Last night at an event held at Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm revealed Star Wars: The High Republic, a new publishing program which will feature interconnected stories told across multiple publishers in a section of the Star Wars timeline not yet explored in canon. We were there in attendance to learn all about this new era and how it might change the future of Star Wars storytelling.

What is Project Luminous?

Initially teased at Star Wars Celebration in 2019 as “Project Luminous,” Star Wars: The High Republic is a publishing program that will feature interconnected stories told across multiple publishers in a new part of the Star Wars timeline. Basically, Disney Publishing is creating a sandbox to tell new stories with new characters, setting up a new era in the Star Wars universe.

These new stories will be told in books and comic books across multiple publishers, including Abrams, becker&mayer!, DK, Insight Editions, Titan Publishing, Viz Media, Disney Lucasfilm Press, Marvel Comics, Del Rey, and IDW Publishing. The books will range from adult novels, to YA books, to comic books, and junior novels. They are creating a place in canon that could be explored in future video games, television shows and movies (though nothing is in development on those fronts yet).

What is Star Wars: The High Republic?

The inspiration for this project comes from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s quote from Star Wars: A New Hope: “For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.” What was it like to live in that era of the Star Wars timeline? The other cornerstone idea was the question: What scares a Jedi? But author Charles Soule says the driving force behind Project Luminous was always “New, new, new. What have we never seen in Star Wars that still feels like Star Wars?”

Star Wars: The High Republic is set 200 years before the Skywalker saga began in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This is an era when the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order are at the height of their power, serving as true guardians of peace and justice around the galaxy. This is Star Peace, a “hopeful, optimistic time, when the Republic and the Jedi are noble and respected.”

This multi-year publishing program will be rolled out in phases, with Phase I being called “Light of the Jedi.” This period on the Star Wars timeline will not overlap with any of the films or series currently planned for production, giving creators and partners space to tell Star Wars stories in a never-before-explored timeline. The idea is to introduce a core group of heroes that will expand over time.

In recent years, the Star Wars books have been primarily limited to telling stories of established characters, filling in the gaps and answering questions left by the films. The exciting thing about this new program is that it allows us to explore adventures with completely new characters in a time that’s very different and not beholden to the main Skywalker saga. Best case scenario: this sandbox approach will add fuel to future video game, television, and feature film projects. That to me is very promising.

What Are The Jedi Like In The High Republic?

This was a time when Jedi were galactic guardians. It was also a time of galactic expansion – new hyperspace lanes have been created which are drastically changing the galaxy.

“This was a golden age for the Jedi, and also a time of galactic expansion in the Outer Rim. So 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. This is an incredible sandbox for our storytellers to play in, both within publishing and beyond, and we can’t wait to see the great fiction they build within it,” says Lucasfilm vice president, franchise content and strategy James Waugh.

The Jedi resemble the Arthurian knights of the round table in this Wild West new frontier. But we will also see a type of Jedi who is more like a Texas Ranger. The looks and attires of the Jedi of the High Republic will be very distinct, and different then we’ve seen in the past.

What Are Jedi Afraid Of?

While we don’t know the answer to that question just yet, we do know who the villains are of this era. The Nihils are described as punk rocking-looking “space vikings” who have a motto of, “You can’t take it with you, but we can take it from you.” They aren’t uniformed soldiers serving a higher purpose, they are a new kind of villain in the Star Wars universe. Hyperspace is something they can use and access in a way that makes them very dangerous. Their gas masks are intentional. Everything in their look is deliberate. Beyond that, little is known about them.

Who Is Involved?

Phase one of Star Wars: The High Republic has books written by Charles Soule, Cavan Scott, Claudia Gray, Daniel José Older, and Justina Ireland. Lucasfilm Publishing’s creative director Michael Siglain conceived of the idea of a cohesive story that could be told across multiple books and platforms. He individually approached the authors at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 and got them on board.

How Was It Created?

All five authors gathered for a few days of story meetings at Skywalker Ranch in September 2018, joined by the Lucasfilm Story Group. They met and rewatched Star Wars: A New Hope, spent a day just talking about what makes a Star Wars story a Star Wars story (you can see a screenshot above of a board showing their process from that writers room meeting), and began creating the cornerstones of what would become this new era in the Star Wars timeline.

Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi

What is Light of the Jedi?

Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi is a novel for adults by Charles Soule, who is no stranger to writing stories in the Star Wars universe. He has done some fantastic work with Star Wars comics, and this new novel, which will hit store shelves on August 25, 2020, is designed to give the broad readership a taste of this new era of the Star Wars timeline – a primer of sorts. We enter this era of peace and prosperity, a Star Wars time without war. The book’s inciting incident, and the inciting incident for the whole series, is an event nicknamed The Great Disaster. We weren’t told exactly what happens, but we know it’s tragic and it’s something that reaches the far corners of the galaxy. It causes the Jedi to come together to handle this terrible disaster.

The cover art for the book features a Wookiee Jedi named Burryaga Agaburry, who we are told is a “very sensitive Jedi.” He is seen sporting a cross blade lightsaber, but something very different from the likes of the one we saw Kylo Ren use in the sequel trilogy. The female protagonist is Avar Kriss, a Jedi who interprets her connection to the force musically. We weren’t given many details, but this seems like the most promising of the phase one titles.

What Is Into The Dark?

Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark is a young adult novel by Claudia Gray, who has written Star Wars: Lost Stars, Star Wars: Bloodline, Leia, Princess of Alderaan, and Star Wars: Master and Apprentice. This story follows a Jedi Palawan (inspired by Mathew McConaughey) who doesn’t want action and is forced into the frontier and forced to discover who he is.

Padawan Reath Silas is being sent from the cosmopolitan galactic capital of Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier—and he couldn’t be less happy about it. He’d rather stay at the Jedi Temple, studying the archives. But when the ship he’s traveling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the center of the action. The Jedi and their traveling companions find refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station. But then strange things start happening, leading the Jedi to investigate the truth behind the mysterious station, a truth that could end in tragedy….

What Is A Test Of Courage?

Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage is a junior novel written by Justina Ireland, who previously wrote the 2018 junior novel Lando’s Luck and the 2019 junior novel Spark of the Resistance. This story follows a 16-year-old Jedi knight, the youngest she knows of, who is dealing with growing pains.

When a transport ship is abruptly kicked out of hyperspace as part of a galaxy-wide disaster, newly-minted teen Jedi Vernestra Rwoh, a young Padawan, an audacious tech-kid, and the son of an ambassador are stranded on a jungle moon where they must work together to survive both the dangerous terrain and a hidden danger lurking in the shadows….

While it’s being classified as a middle grade book, Ireland says that it is a little bit more serious than her previous junior novels and is almost more like a young YA novel.

What Is The High Republic Adventures?

The High Republic Adventures is a IDW comic book series from Daniel José Older, who previously wrote the “Born in the Storm” short story that appeared in the From a Certain Point of View anthology book, and the Solo: A Star Wars Story tie-in novel Last Shot. The High Republic Adventures follows the adventures of two Jedi Padawan, named Farzaza and Luca.

What Is The High Republic Comic?

Star Wars: The High Republic is a new ongoing Marvel Comics series by Cavan Scott, who wrote four of the novels in the Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space young-readers series, plus several issues of IDW’s Star Wars Adventures and the miniseries Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle. The comic book will be set on a new space station in the Star Wars universe called Starlight Station. The comic will deal with the ramifications of the Great Disaster.

Does This Connect With Galaxy’s Edge?

Walt Disney Imagineer Scott Trowbridge (who headed up Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) was in attendance at the Project Luminous press event. While he didn’t participate in the announcements, I can’t help but speculate that he was there because Galaxy’s Edge and Batuu plays some big role in the Star Wars: The High Republic. Remember, the High Republic is set during a time of “galactic expansion, when new hyperspace lanes have been created.” The backstory of Black Spire Outpost on Batuu also mentions hyperspace routes:

“Before the invention of hyperspace travel, the outpost was a busy crossroads for those traveling along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes. However, with the rise of the hyperdrive and new hyperspace routes, the planet was bypassed, and the outpost eventually became home to those who did not want to be found. It evolved into a thriving spaceport for smugglers, rogue traders, and adventurers traveling between the galactic frontier and uncharted space. The port provided easy access to exotic supplies and potential new recruits, further enticing adventurers to stop by.”

Did the events in this upcoming series turn Black Spire Outpost into the place we know today in Star Wars canon? Maybe.

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