“Imperial bioweapons Project I71A” also known as “the Blackwing virus”, “the Sickness”, was developed by the Empire as a means of suppressing dissidents and freedom fighters. This virus was an infectious viral agent seen in the expanded Star Wars universe, essentially attacking biological tissue and began transforming its victims into Star Wars Zombies – The undead.
The events surrounding this project i71a virus are brilliantly presented by author Joe Schreiber through two novels. Beginning with Star Wars: Death Troopers, which was released on October 13, 2009, it takes place about a year before A New Hope. Then Star Wars: Red Harvest – A prequel was released on December 28, 2010.
Table of Contents
1. STAR WARS ZOMBIES: HOW WAS THIS PROJECT I71A VIRUS CREATED?
Changing the order a bit, we’ll start with the prequel – Star Wars: Red Harvest, how was this virus created? “Red Harvest” reveals the origins of this bioweapon, which dates back thousands of years to the old empire. While the Jedi were at war with the Sith, the young Jedi Hestizo was caring for a greenhouse and its plants.
She is breeding powerful plants to create medicine and drugs that the Jedi can use. Darth Scabrous, however, was drawn in by this process. He breaks into the greenhouse and kidnaps Hestizo and her plants for his purposes. He’s heard of the Black Orchid, which possesses extraordinary abilities. Hestizo is finally able to create a new drug from the Black Orchid, but it quickly transforms into a zombie virus, that created Star Wars Zombies.
The Sickness was created because of a Sith Lord’s quest to acquire immortality for himself. The armies of the undead it spawned were ultimately nothing more than a byproduct of the Sith’s process of creating immortality for the virus’s originator.
After a thousand years, both Darth Drear, Sith Lord, and Darth Scabrous who attempted to recreate their experiments became zombies before they could finish the last procedure required to become immortal. And the Sickness was unearthed and replicated by Imperial scientists during the height of the Galactic Empire, with Darth Vader himself intimately participating in the effort, millennia after those events.
The project i71a virus, codenamed Project Blackwing, was not intended to be an instrument of immortality, but rather a weapon to be employed against rebels and to pacify civilian populations. It was surely appealing to a Sith Lord who spends most of his time dressed in a sealed suit of life-support armor and has no regard for collateral damage.
2. STAR WARS ZOMBIES: How the PROJECT I71A virus is transmitted?
The Blackwing – Made by Sith for Sith’s immortality but it was so dangerous that even Vader left it be – biological weapons. Darth Vader dispatched a Star Destroyer to the outer rim of the Empire to perform viral research. When one of the tanks ruptured, practically everyone on board the destroyer became sick, died, and worse they became Star Wars Zombies, which also opens the first novel – Star Wars: Death Troopers. This novel will give us a better look at the infection, effects, cures, and weaknesses of this project i71a virus.
First, “Death Troopers” revolves around an empire’s prison ship designed to transport their inmates to a distant plant where they would work. However, the machines break down and they end up with stock in the middle of nowhere. They pick up a transmission from an imperial cruiser that is also floating in space.
The spacecraft appears to be intact, but there is now live on board. They come across hordes of Star Wars Zombies while exploring the cruiser for spare components. It turns out that the empire was developing a new type of bioweapon, but the test went wrong. Han Solo and Chewbacca also make an appearance, which I thought was a touch excessive.
The virus exhibits conventional zombie characteristics, such as a bite or scratch being enough to infect another individual within a few hours, with the added benefit of overcoming species borders. The virus can also be carried through the air, but a fortunate few are immune and have developed a vaccination that can reduce its impact in the air.
3. The effect of the virus on the Star Wars Zombies and how to cure it?
Waste concludes that the virus only functions when there are enough infected cells to overwhelm the body’s defenses. Victims began coughing and sneezing a few minutes after being exposed. They’d probably start vomiting 15–20 minutes later.
They would cough up blood, fall into cardiac arrest, hallucinate, sores, pus, graying skin, mucus accumulation in the lungs, internal bleeding, respiratory arrest, fever, and convulsions over a few hours. Different species reacted differently to the virus. The Wookies would have their tongues swelled and gray goo build up in their throats to the point where they would rupture. Rodians were also directly harmed, causing them to vomit their organs. Their bodies would decay quickly after death, within a few hours.
They would reanimate, though, and learn. The undead learned how to utilize blasters when the few survivors boarded the Star Destroyer to escape the infected. One of the survivors went into a ship where the original crew’s survivors had congregated. They ultimately realized that the blasters would not be able to breach the ship and gave up. They learned how to fly an X wing after witnessing officer Satorris use it to fire at zombies and attempt to flee. They’d even figured out how to turn on the tractor beam when it first appeared, barring anyone from exiting the ship.
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In the case of persons who are not affected, their bodies have antibodies against the virus. Using their blood, they can build an anti-virus to end the illness, as Zahara did.
4. STAR WARS ZOMBIES: The virus’s weakness
Luckily, the Blackwing virus had a flaw: Star Wars Zombies – The undead couldn’t get too far away from the source. They lost control and ceased to operate when they disabled the tractor beam and flew away. The spacecraft they were in collided, and the zombies on the Star Destroyer are most likely still there, drifting further and further away.
All in all, the black wing virus is a nasty piece of Imperial work with the potential to spread throughout the galaxy. Fortunately, the outbreaks were halted in both Legends and Disney canon because if this virus was allowed to spread further, it could very well have overrun the galaxy. It would be disastrous if this virus could damage Jedi/Sith and they became Star Wars Zombies to be able to use force powers such as force jumping, pulling, pushing, etc… and their ability to use a lightsaber.