also taught them how to sense their prey across the vastness of space.
In 3952 BBY, the Jedi Master Atris organized a large gathering of Jedi on the Miraluka colony world of Katarr, which most of the remaining Jedi were expected to attend. After organizing the event, she then leaked the location as a ploy to lure a dark presence that she had recently sensed so that she could destroy it. Atris' plan worked, drawing Nihilus toward Katarr. However, when Nihilus neared the planet, he spoke, his voice a great hunger that the Miraluka could see and feel through the Force. The Sith Lord's hunger overwhelmed them and obliterated the surface of Katarr, wiping out the entire colony and anything else touched by the Force. Nihilus destroyed much of what remained of the Jedi Order, including the Jedi Masters Zhar Lestin, Dorak and Vandar Tokare; Atris herself did not actually attend the conclave, though she was reported to have done so.
As he afterward walked on the surface of Katarr, Nihilus found only a single living being, an injured Miraluka woman named Visas Marr. He put her in a deep sleep and brought her aboard his ship. Days later, Marr awoke, completely healed aboard the Ravager, and approached the Dark Lord. When she asked him why the wave of death had spared her, the Sith Lord did not speak. Instead, he showed her a vision of the galaxy as he perceived it: beings on other planets unable to feel the Force, disconnected from one another and lost in the crush of humanity. To that chaos, the Dark Lord felt he brought order. The vision crippled her ability to see through the Force and carved out the flesh of her vestigial eye sockets. Marr agreed to be trained by the Sith Lord as his Shadow Hand and developed a powerful Force bond with Nihilus that strengthened both; further, they could support or weaken each other in battle.
Onderon and his downfall
"You… you are the darkness in which all life dies, milord. All life… exists to feed your power, and my life… my life is yours. I beg you… please… let me die. […] Yes… this disturbance… echoes through the Force. I can follow it to its source… and bring it to you. I will leave at once, my lord."
―Visas Marr, to Nihilus
Nihilus commands Marr to seek out Meetra Surik.
Nihilus allied himself with General Vaklu, the leader of a separatist movement that wanted the planet of Onderon to leave the Galactic Republic. He wanted to aid Vaklu in breaking away from the Republic so the planet would fall under his influence and become a staging ground for the Sith. Colonel Tobin, Vaklu's second-in-command, became Nihilus' contact. The Sith Lord also established a base on Onderon's moon, Dxun, inside the tomb of an ancient Dark Lord of the Sith named Freedon Nadd. The tomb contained a dark energy Force nexus upon which Nihilus hoped to feed after his underlings performed a dark side ritual to influence the outcome of the upcoming Onderon Civil War between the separatists and the Onderon Royalists to his favor.
In another part of the galaxy, events that would culminate in Darth Nihilus' ultimate defeat took place when Atris, intent on using her as bait for Nihilus, arranged for the return of Meetra Surik to Republic space in 3951 BBY—Surik had been exiled by the Jedi years before for fighting in the Mandalorian Wars. Atris broadcast knowledge of Surik's presence through the Coreward databases, which reached Darth Sion. Nihilus' colleague then pursued her to the Peragus Mining Facility, which was destroyed as a result. The Telosian Restoration Project, an expensive pilot program for repairing the Mandalorian Wars' collateral damage, lost its main supply of fuel, which bolstered support for Republic secessionist movements on planets like Onderon. Surik came under the tutelage of Nihilus' former Master, who had forsaken her Sith identity of Darth Traya and retaken her original name, Kreia, following her exile. Kreia now trained and used Surik against the Sith whilst Surik herself set out on a quest to find any Jedi Masters who had survived the Mandalorian Wars so that they could take the fight to the Sith Lords who had destroyed the Order.
Nihilus eventually felt a disturbance in the Force that only his apprentice could identify. As a result, Marr was sent to defeat its source, Surik, and bring the woman before Nihilus so that he could consume her. When Surik defeated Marr instead, the Miraluka began to question the vision her Master had shown her. She was then swayed to serve Surik against Nihilus. Meanwhile, Nihilus and the Ravager crew continued travelling and devouring worlds.
The ritual Nihilus' group were conducting on Dxun was attacked by a group sent by Surik when she involved herself with the now-ongoing Onderon Civil War, with help from Mandalore the Preserver and his Mandalorian clan that lived in secret on Dxun. The practitioners were killed, but not before the ritual was completed. Meanwhile, Surik headed to Iziz to support Onderon's queen, Talia. The Royalist leader's palace was invaded by Nihilus' Sith and the separatists. Surik turned the tide in the Royalists' favor and Nihilus' plans for Onderon were thwarted when General Vaklu was executed summarily and the separatists were quashed.
