Star Wars announced a brand new publishing initiative called The High Republic and made clear the focus of the initiative is on “diversity and representation.”
Vice President of Franchise Content and Strategy James Waugh made it clear in the announcement trailer that diversity and representation were and are a focus of the initiative.
Waugh states, “We put together a really unique writer’s room. We had really diverse voices with very different opinions about Star Wars.”
One of the writers part of the initiative, Justina Ireland, would echo those comments, “We all love Star Wars, but we are all coming from it on very different places.”
A whiteboard from the writer’s room at the Skywalker Ranch also reveals their focus would be on diversity and representation. In fact, it’s so important it’s on the board twice under the Fiction column and the Star Wars Wishes column.
As for what the actual initiative is, it will be set 200 years before the events of the Phantom Menace in an era called The High Republic. According to StarWars.com it “will not overlap any of the filmed features or series currently planned for production.”
Waugh describes it as a “Golden Age where there is much more peace and calm in the galaxy. So we are calling it The High Republic.” A narrator adds, “The description that we’ve used for the Jedi of this era is that they are the Jedi Knights of the Round Table.”
Waugh continues, “It’s a bit of a Wild West, new frontier. We see a different kind of Jedi that patrols the frontiers and is more of a Texas Ranger.” He adds, “There will be a core group of heroes that will expand over time.”
Speaking with StarWars.com, Waugh explains much of the story telling will take place in the Outer Rim, “This was a golden age for the Jedi, and also a time of galactic expansion in the Outer Rim. So expect there to be rich tales of exploration; charting out the galaxy, meeting new cultures, and discovering what pioneer life in the Outer Rim was like. This is an incredible sandbox for our storytellers to play in, both within publishing and beyond, and we can’t wait to see the great fiction they build within it.”
The initiative won’t just focus on the Jedi. Waugh details, “But Star Wars isn’t just about Jedi. And we will tell stories of new smugglers, new scoundrels, new bounty hunters.”
Waugh explains, “Our story starts with what we are calling The Great Disaster. It wouldn’t be Star Wars without adventure and there is definitely a series of events that will spin the galaxy in a dangerous new direction and it will give an opportunity for heroes to rise up.”
Senior Creative Executive for Franchise Story and Content Pablo Hidalgo reveals the threat the Jedi of The High Republic will face, “The threat and the tension really comes from the Republic’s borders. Because the Republic does not extend from one side of the galaxy to the other.”
Executive Editor for Lucasfilm Publishing Jennifer Heddle reveals the main threat will be the Nihil, “Our main villain are the group called the Nihil. We kind of like to refer to them as space Vikings.”
Creative Director of Lucasfilm Publishing Michael Siglain adds, “Their motto is ‘Can’t take it with you, but we can take it from you.'”
The initiative appears to be rather ambitious Heddle states, “The scale of this initiative is really new for us. We are going to have stories for adults, and teens, and kids.”
Waugh adds, “We are building this out simultaneously across multiple publishers and it gives us the ability to tell vast interconnected stories across multiple years.” Those publishers include Disney Lucasfilm Press, Del Rey, Marvel, IDW, Titan Magazines, Abrams, B&M! Books, Viz Media, DK, and Insight Editions.
The first publishing initiative to come out of The High Project era will be the Light of the Jedi novel written by Charles Soule. It will be available on August 25, 2020.
So when does #ProjectLuminous begin? Coming August 25th:
LIGHT OF THE JEDI. The first novel of the High Republic.
Written by Charles Soule.
— Star Wars Books (@DelReyStarWars) February 25, 2020
Other books and comics are expected to debut at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in August 2020. Novels include Into The Dark by Claudia Gray and A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland.
IDW Publishing will publish Star Wars The High Republic Adventures by Daniel José Older and Marvel Comics will publish Star Wars: The High Republic by Cavan Scott.
What do you make of this new High Republic initiative? Is this something you are looking forward to? Or is this just another brick on Lucasfilm’s road to obscurity?