Star Wars: the High Republic
Star Wars The High Republic Preview
What is the High Republic?
The High Republic takes place 200 years before the events of the Skywalker Saga even begins, namely before the Phantom Menace. It focuses on a time of peace and expansion in the galaxy, where the Jedi order is at its peak, and its strength helps protect the Republic as it expands towards the outer rim. The edges of the galaxy are known as the frontier, where Jedi are pioneers against unknown forces like the nomadic and dangerous Nihil. With this renaissance in discovery and exploration for the Republic; many new threats to the galaxy and the force itself emerge on our new heroes, blending into the events of the timeline we all know and love.
What makes the High Republic different than the Old Republic?
While the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm has been contentious at best, many lament the loss of the old expanded universe. One of the biggest losses to long time fans was the Old Republic; taking place thousands of years before the events of the films. The Old Republic mainly focused on the events of the Jedi-Sith War and the Jedi-Mandalore War. Within the Old Republic’s stories the three most notable characters were Darth Revan, Darth Nihilus, and Darth Bane, and their stories showcased events that shaped the galaxy. The High Republic (at least for the moment) seems to have a heavy focus on the galaxy as a whole with the characters being more influenced by the galaxy instead of just a few central characters shaping the galaxy and its events.
This article is an overview and impressions of several preview copies Bedrock City received of this new chapter in Star Wars' history, we hope you enjoy our thoughts and May the Force be with Us!
Light of the Jedi: By Charles Soule
Release date 1/5/2021
Review is based off the first sixteen chapters
Tragedy strikes on a hyperspace journey to the outer rim as a passenger cargo ship breaks apart trying to avoid collision with another ship. The fragments of the ship break out of hyperspace creating cataclysmic events in the Hetzel system. As fragments hit the planet and its two moons, the Minister calls on the Republic and the Jedi to help try and evacuate the system. The Jedi and the Republic do everything they can to try to keep the people of Hetzel calm and smooth evacuation. As a massive anomaly heads towards the planet the Republic soldiers and the Jedi must devise a way to save 4 billion people all while dealing with marauders.
(Note: Light of the Jedi is the absolute first book you must read as it sets the scene for the new High Republic canon. Many of the following books and comics are built off the scenes they set in this novel so I highly recommend you read this one first.)
”This was a Republic that valued and celebrated life….” I believe those words encompass the first sixteen chapters perfectly. Light of the Jedi really does a good job with expanding the galaxy in its current state. The book balances the story between Republic soldiers and the Jedi on a mission to stop a cataclysmic event on the planet Hetzel Prime. Showcasing the multiple rescue efforts by both parties, it highlights the resourcefulness of the republic fleet and the trust in the force by the Jedi. The Jedi and Republic soldiers are a much more diverse group as compared to what we have seen in other Star Wars media, seeing characters from all different planet backgrounds and species, outside of the traditional human protagonist. Charles Soule’s description of the Jedi working together to help save the system has reminiscing feelings of the first time you see all the Jedi ignite their lightsabers in the Geonosis Area in Attack of the Clones. He also does an excellent job in not only highlighting the big rescues but the small ones as well. For a few chapters we see a Republic crew attempt to save eight scan techs on a satellite with high tensions and sacrifices. Light of the Jedi makes me excited to see the future of the High Republic and the stories that will come out of this new Star Wars era.
Star Wars The High Republic #1
Written by: Cavan Scott Art By: Ario Anindito
Release Date 01/2021
Review is based off of fifteen pages of the comic.
Following the events of Light of the Jedi, the first issue of Marvel’s ongoing series The High Republic opens on Padawan Keeve preparing herself for some kind of attack. She is being followed by one of the planet’s natives, a fairy like creature, named Kanrii. In a flash, a Trandoshan wielding a lightsaber attacks Keeve and a small battle ensues. After sparring, the attacker is revealed to be her master as they train for her Jedi Knight Trials. The two begin to discuss the trials that lie ahead for her. The talk between Jedi Master and Padawan during this trial shines a light on the bond and training of the Jedi order, however, no trial is easy and this climb and the subsequent events leave you wanting to know more about Keeve. The comic cuts to a scene on the Jedi space station , the Starlight Beacon where Jedi Master Avar Kriss and Jedi Estala Maru discuss events from Light of the Jedi and the plans for the outer rim. A familiar voice speaks and Jedi Master Yoda enters. He wears the traditional High Republic Jedi mission garb consisting of the traditional Jedi tunic underneath a layer of leather style armor. Yoda turns to Kriss to discuss her future with the Starlight Beacon and the outer rim.
The comic is an exciting continuation of the High Republic series. To actually be able to see visually the new designs for the Jedi and the intricacies of the lightsabers for this time period is remarkable. Ario Anindito does a fantastic job in detailing the mission outfits and lightsaber hilts. Making each one subtly different from another Jedi in the same panel. Since the comic is an indirect continuation of the Light of the Jedi, I felt that reading Light of the Jedi prior to the comic would not have been necessary. However, the context from the book would help with some of the events that were mentioned in the comic but not reading the book does not detract from the story. One of my favorite parts is seeing the consequences and characters transfer from one story and media to the other. These consequences help give the comic weight to the wider High Republic era and make it feel just as important as a novel.
