What is Star Wars: The High Republic?

Star Wars: The High Republic. Image courtesy StarWars.com
Star Wars: The High Republic. Image courtesy StarWars.com /

In the past few years, the High Republic has become one of the most important eras in Star Wars. Many of the Star Wars novels, comics, and audio dramas released since 2021 have taken place during this time period. There have also been connections to it in other media, including the video game Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, the preschool series Young Jedi Adventure, and the upcoming live-action Disney+ television series The Acolyte.

The High Republic began as a multimedia project known as Project Luminous. Five authors (Cavan Scott, Claudia Gray, Charles Soule, Daniel José Older, and Justina Ireland) were brought together to tell a new interconnected story outside of the Skywalker saga. The time period and story they settled on became known as The High Republic, which is told in three phases.

Phase I: Light of the Jedi

The stories released from January 2021 to March 2022 are known as Phase I: Light of the Jedi. These stories occur around 200 years before The Phantom Menace and the Skywalker saga.

When Phase I begins, it is an era of mostly peace and prosperity for the Jedi Order and the Republic, considered their Golden Age. The Republic is expanding into the Outer Rim, regarded as the Wild West of this period, with Jedi outposts scattered to help maintain peace. Through initiatives from Chancellor Lina Soh and her Great Works, Starlight Beacon is built. The space station is the first of many to connect the Outer Rim to the rest of the galaxy.

Star Wars: Light of the Jedi (The High Republic). Image courtesy Disney Publishing Worldwide
Star Wars: Light of the Jedi (The High Republic). Image courtesy Disney Publishing Worldwide /

However, not everyone welcomes the Republic and sees it as an invasion. Everything begins to change during an event known as the Great Hyperspace Disaster and the emergence of the Nihil, a villainous group far more threatening than the pirates and marauders they initially appear to be. Their crafty leader, Marchion Ro, has discovered a secret weapon that can destroy the Jedi, making them truly feel fear. This is the beginning of the downward spiral of the Jedi and Republic into the prequel trilogy of movies.

These events start in the novel Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule. As the first High Republic novel that was published, no prior knowledge is needed going into this book, making it the perfect place to begin.

Light of the Jedi introduces many of the era’s most important characters, including Jedi, Nihil, and Republic officials, who become central figures throughout the various books, comics, and audio dramas. The High Republic mainly focuses on new characters, although some familiar faces from the movies and other stories, such as Yoda, Jabba the Hutt, and Maz Kanata, pop up from time to time.

Phase II: Quest of the Jedi

The stories released from October 2022 to May 2023 are known as Phase II: Quest of the Jedi. Phase II occurs 150 years before Phase I and 350 years before The Phantom Menace. The original authors from Phase I are joined by new authors for Phase II – George Mann, Tessa Gratton, Lydia Kang, and Zoraida Córdova.

Path of Vengeance
Star Wars: The High Republic – Path of Vengence. Image courtesy StarWars.com /

It is a period of exploration for the Jedi and for the Republic as they seek to build connections with new worlds. The main villains in Phase II are a cult known as the Path of the Open Hand, who believe that no one, not even the Jedi, should use the Force. Their leader, The Mother, is a charismatic and dangerous figure who discovers and uses the weapon that Marchion Ro would later use.

The stories of Phase II are strong on their own, but they also provide a great deal of context for the stories in Phase I, along with teasing what is to come in Phase III. The conflict between the Path of the Open Hand and the Jedi leads to the Nihil and their conflict with the Jedi and the Republic many years later. There are also many connections to other Star Wars media, a big one being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The first novel in Phase II is Path of Deceit by Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton. If you are someone who believes the prequel trilogy should be watched before the original trilogy in the Skywalker saga, you may want to begin your High Republic journey by reading Path of Deceit first.

Phase III: Trials of the Jedi (and where else to find the High Republic)

The Eye of Darkness by George Mann. Image Credit: StarWars.com.
The Eye of Darkness by George Mann. Image Credit: StarWars.com. /

Phase III recently kicked off with new comics and the novel The Eye of Darkness by George Mann. This is the final phase and will continue into 2025. Phase III takes place one year after the end of Phase I, building on those stories and characters while also tying in many elements from Phase II. The phase kicks off with Marchion Ro victorious after dealing a significant blow to both the Jedi and the Republic. With friends lost or missing, our heroes have retreated and must find a new path forward as a new darkness covers the galaxy. With light and life depending on them, the Jedi and Republic must find a way to defeat the Nihil.

Other places you may find the High Republic is the preschool animated series Young Jedi Adventures, which follows a group of Jedi younglings during this time period. The Acolyte will be the first live-action project to heavily incorporate the High Republic, with the story taking place toward the end of this era.

There are many connections to the High Republic in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and in various comics that take place during the Skywalker saga. There were even Easter eggs that popped up in Obi-Wan Kenobi. As the franchise grows, the High Republic era will likely be incorporated into even more stories, even after the conclusion of Phase III.

If you’re looking to get started, StarWars.com has a helpful reading guide for you to dive into and give the High Republic a try.