What is The High Republic? A Guide to Lucasfilm’s Bold Step Backward in the Star Wars Universe

If you’re a Star Wars fan, or simply a media-conscious consumer who pays attention to such things, chances are you’ve probably heard of Lucasfilm’s imminently upcoming Star Wars: The High Republic multi-platform (and, it turns out, multimedia) initiative by now. But what is The High Republic? When does it take place in the larger Star Wars timeline? What characters does it involve? Let’s take an overview look at this exciting new project in the interest of better preparing for its rollout at the beginning of next month.

Even casual Star Wars enthusiasts are familiar with the concept of the Skywalker Saga, the story that spanned several decades worth of high-flying space-opera adventures (covering the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, and the emergence and eventual defeat of the First Order) and involved major characters like Luke Skywalker, his father Darth Vader AKA Anakin Skywalker, and Rey Skywalker, who adopted the family name after finding inspiration from her Jedi forebears. Star Wars: The High Republic rewinds time two hundred years prior to those events, to a time when the Jedi Order was at its peak and the galaxy-spanning Republic government saw an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity.

Star Wars: The High Republic will tell the story of the Jedi and their allies in the Republic going up against a new, uncommonly deadly enemy called the Nihil– an expansive band of marauders with no moral code other than their own advancement and enrichment. The Nihil have set themselves apart from other pirate groups by utilizing a mysterious alternate mode of transportation across hyperspace, and their ability to pop up anywhere at any time puts them at a unique advantage over our protagonists. The evolution of the Nihil and its leadership across the first few stories in The High Republic is an interesting one, and serves as one of the main driving forces of the narrative.

I was recently given the opportunity to read the first three novels in Lucasfilm Publishing’s ambitious Star Wars: The High Republic problem, and in the video below give a brief synopsis and review of Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi, Justina Ireland’s A Test of Courage, and Claudia Gray’s Into the Dark. On the whole I feel as though this undertaking has gotten off to an intriguing start, though I admittedly have never been overly enamored with the concept of the Jedi, except as an ancient, mostly extinct religion as depicted in the original Star Wars trilogy. Fortunately, it seems the powers that be are figuring out some ways to make the Jedi Order more interesting here than simply as a collective of overpowered warrior monks. The best thing about The High Republic, however, is undeniably the assemblage of proven talent that Lucasfilm has hand-selected to conceptualize and executive this venture. I’m looking forward to seeing how the overarching story progresses and eventually comes to a climax across a variety of output under that creative group’s skillful guidance.

Watch “Star Wars: The High Republic” from Lucasfilm Publishing – Review and Overview:

Now let’s go through every release that has already been announced for Star Wars: The High Republic by publication date, along with links for my reviews (if I’ve written one already) and to pre-order each title (if they are available).

Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi (January 5, 2021) – Author Charles Soule (of Marvel’s Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren, Star Wars: Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith, and more) has written the first adult-level novel in the series.

Long before the First Order, before the Empire, before even The Phantom Menace. . . Jedi lit the way for the galaxy in The High Republic. 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 even the 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.

Read our full review of Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi

Pre-order Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi

Star Wars: The High Republic – A Test of Courage (January 5, 2021) – Author Justina Ireland (Star Wars: Lando’s Luck, Star Wars: Spark of the Resistance) has written the first middle-grade novel in the series.

Vernestra Rwoh has just become a Jedi Knight at age fifteen, but her first real assignment feels an awful lot like babysitting. She's been charged with supervising eleven-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?

Read our full review of Star Wars: The High Republic – A Test of Courage

Pre-order Star Wars: The High Republic – A Test of Courage

Star Wars: The High Republic – The Great Jedi Rescue (January 5, 2021) – Author Cavan Scott (Star Wars: Choose Your Destiny, Star Wars: Dooku – Jedi Lost) has written the first young readers book in the series. It contains stickers!

Meet the noble and wise Jedi of the High Republic! 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!

Pre-order Star Wars: The High Republic – The Great Jedi Rescue

Star Wars: The High Republic from Marvel Comics (issue #1 arrives January 6, 2021) – Writer Cavan Scott (IDW’s Star Wars Adventures and Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle) is writing the ongoing monthly comic-book tie-in to the series.

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!

Star Wars: The High Republic – Into the Dark (February 2, 2021) – Author Claudia Gray (Star Wars: Lost Stars, Star Wars: Bloodline) has written the first young adult novel in the series.

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…

Read our full review of Star Wars: The High Republic – Into the Dark

Pre-order Star Wars: The High Republic – Into the Dark

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures from IDW (issue #1 arrives February 3, 2021) – Writer Daniel José Older (Star Wars: Last Shot, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View) is writing the ongoing monthly all-ages comic book tie-in to the series.

In the days of the High Republic a team of inexperienced Padawans race to Trymant IV to aid its citizens after an attack by the Nihil, a band of dangerous marauders, leaves the city on fire. Padawans Lula, Farzal, and Qort do their best to help as many people as they can. Meanwhile, Zeen and Kriz, part of a group that resents and fears the Jedi, must decide whether they can accept their help or try to save the day on their own.

Star Wars: The High Republic  – The Rising Storm (June 29, 2021) – Author Cavan Scott (Marvel’s Star Wars: The High Republic comic book, Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space) is writing the second adult-level novel in the series.

The adventures of the Jedi of the High Republic era continue in this Star Wars novel.

Pre-order Star Wars: The High Republic – The Rising Storm

Star Wars: The Acolyte (premiere date TBA) – Showrunner Leslye Headland (Russian Doll) is writing and executive producing the first television series set in the High Republic era.

Leslye Headland, Emmy Award®-nominated creator of the mind-bending series “Russian Doll,” brings a new Star Wars series to Disney+ with The Acolyte. “The Acolyte” is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.

Star Wars: The High Republic launches Tuesday, January 5 with the release of Light of the Jedi.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.