The massive Star Wars publishing initiative exploring The High Republic will officially begin in January, with Charles Soule’s novel Light of the Jedi.
Soule recently did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about the novel and the launch of The High Republic, and it’s a really good read. But here I’m going to pull out three interesting tidbits from the interview about The High Republic:
When asked about telling a story in a brand new time period yet part of the same timeline, part of Soule’s answer mentioned, unprompted, a familiar character:
“Our mandate was always to create a massive new chapter in Star Wars history, able to be told across multiple publishers and mediums, with something for everyone … from casual fans to the sort of person who knows Jabba the Hutt’s uncle’s name — that would be Ziro.”
That sounds to me like Ziro the Hutt will be making an appearance in The High Republic! Fans of The Clone Wars will be familiar with Ziro, who appeared in several episodes and was an influential crime boss in the Hutt family and Black Sun.
With the High Republic period set just 200 years prior to the prequel trilogy, of course Ziro would be alive and active during the era, since Hutts have long lifespans. There aren’t many established characters who could appear in an era set 200 years before The Phantom Menace (with Yoda being the big exception), so that will prevent the storytellers from overly relying on the familiar. Because of that, though, it does make sense that some of the few characters who could appear actually would, and Ziro is one that makes plenty of sense. He’s not a ‘major’ Star Wars character but is nonetheless a known one, so it would be a cool inclusion without being distracting.
2. The Nihil
Surprisingly, we haven’t really heard much at all about the villains of this era, the Nihil, since the project was announced. As Soule talked about the project and why fans should be interested, he mentioned this:
“I mean, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the story here. We haven’t talked about the Nihil — the main villains of the piece, who are a group of anarchic marauders with some unique abilities that make them very powerful and very dangerous in this era. 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 Nihil were previously referred to as “space vikings” and apparently can manipulate hyperspace in a dangerous way, so I’ve been guessing that they have a role in the Great Disaster that kicks off The High Republic storytelling. Here, Soule talks about how they are frightening because they don’t have any loyalty or code – in other words, they’re maybe the scariest type of villain.
3. A behind-the-scenes look at the future of Star Wars
Though not directly related to in-universe content, one of the most interesting parts of the interview to me was when Soule discussed part of the process of coming up with the era and stories. He explained that they sat down and discussed what they wanted to see in Star Wars (with nothing off the table), but that they also got a look at what we will be seeing in Star Wars down the road:
“One of the things I remember clearly was a moment early in the first day of the first in-person meeting when the curtain was pulled back on more or less everything Star Wars had in serious development at that point across their portfolio. That stuff was and remains top secret, and learning about all of it felt very much like, “OK, we’ve made it.” The fact that this was happening at Skywalker Ranch didn’t hurt, either. We needed all of that information so we could understand the guardrails around what was already in development, but it was still pretty incredible.”
That’s fascinating. Naturally, it’s fair to wonder why they needed this information and whether there could be other projects down the road that tie-in to The High Republic, even though they’ve said that it’s a publishing initiative (at least for now). While this certainly raises a bit more intrigue about that, it’s probably more likely that these things were disclosed on the first day so that before the storytellers got too far in the brainstorming process they’d know areas they couldn’t go. Part of me wonders if this means that Star Wars has (or at least had) plans to go further back in time to the Old Republic, which is why the publishing team decided on the High Republic era. No matter what, though, I’m sure that getting this information will help make things more interconnected, which has been a strength of Soule’s all along.