Assault on Telos IV
"Your path… ends here, Sith Lord."
―Meetra Surik, to Darth Nihilus
Dark energy stems from Darth Nihilus' body.
Afterward, Nihilus was informed by Colonel Tobin that there was a Jedi Academy on the planet of Telos IV. This was actually a ruse by Kreia to draw her former pupil there while she traveled to Malachor to prepare for Meetra Surik's final lesson. Nihilus' forces, comprised of servants who had been reduced to mindlessness by prolonged exposure to their Dark Lord and Sith warriors, made their way to the planet. The Republic Navy was there to ambush the fleet as it approached, working with the Mandalorians who were there to assist Surik and their Mandalore. Thus began the Battle of Telos IV, a large conflict with fronts on both Citadel Station, the planet's orbiting satellite, and in space. Nihilus realized too late that the Academy was not actually populated by Force-sensitives, though Atris was the headmistress, but his ravaging hunger drove him to attempt to consume Telos anyway.
Nihilus' ship was assaulted and boarded by the Mandalorians in a coordinated final strike against the Dark Lord. Mandalore led his troops to board the Ravager, while covered by the Republic forces, to assist Surik and Visas Marr in their advance on the warship's bridge. Four proton bombs were set in strategic locations throughout the ship along their way. Colonel Tobin, his body twisted by exposure to Nihilus' dark powers by this point, attacked the raiders in an attempt to impede them. However, the Onderonian patriot relented when they pointed out that it would only be a matter of time until his homeworld would meet the same fate as Telos if Nihilus succeeded.
During his confrontation with the Exile, Marr, and Mandalore, Nihilus attempted to absorb Surik's Force energy, but failed and exhausted himself because of Surik's ability to draw on the Force energy of those around her. They engaged in a brief duel, with the Dark Lord seemingly too strong to defeat. When he stunned the Exile, Marr offered her life in exchange, a show of devotion that stalled Nihilus long enough for the Exile to recover. Marr entered a trance and disrupted her link with her former Master, undermining his connection to the Force through their Force bond. This weakened Nihilus enough that the trio was able to kill him. Before leaving in the orbital shuttle she and her companions had used to board the ship, Marr felt compelled to remove the Dark Lord's mask, wanting to see the face of the one who had wounded her. Nihilus' body then erupted in an aura of dark side energies as the trio left the bridge. Shortly thereafter, the bombs aboard the Ravager exploded and the rest of the Sith fleet was decimated by the Republic. Nihilus' spirit was able to survive inside his armor, not destroyed within the Ravager, which was taken for burial on Korriban, the Sith homeworld. Nihilus' spirit touched the planet's dark side nexus and remained in touch with the corporeal plane because of it.
"Lord Nihilus, you escaped death by containing your consciousness within your armor. How?!"
Nihilus' holocron projection
After Nihilus' death, Meetra Surik traveled to Malachor V for a final meeting with Kreia, completing her own training with the death of the former Sith. In reaching her mentor, Surik killed the last of the Sith, Darth Sion, convincing the continually suffering Sith Lord to let go of his life. Nonetheless, the Sith lived on after the fall of the Sith Triumvirate. At least one Sith Lord rose and succeeded Nihilus, quietly ruling as the Republic began to thrive anew. Similarly, the Jedi Order rebounded as well, with Marr and other Force-sensitive companions of the Exile rebuilding it. In 3681 BBY, the Sith and Jedi would once again clash during the Great Galactic War that pitted the Republic against a resurgent Sith Empire. In the aftermath of that conflict, the two shared an uneasy coexistence during the Cold War that began in 3653 BBY. The subsequent decades saw replicas of Nihilus' mask and cowl worn by galactic citizens.
This section of the article assumes 100% game completion and that the player chooses only "light side" options when available during the course of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Alternate stories are noted in the "Behind the scenes" section. Note: The events in this section may or may not have been confirmed as canon within the Star Wars Legends continuity.
