The Game Awards dropped a big surprise on Star Wars fans — an entirely new game set in the High Republic era named Star Wars: Eclipse.
During The Game Awards live broadcast Thursday night, Lucasfilm Games and Quantic Dream debuted a stunning cinematic trailer for the game, which is currently in development with no set release date yet.
Here’s everything we learned from the trailer, including key details about where Eclipse falls on the Star Wars timeline.
The golden age of the Jedi and the Republic
For the last year, Star Wars fans have delved into the characters and stories of the High Republic era through an ambitious publishing initiative of books and comics. The era shows the Republic government and the Jedi Order in a golden age and at the height of their power and influence about 200 years before The Phantom Menace.
And while we’ve read about these stories and characters via the canon literature, Star Wars: Eclipse could be the first time we’ll see the High Republic setting (depending on when The Acolyte premieres. More on that below).
The trailer is quintessentially Star Wars, full of galactic staples like sweeping spacescapes, cities full of humans and alien species and the iconic hum of igniting and clashing lightsabers. But much of the trailer and the plot of the game is still mysterious. Which High Republic Jedi will appear in the game? Time will tell.
What we do know is that Eclipse, according to the game’s official website, will involve stories set in the uncharted Outer Rim. During the High Republic, the Outer Rim planets and systems are still largely unknown but not uninhabited. A key part of then-Chancellor Lina Soh’s platform during this time is to connect these systems to the rest of the Republic in the Mid Rim, Inner Rim and Core.
Who the heroes and villains might be
Seeing as the Jedi have been the “heroes” of the Star Wars galaxy since forever, it’s likely they’ll remain so in Star Wars: Eclipse. During the High Republic, the main antagonists of these Force-wielding warriors and of the Republic at large are the Nihil — ruthless space pirates terrorizing people and planets in the Outer Rim.
No Nihil are seen in this first Eclipse trailer, but that doesn’t mean we don’t see a few hints at who the villains of the game might be. In a couple of shots, we see a large army marching with floating tanks and flying fighters — all of which look a bit similar to the Sith vehicles and armor style seen in the iconic Knights of the Old Republic game.
KOTOR is no longer canon and is part of the Legends continuity, and the Old Republic is even farther back in history than the High Republic. During the High Republic, the Sith are said to have been gone for about 800 years. But the ominous marching army could possibly be one of the antagonists in Eclipse.
And since Eclipse appears to feature a total solar eclipse, that means an Outer Rim moon will move in front of a sun and cast darkness over the orbiting planets of that system. Which means…
Could it connect to The Acolyte?
Eclipse could likely take place during the last years of the High Republic and around the same time as the forthcoming Acolyte television series.
The live-action series from Leslye Headland has been described as a female-led show focusing on the emergence of the dark side of the Force in the galaxy. The eponymous Acolyte is likely a Sith apprentice who has just begun their training under a powerful Sith lord. The long-established Sith Rule of Two means there are only two Sith existing at one time: a master and an apprentice (acolyte).
Recently, actor Amanda Stenberg was reported to be in talks to join the new Star Wars series, which is still in its earliest days of development. The Acolyte has also been confirmed to take place in the final days of the High Republic, which ends about 50 years before the events of The Phantom Menace.
Other hints that the game might connect to The Acolyte and possibly prequel-era storylines are the appearances by Trade Federation Neimoidians and battleships like the Lucrehulk ship along with a brief glimpse at a crashed N-1 starfighter from Naboo.
The eclipse and the drums
Eclipse’s first trailer gives off some serious spacey science fiction and spiritual fantasy vibes. When it opens with a group of gray-skinned individuals beating on large drums in a sort of ritualistic tempo, it shows that Eclipse will likely feature some of the more eccentric and metaphysical sides of Star Wars.
It’s also a bit spooky, and we love when Star Wars is weird and a bit scary. Could the main story of this game be about warring factions of people and corporations fighting for resources and expansion in the Outer Rim? All while a mysterious, possibly dark side entity is summoned by those drums and rises from thick black goo a la Baron Harkonnen? Again, time will tell.
It’s also intriguing to see Star Wars use a real-life celestial phenomenon as a physical and metaphorical plot device. Solar eclipses are very real and easily explained by science, but they also have deep religious and spiritual roots and signal different things to different cultures.
Injecting some of that superstition into the Star Wars universe could make for a fascinating and emotional exploration of this complex era.
Spanning hundreds of years before the Skywalker saga, there’s still so much to explore in the High Republic. And, most likely being created as a “choose your own adventure” style game, the possibilities for unique stories and characters in Eclipse are endless.
Though it’s just the first, the trailer for Eclipse hints that players could play as Jedi in the game. We also get short glimpses of unique lightsaber hilts in a couple of scenes along with several Jedi — including Master Yoda! — sporting their High Republic robes.
During this era, Jedi wore light-colored robes with gold embellishments — much different from the darker browns and blacks seen in the prequel films. The High Republic Jedi were also much more creative in their lightsaber designs. Allowing players to customize their own Jedi features and lightsaber design would make Eclipse that much more immersive.
More details about Eclipse are still being kept under wraps, and the High Republic era is just getting started in the books. The game could fit anywhere on this century-spanning part of the timeline and feature character cameos from the High Republic books or ones from the decades before Anakin Skywalker was plucked from Tatooine.
Star Wars: Eclipse is currently in early development from Lucasfilm Games and Quantic Dream.
Learn more about the game and sign up for updates through StarWarsEclipse.com.