Feature Article

New Era Of Star Wars Stories Begins With "High Republic" Launch

The High Republic is a new storytelling setting for the Star Wars franchise, and Lucasfilm has big plans for the ongoing story.

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.

High Republic Yoda concept art by Iain McCaig
High Republic Yoda concept art by Iain McCaig

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.

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PETERAKO

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There is literally a panel in the comic in which a character plunges her lightsaber in a rock to stop her falling. I shouldn't have to explain what is wrong with that.

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TeslaCoi1

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Sure, they already ruined the franchise, so why stop now, right? -_- Sigh...I hate how Disney has become the EA of the movie industry these days, considering they used to be cool back in the 90's and before...After ruining Star Wars and and making awful live action remakes of all their classic movies, I'm sure they'll ruin Marvel too, now that they've bought them as well...I'll just continue to pretend episode 7-9 don't exist, and that the Star Wars movies ended with the already perfect ending of episode 6, thanks.

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alex33x

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Another woke, dumpster fire!

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olsiiv

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Hmm, I have mixed feelings...

For me, what set Star Wars universe apart from all other Sci-Fi and Space Operas was always the concept of the Force - and I don't mean levitating rocks or shooting lightning from your hands - I mean this eerie, mysterious and malleable thing that permeates and binds everything in the universe. There were moments in movies and games (can't say about books/comics) when the Force was explored with a little more depth, as in the Jedis and Padawans relationship to it, and i think those moments - as cheesy as they could be - were what defined Star Wars for me and what keeps me coming back to it in a hope of seeing it again.

It could be they do this again with High Republic... Who knows. I just think they should keep in touch with the Force and invest in the writing a LOT more, maybe inviting someone as Alejandro Jodorowsky to help with it (if I'm allowed to dream).

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jedijax

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@olsiiv: I agree with your first paragraph. Totally. Unfortunately, I'm not as hopeful as you on the second, and Jodorowsky would NEVER do that. Just remember he didn't deign to read Dune because he didn't want it to mess up his "vision" of the project.

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olsiiv

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@jedijax: That is sadly true. Even if he was interested, I doubt Disney would take the risk of making this series go beyond conventions... As for Dune, I think Jodorowsky's original envision of it laid much of the conceptual foundation over which George Lucas built his Star Wars universe - especially the Force and the Jedis.

It just makes me sad to see such a marvelous universe going to waste with poor writing and safe betting, especially in a genre that is extremely open to (if not pure) experimentation.

Do you know if the books or comics have developed the series in any of this way?

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jedijax

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@olsiiv: Ah yes, you're absolutely right. I've always said Star Wars was a Dune rip-off. From that perspective, then yes, Alejandro wouldn't be such a far-fetched option. As for your question, yes indeed, there have been some books, comics and videogames dealing with the mystical and philosophical aspects of the franchise. The Sith Lords, the sequel to Knights of the Old Republic by Bioware made bold questions about the nature of the Force, whether it is inherently good or evil. The KOTOR and Star Wars Legacy comics also delved into this, as well as some of the later Republic comics. Finally, the big bombs came in the final 3 novel series: The New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force, and Fate of the Jedi. Those went so far that George Lucas intervened and forced the authors to roll back, because he wanted to keep the concepts as child-like as possible. If you're into the Force Jedi/Sith aspects of the franchise I wholeheartedly recommend you check them out.

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olsiiv

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@jedijax: Thanks a lot! I will sure look into those novels! As for The Sith Lords, I tried it a long time ago but never delved too deep... Since then it's sitting on my "must play" shelf (along with the first KOTOR), but for some reason I'm always skipping it, even though I love Bioware's older games. I'll have to give it another go now.

I can understand the appeal of making the story more accessible for children, since the movies were envisioned to sell toys and stuff, but c'mon... They could do those concepts some good and integrate them in a child friendly way. As such, children are a lot more open to new things than adults... The hate over the "SJW" content by the grown up fan base just proves that! hahah

Anyways, I just hope someday Star Wars movies will do justice to it's rip-off of Dune and scratch my itch for this kind of Sci-fi experience. Who knows... Maybe by then someone will even have the guts to pick up Jodorowsky's Incal and do it a proper cinematic adaptation. Let's dream!