Darth Nihilus' holocron, which could allow someone to commune with his spirit, was centuries-old when it came into the possession of the crime lord Diago Hixan, who kept it in a cavern on the planet of Tatooine called the Lightspring during the Cold War. A Sith, Vaverone Zare, learned that Hixan had the box and she aimed to claim it for the Sith Empire. To do this, she tried to enlist the aid of a smuggler later known as the Voidhound, without revealing its true nature. However, the smuggler supported the Galactic Republic and told a Jedi Knight, Nariel Pridence, that Zare was seeking the box. The Jedi set out to take the box alone and was captured by Hixan, but the smuggler had followed her. In the ensuing confrontation, Hixan and Zare, who had arrived as well, were killed by the smuggler and the Jedi. Pridence was able to determine the origin of the holocron and she set off to ensure the Empire would never see it.
Assumption ends here.
Before the formation of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, Jedi Master Bodo Baas knew of three conflicting tales of Darth Nihilus' fate. One stated that he had been slain by Brianna, another companion of Surik's who was on Telos IV' surface while Nihilus was killed. The other two purported that either Marr killed Nihilus or vice versa. Baas recorded these in his holocron, from which his knowledge would be transcribed to Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force by Jedi Master Tionne Solusar several decades later.
While the Empire was in power, three groups tracked Nihilus' mask to the planet of Volik in the Unknown Regions, stored aboard a Dynamic-class freighter called the Nashuaga. The parties—a group of spacers, Sith cultists known as the Apex Society, and a band of pirates called Sando's Boys—all convened in and around the cove where the ship resided. After dispatching the other two groups, the spacers claimed the mask for their own.
The founder of the One Sith Order, Darth Krayt, came upon Nihilus' holocron. In 137 ABY, Krayt traveled to Korriban and accessed it along with two others, belonging to Darth Andeddu and Darth Bane, seeking their advice on how to stop Yuuzhan Vong creatures from consuming his body. The only response he received from Nihilus was a statement in the Sith Lord's language, which his comrades did not attempt to translate, but the three were in agreement. They believed that Krayt was unworthy of being a Sith as they saw his Rule of One as a dilution of the Sith ways.
Personality and traits
"He cares nothing for the Sith or its teachings… or the Jedi. And when the Jedi are dead, he will feed on the galaxy, the Republic, and eventually, consume the Sith as well."
Darth Nihilus was a man who always craved greater power. However, unlike most Sith Lords, he cared very little for the Sith as an organization. Nihilus saw death as the sole purpose of life, and power as the means to achieve it. He was cautious, as his actions during the campaign against the Jedi showed, and was known as an aggressive, dominant figure who would not abide a threat to his power.
Nihilus was once a Human male with black hair coiled finely into strips that he tied together behind his head. After he indulged his hunger for the dark side he lost his corporeal form, preserving his existence only by having his spirit linger within his mask and armor. The Dark Lord fully embraced his condition, as the mysterious and monstrous facets of it instilled in people who met him a deep-rooted fear upon which he could prey. Ceasing to feel fear and other emotions, he became an entity of pure intent. Nonetheless, Nihilus was still Human enough to have some feelings, as his bond with Marr persisted until their confrontation on the Ravager. She was his only apprentice, and her betrayal was met with much anger.
Powers and abilities
"The extent of his power cannot be put into words… and his perceptions have grown as well. To him…" "You are dust motes in a storm… a grain upon the beach… and as insignificant as a body that orbits the graveyard of Malachor."
―Visas Marr and Tobin, regarding Nihilus
Nihilus dies at the hands of Meetra Surik.
During combat, Darth Nihilus fought in an aggressive, one-handed style. He had learned some of the greatest of the Sith teachings, but such practices took the form of dependence. They would make him stronger, but only for a time, and he would have to feed upon Force energy to replenish his strength. For this reason, Force-sensitives and worlds rich in the Force would draw him. His reach in the Force eventually extended to a point where he could feel Force users throughout the galaxy to find planets he would then cleanse entirely, killing everything who was touched by the Force. Prolonged use of this power made him a threat to all life, as his craving grew more intense with each feeding. Eventually, Nihilus' hunger controlled him, not the other way around, and the Sith Lord would instinctively feed upon those around him, slowly killing them. Nihilus' very speech caused pain and death to all who heard it, and those who served him became utter slaves in time. His ability was somewhat similar to Traya's influence upon others: the reconvened Jedi Council in the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine inferred that the Sith had somehow learned this ability to feed on the Force from her.
