By Klaudia Amenábar

It’s an amazing time to be a Star Wars fan – we went from barely any content for decades to a new show every few months, and books and comics churned out constantly. But from the most deep cut to the newest fan, it’s now become overwhelming. Some people aren’t interested in the current projects coming out and want something new. Some want better representation from Star Wars. Some just want to go deeper before the next show comes out, and some have fallen out of love with Star Wars after the poorly planned sequel era didn’t live up to expectations. I have great news – you ALL will love the High Republic.

The High Republic (or Project Luminous as it was codenamed in its development), is Lucasfilm’s expansion of the period a few hundred years before the films we know and love. It is meant to answer a very important question: what were the legendary Jedi like in their golden age? How did they, and the Republic, get to the mess we see in the prequels (and then beyond)? How did the rest of the galaxy feel about them? 

The High Republic, as of right now, is mostly books and comics, (and one story in a VR game), but with Jedi: Survivor making it a key part of the plot (no spoilers here), the Acolyte adult Disney+ show, the Young Jedi Adventures animated kids’ show, and more, it is now the biggest point of expansion for Star Wars. The High Republic also contains the best storytelling Star Wars has put out in a long time. It’s meticulously planned, thoughtful space opera, that holds its own for even the most traditional fantasy and sci-fi readers, whether they are fans of the old Legends content or not. It’s not just an advertisement for the rest of Star Wars, but a refreshing change from endless tie-in media, the Skywalker Saga, and the lack of planning of the sequel era, while still maintaining the magic and ideals that make a story Star Wars.

So have I piqued your interest yet? Or does it still sound daunting? Well, have no fear: your High Republic reading guide is here. 

First, let me get some quick questions out of the way:

  • Is this canon? Yes! This is new content created by Disney to specifically fit with the canon. If you look closely you’ll see many connections with BOTH canon and Legends.
  • Does this negate the Legends I know and love (like the Old Republic)? No! It actually brings a lot of it into canon! The Old Republic still occurs thousands of years in the past, and fits quite well. Frankly, they should have pitched this to Old Republic fans more!
  • What are all these phases and waves I’ve heard about? THR launched Phase I at the beginning of 2021. Just like the movies’ three trilogy eras, THR is being told in three phases. (The waves are like each movie in the trilogy with a major event the books/comics surround).
      • Phase I: Light of the Jedi (200 years before the Phantom Menace)
      • Phase II: Quest of the Jedi (150 years before Phase I)
      • Phase III: Trials of the Jedi (1 year after the end of Phase I)
  • Do I have to read all of it to understand it? This is one of the biggest questions I often hear. And my answer for THR is different than most Star Wars books — yes. Most SW books/comics tie in to other stories, especially movies and shows, and can live on their own. THR is building this era as a patchwork quilt of stories from the ground up, not just to supplement a “main” storyline. Some might say the adult novels are like the “movies,” but characters in them originate in the YA books or the comics, and storylines intersect, so it’s not the same. THR is not like the rest of Star Wars, and truly operates more like a traditional book or comic series. The problem is that it is across several series (and publishers), and accessibility is not great. But I can’t stress enough how much people shouldn’t skip the YA and middle grade novels, and the comics. Not only will you miss out on some of the best characters, but you’ll definitely feel like you’re missing some pieces of the puzzle
      • Note: The only thing you can probably skip are the “young reader” books, which are picture books retelling the adult novels for kids. But….they are very cute and you get to see some characters who have not been illustrated before!
      • Also, they released short stories for each phase in the Star Wars Insider magazine. If you have access to issues through your library, it’s a great way to read them, otherwise you can read the Phase I stories compiled in Starlight Stories.
  • How can I read this much without breaking my wallet? For the books, I can’t recommend the Libby library app enough (and/or Hoopla if your library uses it, it has a good comics selection). For comics, Comixology or Kindle Unlimited depending on your location will probably be your best bet, because the High Republic spans several comics publishers as well. (For Phase I: Marvel, IDW, and Viz, for Phase II: Marvel, Dark Horse, and Viz).  Also, I cannot recommend the audiobooks enough – most audiobooks are just narration, but Star Wars audiobooks are always a FULL cinematic experience with music, effects, and more. And of course, your local comic book shop should become your best friend for this, too!

Ok, library propaganda done, your favorite local comic book shop or digital comics publisher handy, a fun little phone game to play if you’re listening to the audiobooks, and the Wookieepedia High Republic release list bookmarked, we’re ready to go. This is all in relative chronological order, since many comics and books sometimes occur at the same time, and ordered by what makes the most sense narratively. For the comics, I’ve linked to their Wookieepedia pages so you can keep track of the issues and how they are collected into trade paperbacks.


