Star Wars: The High Republic

starwars-thehighrepublic-books

By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

“Wait, was that a Bounty Hunter Gungan??” That was one of many takes from the announcement video for Star Wars: The High Republic!

Disney have released a promotional video giving us our first look at the next Star Wars publication phase. This new multi-platform Star Wars project is being teased as ‘Jedi Knights of the round table’ and I am ALL IN for that!

If you haven’t watched the video yet, then you can watch it below:

Synopsis:

Star Wars: The High Republic, which has previously been referred to as “Project Luminous”, will be set in an era when the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order are at their zenith, about 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This period on the Star Wars timeline will not overlap any of the filmed features or series currently planned for production, giving creators and partners a vast amount of room to tell Star Wars stories with new adventures and original characters.” – StarWars.com

I find this collaborative, multi-platform project really intriguing. I like that it will focus on an un-explored era, although ‘The High Republic’ is not a new concept, as it has previously been referenced in the, brilliant, audiobook Dooku: Jedi Lost. I am also eager to be introduced to a host of brand new characters! While technically someone like Yoda could feature in this time period, I’d prefer them to keep any established characters on the outskirts of the stories. Referencing things from the established canon is fine, but keeping the focus on the new characters is a must!

Star Wars The High Republic - Jedi

If you pause the video just right, you get a glimpse of the writer’s board with all the things these writers want from a Star Wars property. While the Star-Bros will be kicking off on Twitter about not being “pro-war” or “diversity”, I welcome this. This is a time of peace in the galaxy, there is no Emperor, the focus will be on a new type of threat. As for the diversity, one of best thing about the new movies has been the inclusive and diverse feel of the Star Wars universe. The fact that there is so much anger and resistance to this continues to hurt the fandom. Hopefully, these new books and comics will build on what the new films have done and continue to expose a younger audience to these types of characters so that, over-time, the fan base will become a more inclusive and positive place.

The board also hints at “university” and “rival houses”, the rival houses is an interesting one. It could be linked with the education aspect, so Star Wars meets Harry Potter? Or the houses could be in the sense of Game of Thrones. Either way, I like the idea of a different kind of Star Wars story. Out of everything that this board reveals, the idea of “no single (main) character” is the most pleasing aspect. Yes, these stories and characters will be linked in someway, yes there will probably be crossovers, but I like the idea of a range of different characters all being just as important to the main story arc.

So what do we know about the books and comics that have been announced so far?

Star Wars The High Republic Light of the Jedi

Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule
(Adult novel, Del Rey)

This book will launch The High Republic series and it is set to debut in August 2020.

The female Jedi in the centre has been confirmed as Avar Kriss. Kriss is actually already part of the the new canon, having been referenced in Book 3 of Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren. While not named in the comic, Kriss appears as a Holocron projection. Kriss has the look of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade. Rey has been a solid lead in the new trilogy of movies, and I’m glad that it appears another strong female Jedi will be part of the main cast of characters.
I think the one thing most people are drawn to in this image is a Wookie with a lightsaber, who has been named as Burryaga Agaburry. The image of a lightsaber wielding Wookie might be a surprising image for some, but we’ve seen the likes of Lowbacca and Gungi in previous Star Wars EU adventures.

Given this book is set to launch an entire new series, the weight of expectation is on the shoulders of writer Charles Soule. I loved Soule’s Daredevil run, as well as his Poe Dameron and Darth Vader comic series, so I have no concerns that he’ll be able to deliver a great story.

Release Date: 25th August 2020

Star Wars The High Republic Into the Dark

Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray
(Young Adult novel, Disney Lucasfilm Press)

Padawan Reath Silas is sent from Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier of the Outer Rim. During the journey, the ship he’s travelling on is knocked out of hyperspace and the survivors must seek refuge on, what appears to be, an abandoned space station. I like premise, as personally I enjoy the investigative elements of a Jedi’s mandate.

Claudia Gray is behind some of my favourite Star Wars stories! She proved with Star Wars: Lost Souls that she can write really well for the young adult market, so it makes sense that she is behind a new young adult book. Going off her previous work, I have very high hopes for this book!

Release Date: 18th October 2020

Star Wars The High Republic A Test of Courage

Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland
(Middle Grade novel, Disney Lucasfilm Press)

This junior novel will focus on Jedi Vernestra Rwoh and a group of survivors who crash land on a jungle planet after their transport is knocked out of hyperspace.
Wait? Another story about a ship being knocked out of hyperspace? Well, that is because “a galactic-wide disaster” is set to be used as a catalyst and element that will feature in all of these stories.

I like the look of Rwoh, it’s very ‘Rey’.  I’m also a fan of Mirialans in general, mainly thanks to Luminara Unduli who, alongside Kit Fisto and Aayla Secura, are some of my favourite underused Star Wars characters.
I think this will be a fun book, and despite aimed at that pre-teen audience, of course I’m going to pick this one up!

Release Date: 8th September 2020

Star Wars The High Republic Adventures

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures by Daniel José Older
(IDW Publishing comic book series)

Next to nothing is really known about this comic series yet, other than it centering on two Jedi Padawans. All we have to go off is the promo image are the names, Farzaza and Luca. I really like the look and design of the two main characters and I’m intrigued to see what world their story will be set in.

I enjoyed Daniel José Older’s previous Star Wars entry, Long Shot, which was a tie-in book to Solo: A Star Wars Story. I think this series could prove to be a popular one, if Older brings the same energy and clever storytelling of Long Shot to the table.

Release Date: TBC

Star Wars The High Republic

Star Wars: The High Republic by Cavan Scott
(Marvel comic book series)

Again, just like The High Republic Adventures, little has been released about this comic book series. All we really have to go from is the cover and given that the promo video mentioned about “space vikings”, we can make the assumption that these new villains will be a big part of this series. I expect this to focus on the rogues and scoundrels of these new stories.

The story is set to focus on Starlight Station, could this be the same ‘abandoned’ space station in Into the Dark? Could this be set before the events of that book? It certainly would be a way to tie in those two stories.

I like the mercenaries/bounty hunter look of these two characters, and the promo video has shown a lot of these types of designs. So I expect to see a great gang of characters all with their own unique look.

Release Date: TBC

So there we have it, our first look at Star Wars: The High Republic! I’m very excited for all these books and comics and you can rest assured that we will be reviewing them all, including any audiobook adaptions that appear!

Are you looking forward to Star Wars: The High Republic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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