The Must-Read Books and Comics That Explore the New Era of ‘Star Wars’ Storytelling: The High Republic

Jean Bentley
·7 min read

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The Skywalker Saga might’ve come to an end, but there’s a new “Star Wars” era you’re going to need to know a lot more about as Lucasfilm and Disney enter the next stage of the “Star Wars” universe: the High Republic.

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While some filmed “Star Wars” content will eventually take place in this never-before-explored time period — including the forthcoming series from Leslye Headland, “The Acolyte” — the main introduction to the High Republic will be in the form of books and graphic novels. The High Republic timeline takes place 200 years before “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” in the true Golden Age of the Jedi.

The official description of the era: “It’s a time of peace and prosperity in the galaxy far, far away. The Republic is thriving and the Jedi Order is at its zenith, with individual Force wielders and their students exploring the galactic frontier and keeping the peace. But the time is not without its conflicts.”

Get a basic introduction to the High Republic with the first two novels set in that time period, the first of which landed atop the New York Times bestseller list following its early January release. The second book, which also came out in the first week of 2021, is a YA novel set in the same period. Plus, two separate comic lines will explore this whole new era of Star Wars storytelling as well, that position the Jedi in a “Knights of the Round Table” light. This is their golden age. But… of course, there’s a crisis that brews to test these valiant peacekeepers. A devastating hyperspace crisis, followed by marauding bands of pirates called the Nihil, will test them — and show how strong this golden age of the Republic really is.

“Star Wars: Light of the Jedi”
by Charles Soule

For adult readers.

The official synopsis reads:

It is a golden age. Intrepid hyperspace scouts expand the reach of the Republic to the furthest stars, worlds flourish under the benevolent leadership of the Senate, and peace reigns, enforced by the wisdom and strength of the renowned order of Force users known as the Jedi. With the Jedi at the height of their power, the free citizens of the galaxy are confident in their ability to weather any storm But the even brightest light can cast a shadow, and some storms defy any preparation.

When a shocking catastrophe in hyperspace tears a ship to pieces, the flurry of shrapnel emerging from the disaster threatens an entire system. No sooner does the call for help go out than the Jedi race to the scene. The scope of the emergence, however, is enough to push even Jedi to their limit. As the sky breaks open and destruction rains down upon the peaceful alliance they helped to build, the Jedi must trust in the Force to see them through a day in which a single mistake could cost billions of lives.

Even as the Jedi battle valiantly against calamity, something truly deadly grows beyond the boundary of the Republic. The hyperspace disaster is far more sinister than the Jedi could ever suspect. A threat hides in the darkness, far from the light of the age, and harbors a secret that could strike fear into even a Jedi’s heart.

“Star Wars: A Test of Courage”
By Justina Ireland

For middle grade readers, ages 8-12.

Vernestra Rwoh is a new Jedi Knight at age sixteen, but her first real assignment feels an awful lot like babysitting. She’s been charged with supervising twelve-year old aspiring inventor Avon Starros on a cruiser headed to the dedication of a wondrous new space station called Starlight Beacon.

But soon into their journey, bombs go off aboard the cruiser. While the adult Jedi try to save the ship, Vernestra, Avon, Avon’s droid J-6, a Jedi Padawan, and an ambassador’s son make it to an escape shuttle, but communications are out and supplies are low. They decide to land on a nearby moon, which offers shelter but not much more. And unbeknownst to them, danger lurks in the forest…

“The Great Jedi Rescue”
By Cavan Scott

For beginning readers.

A third early January release covers this ground: “When a disaster strikes in hyperspace, putting the people of Hetzal Prime in grave danger, only the Jedi of the High Republic can save the day.”

The second YA book came out Feb. 2, and the rest of the follow-ups will continue throughout 2021.

“Star Wars: Into the Dark”
By Claudia Gray

YA novel.

The second YA offering follows another Padawan caught up in the ongoing adventures during the Jedi’s golden age. The official description of this next chapter in the story reads:

Padawan Reath Silas is being sent from the cosmopolitan galactic capital of Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier—and he couldn’t be less happy about it. He’d rather stay at the Jedi Temple, studying the archives. But when the ship he’s traveling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the center of the action.

The Jedi and their traveling companions find refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station. But then strange things start happening, leading the Jedi to investigate the truth behind the mysterious station, a truth that could end in tragedy…

Gray, who has written other “Star Wars” books, said in an interview with StarWars.com that writing in this new time period has been a challenge because there’s no source material she can use for guidance — she and her fellow High Republic authors are instead working collaboratively to shape this new world.

“That isn’t something that we have here,” she said. “You’re drawing from the entire universe, but you don’t have that touchstone where you go and listen to this one character’s dialogue. And so, on the one hand, that’s a little bit scary because you like having that sort of guide. But on the other hand, it’s very liberating because you really get to create these characters from the first whiff of an idea to the entirely, hopefully three-dimensional final result.”

The second of the adult fiction is out June 29, 2021.

“Star Wars: The Rising Storm”
By Cavan Scott

Pre-order Kindle $14.99

There is also a Marvel comic series, written by Cavan Scott with art by Ario Anindito and Phil Noto, which focuses on the adventures of Padawan Keeve Trennis, who faces the ultimate choice — complete her Jedi Trials or rescue the innocent from disaster.

“Star Wars: The High Republic” Comics
By Cavan Scott (Author), Ario Anindito (Artist), Phil Noto (Artist)

BEFORE THE SKYWALKER SAGA! THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE JEDI! A new era of Star Wars storytelling begins. It is centuries before the Skywalker saga. The Jedi are at their height, protecting the galaxy as Republic pioneers push out into new territories. As the Frontier prepares for the dedication of majestic Starlight Beacon, Padawan Keeve Trennis faces the ultimate choice — will she complete her Jedi Trials or rescue the innocent from disaster? New Jedi! New ships! New evils to fight!

IDW Publishing’s new series — intended for younger readers — from Daniel José Older and Harvey Tolibao debuted in February.

“Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #1”
By Daniel José Older (Author), Harvey Tolibao (Artist)

An all-new ongoing series! In the glory days of the Republic, two hundred years before the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca, the Jedi stand as guardians of galactic peace—until a powerful new adversary called the Nihil arrives. Now a group of young Padawans, training under Master Yoda, must protect the Republic while learning the lessons that will one day lead them to become powerful Jedi in their own right. Writer Daniel José Older, bestselling author of Star Wars: Last Shot, and artist Harvey Tolibao bring IDW into The High Republic, a massive publishing crossover spanning comics and prose.

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