A Test of Courage: By Justina Ireland
Release Date: January 2021
A Test of Courage follows the adventure of young Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh as she leads her first mission on her own. Supervising a bright young aspiring inventor, the daughter of a Republic, Senator Avon Starros (ancestor of Marvel Comics' Sana Starros!), on her trip to Starlight Beacon on a luxury cruiser. Early in their journey their ship is attacked and forces them to evacuate the ship ending up on a nearby moon. It is up to Vernestra, Avon and Avon’s droid along with a Jedi Padawan to survive their ordeal and make contact with the Republic and the Jedi, before the dangers lurking on the moon find them.
Justina Ireland does a great job at introducing us to these new young characters and creating escalating stakes which push these characters to grow and question the galaxy around them. We are introduced, however not formally, to members of the Nihil, the antagonists of this era. The Nihil intend to send a message to the Republic by destroying a luxury liner resulting in the adventure of the new young characters. We see these young characters attempt to overcome insurmountable odds, from environmental threats to new unknown enemies that lie out in the outer rim of the galaxy. There are many nods and references throughout the novel to the ever expanding Star Wars Universe.
Into the Dark follows Jedi Padawan Reath Silas as he and his master travel away from the comfort and security of Coruscant to serve on the Republic’s new outpost on the edge of known space, the Starlight Beacon. While Reath’s Master headed to Starlight a few days early, Reath reluctantly boards a guild sanctioned transport along with another Jedi Knight and Master headed to the outpost. Trouble in the hyperspace lanes leaves Reath’s transport and other stranded ships to seek refuge in an abandoned space station. Little do they know dangers lurk in all corners and are hiding all around them.
Into the Dark is another suspense filled tale by Claudia Grey, that feels like a mix between Alien and The Strangers. She takes these characters and clearly establishes what is considered normal in their everyday and what they would be comfortable with, and puts them in compromising positions. Grey makes the characters question what they have learned from the Jedi Order and underestimate the dangers in the frontier regions of the galaxy. We see her write these new Jedi characters similar to Master and Apprentice where exploration in the force and questioning the Jedi Council are seen in a way that could help the Order grow. The novel also gives us (so far) the clearest descriptions of two antagonist groups of this era, while also setting up some familiar ones. The Nihil are shown almost in full force with descriptions of their ships, attire, and ideology, as well as highlighting the danger of this group. With the ever present question of who exactly is Nihil, as most known and unknown species are described to be part of this group. We also get our first major interaction with an enemy of the Sith Empire known as the Drengir. The Drengir who were first seen in the short story “A Bitter Harvest,” in the book Dark Legends, are a sentient carnivorous plant life that radiates in the dark force. One other aspect of the story is a flashback sequence, that is a nod to Timothy Zhan’s Thrawn Trilogy, which fleshes out two of the Jedi characters as well lays the ground works for what is to come.
Star Wars The High Republic Adventures #1
Written by: Daniel Jose Older Art by: Harvey Tolibao
Release Date: February 2021
Review is based off of storyboard for the first 13 pages
Star Wars The High Republic Adventures takes place during the aftermath of Light of the Jedi and the hyperspace disaster that started off this era. A Padawan academic cruiser is the only hope for rescue for the planet Trymant VI. As the planet suffers debris emerging from hyperspace and hitting the surface the padawans seem unsure of their ability to help. They recieve help from a familiar face, Jedi Master Yoda, who is on board with them. This story highlights the differences between the Jedi of the High Republic and those during the Skywalker Saga. Here we get to see padawans from different species, with the most notable one being Qort, a new species almost Majora-esque like with a skull on his head. As well as a Zygerrian Padawan, which is interesting since most of the Zygerrian we see were primarily in the Clone Wars. We also get our first look at the Nihil drawn out. Once again the group composed of different species from around the galaxy, they have almost a Tusken Raider appearance with more weapons and identifying colors and markings.
Overall Thoughts of the High Republic:
The High Republic is an exciting new era with many new characters and stories to tell throughout the newly expanding galaxy. This book takes familiar settings and creates their history by expanding on how the worlds we know came to be at the height of the Jedi's influence on the galaxy. We start to see the chess-like strategy of certain species and ideologies take form in this era to drive the galaxy toward the familiarity of The Phantom Menace. However, being limited in some details in certain novels have led me towards more questions than answers that I fully look forward to reading and finding out as these titles actually release. I really enjoy the interconnectedness of this first wave where even when the characters and adventures aren’t the same, showing everything in the galaxy has consequences. Reading each part definitely helped and created a more immersive galaxy; however, each book and comic could be a standalone work. Going through each of the books you definitely can see the cracks forming in the galaxy showing early on how the Jedi took advantage of the peace, and displaying their lack of knowledge towards the galaxy overall. While the lack of Sith presence may be a deterrent, the dark side is present in other ways; and fans of the Old Republic should definitely pay close attention to some of the content being mentioned. While there has been confirmation that some Old Republic material is being brought back (i.e. Dark Saber, Jedi/Mandalore War, Hammerhead Corvettes, Revan, etc) to see other mentions in this era makes you wonder if maybe the Old Republic is closer than we think?
Thank you all for giving this a read and thank you for shopping with us here at Bedrock City comics. Now the High Republic events kick off this coming January and we would love to hear your thoughts on this exciting new chapter in Star Wars history. Happy Holidays and happy life day!