Fans have been waiting for a new chapter in the Star Wars universe for some time now. Although Rise of Skywalker only came out at the end of 2019, it feels like it has been years since we had new Star Wars content. We blame it on the pandemic. Time is meaningless now, and everything we have to look forward to has been delayed.
One of those delayed projects is of course The High Republic, the next big multimedia event for Star Wars. The High Republic was originally scheduled to kick off this month with new books and graphic novels. The High Republic has now been delayed until 2021. However, the powers that be at Lucasfilm Publishing have been steadily releasing tidbits and teases for the project. This week author Charles Soule sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to reveal some insights about The High Republic. His book – Light of the Jedi – is designed to kick off the project and introduce readers to a new chapter of Star Wars history.
Charles Soule Moves From Comics to Novels In Star Wars: The High Republic
Image via Lucasfilm Publishing
Charles Soule is an established comic creator in the Star Wars and Marvel universes. He has previously worked as a writer on comics featuring notable Star Wars characters like Lando; Anakin & Obi-Wan, Poe Dameron, Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren. Light of the Jedi will be his first novel in the Star Wars universe.
The novel will introduce a new cast of characters. This includes many Force-users during the Golden Age of the Jedi. A cataclysmic event known as “The Great Disaster” occurs that affects everyone in the galaxy. Soule spoke a bit about seeing that event from multiple points of view in The High Republic.
“One of the primary concepts of The High Republic initiative is the idea that there are certain key events that happen at the “same time” across the storytelling. It’s a lot like the way the destruction of the first Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope has been seen from endless angles since it was first depicted in the first film.”
Soule also mentions that the timeline for these stories is not necessarily linear. With manys stories focusing on The Great Disaster from various points of view, that means the series will likely start with how this event affected each of the major characters introduced in The High Republic, before continuing on to address the problem itself.
Playing Around With Genre In Light of the Jedi
Image via Lucasfilm Publishing/Abrams Books
The author also spoke about how he wanted to play around with genre in the Star Wars universe. The vastness of the universe means that many different types of stories can be told within the setting. Indeed we have seen this before in some of the standalone films and Disney+ shows. Rogue One was an epic war drama, whereas Solo was a heist movie, and The Mandalorian is a Western. Soule talks about his desire to bring in other story formats to both Light of the Jedi.
“My personal mandate for Light of the Jedi was to explore genre in a way we hadn’t directly seen in the franchise. To bring the concepts of Star Wars to places that would feel fresh and cool. It’s a disaster movie; it’s a mystery, it’s a race-against-time-team-on-a-mission story.”
Image Credit: Star Wars Universe/Disney
Although The High Republic focuses heavily on the Golden Age of the Jedi, Soule also discusses how the novel won’t be all lightsaber battles and Force lightning. Hopefully The High Republic will take some time to focus on the regular people of the Star Wars universe, something that not many films have done so far.
“Light of the Jedi has plenty of lightsaber action, but that’s not the only way to solve problems, and you don’t need the Force to be a good person. There’s a sort of slogan that pops up in the book: “We are all the Republic.” And the Great Disaster seemed like a perfect way to reflect that idea.”
A New Alien Race Will Be Introduced In The High Republic
Image via Lucasfilm Publishing
Little is known so far about what The Great Disaster will be. However, Soule did talk a bit about the primary antagonists in The High Republic. They are a new alien race called the Nihil, and are described as “a group of anarchic marauders with some unique abilities that make them very powerful and very dangerous in this era.” The Nihil will most likely have some kind of Force powers that are unknown to the Jedi. Soule also promises that the Nihil will be fully explored in The High Republic.
“I wanted to paint them as truly frightening. The villains we’re used to seeing in Star Wars at least have some sort of loyalty to an ideology or code. The Nihil do not, except perhaps to do whatever they want whenever they want, and to destroy anyone or anything that opposes that goal. They have a deep and detailed history that will be explored throughout the initiative. The Nihil and what they get up to is one of the coolest parts of the whole thing.”
The High Republic will roll out in 2021 with a series of novels; comics, and other multimedia events that will finally reveal The Great Disaster awaiting the Jedi and the Star Wars universe. Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule will be the first book of The High Republic. It is due for release on January 5, 2021, the rest of The High Republic books and comics will follow.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.