We have officially entered a new era of Star Wars, and no, this has nothing to do with an armoured gunslinger and his little green adoptive son. The High Republic is officially here as today sees the release of author Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi, the first new novel that kicks off the multimedia storytelling initiative that will drive Star Wars novels, comics, magazines, and even a TV series (more on that later), for the next few years. We have gotten early looks at The High Republic, an era in Star Wars timeline set 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, back in early last year already, but Disney/Lucasfilm has now released a brand trailer that sets the scene for what is to come.
I’m massively intrigued by The High Republic and just how different – yet still familiar – it sounds. This was a Republic and Jedi Knight Order at the height of their power, with the former an all-inclusive and expanding empire run by the highly enlightened Chancellor Lina Soh, while the latter has populated the galaxy en masse like lightsaber-wielding lawmen and women, successfully maintaining peace for centuries. This is also not a Jedi Order holed up in one temple on Coruscant as we see in the Prequel era. These Knights live among the people – who love them – and have outpost space stations like the Starlight Beacon from which to dispense law and order in the Outer Rim… And then it all goes wrong in a mysterious cataclysmic event known simply as The Great Disaster that brings the Republic and Jedi in contact with a dangerous new enemy known as the Nihil.
The above trailer was debuted during a special hour-long live-stream event in which Lucasfilm Publishing creative director Michael Siglain, as well as authors Soule, Justina Ireland, Cavan Scott, Daniel José Older, and Claudia Gray, discuss and share details about their respective upcoming entries in The High Republic lineup with StarWars.com host Kristen Baver.
Details new details include a batch of concept art for the various, the writers talking about their inspirations for certain characters, the announcement of a new bi-monthly behind-the-scenes show on Star Wars.com, and the announcements of new upcoming titles including an original manga graphic novel from Viz Media. You can check out the full details over on the StarWars.com website, but I’ve included some cover art of the newly announced titles below.
Most important to me though, it was revealed that Lucasfilm will be borrowing from sister company Marvel by having the High Republic take a Phase approach.
The overall arc of The High Republic will play out across three phases, respectively named Light of the Jedi, Quest of the Jedi, and Trials of the Jedi. Phase 1, Light of the Jedi is dated to run until 2022 (just when in 2022 is unclear), but no dates have been given yet for the other Phases. What intrigues me is how these Phases will line up with The Acolyte, the new live-action Star Wars TV series announced by Lucasfilm during the jam-packed Disney+ Investors Day panel late last year.
Created by Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland, The Acolyte is described as “a mystery-thriller that will take the audience into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.” We don’t have a release date yet for The Acolyte, but I’m guessing that Lucasfilm would be lining things up so that the events of the show somehow tie into the events of the High Republic comics/novels.
I used to read (and still own) a huge chunk of the now-defunct Star Wars Expanded Universe novels/comics, but I have to admit that the Disney era of Star Wars publishing hasn’t been that great overall. Marvel has been amazing on the comic book front with the Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra comics being huge standouts, but the novel lineup has been very inconsistent with just a couple of gems among a field of duds. As a result, after reading the first wave of novels, I stopped altogether. However, The High Republic has me hyped again to dive into the literary world of Star Wars so I’m off to grab Light of the Jedi right now!
Last Updated: January 5, 2021