Star Wars on film may be taking a break for a few years, but that doesn’t mean that Disney is going to stop pumping out content of some sort. The new extended universe, established after Disney wiped out everything but the films and TV shows from canon, is still expanding, and it’s taking its biggest step yet with the announcement of Star Wars: The High Republic.
The project, previously known as Project Luminous, is a massive storyline that will play out over multiple books and comics, geared to both adults and children. The idea behind it is to use the publishing arm of Disney and their partners to incubate new Star Wars ideas and develop them into universe-building stories. The result is a series of stories focusing on a time 200 years before the prequel films, called the High Republic, when the Jedi were at their full strength. The Jedi of this era are kind of like “the Jedi Knights of the round table” and at the same time “Texas Rangers.” The stories won’t focus solely on the Jedi, though, with tales from the frontier of the Republic bringing in plenty of anti-heroes and those that dabble in the gray area of good and evil.
Phase 1 of the The High Republic will kick off on Aug. 25 with the release of the first book in the series, Light of the Jedi, which focuses on “the Great Disaster.” It’s not clear exactly what that is, but it will give rise to a new evil in the galaxy called the Nihil, which are like “space Vikings.” The concept gives authors writing in the series guidelines and characters but allows them to tell varying stories that can be drastically different and, by going to the past, finally has Disney leaving the Skywalker Saga behind them.
After Light of the Jedi lands, four more books/comics will complete the first phase, with more phases to follow:
- A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland (Star Wars: Lando’s Luck), a middle-grade book
- The High Republic by Cavan Scott (Star Wars Adventures), a Marvel comic series
- Into the Dark by Claudia Gray (Star Wars: Master & Apprentice), a novel
- The High Republic Adventures by Daniel Jose Older (Star Wars: Last Shot), an IDW comic series
While average people won’t dive into this content at all, for Star Wars fans it’s exciting to see Disney actually branch out from their Skywalker safety net, which some would argue has been dragging them down and led to a ham-fisted conclusion in The Rise of Skywalker. With different voices and authors coming into a universe where they can play around without the weight of too much canon on their shoulders, this could be where the fun begins.