With the current iteration of Star Wars films wrapped up, and The Mandalorian’s second season soon to premiere on Disney+, the Star Wars franchise is looking for new ways to expand the galaxy’s history. In Star Wars: The High Republic, the massive brand will be looking to an even longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away than we’re used to with a new series of exciting stories to flesh out this ever-expanding world.
What is Star Wars: The High Republic?
Announced in February 2020, Lucasfilm revealed a new series of Star Wars storytelling planned to be told through various adult and young adult novels, children’s books, and comics. Previously known as “Project Luminous,” Star Wars: The High Republic is set 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, when both the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order are at their peaks. The announcement of StarWars.com states that the period covered in Star Wars: The High Republic will not overlap with any films or series that are currently in production, which allows the writers of these stories a surprising amount of freedom.
In the original announcement, Lucasfilm Vice President of Franchise Content and Strategy James Waugh stated, “This was a golden age for the Jedi, and also a time of galactic expansion in the Outer Rim. So expect there to be rich tales of exploration; charting out the galaxy, meeting new cultures, and discovering what pioneer life in the Outer Rim was like. This is an incredible sandbox for our storytellers to play in, both within publishing and beyond, and we can’t wait to see the great fiction they build within it.”
What Will Star Wars: The High Republic Be About?
A teaser video that was released alongside the announcement shows many of Star Wars: The High Republic’s writers working together at Skywalker Ranch, in what looks like them coming up with the basic thread of what will happen in these stories. At one point, the video shows a list of “Star Wars Wishes,” supposedly put together by these writers, which features such items as, “Representation/diversity,” “Rival Houses,” and “Dinosaurs!”
The video also points out the line, “For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice,” from the original 1977 Star Wars, and Star Wars: The High Republic is a telling of what that period looked like. This period is one of peace and calm, and the video calls the Jedi of this time the “Jedi Knights of the Round Table.” Yet despite all this, this teaser also says the galaxy is like the Wild West at this time, and this series will still feature all manner of undesirable characters within these stories.
The writers in this video explain that the series will focus on a core group of heroes that will expand over multiple books over the course of many years. The main villain of Star Wars: The High Republic is a group called “The Nihil,” who are referred to as space Vikings. Their motto is “You can’t take it with you. But we can take it from you.” The video also states that the “eureka moment” for this series was, “What scares the Jedi?”
Star Wars: The High Republic will begin at an event called “The Great Disaster.” In an interview with IGN, Charles Soule, writer of the first novel in the series, “Light of the Jedi,” helped further explain what “The Great Disaster” is, alongside an excerpt from the book’s first chapter: “This excerpt is our first look at the moment that changes The High Republic forever,” Soule stated. “The destruction of the Legacy Run is the catalyst for a galaxy-wide disaster. Fragments of the destroyed cargo vessel begin flying out of hyperspace at super-accelerated speeds, meaning that deadly missiles of debris can appear anywhere at any time, from the Outer Rim to the Core. In this moment of crisis, the Republic turns to the guardians of peace and justice – the Jedi.”
Soule continues in the interview, “The opening beats of Light of the Jedi depict an epic disaster, and a heroic, thrilling response by both the Republic and the Jedi to save lives and end the crisis. It’s just the beginning, though. The Legacy Run disaster kicks off a much larger story; it really is just one piece of a much bigger saga.”
StarWars.com has also revealed the opening crawl for Star Wars: The High Republic:
“The galaxy is at peace, ruled by the glorious REPUBLIC and protected by the noble and wise JEDI KNIGHTS.
“As a symbol of all that is good, the Republic is about to launch STARLIGHT BEACON into the far reaches of the Outer Rim. This new space station will serve as a ray of hope for all to see.
“But just as a magnificent renaissance spreads throughout the Republic, so does a frightening new adversary. Now the guardians of peace and justice must face a threat to themselves, the galaxy, and the Force itself…”
Where Has This Story Been Referenced Before?
Despite being an all-new story, the characters, events, and worlds of Star Wars: The High Republic have already been mentioned in other media.
The High Republic was first mentioned in the audio drama Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott back on April 30, 2019. In The Rise of Kylo Ren comic by Charles Soule from January 8, 2020, the period was first called the High Republic Era. Scott also previously mentioned the Nihil raiders in his comic, “The Lost Stories, Part 1” in Star Wars Adventures #30 on January 29, 2020. Soule also mentioned the Starlight Beacon in his comic Star Wars #2. This is all in addition to the fact that Star Wars: The High Republic will also feature many characters that have been referenced and in past stories and films as well.
What Is Coming in Star Wars: The High Republic?
While the first wave of stories in Star Wars: The High Republic won’t be released until January 5, 2021 – delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic – there’s already a substantial amount of material on the way.
Releasing on January 5, 2021 will be the first two books in this first wave: Charles Soule’s adult novel Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi and Justina Ireland’s middle-grade novel Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi seems to start the series by centering around “The Great Disaster” and the Jedi brought in to figure out what is going on with this hyperspace disaster.
Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage will naturally center around a younger Jedi group, led by Vernestra Rwoh, a fifteen-year-old Jedi Knight. In this story, Rwoh has to supervise an eleven-year-old aspiring inventor, Avon Starros, on a cruiser heading to the Starlight Beacon, but of course, things go horribly wrong. Vernestra and her crew take an escape shuttle and land on a nearby forest moon.
After these two books will come Claudia Gray’s young adult novel, Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark, which will now be released on February 2, 2021. Gray’s novel will focus on Padawan Reath Silas, a bookish student who is thrown into action when his ship is knocked out of hyperspace during this disaster.
Two other Star Wars: The High Republic stories have been announced so far but have yet to receive a new release date: Star Wars: The High Republic, a comic book series written by Cavan Scott, and Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, a series about a group of Padawans traveling the galaxy, which – as we’ve previously reported – will also star Yoda in a major role.
While the “Skywalker Saga” might be over, readers will only have to wait until January 5, 2021 to see the next chapter of Star Wars, when Star Wars: The High Republic finally launches.