Much has been said about the future of Star Wars now that the Skywalker Saga has come to a close. Lucasfilm finally gave us a glimpse at a special Project Luminous event in February where the company unveiled Star Wars: The High Republic, a new series of interconnected stories that will cover adult, middle-grade, and young adult books as well as IDW and Marvel comics. The High Republic is set 200 years before The Phantom Menace during a “golden age for the Jedi.”
As well as introducing new stories and characters to the franchise, The High Republic also opens up a new era of the universe for creators to explore. The new initiative will allow the Expanded Universe and the current movie and TV projects to work in harmony without overlapping, according to StarWars.com. A promo for The High Republic also shows that the conception of this new era was very creator-driven, with a story group made up of veteran Star Wars writers, artists (Ian McCaig!), and the Lucasfilm team shaping the look, tone, and lore of the era.
The High Republic era itself is described as a relative time of peace for the Jedi and the Republic, but there’s also a “Wild West” element to the story, as not all parts of the galaxy yet fall under the jurisdiction of the government. “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,” teased Lucasfilm vice president, franchise content and strategy James Waugh.
While we’ve heard many stories about the battles between the ancient Jedi and Sith from before the start of the Skywalker Saga, the Sith won’t be the main villains of The High Republic. Instead, the series is introducing a new group of baddies, the Nihil, which are described as “space vikings” causing trouble for the Republic after an event known as “The Great Disaster.” They sort of look like a collective of postapocalyptic/cyberpunk criminals.
Watch the trailer below for a slightly deeper look at the lore and making-of The High Republic:
The first High Republic story, a Del Rey novel written by star comics writer and novelist Charles Soule called Light of the Jedi, will roll out on Aug. 25. The book will be followed by Justina Ireland’s middle-grade novel A Test of Courage on Sept. 8 and Claudia Gray’s young adult novel Into the Dark on Oct. 11.
High Republic comics will be written by Cavan Scott for Marvel and Daniel Jose Older for IDW. No release dates on those as of yet. Scroll to the end of this article to check out all the cool cover art, though.
“We are so excited to be opening up such a rich, fertile era for our authors to explore,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a press release. “We’ll get to see the Jedi in their prime.”
“Star Wars: The High Republic features the Jedi as we’ve always wanted to see them — as true guardians of peace and justice. This is a hopeful, optimistic time, when the Jedi and the Galactic Republic are at their height. But of course, into this glorious new era something wicked this way comes,” Lucasfilm publishing creative director Michael Siglain said. “This initiative will give readers young and old a new corner of the galaxy to explore through rich, meaningful stories. Plus, readers will learn what scares the Jedi.”
This isn’t the first time the books and comics have delved deeper into the past of the Star Wars galaxy. In the non-canon Legends timeline, comics like Tales of the Jedi, Dawn of the Jedi, and Knights of the Old Republic mined eras thousands of years before the Skywalker Saga for stories about the ancient Jedi and Sith. The video game Knights of the Old Republic introduced the Jedi who fought a resurgent Sith Empire 4,000 years before the events of The Phantom Menace.
The Old Republic era (and the millennia before it) was a very fruitful time for Legends continuity, and it will hopefully prove to be an exciting space for writers and artists in the new Expanded Universe.
Check out the covers for the first wave of stories below: