Star Wars is opening a new era for storytelling with the arrival of the “High Republic” series, a trans-media setting that will span new books, graphic novels, and a Disney+ series. Here’s everything you need to know about this new Star Wars setting.
What is the “High Republic” era?
The High Republic era is a golden age in the Star Wars universe, described as a time of peace and prosperity set roughly 200 years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It’s said to be an “era of ambition, of culture, of inclusion, of Great Works.”
While many familiar Star Wars tropes are present in the High Republic era, they’re slightly different than you may recognize. As opposed to the prequel era, when the Republic had grown corrupt and paralyzed by bureaucracy, the High Republic is led by a well-respected and benevolent chancellor and the public feels that their voices are heard. The Jedi Order is less dogmatic and stilted, and Jedi Knights are seen as honorable peacekeepers. Even the sci-fi technology, like starfighters and transport vessels, are described as clean and sleek–a far cry from the dingy, broken-down aesthetic of many later movies.
In short, the High Republic is a more optimistic era for the Star Wars universe, centuries removed from the Skywalker Saga that detailed the collapse into the Galactic Empire, the ensuing fight for freedom, and then the long recovery from Palpatine’s influence. During this time period, the Outer Rim–which is usually represented as something of a wild west in later Star Wars incarnations–is more of an unexplored wilderness.
But while the time period precedes most recognizable characters by decades or even centuries, there is one notable exception. Yoda, the Jedi Master who said he had trained Jedi Knights for 800 years as of the time he met Luke Skywalker, obviously would’ve been well into his Jedi-training career during the High Republic era. Lucasfilm has shown off pieces of concept art of this younger version of Yoda, who looks very recognizable but stands noticeably more upright.
Wait, What About Knights of the Old Republic?
Star Wars fans may recognize that the series has already ventured into periods before the Phantom Menace, most notably with Knights of the Old Republic, which was set a whopping 4,000 years before the Galactic Empire. It’s unclear how much of KOTOR is still considered canon, however.
When Disney acquired the Star Wars property, it essentially wiped the canon slate clean aside from a few special exceptions. Since then, it’s been slowly re-adding bits and pieces as it sees fit, such as recent references to Grand Admiral Thrawn. A visual compendium published by Lucasfilm references Revan, the protagonist of Knights of the Old Republic, so we know that the character exists in Star Wars history. But it’s unclear if the Old Republic era represented in those games still stands as the same, or how exactly it relates to this new High Republic era.
In a novel timeline included with the first High Republic novel, the High Republic era is the earliest recorded history.
What’s Included in the High Republic?
So far the High Republic only consists of a handful of books and comics, aimed at a variety of different ages. Light of the Jedi is the first adult novel, written by Charles Soule. A Test of Courage is a YA novel from Justina Ireland. Finally, The Great Jedi Rescue is a book for young readers by Cavan Scott. A Marvel comic series, simply called Star Wars: The High Republic, is debuting this week as well, also written by Scott featuring art from Ario Anindito.
In February, a second YA novel called Into the Dark by Claudia Gray will release, along with a second comic series called Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures from IDW. That second comic series is said to prominently feature Yoda.
Will There Be High Republic Movies or Shows?
So far Disney and Lucasfilm have confirmed one High Republic show, titled The Acolyte. The series from Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland is described as “a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.”
The promotional material so far has stated that the company intends this to be an interconnected story spanning the next several years. The first phase of The High Republic, called Light of the Jedi after the debut novel, is said to last through 2022. The second and third phases have been named Quest of the Jedi and Trials of the Jedi, respectively. Given that The Acolyte takes place near the end of the High Republic, it would stand to reason that it’s probably coming in the third phase.