We’re nearing the end of the first phase of The High Republic, a massive publishing initiative spanning books and comics (and also a few games). The brand-new era launched in January 2021 and is reaching the end of its first phase a little over a year later. There are three phases in total in the project: the first is the “Light of the Jedi,” the second is the “Quest of the Jedi,” and the third is the “Trials of the Jedi.”
With the conclusion of this first phase, we’ve been wondering where we are headed from here, and in The High Republic Anniversary Special that premiered on Youtube on January 4, we got a special message from Kathy Kennedy, updates from the High Republic authors, and news about the future. And the most notable parts of it came with the reveals about phase two: namely, that this phase, “Quest of the Jedi,” will begin in October 2022 and will take place 150 years in the past.
And that’s not meaning “past” in reference to The Phantom Menace (the current High Republic stories take place around 200 years prior to that film), but rather “past” in reference to the current High Republic stories – meaning that this next phase will be set 150 years prior to the Great Disaster, which is the catalyst that set in motion the events that we’ve been following along and reading about.
As such, the current authors also gave us some teases on what they are working on for phase two. Cavan Scott is writing the High Republic comic line that launches in October. Charles Soule is writing a story about Porter Engle and how he became the Blade of Bardotta (a story he says ties in to the Star Wars storytelling he’s been doing for the last 5-6 years). Daniel José Older is writing an original The High Republic Adventures graphic novel. Justina Ireland is writing the first young adult novel for the phase, writing it with Tessa Gratton. And Claudia Gray described the phase as an “era of exploration and invention,” and while it doesn’t sound like she has a project that will be in the first wave of phase two, she made it clear that she’s not going anywhere.
Additionally, it was announced that four new authors are joining the team that already includes Scott, Soule, Older, Ireland, and Gray: Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, George Mann, and Lydia Kang are joining as new High Republic authors for phase two as well. Córdova previously wrote A Crash of Fate, as well as a story in From a Certain Point of View and The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark. Gratton wrote a story in the upcoming book Stories of Jedi and Sith, but otherwise is a newcomer to Star Wars storytelling. Mann wrote the short-story collections Myths & Fables and Dark Legends, wrote the High Republic children’s books “Showdown at the Fair” and “The Battle for Starlight” (upcoming), and has written a few issues of the Star Wars Adventures comic lines. And Kang wrote a story in From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back.
I’m really glad to have some clarity about what to expect with phase two of this project, and phase one has me totally hooked, as it’s been fantastic. And though I don’t want to take stories away from the five current storytellers, I’m hopeful that the addition of these four other authors will allow us to get even more stories set in this era. I’m also a bit bummed we’ll be waiting until October for the next phase, which means we’ll go the summer without any High Republic stuff, but it also makes sense; it gives a chance to breathe a bit, it’s not too long of a wait all things considered, and there are plenty of other really exciting books coming out in the meantime.
But to be honest, I’m really not sure how I feel about this next phase being set 150 years in the past. My initial reaction is that I’m not a fan of it. I know that this is following the format of Star Wars past, when it went from the original trilogy to the prequel trilogy before returning to the sequels, but that worked because it kept the focus on some of the same characters throughout. While the High Republic might be able to do that – as evidenced by the headliner novel appearing to be about Porter Engle – 150 years is a much bigger gap than 19 years. And after all the worldbuilding and character developing that these authors did, to leave them for a bit and jump back in time doesn’t make a ton of sense. So I wish they would keep telling some stories in the same period, mixing in stories set in the past alongside them, but I also have tons of confidence. that these authors can and will handle things well. I fully expect these stories to still be great, but I’m just hoping that they can make it all feel connected enough and like it is significant enough to continue expanding on what we’ve already read rather than feeling like we just left it all behind just as we were getting started. So I’m disappointed, but cautiously hopeful; these authors have already pulled off introducing us to a brand new era with astounding success, so I’m sure they can do it again. I’m just hoping it’s worth it.