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santinegrete

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Meanwhile I'm still mad about 1313 cancellation. You're playing it safer than you think Disney.

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Alku

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Edited By Alku

inclusion...

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santinegrete

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Edited By santinegrete

@alku: I expected to find a comment like this. ;D

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Alku

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@santinegrete: Someone had to say it, it's so out of place.

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michaeldark

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The word "high" refers to the condition of the writers while writing the script of this new shi... saga.

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Pupchu

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For Gods sake! Get Kathleen Kennedy off this franchise before she does more damage!

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Ice12Tray

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@Pupchu: Luckily she won’t care about the books.

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jedijax

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@ice12tray: That's what we thought about Lucas, and look how that turned out...

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Pupchu

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@ice12tray: I hope you're right, but i fear you're wrong.

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Ice12Tray

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@Pupchu: I do have the same fear....

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SkyHighGam3r

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Edited By SkyHighGam3r

W/e. Just make more stuff where the Jedi Order is in full swing and I'm on board. I couldn't care less about literally any other aspect what-so-ever when it comes to Star Wars. It's why Phantom Menace is my #1 entry in the series despite it's... abundance of mind-numbingly stupid problems. At the end of the day, the whole Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Master & Padawan thing is the highlight of the franchise in my eyes.

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jedijax

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@skyhighgam3r: There's actually a series of novels set before the Phantom Menace dealing with their relationship, and then it turned into a whole new series by the same author dealing with the relationship between Obi-1 and Anakin. They're a great read if you are into that aspect. If you are into breaking the mold, my fave Star Wars book ever also deals on the relationship between master and apprentice, but it's more about debunking myths and philosophy: Traitor by Matthew Stover.

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SkyHighGam3r

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@jedijax: I was reading some series of books like that when I was in like the 6th grade or something. Used to order them out of the monthly book order sheets. "Jedi Apprentice" series I think. 1st one was how Qui-gon met Obi-Wan.

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jedijax

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@skyhighgam3r: Right on the money! I didn't remember the name, but now you brought back the memories! The next one was called Jedi Quest, and they're both by Jude Watson.

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Ice12Tray

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@skyhighgam3r: If you like their story, you should check out the Master & Apprentice book about them set seven years before Phantom Menace. One of my favorite of the new books.

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Hondje89

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@ice12tray: Please tell me that book is still canon

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Ice12Tray

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@Hondje89: Yup!

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Hondje89

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@ice12tray: Awesome!!

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lilhurk1985187

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When will the games be made?? A KOTOR style game would be perfect. Thats all i care about.

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SkyHighGam3r

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@lilhurk1985187: KotoR quality story, but Fallen Order style combat. I could never stand the goofy flailing about in KotoR but man that story kept me going anyway.

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Barighm

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@lilhurk1985187: Surprised they haven't done that yet.

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lokar82

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@Barighm: RPGs are single player and EA hates that. Admittedly can't figure out how Fallen Order got the green light.

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jedijax

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@lokar82: Because they didn't expect it to do much. The developers have said so themselves. Hopefully, its success will inspire a nes KOTOR. There are already rumours about it.

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ReturnoftheBrotha

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Nothing new and they forced Lucas to sell so that they could change the meaning of Star Wars and put in their propaganda, which of course, ruins things.

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judaspete

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@returnofthebrotha: Star Wars has always had political undertones, that didn't start with Disney. If you want to look at it this way, the OT and especially PT were anti-authoritarian propaganda.

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ReturnoftheBrotha

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@judaspete: Lucas political undertones represented real life under the banking cartel. Once Disney bought it - they changed the meaning to their propaganda.

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judaspete

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@returnofthebrotha: Yeah, also the Vietnam War and Bush Administration. Not sure how your comment refutes my point.

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uninspiredcup

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@returnofthebrotha: Uh...

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mrbojangles25

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mrbojangles25  Online

Well, it's no Old Republic, but it's a step in the right direction.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@mrbojangles25: I'd sure love for that game to get a sequel.

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