A new rumor claims that The Walt Disney Company is giving orders to Lucasfilm to wind down their The High Republic publishing initiative.
Star Wars: The High Republic was initially announced in February 2020, and was expected to launch in the Summer of 2020. However, due to Covid-19 Lucasfilm Publishing Creative Director Michael Siglain announced the initiative would not release until January 2021.
As for what the publishing initiative is, Vice President of Franchise Content and Strategy James Waugh explained it as a “Golden Age where there is much more peace and calm in the galaxy. SO we are calling it The High Republic.”
He added, “The description that we’ve used for the Jedi of this era is that they are the Jedi Knights of the Round Table. 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.”
The story of this era was to be told across multiple publishers with Siglain explaining, “Star Wars: The High Republic is a massive, interconnected, cross-publisher initiative that will establish an all-new era of Star Wars storytelling. Set 200 years before the events of the prequel trilogy, this mega-story will give readers and Star Wars fans of every age an entry point into The High Republic – a time of galactic renaissance, when the Jedi Knights were at their height.”
He also revealed that the initiative would be broken into three different phases with Phase I being Light of the Jedi, Phase II was called Quest of the Jedi, and Phase III being dubbed Trials of the Jedi.
The first book from author Charles Soule was titled Light of the Jedi and arrived in January 2021.
As note above, the publishing initiative currently consists of two phases with plans for a third phase launching later this year. The first phase includes the novels Light of the Jedi, The Rising Storm, and The Fallen Star. It also includes the young adult novels Into the Dark, Out of the Shadows, and Midnight Horizon. There are also the middle-grade novels A Test of Courage and Race to Crashpoint Tower as well as younger reader books The Great Jedi Rescue and Showdown at the Fair.
Aside from novels, the first phase also included a number of comic book series including Star Wars: The High Republic, Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, Star Wars: The High Republic – The Edge of Balance, Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures – The Monster of Temple Peak, and Star Wars: The High Republic – Trail of Shadows.
The first phase also included the reference books The Art of Star Wars: The High Republic (Phase One) and Star Wars: The High Republic: An Illustrated Archive. It also featured the audio drama Tempest Runner.
Phase two of the initiative saw a significant decrease in published materials. There were only two novels in Convergence and Cataclysm published. There were also only two young adult novels instead of three. They included Path of Deceit and Path of Vengeance. There were also only two middle-grade novels in Quest for the Hidden City and Quest for Planet X. They did not publish any young reader books in phase two.
As for comics, the second phase included the ongoing Star Wars: The High Republic series and Star Wars: The High Republic – The Blade. It also features the Viz manga Star Wars: The High Republic: Edge of Balance: Precedent.
It also included the audio drama The Battle of Jedha.
At Star Wars Celebration in April, Lucasfilm announced Phase III would feature three adult series The Eye of Darkness, Temptation of the Force, and Trials of the Jedi. It would also include several young adult novels incluing Defy the Storm, Tears of the Nameless, and Into the Light. Three junior novels were also announced. They include Escape from Valo, Beware the Nameless, and A Valiant Vow.
The ongoing High Republic comic series would continue into Phase III with the character Vernestra Rwoh appearing in the live-action High Republic series, The Acolyte.
Now, a new rumor claims that The Walt Disney Company ordered Lucasfilm to wind down the High Republic publishing intiative.
Scooper WDW Pro revealed, “Disney/Lucasfilm Press is apparently being given orders from Disney, not from Lucasfilm, but Disney proper that it is time to wind down The High Republic and it is time to wind down young adult novel releases.”
He continued, “I don’t know exactly what that means. I don’t know if that means that immediately The High Republic will cease to get releases. That Phase III is the final phase for this push that they’ve had. It has been completely unsuccessful in about every way you can imagine.”
“We are told, by the way, folks, that the latest issue of The High Republic, and I don’t know exactly what that is, but we’re told that that issue has only moved about 60,000 units total, which is just terrible for Star Wars,” WDW Pro added.
As for the idea that The High Republic is struggling, Novelist Michael Gallagher and Declan Finn on their Upstream Reviews Substack noted that The High Republic saw a “90% – 95% drop in sales between the launch with Light of the Jedi and the current High Republic novels in barely over two years.”
The duo also added, “Since Disney’s takeover of the property, only four books have broken 100,000 copies in sales besides the aforementioned Light of the Jedi; three of them were written by Zahn. The fifth and final was the first Chuck Wendig novel, whose sales wibbled and wobbled their way into a ditch with the following books.”
While they didn’t provide Zahn’s numbers they noted, “The five of them have easily outsold every High Republic novel, and the sixth is only outsold by Light of the Jedi.”
Whether or not this rumor is true, it does appear that The High Republic era will continue on outside of this publishing initiative. The upcoming The Acolyte series is expected to take place at the end of The High Republic era.
Quantic Dream and Lucasfilm also announced that Star Wars Eclipse, an upcoming video game in development, is set to take place in The High Republic era.
What do you make of this rumor? Do you think Disney ordered Lucasfilm to wind up The High Republic or do you think they are just ending it as they normally would after Phase III?