After almost a year of rampant speculation and hushed responses from Lucasfilm, the much-teased Project Luminous has finally been revealed; Star Wars: The High Republic is a publishing initiative spanning multiple comics and novels, taking place around two hundred years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. These stories will range from those aimed at younger readers to the more mature variety.
Focusing on the Jedi in their prime and their associated enemies, multiple authors will take part in this new direction for Star Wars print media: Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older, Cavan Scott, and Charles Soule.
Starting with an event called the Great Disaster, an interconnected story featuring an ever-expanding cast of characters will be told that chronicles the Jedi in their prime.
On this new initiative, President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy said, “We are so excited to be opening up such a rich, fertile era for our authors to explore.”
The High Republic is apparently the brainchild of Lucasfilm’s publishing creative director, Michael Siglain, who said, “Star Wars: The High Republic features the Jedi as we’ve always wanted to see them — as true guardians of peace and justice. This is a hopeful, optimistic time, when the Jedi and the Galactic Republic are at their height.”
He continued, “But of course, into this glorious new era something wicked this way comes […] readers will learn what scares the Jedi.”
We may not get an immediate answer to who the Jedi are scared of, but Lucasfilm did reveal that one of the groups the Jedi will face are the Nihil, who are described as “space Vikings.”
Something both Kennedy and Siglain really hammer is the fact that this is a different take on the Jedi than we’re used to. They aren’t the incompetent farts from the prequels; these are what they describe as “Jedi Knights of the Roundtable.” It won’t all be new though, as we’ll very likely be seeing Yoda since he was alive during this time period!
Be sure to check out the announcement video below for more details on the origins of the project, and the kinds of characters readers will meet when the project debuts this August at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.
As the video points out, it won’t just be the Jedi that these stories will be focusing on. They wisely understand that Star Wars wouldn’t be what it is without characters like smugglers, scoundrels, and bounty hunters populating the galaxy.
James Waugh, Lucasfilm vice president of franchise content and strategy, also released a statement: “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 of the galaxy, meeting new cultures, and discovering what pioneer life in the Outer Rim was like.”
Take a look below at the first wave of stories that starts up this August.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule hits stories on August 25 2020 according to the pre-order website. The description of the book reads: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. Until…”
This is the one I’m the most excited for, mostly because I’ve read all of Soule’s previous Star Wars work and it’s quite great. I think we all assumed that he’d be writing the comics portion of the initiative but the fact that he’s writing the debut book is a welcome surprise.
Next up is Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland, which is apparently available on September 8 2020. The description reads: “When a transport ship is abrubtly 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 the dangerous terrain and a hidden danger lurking in the shadows…”
This particular book is aimed at younger readers if the cover wasn’t any indication.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray is aimed at a young adult audience, and is out on October 13 2020. The description reads: “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 travelling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the centre of the action. The Jedi and their travelling 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…”
This is the most detailed description of the bunch, and I’m fascinated by it. I think this’ll be a pretty fun story.
These last two don’t have release dates, but they’re both comics.
Star Wars: The High Republic by writer Cavan Scott and an unannounced artist will be published by Marvel Comics.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures by Daniel José Older and an unannounced artist will be published by IDW Publishing and focuses on a younger audience.
All in all, this is a very exciting announcement. I think there’s something in here for every kind of Star Wars fan, and even has a curmudgeonly fellow like me interested in a young adult novel about a cranky teen. After the awful massacre that was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, something to unite the fanbase while telling brand new stories sounds like exactly what we, the culture, need right now.