Darth Nihilus was adept in many aspects of the Force. He used his dark variant of the Sever Force ability to betray Darth Traya alongside Darth Sion by stripping her of the Force and casting her out of the Sith Order. Nihilus could also use the Force to lift starships, as he did on Malachor V with the Ravager. He tore it from the mass shadows that surrounded the planet and kept it together even though it had suffered extensive structural damage. Through the Force, Darth Nihilus was able to escape death by containing his consciousness in his armor—an ability that Darth Krayt would inquire of Nihilus' holocron millennia later. He was also proficient in Dark rage, Farsight, Force lightning, Force resistance, Force scream, and Force whirlwind, among others, such as a dark variant of Force healing called Dark Healing. His knowledge also extended to Sith alchemy: during the second battle of Onderon, Nihilus' sect of Sith followers used techniques that would bend tame beasts to their will. Nihilus could increase the strength of Force powers he used greatly, if he wished, and he was capable of reaching through the Force at a range as far as a star system.
"The hunger that fills this vessel… it is power… but it consumes without end."
Darth Nihilus wielded a self-built lightsaber containing a red crystal. He wore a distinctive mask and set of armor, which he merged his spirit with to survive after his organic body decayed away. His robes and armor were black and covered his entire Human form aside from his face, which was covered by a mask. The mask was white with red stripes over each eye hole. It would have covered cheeks, but not a nose or mouth. There was also a brown embossed detail on the mask that split it vertically in two halves.
To enable his addiction to devouring worlds, he lead a flotilla from his personal starship, the Ravager. He created these ships from the wreckage left behind after the Battle of Malachor V. As such, they were badly damaged and held together with Nihilus's will. He only allowed the particle shield to barely maintain atmosphere, and staffed them with slaves whose bodies were badly damaged from being in contact with the Dark Lord.
Behind the scenes
"Nihilus' exact identity is never specified in K2 - I had a specific origin in mind, but not a name, if that makes sense, and what I say hear [sic] is not canon: He was created when Malachor V was torn apart, and he was intended as the Exile's other half, one that took a more self-destructive path rather than denying the Force during that battle that ended the Mandalorian Wars."
No-Face was the basis of Darth Nihilus' mask.
Darth Nihilus was created by Obsidian Entertainment as one of the main antagonists for the Xbox and PC video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. The desktop icon for the PC version of the game was Nihilus' face. His story was later elaborated upon in a comic, "Unseen, Unheard," featured in Star Wars Tales 24. This was written by Chris Avellone, lead writer of The Sith Lords, and was drawn by Dustin Weaver. Nihilus' background was further explored in the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide and he received an entry in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. Nihilus' name and the pronunciation thereof were derived from the words nihilist, meaning one who believes in "the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth;" and annihilate, meaning "to destroy completely" or "reduce to nonexistence." In an interview conducted by a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic fan website, Avellone was asked what his intentions for Darth Nihilus were. Though he did state that his conception of Nihilus' origin story was non-canon, Avellone said he thought of Nihilus as Meetra Surik's "other half," pursuing a different path after Malachor V was torn apart. From a visual design perspective, Avellone credited artist Brian Menze with creating an effective hook for the character and he cited this contribution as one of the particular things that made The Sith Lords a success. Menze himself did not feel his work on Nihilus was very creative: he was asked to give him a mask based on No-Face, a character from Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away film, and it was highly derivative from that. Nonetheless, Nihilus was his favorite of all the characters he drew for the game and he was proud of him. He counted the opportunity to paint him for the cover of Electronic Gaming Monthly as one of the best jobs of his career.
In-game, Nihilus never spoke a clear word; he emitted solely patterns of sounds similar to Atris' Sith holocrons found on Telos IV. Alien languages such as Huttese were subtitled, while Nihilus' words were not. Marr seemed to understand at least some portions of what Nihilus said to her. In promotional material for the game, Nihilus was seen as an opposite to Atris. Concept art showed a confrontation between the two, but Atris never actually interacted with Nihilus during the game. In a bug that occasionally occurred when Nihilus died, his body was surrounded by dark side energies, but the body itself did not disappear. A Sith lightsaber, a Dark Jedi Master robe, and a lightsaber crystal could then be found in his remains. In Hasbro's Star Wars Evolutions action figure set, The Sith Legacy, Nihilus was featured with Darth Bane and another Sith, Darth Maul. He had a removable hood that revealed that showed Nihilus' hair for the first time. It was styled in dreadlocks. In The Sith Lords, Nihilus' name was never spoken aloud, but was viewable during the fight with him and in certain written materials. The smuggler's storyline from 2011's Star Wars: The Old Republic included a section on Tatooine that dealt with Nihilus' Sith holocron, in which his name was spoken for the first time. Nihilus' name was also used for the name of two of The Old Republic's servers, though one was called "Mask of Nihilus." Following a merging of servers, there was no longer a "Mask of Nihilus" server and the "Darth Nihilus" server was used for the French Player-Versus-Player services.
