Not too long ago, Lucasfilm teased Project Luminous. Now, not only do we know more about this mysterious project, we’re also privy to its true nature: The High Republic!
Referring to a period about 200 years before the events of the original Star Wars, The High Republic visits the Jedi Order of that era.
Touted as the “blankest era” in the current Star Wars chronology, the High Republic will place emphasis on a time when the Jedi were more Knights of the Round Table-esque, and the galaxy had a more wild West feel to
Now, if you’re thinking all of this sounds vaguely familiar, you wouldn’t be wrong. The eventual announcement of toys aside, much of The High Republic is reminiscent of multiple Star Wars sans-film efforts. The first of which would be 1996’s Shadows of the Empire.
Of course, while Shadows’ intent was to essentially create a full film experience without the film itself, the objective of building a sub-franchise within the vacuum post the Star Wars episodes is undeniably similar. Where Shadows occurred between the events of Episodes V and VI, albeit being published 13 years following the conclusion of the Original Trilogy, The High Republic seems to be more of a push in the literature department of the galaxy far, far away—which isn’t entirely what Shadows was about.
The New Jedi Order however was all about them books. Set decades after Episode VI, The New Jedi Order was set to explore the future of the Star Wars universe, exploring the political rise of Princess Leia, her relationship with Han Solo, their three children, and the destiny of the eponymous New Jedi Order, chaired by Luke Skywalker himself.
While the series has found more appreciation in the years since its conclusion—and naturally being touted as “proper” canon by upset fans post Episode VIII—the events illustrated in that era were pretty divisive. Unlike Shadows of the Empire, The New Jedi Order, and its sequel series Legacy of the Force, were less merchandise driven and were treated more seriously as a publication project.
But, if there was any one Star Wars sub-franchise that could be compared to The High Republic, it would be Knights of the Old Republic. Similarly set in the relatively distant past, the Old republic was introduced to fans by way of the video game Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR). Boasting adventures set in a time where the Jedi (and the Sith) are at their height, the Old Republic era is still considered one of the most iconic periods of the Star Wars mythos. With two video games, an MMORPG, dozens of books and comics, and toys, the Old Republic is what every Star Wars creative hopes to replicate.
And while that would certainly be great for the fans—after all, who doesn’t want good content—there is a foreboding sense of repetition.
Much like the analogues to Jacen and Jaina Solo in the Sequel Trilogy with Kylo and Rey, Disney’s Star Wars seems to have a tendency of returning to the beats of the old continuity. Which is fine, given how the continuity was fun, but it does beg the question as to whether the future of Star Wars is just its past, but re-skinned?
Of course, only time will tell us, and if the incredible talent behind The High Republic is anything to go by, re-skin or not, we’re in for some great stories!