Star Wars: What you need to know about the High Republic era so far

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Star Wars: The High Republic is perhaps the most ambitious publishing project Lucasfilm has embarked on to date, even surpassing previous multi-title/multimedia projects such as 1996’s. Shadows of the Empire or The New Jedi Order series in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Set at least one hundred and fifty years before the prequels, the High Republic is an era of the galaxy we haven’t seen yet, and its story spans across a number of different print media outlets. The core story runs through adult, young adult, and middle-class novels, but we’ve also had some comic books, plus custom audio dramas, and more.

Of Young Jedi Adventures, which debuts May 4, the High Republic era gets its first on-screen treatment. That animated series, aimed at young children, tells the story of Jedi youths training and learning lessons of kindness in this era. On the other end of the spectrum, the High Republic Era will give us the live action of Leslye Headland The Acolyte, a more mature show that will delve into the users of the Dark Side during this period of the timeline. With so many High Republic books and stories already released, we thought it would help to have a primer on what makes this angle Star Wars unique and worth it. (Spoilers, of course, follow for some already released High Republic stories)

The institution

A number of Jedi from The High Republic
The Jedi of the High Republic

The first thing you notice about the High Republic era is that things don’t work as we know them in the years of the Skywalker Saga. First, the galaxy is a much smaller place. The Outer Rim is more of a backwater, rarely visited by the Republic or the Jedi. It’s like the old American West and the frontier of the galaxy, giving the whole setting an air that crosses westerns of the setting with the medieval and feudal trappings of the Jedi. Communication is a bit more complicated, which is why the Starlight Beacon is such an important hub in the galaxy. It is a communications beacon also built to house the Jedi and to keep the far reaches of the galaxy connected to the core.

The other thing that is much more complicated is traveling in hyperspace. People in the High Republic are unable to calculate hyperspace routes to the level that Han Solo can reach A new hope. No, they have to stick to well-traveled routes, which makes traveling across the galaxy a lot more difficult.

This is just the background to the turmoil that is about to engulf the Jedi and the Republic and take the first hurried steps that will ultimately lead to the fall of the Jedi.

Phase one

Charles Soules Light of the Jedi.

The first phase of The High Republic started with Charles Soule’s novel Light of the Jedi. It set the scene of this undiscovered part of history Star Wars and introduced us to many Jedi. More and more writers added to the story until we could form a picture of what was going on. As the Jedi were preparing to celebrate the opening of the Starlight Beacon, a major catastrophe occurred in hyperspace. Something destroyed a massive ship traveling through hyperspace and the wreckage’s debris has been scattered across the galaxy, which could trigger extinction-level events in a number of worlds. The Jedi rushed to help where they could, but they discovered another threat across the galaxy, operating in secrecy, traveling hidden hyperspace trails. These pirates were known as the Nihil, and they would pose the greatest threat the Jedi and the Republic had faced in a long, long time.

Phase One culminated in the Nihil’s destruction of Starlight Beacon, which was so integral considering it served as both a combined communications relay and a Jedi Temple. It’s a devastating blow and leaves the characters in a dark place that has yet to be resolved.

The Nil

Marchion Ro of the Nihil

Who are the Nil? They are a group of pirates led by an Evereni named Marchion Ro, who was known as the ‘Eye of the Nihil’. On his ship, the Can Electric, he commanded his band of marauding pirates structured in Tempests. Each Tempest was led by a Tempest Runner (such as Lourna Dee) and they had smaller units under them. They traveled through the secret parts of the hyperspace orbits using “trails.” These secret trails were provided to them by Marchion Ro, who had a dark secret about where he got them from. Many years earlier, his family had captured a Force user and savant from hyperspace and used her to generate these trails.

With this secret they led the Nihil across the outer edges of the galaxy, plundering and taking what they wanted from whomever they wanted.

They wore elaborate, terrifying masks and developed a nasty reputation. It was an accident with their paths that led to the great hyperspace disaster that Light of the Jedi documented, and that put them firmly on the radar of the Jedi. And so they struck back and destroyed the Starlight Beacon. And that’s as far as we know about the ongoing story at this point, as phase two turns the clock back even further.

Phase two

The Convergence of Zoraida Cordova

Phase two takes us back another century or more in the timeline, to an even more peaceful, pastoral era of the Star Wars timeline. But this is where the flowers of trouble blooming in Phase One were planted. In this part of the timeline, communication is even more difficult and communication teams act like Star Wars version of the Pony Express. Hyperspace seekers can get rich by finding the right paths through different parts of the galaxy. Everything is a bit older and a bit more distant.

