The Proper Reading Order For Star Wars: The High Republic

In January of 2021, the folks at Lucasfilm launched one of the most ambitious "Star Wars" projects to come about in a long, long time in the form of "The High Republic." This was a multi-year, multi-phase publishing initiative spanning multiple publishers across several mediums, including novels, comics, manga, and even audio dramas. The whole thing was put together as if the company was embarking on creating a new movie trilogy, with a retreat at Skywalker ranch among many of the authors, concept art, trailers, the whole shebang. To quote one Mr. Darth Vader, the whole thing is impressive, most impressive.

"The High Republic," generally speaking, takes place roughly 200 years before the events of the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy and sees the Jedi at the height of the powers as the highest law in the land across the galaxy. There are two sets of different foes that the Jedi must contend with in the form of the Nihil and the Drengir. This setting is a time period that, prior to this initiative, had hardly been explored (if at all) within the overall franchise timeline, making for rich storytelling possibilities. So much so that it might even be considered a bit overwhelming for those who are looking to explore this initiative coming into it cold. We're here to help.

Phase 1 of the initiative consisted of more than 20 titles spread across a variety of formats, aimed at different age readers. Thankfully, Lucasfilm structured most of the stories to stand largely on their own so that the reader could pick and choose battles at their leisure without feeling totally lost. That said, we're here to offer a complete, comprehensive reading order that can offer readers a guide as they work through "The High Republic," while still allowing for you to pick your battles.

It should be noted that this isn't necessarily in exact timeline order, as much of the storytelling happens concurrently. It's a recommended reading order that largely sticks to the timeline but is mostly geared to make the most sense out of the releases thus far. We've also mostly limited this to books and comics, omitting audio drams or releases in other formats, such as the shorts that have been released in various issues of "Star Wars Insider." Let's dig in. 

Light of the Jedi

Author Charles Soule's "Star Wars: Light of the Jedi" kicked off this entire initiative with a story detailing the so-called "Great Disaster" that sets in motion the events that largely drive the stories forward from here on out. Even for those who are going to bounce around and only read select stories from "The High Republic" this is the most logical and essential starting point. It sets the table and will allow the reader to understand the galaxy as it exists at this time.

The Great Jedi Rescue

Written by Cavan Scott, "The High Republic: The Great Jedi Rescue" is a book geared toward young readers, which could be good for the kids in your life. Case in point, the book even comes with stickers. It also focuses on a group of Jedi who must lend some aid to the people of the galaxy during the Great Disaster. Unless you are an absolute completionist, this is probably not going to fall into the "essential" reading category.

Into the Dark

Author Claudia Gray delivers "Star Wars: Into the Dark," a young adult novel that takes place concurrently with "Light of the Jedi," with the events of this book largely happening as the Great Disaster is unfolding. It is more of a side story, but one that should not be overlooked, as Gray has proven herself to be one of the best "Star Wars" writers of any kind that we have. "Into the Dark" finds a group of Jedi and a band of various galactic misfits seeking refuge on an abandoned space station when strange things start to occur.

A Test of Courage

From author Justina Ireland comes "The High Republic: A Test of Courage," a book aimed at middle-grade readers. This was one of the initial titles released as part of the initiative in the first wave. It centers on 15-year-old Jedi Vernestra Rwoh, on her first real assignment en route to a new space station called Starlight Beacon when things go awry. Again, this is maybe not going to be a must-read except for younger readers, but this is potentially a great "Star Wars" story to throw in the mix.

Marvel's High Republic comic vol. 1

Marvel has been publishing "Star Wars" comics pretty much since Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, so it made every bit of sense for them to get in on "The High Republic" action. To that end, author Cavan Scott has been penning the core title within the era for Marvel Comics. The first volume collecting the first story arc is titled "There Is No Fear" and focuses on Padawan Keeve Trennis who faces down a tough choice while contending with some dangerous threats.

IDW's High Republic Adventures comic vol. 1

IDW is also getting in on the action with a series of comics set in the era with "The High Republic Adventures." While these are typically aimed at younger readers, many of the "Star Wars" tales within the pages of IDW play well for fans of any age so those who love comics would probably do well not to overlook these. Author Daniel Jose Older penned the first volume which focuses on Lula, Farzala, and Qort, a trio of inexperienced Jedi Padawans who must help the inhabitants of Trymant IV following a Nihil attack.

IDW's High Republic Adventures: The Monster of Temple Peak

Author Cavan Scott continues his adventures in "The High Republic" with a comic book miniseries titled "The Monster of Temple Peek." It is a four-issue series published by IDW that, as the title implies, sees the Jedi tangling with a monster (and that's all I'm going to say without getting too deep into specifics as to spoil it). This is another side adventure that may not be essential but is certainly going to be fun for the right reader. Also a breeze at just four issues.

The Rising Storm

Cavan Scott is back at it again this time with "Star Wars: The Rising Storm," a full-length novel that is, more or less, the next "main" entry in "The High Republic" Phase I titles. The book unfolds while a big event called "The Republic Fair" is being put on by Chancellor Lina Soh. But, as one might expect, not all goes according to plan and the Jedi must do their best to thwart the efforts of an emerging enemy. This is what I would call a core title within the initiative, and one that is as close to essential as it gets.

