Charles Soule teases a new type of villain will be introduced in The High Republic

Photo: Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi - Book Cover.. Image Courtesy Disney Publishing Worldwide
Photo: Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi - Book Cover.. Image Courtesy Disney Publishing Worldwide /

Charles Soule talked about his upcoming Star Wars novel Light of the Jedi and his approach to introducing the world to The High Republic

Charles Soule has been playing in the massive sandbox of Star Wars storytelling ever since 2015 when he wrote Lando, a comic book miniseries focused on Lando Calrissian for Marvel Comics. Soule was already a prolific comic book writer, having penned Daredevil, X-Men, and She-Hulk comics for Marvel in addition to creator-owned titles such as Letter 44 and Curse Words. Lando, however, was the beginning of a seemingly unstoppable creative journey for Soule in the Star Wars universe. Not only would he go on to write comics focused on Poe Dameron, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, the latest main Star Wars title, and more, but his approach to each project, the way he consistently deepens the Star Wars mythology, continues to leave fans wanting more.

So it’s no surprise that when Lucasfilm decided to develop the next big project in Star Wars storytelling called The High Republic, Soule was one of the five main writers invited to work on the project. The High Republic is a multi-publisher, multi-medium event that focuses on a time period two hundred years before the Skywalker Saga when the Jedi are at the height of their role of keeping peace in the galaxy.

Soule introduces a new era in Star Wars storytelling

Soule recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss The High Republic and his debut Star Wars novel Light of the Jedi, which will be the official launching point for the event in January. Covering everything from the creative process for developing the idea for The High Republic to the way his novel introduces the world and characters of this multi-perspective story, Soule clearly has a deep respect for the Star Wars legacy and his place within it. “I’m thrilled that I got the opportunity, and I took it very seriously,” he shared.

Soule is no stranger to writing action-packed and thought-provoking prose

Though his primary experience writing in the Star Wars universe has been through comics, Light of the Jedi won’t be his first novel. His two previous novels The Oracle Year and Anyone have both been praised by fans, and writing Light of the Jedi gave Soule the opportunity to explore telling a Star Wars story in a new and yet familiar way. He said, “My personal mandate for Light of the Jedi was to explore genre in a way we hadn’t directly seen in the franchise — to bring the concepts of Star Wars to places that would feel fresh and cool.” He said that the novel includes “experiments with pace and tension and intercutting and the way secrets get revealed,” which sounds compelling.

A new non-Sith villain for the Jedi

In addition to describing briefly the Great Disaster that kicks off the novel and the whole event, Soule also discussed the story’s primary villain, the Nihil, “a group of anarchic marauders with some unique abilities that make them very powerful and very dangerous in this era.” What The High Republic provides that Star Wars fans haven’t experienced before is a new villain that isn’t the Sith or the threat of the Sith, so it will be interesting to see how this new villain presents a threat to the Jedi as a whole and how they’ll have to respond to it. “I wanted to paint them as truly frightening,” Soule said of the Nihil. “[T]he 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.”

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Look out for Soule’s High Republic novel to come out January 2021. And for more updates, keep up with the Books category on Dork Side of the Force.