Wave 1

1. Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule

This adult novel is the intro to it all! There’s a lot to learn about this era, and many characters to meet, but you’ll feel the magic straight away and remember why you love Star Wars. Some people consider this one of their favorite Star Wars books of all time. I love it because it introduced me to my bestie and icon, Bell Zettifar. This one especially works well as an audiobook because I think it has more of a script feel for an epic film, and it’ll help you not sweat learning so many new characters’ names.

2. Into the Dark by Claudia Gray

This YA novel begins slightly before LOTJ and then takes place concurrently. (You’ll start to notice lots of things in THR occurring concurrently). Bookworm and Jedi padawan Reath Silas is reluctantly sent to the frontier because his master took a post on the new frontier station, Starlight Beacon. On the way he meets a Jedi scholar he admires, Cohmac Vitus, the mysterious Jedi Wayseeker, Orla Jareni, and the crew of the Vessel: our first of TWO canonically asexual High Republic characters, Leox Gyasi, a hippie who talks like Matthew McConaughey; a literal sentient rock named Geode; and Affie Hollow, the savvy teen co-pilot with a sad past.

3. A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland

This middle grade novel gets…pretty dark for a middle grade novel. It’s also one of my favorites in THR, and absolutely not to be slept on, especially if you like Star Wars comics (and because of its connections to Phase II on Dalna). Here we’re introduced to the SECOND canonical High Republic asexual character, Vernestra Rwoh, a teen Jedi prodigy (with a cool secret lightsaber whip!) who’s also set to appear on the Disney+ The Acolyte series, on her first mission as a Jedi Knight. She is sent to escort the young scientific genius Avon Starros, ancestor of current Star Wars comics favorite Sana Starros, and daughter of an important Republic Senator. She must team up with padawan Imri Cantaros and the Dalnan ambassador’s son, Honesty Weft, as they pick up the pieces of their lives after disaster strikes.

4. The High Republic (2021) Issues #1-7, written by Cavan Scott

This is the main Marvel High Republic comics run, and runs parallel to the books with stories that intersect. It focuses mainly on Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis, her former master Sskeer, and Jedi Master Avar Kriss as they battle the monstrous Drengir, while the rest of the galaxy deals with the Nihil pirates. Reading this is great because you get to see what all the people mentioned in LOTJ look like!

5. The High Republic Adventures (2021) Issues #1-5, written by Daniel José Older

This is the second running THR comic series, but published by IDW for Phase I. It follows the Jedi padawans of the Starhopper being mentored by Master Yoda and Master Torban Buck: Lula Talisola, Farzala Tarabal, and Qort. On a mission to a planet with a cult that doesn’t like Force users, they meet a secretly Force sensitive girl named Zeen Mrala and her best friend Krix Kamerat, whose choices, once her secret is revealed, take them onto separate paths. It’s also where we eventually meet Kantam Sy, my personal favorite Jedi, and one of the first human non-binary characters in Star Wars! It connects very closely to Midnight Horizon, a later YA novel I consider to be my favorite.

Wave 2

  1. The High Republic Adventures: Monster of Temple Peak, written by Cavan Scott

This IDW comic mini series tells the backstory of Ty Yorrick, monster hunter and former Jedi. She’s one of my favorite Star Wars characters, and her introduction gives a lot of detail to what it’s like to be a Jedi in this era.

2. The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott

If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve realized the High Republic is a nonstop train of crazy. These Jedi are TIRED. Well it’s about to get a lot worse for them. Also Elzar Mann…..very sexy. And Ty is here!

3. Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel José Older

This is the middle grade novel of this wave, and occurs concurrently with the Rising Storm, showing the attack on the Republic Fair from the point of view of Ram Jomaram, a provincial Jedi padawan who gets wrapped up in all this mess. Ram is canonically SO cool that he invented the phrase “that’s so wizard” in universe, which is used for hundreds of years after (like in the Phantom Menace).

4. The High Republic Adventures Free Comic Book Day 2021, written by Daniel José Older

This Free Comic Book Day comic connects directly with the events (and characters) of Race to Crashpoint Tower, and should really be called “Ram Jomaram’s no good very bad day.”

5. Tempest Runner by Cavan Scott

This is the first audio drama of THR! Star Wars has a few of these, actually. If you’re not already listening to the books as audiobooks, you should try it, but definitely do it for this one. You can get the script to read along if you need it as well. Tempest Runner focuses on what’s next for Lourna Dee, the Tempest Runner gone rogue. And it also has a lot of interesting exploration about the prison industrial complex in Star Wars. Truly a favorite!

6. Edge of Balance Volume 1 by Justina Ireland and Shima Shinya

This is the THR manga! Meet another teen Jedi girlboss, Lily Tora-Asi, her Wookiee Jedi master Arkoff, her padawan, Keerin Fionn, and manga-ified Stellan Gios. Banchii is a quiet, galactic frontier Jedi outpost that gets pulled into the wider Nihil conspiracy in menacing ways. You’ll get a wonderful look at what the Jedi were like when they lived out in communities in the galaxy.

7. Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland

This is the YA novel of this phase, and also one of the gayest entries in THR. Let’s go lesbians, LET’S GO! This has everything – friends to lovers to exes to lovers, evil scientist moms who inadvertently create technology the Empire will use hundreds of years later, Cohmac Vitus admiring men, a rich playboy, Reath Silas’ continuing failures with girls, Vernestra Rwoh being a girlboss once again, and so much more.

8. The High Republic (2021) Issues #8-12, written by Cavan Scott

While ALL that other stuff was going on, what have Keeve, Avar and Sskeer been up to fighting the Drengir? By the LIGHT there is a lot going on here. Just trust the process!

9. The High Republic Adventures (2021) Issues #6-11, written by Daniel José Older

Yes, and while all that was happening, the padawans of the Starhopper are still having quite a wild time too! This series is also a very good and gay time. Lula and Zeen hive, we rise!

10. Trail of Shadows Issues #1-3, written by Daniel José Older

Ever wondered what a Star Wars murder mystery noir would be like? Wonder no more. The mystery of the Nameless is on, and Jedi Master Emerick Caphtor and his private detective friend Sian Holt are on the case in this Marvel mini series! (With an adorable droid to help).

11. The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021

This is an IDW anthology of one-shots from each of the High Republic authors, dealing with everyone from Jedi to Geode!

Wave 3

1. Mission to Disaster by Justina Ireland

This is the middle grade novel of the wave, and starts out with a bang. Poor Vern and Imri are once again in the thick of it and on their own as things get even more tense with the Nihil and the Drengir elsewhere. I love everything Justina does, this one is another banger, especially for our beloved Avon Starros – we love a girl in STEM! (If you enjoy the Starros family and aren’t already a Sana enjoyer from the Empire era comics, check out the Sana Starros Marvel miniseries, which ties DEEPLY to Avon’s legacy in the High Republic….)

2. High Republic Adventures: Galactic Bake-Off Spectacular, written by Daniel José Older and Vita Ayala

I love Kantam Sy, and I love small breaths of domesticity in Star Wars, so I am biased to love this one. This one also answers the question of what happens to older Jedi as they age.

3. High Republic Adventures (2021) Issue #12 (link)

4. The High Republic (2021) Issues #12 & 13 (link)

5. The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray

You’re gonna need a box of tissues for this one. I’m afraid not everybody is making it out of this alive. 

6. The High Republic (2021) Issues #14 & 15

Wondered what was going on in the top half of Starlight Beacon during The Fallen Star? Here it is!

7. Midnight Horizon by Daniel José Older

This is my favorite THR novel, and one of my favorite Star Wars novels overall. It occurs concurrently with The Fallen Star, and shows what the padawans from the High Republic Adventures and other YA and middle grade novels were up to while Starlight Beacon fell. It is also the #1 gayest piece of THR, and will be the definitive text to make you love Kantam and Cohmac. It has a scene with Kantam and Yoda, Kantam’s master, that made me weep the first time I read it. (We were also fortunate enough to interview one of the architects of the High Republic, author Daniel José Older, about this novel on my Star Wars podcast, RuPalp’s Podrace, if you’d like to listen after you finish it!)

8. The High Republic Adventures (2021) Issue #13 (link)

9. The High Republic Adventures Free Comic Book Day 2023 

The fate of the Starhopper padawans trapped inside Starlight Beacon, along with Master Torban Buck, is revealed.

10. Trail of Shadows Issues #4 & 5 (link)

11. Edge of Balance Volume 2

The Banchii mystery continues, and just like the rest of this wave, with devastating results.

12. Eye of the Storm by Charles Soule

What the hell is wrong with this Marchion guy? Why does he hate the Jedi so much? Finally, some of your questions will be answered in this Marvel mini series! (Note: if you are reading the comics in trade paperbacks, the issues of this mini series are collected in the final High Republic (2021) TPB, Vol. 3: Jedi’s End.)

Congrats! You’ve completed Phase I, and now it’s time for Phase II: Quest of the Jedi, the prequel era of the High Republic, which will explain how we got to the galactic catastrophes occurring in Phase I.

Thanks for trusting me on your High Republic journey, whether you’re new to Star Wars books and comics or a veteran. If you’ve enjoyed it so far, you’ll probably also enjoy my Star Wars podcast, RuPalp’s Podrace, where we are huge High Republic fans. Once you’ve finished Phase I, you should check out our Phase I wrap-up episode as well! (We also post about the latest High Republic memes on our Twitter). See you in Phase II!

Continue to part 2 of the guide here!