Working hard to bring peace to the twin planets Eiram and E’ronoh, the Jedi and the Republic are finally able to broker a tentative truce between the planets thanks to the kind of Romeo and Juliet between the royal children of each planet. They agree to marry each other and end the violence.

A peace treaty is brokered and the representatives of Eiram and E’renoh agree to sign it on Jedha, a neutral site known to fans of Star Wars. Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose, as documented in the radio drama The Battle of Jedha. A religious cult called the Path of the Open Hand bombed the proceedings, causing riots on the planet. This effectively ended any chance for peace between the two planets and threatened to tear the galaxy apart.

The path

Members of the Path of the Open Hand
Members of the Path of the Open Hand

So who is the path of the open hand? This mysterious cult is led by the charismatic mother and she has advised her herd to believe that the enemy is the Jedi. “The Force shall be free” is a common refrain among their supporters, as they believe any use of the Force or manipulation of it is a catastrophic abuse. Among their ranks are a pair of Evereni named Yana and Marda Ro, and they travel the galaxy aboard a familiar ship from Phase One, The electric gaze.

So far, as Phase Two progresses, it’s clear that the Path of the Open Hand somehow changes into the Nil, but at this point in the story, with their plans more apparent and their unexplained involvement in these intergalactic affairs slowly. now that they have come to light, they have taken on the nickname The Path of the Closed Fist.

They have another secret weapon to use against their hated enemies, the Jedi, and it’s a mysterious creature that feeds on the lives of Force users, turning them into ashen husks of themselves.

The Leveler

The Leveler
The Leveler

These creatures that feed on Force users are called Levelers. When encountering Jedi, these monsters evoke such a sense of fear that the Jedi can hardly concentrate. If they get any closer, the Leveler has a way of consuming the essence of a Jedi’s mind and turning them into an ash-like shell. It’s not just something that affects Jedi as well. Really, any user of the Force can be destroyed by a Leveler.

Exactly what causes this kind of death remains a mystery to the Jedi during phase two. The Levelers are still under Marchion Ro’s control in the events of Phase One, with even Master Yoda exploring their terrible nature.

Recognizable faces

There are many long-lived races in the Star Wars universe and so there are appearances by many well-known characters (or in some cases their families) in the High Republic stories. Yoda is the most obvious and high-profile example, but Yaddle also plays a central role in some stories about the High Republic. There are also appearances from other Jedi from the prequels, including Yarael Poof and Oppo Rancisis.

A name that plays a central role in the story is the San Tekka family. Lor San Tekka was the first San Tekka we heard of, played by Max Von Sydow in The power awakensbut its ancestors were vital in mapping the hyperspace orbits of the galaxy.

The acolyte waits

All this leads to Leslye Headland’s upcoming Disney+ series, The Acolyte. The Acolyte is billed as an event towards the end of the High Republic era and an exploration of the Dark Side. Bee Star Wars Celebration Europe, Headland said she liked the allure of this era of Star Wars by telling stories about the Sith and users of the Dark Side, when they are definitely the underdogs. How do they survive and begin to rebuild their power?

There is at least one character who crosses over from the rest of The High Republic and makes the jump to live action in the show via Vernestra Rwoh, a Jedi seen in From the shadows, Mission to disaster, and more. At 15 years old, she’s one of the youngest people to ever be made a Jedi Knight, while the actress who plays her on the show, Rebecca Henderson, is in her 40s, which gives us an idea of ​​when that show is set in relation to the brunt of the stories of the High Republic.

Expected debut in 2024, The Acolyte is halfway through production, but in the meantime, we have many more stories to tell in the publishing world to get through the years to come. And on top of that, we have the preschool orientation Young Jedi Adventures, who will examine what training is like for young people in this era of Star Wars, with more cameos from characters like Yoda. After several recently released short films, Young Jedi Adventures has now made its debut on Disney Junior and Disney+ timed May 4.

Young Jedi Adventures

Moreover, for an older audience that plays Jedi: survivorthe story of that game – though set long after that – is directly tied to the High Republic, even as Cal Kestis solves a mystery that began hundreds of years earlier and sees echoes of that era in the past through objects he touches.

All this is to say, there will be no shortage of links with The High Republic go inside Star Wars. It’s an integral part of the galaxy’s history and clearly isn’t going away any time soon.

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