The High Republic has been with us for over a year. It’s already made a big impact on the Star Wars franchise, both its fictional past and real-world future. With more books and comics on the horizon and ventures into live-action and animation, we’re going to explore why Now is the Best Time to Get Into ‘The High Republic’ and how you might do that…
A Brief History of Star Wars The High Republic
In April 2019, Lucasfilm teased a brand new literature initiative known only at the time as “Project Luminous”. All that was known about this initiative was that it would be a collaborative project, bringing together a group of Star Wars authors. Charles Soule, Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Cavan Scott and Daniel José Older would join the project. The High Republic was officially announced at an exclusive press event in February 2020, revealing the first details about the initiative.
Set two hundred years before The Phantom Menace, The High Republic explores the Jedi at the peak of their power and influence. So far the multimedia project has explored The High Republic through the likes of comics, novels and audio plays. It explores one cohesive overall story in this era of the Star Wars Universe.
How The High Republic Project Works
The ‘Star Wars: The High Republic‘ literature initiative is split into three phases:
- Phase I – Light of the Jedi
- Phase II – Quest of the Jedi
- Phase III – Trials of the Jedi
The first phase, ‘Light of the Jedi’, is available now. It comprises three adult novels, three young adult novels, and three middle-grade novels. Additionally, five comic/manga series, an original audio drama, some short stories, and young reader books. Phase Two and Three are coming soon. With Phase Two launching in just a few months, which is exactly Why Now is the Best Time to Get Into ‘The High Republic’
The High Republic Phase II – Quest of the Jedi
Phase One of The High Republic concluded earlier this year with the end of Wave Three. Phase Two will officially begin with the release of the young adult novel Path of Deceit in October, in the USA at keast. The U.K release schedule remains a bit ominous for various reasons; currently, Quest for the Hidden City is listed for early October, and Path of Deceit for early November.
Many expected that Quest of the Jedi would continue the story a few years after Phase One. However, it was revealed that Phase Two would serve as a prequel to Light of the Jedi. Therefore being set a further one hundred and fifty years before the events of Phase One. Due to the cliffhangers of The Fallen Star and Midnight Horizon, its believed Phase Three will be set after Phase One. Much like The Skywalker Saga (Original Trilogy, Prequel Trilogy, Sequel Trilogy.)
Much like Phase One, Quest of the Jedi will launch its first Wave with an adult novel (Convergence), a young adult novel (Path of Deceit), and a middle-grade novel (Quest for the Hidden City) and two comic series. These will be released over the coming months, starting in October/November. As these are prequels to the existing Phase One books, it would make for a true starting point for the initiative, chronologically at least.
I would advise trying to get onto these as they release and deciding which format is for you, as each medium has its distinct charms (for example, adult novels feel grander in scale, with a wide variety of characters, whereas middle-grade books have much more heart, smaller casts of characters and gorgeous illustrations throughout.)
The Acolyte and Beyond!
Until now, The High Republic era has only been explored in books and comics (bar a few levels in the Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge VR Game). It is becoming increasingly clear that more forms of media will be delving into the era. Most notable is the upcoming Disney+ series ‘The Acolyte‘. Not much is known about the series, but it was revealed at Disney Inversor Day 2020 that it would be set during the late High Republic era, more specifically fifty years before the events of The Phantom Menace.
While it is defined as The High Republic era, it is still one hundred and fifty years after the events of Light of the Jedi, so it remains to be seen how much they will reference each other. Leslye Headland, the showrunner on The Acolyte, has spoken briefly about the era, most notably about the golden robes of the Jedi. Perhaps we will see High Republic robes jump to live action in the show?
It’s all well and good to say that you should be exploring The High Republic era because further content is coming. There is much more to it than consuming content for the sake of it. Currently, several books and comics are rounding up Phase One of The High Republic initiative, and they have all been universally praised. Light of the Jedi, the first novel of the era, was the #2 best-selling novel on the entirety of Amazon in the week of its initial release.
Getting into The High Republic
If Autumn is a little too far away and you want to get into ‘The High Republic’ era as soon as possible, start with Phase One. Admittedly, there are already a lot of books and content in The High Republic initiative, which can be expensive. So I would recommend reading the three adult novels (Light of the Jedi, The Rising Storm and The Fallen Star) first. These books act as the series’ main centrepieces and big events. Each book leads into the next and tells a cohesive story.
That being said, the other books never feel non-essential or like filler content. The young adult novels are some of the best stories in the whole series. They just tell smaller-scale stories. You could compare them to the animated Star Wars shows like The Clone Wars or Rebels. Some of the franchise’s best works but not essential to understanding The Skywalker Saga.
However, suppose you want a taste of the variety that The High Republic has to offer. In that case, you could start with the Wave One projects (Light of the Jedi, Into the Dark and A Test of Courage. Additionally, the first volumes of The High Republic Marvel comics and The High Republic Adventures comics from IDW.) Together these books explore ‘The Great Disaster’ from different perspectives. However, they also explore the emergence of a group of villainous marauders known as The Nihil.
So yes, Now is the Best Time to Get Into ‘The High Republic’. The Star Wars universe is expanding with new live-action material as we speak. However, with the upcoming series of The Acolyte, it’s only a matter of time till reading The High Republic might be more advisable for the show.