Lucasfilm has high hopes for The High Republic. Their new Star Wars line, set 200 years before The Phantom Menace, gives their creative teams a blank slate to work with. We’ll get our first full look at it when the inaugural novel, Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi hits shelves on August 25th, but we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
The general pitch is that this new setting will distinguish itself by not having a titanic good vs. evil conflict, but instead be a series of smaller scattered events. We’ll see what’s being described as a “Jedi Knights of the Round Table” facing off against the Nihil space Vikings. This will all be against a background of the Jedi exploring uncharted and lawless planets.
If the Skywalker Saga has been a tale of galactic war punctuated by huge battles that change the course of the entire galaxy, The High Republic seems to be more about smaller-scale personal conflicts. This could mean that the creatives are trying to bring some of the MCU philosophy to Star Wars, allowing a variety of heroes to have their own solo adventures that only occasionally cross over.
It seems like a no-brainer for Lucasfilm to use this as a springboard towards new movie and TV show projects. It’s easy to imagine characters who’ve already been established in the books and comics making the leap to the big screen, too, with the frontier setting allowing them to tell stories that don’t need to be an installment in some grand narrative. It seems like they’d be great projects for directors looking to expand the franchise a bit.
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All of which makes it curious that Lucasfilm has explicitly denied that this will be happening. In their announcement, they said that:
“This period on the Star Wars timeline will not overlap with any of the films or series currently planned for production, giving creators and partners space to tell Star Wars stories in a never-before-explored timeline.”
True, they give themselves a bit of wiggle room by saying that The High Republic won’t overlap with anything “currently planned,” meaning we’ll probably still get some adaptations of the novels, but this seems like such a promising new setting that it’d be a shame not to explore it on the big screen even further. My thinking is that this first phase of books and comics is just testing the water to make sure fans respond to it. If specific characters or ideas prove popular, we might see them expanded upon in the coming years.
After all, there’s now very little room for telling big stories between The Phantom Menace and The Rise of Skywalker without running into continuity problems. Plus, if Star Wars doesn’t move forward in a bold new direction, it runs the risk of becoming stale. And hey, who wouldn’t want to see hot new Wookiee Jedi Agaburry Burryaga on the big screen?