It’s not just Star Wars film and TV production that’s being hit by COVID-19 and its associated effects. Disney’s stab at launching a connected Star Wars publishing effort covering children’s books, novels, and comics has now been delayed as well. The launch of Star Wars: The High Republic, as the series of books and comics is called, was set to kick off at the end of August with the publication of Charles Soule’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi novel, but it has now been pushed to 2021 due to “general marketplace delays” (read: probably coronavirus).
In a statement, Lucasfilm Publishing Creative Director Michael Siglain noted that current events meant that the publishing effort couldn’t be launched in the way it needs to be and that delaying the project will make sure the “launch is as grand and epic as it deserves to be.” He also hinted at some of the characters and stories we’ll be able to dive into once The High Republic does launch, including “The Hero of Hetzal,” “the twins,” the “Blade of Bardotta,” the Starros and San Tekka clans, and the Storms.
The series will now launch on Jan. 5, 2021 with both Light of the Jedi and Justina Ireland’s middle-grade novel Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage publishing on that date. Claudia Gray’s young adult novel Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark has moved to a new release date of Feb. 2, 2021. Both the upcoming Marvel and IDW comic lines for The High Republic have also been delayed, but no new release dates have been announced yet.
The series is set 200 years before the prequel films take place, when the Jedi and Republic were at their strongest and seen as true peacekeepers throughout the universe. The Jedi of this era are described as a mix between Texas Rangers and knights of the round table. With no canon, movies, or TV shows to write around, the books and comics from The High Republic give creators a lot of freedom to hopefully take the franchise in interesting directions, which sounds pretty good since the films and shows keep leaning heavily into nostalgia.