The High Republic's Phase Two Is A New Jumping On Point Of Star Wars Storytelling

For those unfamiliar with "Star Wars: The High Republic," this is the new era in "Star Wars" storytelling, winding the clock back more than a hundred years before "The Phantom Menace." The initiative has put out an amazing amount of printed material, comics, novels, and audio dramas. Toward the end of the era, we have "The Acolyte," a television show created by Leslye Headland coming to Disney+. At Star Wars Celebration, fans were treated to a sneak peek at the second phase of storytelling in "The High Republic."

Hosted by Krystina Arielle, the panel promised lots of news and reveals and it did not disappoint.

Panelists included authors Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Daniel Jose Older, Cavan Scott, Charles Soule and James Waugh from Lucasfilm and Michael Siglain, in charge of Lucasfilm's publishing program.

"We were charged with being bold and I think we've done that," Waugh said, promising a fertile era of "Star Wars" for stories to be told inside of it for years to come. "Bold is an understatement. This went better than our wildest dreams and you'll see "The High Republic" in lots of other media."

Charles Soule credits the diversity of the cast of "The High Republic" with the success of the initiative to this point, and it would be hard to argue.

"Star Wars is for everyone," Justina Ireland added. "And if you don't reflect the diversity of the real world in your story, there's something wrong with your fantasy world."

The art of the High Republic

The first reveal came in the form of a cover for "The Art of the High Republic." Written by Kristin Baver, she came onstage to give us a first look at a tome that will fit on your shelves alongside the other behind the scenes art books in the "Star Wars" universe.

Looking at the way "The High Republic" was developed, it's no wonder it would get an art book, even though most of the storytelling has been prose. The Lucasfilm art department worked on the era the way they would for any movie or television show. They set the look and tone of everything that would come for all of the various media that "The High Republic" will encompass. The book covers the unique way collaboration took a key role in the development of the project and covers interviews with the entire creative team.

Michael Siglain talked on the panel about how the book takes a look at the creative process, using Yoda as an example. The diminutive Jedi Master appears in "The High Republic" and this book delves into the process of what Yoda would look like in that era, and showed a lot of art of "Man Bun Yoda," where Yoda is much younger and has a more Kurosawa look with a top-knot and everything. Ultimately, they did not go with that iteration, but this book will give you a look at the different versions the artists and authors went through to give us the "High Republic" we know.

The High Republic Phase Two

"["The High Republic"] Phase Two is an all new jumping on point, you don't need to read any of Phase One to jump onto Phase Two," Michael Siglain said. It's a prequel, set 150 years prior to the initial spate of storytelling. They wanted to tell a story in a style like George Lucas's, where Phase Three will tie up both eras in the end.

At that point, each of the authors took time to introduce new elements to Phase Two. Charles Soule introduced a pair of Chancellors, Greylark and Mollo, to give us a new sense of the galaxy and something we haven't before seen in the politics of "Star Wars." Greylark is a human from a core-world and interested in westward expansion in the galaxy. Mollo is a Quarren from the expansion regions and is more concerned about the core.

Claudia Gray introduced the Pathfinder team, a group of Jedi working with the Republic to explore the outer rim. "You have these tightly knit groups going into the unknown," she said of them.

Cavan Scott introduced a Communications Team, a group of people working to establish communications through the galaxy, likening the droids in this era to the Pony Express, adding a new layer of complication to the "Star Wars" galaxy. Then he introduced two new Jedi: Matthea, a padawan, and Oliviah, a Jedi Knight. Both of them work on Jedha, a planet we're told will be important in Phase II and was one of the key locations in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

Daniel Jose Older teased a group of mean villains called the Dank Graks who will be in the next phase of comics. One of them has connections to the Sorcerers of Tund — an obscure reference to one of the original Lando Calrissian books and his early villain Rokur Gepta.

Justina Ireland elaborated on Marda Ro, a new character that has ties to the villain Marchion Ro in the first phase of "The High Republic." Then she spoke about the Mother and the Herald, two people who are interested in making the Force available to anyone, and they'll be featured in an upcoming young adult book "Path of Deceit."

The books of Phase Two

Then, they revealed a number of other books, sparse on details. "Convergence" by Zoraida Cordova, "Question for the Hidden City," and "The Nameless Terror" both by George Mann. "The High Republic" is also launching new comic series by Cavan Scott. Charles Soule is doing a new story on "The Blade of Bardotta" in Marvel Comics. In Phase One, he's a legend in the Jedi Order, but in the second phase, we explore his origins as a "Gunslinger Jedi." He talked about how it also plays into the origin of the Barash Vow, which he created in the "Darth Vader" comic.

Marc Thompson, the narrator of many of the "Star Wars" audio books, announced a new audio drama releasing January 3, 2023 and written by George Mann called "The Battle of Jedha."

Other books announced for release in spring 2023 included "Cataclysm" by Lydia Kang, "Quest for Planet X" by Tessa Gratton, and "Path of Vengeance" by Cavan Scott.

Phase Two kicks off on October 4, 2022 with Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland's book "Path of Deceit."