"Her death was worthy of a Mandalorian." "She did not die a fool or a coward, so be silent."
―Mandalore the Preserver and Meetra Surik after Visas Marr's suicide
Though Nihilus' background and motives did not change based on whether people playing The Sith Lords had Surik, their avatar, make decisions in line with either the light or dark sides of the Force, the way his story unfolded could vary slightly. A possible outcome to the final battle with Nihilus was to convince Marr to sacrifice herself, thus shattering the bond she shared with Darth Nihilus and severely wounding the Dark Lord's spirit. This rendered him no match for Surik, but this option was only available if Marr was equipped with regular clothing and was wielding a melee weapon.
Concept art of Nihilus and Atris facing off
Surik could choose whether or not Visas Marr looked upon her Master's face. If Surik allowed Marr, she could also have asked Marr to bring his mask to her. The mask could not be worn; however, it did give Surik bonus Force points in the game. Not asking for the mask resulted in it disappearing with his body. Dialogue options after this caused Marr to describe Nihilus' face in two alternative ways. She either responded by saying "A man, nothing more" or "I saw a graveyard world, surrounded by a fleet of dead ships. I felt it through him… as I feel it through you."
Had the Voidhound assisted Zare in killing Pridence and eliminating Diago Hixan at the Lightspring in Star Wars: The Old Republic, Nihilus' Sith secrets would have come into the Sith Empire's possession. In exchange, Zare would have given a reward of some kind, ranging from equipment to a sexual favor.
"When the armor was transported to Korriban for burial, his spirit traveled with it, and the connection to Korriban's dark side nexus allowed the spirit of Nihilus to maintain contact with the physical world."
―The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Sources have differed on the time at which Nihilus lost his physical body. The Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide stated that he encased his spirit in his armor after deposing Darth Traya due to his dark side usage consuming his body. Meanwhile, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia stated that he lost his body when the Ravager was destroyed, preserving himself in the same way before being found and buried. This article assumes that the former is correct and that his spirit was already inside his armor when he fought Surik. However, the Encyclopedia's entry cast doubt on whether or not Marr was allowed to look upon Nihilus' face before leaving the bridge. Because The Sith Lords had Nihilus' armor destroyed in an explosion of Force energy, it once stood to reason that Marr was allowed to look and brought Nihilus' mask to Surik. It would not have been able to appear thousands of years later in a Wizards of the Coast Star Wars Roleplaying Game supplement, "The Mask of Darth Nihilus", otherwise. The establishment of his armor as having survived the explosion and being recovered later meant this was no longer certain.
"Our Alliance is finished. I have no need of you."
―Darth Sion to Darth Nihilus in a cut scene
Darth Nihilus' hairstyle
To accommodate a very swift development cycle, Obsidian Entertainment was forced to drop a number of things they planned to include in The Sith Lords. Darth Nihilus was affected by these cuts thus. The Jekk'Jekk Tarr, a cantina on the moon Nar Shaddaa, was originally going to be destroyed by Dessicus—the leader of the faction of the GenoHaradan bounty hunter guild active on the moon—with Surik inside. Everyone believed Surik to be dead, which was not the case, and Sion approached Nihilus. He told Nihilus that their partnership was over and that he never needed him at all before attacking him. Sion was rebuffed by a surge of the Force that killed several people around him. Sion limped away from this encounter and left the Ravager.
Surik was going to have the option to claim that she wanted to become Nihilus' apprentice during her final battle with him. She could either lie or tell the truth, and if this were true Surik would have killed Marr, weakening Nihilus through their bond before turning to kill him as well. If this was false, Nihilus would have let his guard down only to have Surik attack him without killing Marr.
Additionally, there was to be a section after this in which Surik meditated in an attempt to discern where Nihilus and Sion were based. What would have transpired was a section where the voices of Surik's companions would have chimed in then blended together to settle on the revelation that they had come from Malachor V, leading her there. Chris Avellone was very fond of this scene, and the dialogue was blended very well in his opinion, but there was simply not enough time to put it in.
When working on the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, Star Wars author Abel G. Peña wrote a whole passage devoted to Nihilus' mask that was ultimately cut. It would have made up the last paragraph of Nihilus' section and mentioned that the mask may have been a death mask of Hendanyn make. Those masks first appeared in The New Rebellion, a 1996 novel written by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.