The High Republic is the Cleanest Slate Star Wars Can Hope For
Star Wars has announced a brand new multimedia event in the form of a bold new print initiative set in an all new era of the Star Wars timeline. It involves several book, several publishers, and a little explored period of history in the overall franchise. So what exactly is The High Republic, what are these books all about, and why is it such a great idea?
Formerly known as Project: Luminous, Star Wars revealed a series of print items including multiple novels and comic books, as well as, and most importantly, a new setting for these stories: The High Republic.
The High Republic is a period of Star Wars history where the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order were at their zenith. Set 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, none of these new stories will overlap with any existing or planned projects. That means new characters, new settings, a new status quo, all set in a familiar universe. And that’s amazing! But before I get into why it’s so amazing, here’s what’s been announced in terms of books and creators.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray (Young Adult novel, Disney Lucasfilm Press / available for pre-order)
Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland (Middle Grade novel, Disney Lucasfilm Press / available for pre-order)
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures by Daniel José Older (IDW Publishing comic book series)
Star Wars: The High Republic by Cavan Scott (Marvel comic book series)
Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule (Adult novel, Del Rey / available for pre-order)
If you’ve noticed a pattern here you are paying attention. While, yes, The High Republic is an interconnected story, that story is being told in different ways to different audiences. Young Adult, Middle Reader, and Adult novels, coupled with IDW Publishing‘s comics geared to a younger audience and Marvel Comics geared to middle grade and older readers, is all inclusive. Any Star Wars fan is going to be able to enjoy and share in this story on their own terms, while also sharing the tidbits that will be exclusive to the individual stories. It’s a beautiful strategy for a franchise with so many fans of different ages and persuasions, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Future is in The Past
The main problem with Star Wars right now is all of its baggage. The movies are bogged down by history and the established mindset of the fanbase; the comics do nothing but retread existing history established on the screen; the animated and live-action stuff on the screen hinges on everything else that’s been established elsewhere; even the video games haven’t done anything truly new in years. The High Republic is as close to a clean slate as Star Wars has ever seen, and these books are just the beginning.
As the novels and comics flesh out this new era, it’s only a matter of time before The High Republic era moves into other mediums. Live-action TV, animation, video games, and, yes, movies all have the potential to be born out of this initiative. Without the baggage of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars finally has the clean slate required to truly attract, entertain, and please a large majority if not all fans.
I’m a firm believer that Star Wars can be all things to all fans. A lot of those fans have given up, especially those turned off by the latest trilogy. The High Republic seems to be the very first step on a path toward getting those fans back, while keeping the new ones entertained as well. It’s going to be interesting to see what The High Republic means for the future of the franchise.
We’ll have more coverage on The High Republic as it becomes available.