Race to Crashpoint Tower

Written by Daniel Jose Older, "The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower" is another junior novel that takes place concurrently with "The Rising Storm." It centers on Jedi Padawan Ram Jomaram, who is hanging out on planet Valo when chaos erupts. He must then make his way to Crashpoint Tower to send a call for help to the Republic. This is another side story that doesn't fall under the essential category but could be great for younger readers, or parents looking to get their kids into "Star Wars."

Showdown at the Fair

From author George Mann we have "The High Republic: Showdown at the Fair." This is an illustrated children's book, so odds are that most readers of a certain age aren't going to feel the need to read this unless they are total completionists, and the story is very much to the side of the main tale being told. It largely centers on the Wookiee Jedi Burryaga who is also contending with the events on Valo.

Marvel's High Republic comic vol. 2

Here, we catch back up with Cavan Scott for the second story arc in Marvel's main "The High Republic" comic titled "The Heart of Drengir." It collects issues 6 through 10 and (in part) focuses on Avar Kriss and her new allies as they fight nightmarish creatures on a harsh lava world, while young Jedi Keeve Trennis puts everything on the line to save her former master from the darkness.

IDW's High Republic Adventures comic vol. 2

Daniel Jose Older is back with more from IDW's "The High Republic Adventures." In the second volume of the ongoing series, we catch up with Jedi Padawans Farzala and Qort as they take a break from the ongoing battle against the Nihil and join an aging Jedi Knight to negotiate a peace treaty with the Hutt crime family. For those who get this far and enjoyed the first arc, it would stand to reason that keeping up with this particular series would be a good way to go.

Marvel's Trail of Shadows comic

We are back at Marvel Comics for another miniseries titled "Star Wars: The High Republic – Trail of Shadows." This is not part of the main series that Scott has been writing. Rather, this is a five-issue miniseries from Daniel Jose Older that centers on a dark mystery with a Jedi Knight dead, with Jedi investigator Emerick Caphtor who is tasked with trying to solve this case with no leads whatsoever. This does fall more into the side story category but it is a breezy read at just five issues.

Out of the Shadows

Author Justina Ireland is back with our second young adult novel, "The High Republic: Out of the Shadows." Again, YA may not be for everyone but "Star Wars" has published some downright excellent titles in this category over the years so it is best not to dismiss them out of hand. That said, the story follows Sylvestri Yarrow as she heads to the galactic capital of Coruscant seeking aid and is drawn into a squabble between two of the Republic's most powerful families over a patch of space. Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh is also on Coruscant with her Padawan Imri Cantaros with Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus and his Padawan, Reath Silas, who are asked to assist with this property dispute on the frontier.

The Edge of Balance

In one of the more interesting entries on the entire list we have "The High Republic: The Edge of Balance," a manga series from writer Shima Shinya, with authors such as Justina Ireland and Daniel Jose Older also on board. It largely serves as a recount of many of the events that have happened up to this point, just in a different format from a different point of view. Given how many people seemed to love "Star Wars: Visions," this might be worth exploring, as it puts the franchise in a light it's rarely been seen before.

Marvel's Eye of the Storm comic

Writer Charles Soule is back with Marvel "Star Wars: The High Republic – The Eye of the Storm." Without getting into spoilers here, this miniseries offers a whole lot of perspective on the villains the Nihil, and, more specifically, their leader Marchion Ro. This is a breezy, two-issue read that can offer some perspective on a hugely important character within the framework of this initiative. So while it may not be wholly essential it is a very worth side quest, if you will.

The Fallen Star

Author Claudia Gray returns with the next "core" novel with "Star Wars: The Fallen Star." Things get real as the story progresses here in what Bryan Young referred to as "The Empire Strikes Back" of "The High Republic" in his review. Very vaguely, the story focuses on Nihil leader Marchion Ro who is preparing his most daring attack yet, with the aim being to snuff out the light of the Jedi. This falls into the essential reading category for those who are looking to keep up with this initiative as it unfolds.

Midnight Horizon

Daniel Jose Older is back with a young adult novel this time, "The High Republic: Midnight Horizon." This tale picks up after the Republic suffers a series of huge losses to the Nihil. They seemingly have the villains on the run until word comes of a suspected Nihil attack on the world of Corellia, right in the Galactic Core. Jedi Masters Cohmac Vitus and Kantam Sy, along with Padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jomaram are sent to investigate. This is more of a side story but, again, YA stuff in "Star Wars" is best not overlooked.

Mission to Disaster

Author Justina Ireland brings "The High Republic: Mission to Disaster" to the table, a middle-grade novel complete with illustrations from Petur Antonsson. The book centers on Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh and her Padawan Imri Cantaros, who must put the Padawan's training on hold as a Nihil attack emerges at a time when the Jedi thought they had pushed the enemy back. This may not be essential for everyone but it is likely a good one for younger readers to check out, as well as completionists.

Battle for Starlight

George Mann is back again with another children's book, "The High Republic: Battle for Starlight." Again, this is really just for the younglings out there but the story focuses on the Jedi as the battle the Nihil – and the book even comes with stickers as an added bonus.

That's it for Phase I of "The High Republic" but Phase II is set to kick off in August 2022 so be on the lookout for those titles as they arrive. And Lucasfilm will be diving even deeper into the past as these next titles will serve as prequels to the events of the initial titles.