Star Wars writer gives final word on The High Republic’s canon and details its future
Star Wars: The High Republic announcement trailer
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After the sequel trilogy came to an end with The Rise of Skywalker, Disney started working on the next chapter of the Star Wars lineage: The High Republic. This era of events takes place hundreds of years before Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and revels in the “golden age” of the Jedi, their rule and the horrific events that befell them. The first book in the new series, Light of the Jedi, debuted at number one in the New York Times’ bestsellers list and has since been accompanied by other comic books and novels in the same universe and time period.
Author of Light of the Jedi, Charles Soule, exclusively told Express.co.uk about the daunting nature of starting a new Star Wars series from scratch.
Thankfully, the seasoned author – who has previously worked with Marvel on the Daredevil and Wolverine comic books, as well as his own book trilogy, The Oracle Year – had a fool-proof plan on creating an exciting novel in this new era.
Charles said: “I just sort of decided I was going to write a novel that was going to feel like the best Star Wars movie I had never seen.
“To try and translate the experience that had given me so much joy – from Rogue One to Empire Strikes Back, [TV series] Rebels — the biggest goal was to make people really want to read all of this stuff.”
Charles certainly knew how to ramp up the excitement, as the first few pages of Light of the Jedi describes a horrific hyperspace catastrophe that threatens an entire system of planets, forcing the Jedi to act quickly and decisively.
The author wasn’t afraid to admit that there was a lot riding on this new series, however.
Light of the Jedi, which came out on January 5 of this year, was the first step in Disney’s next great Star Wars story.
Before Disney bought Lucasfilm and its Star Wars canon, the Extended Universe stories reigned supreme. The cacophony of novels, comic books and video games told deeper stories within the Star Wars universe that fans hailed as some of the franchise’s best content.
In 2014 an announcement on the official Star Wars website revealed the Star Wars Extended Universe – particularly the novels written post-Return of the Jedi and The Old Republic – had been wiped clean.
The High Republic is the first step in refilling The Old Republic’s gaps, and Charles worked alongside a group of writers to perfectly craft an endearing, engaging and exciting story to replace the Extended Universe.
Charles explained: “If Light of the Jedi was not an absolute home run out of the park it would have had an effect. That was my main goal… not to let my cowriters down.”
Speaking over Zoom, Charles was eager to set the record straight about how valid his new story framework was in Star Wars canon.
On whether Disney had allowed him to deem The High Republic as canon, the writer replied: “From the very beginning. It was never a question.
“It was always, always part of the… this is part of the Star Wars history. It is just an era we have not seen explored yet. From the very very beginning.
“It is new, but it is as real as it gets. There’s no question there, this is absolutely part of the universal canon at the moment.”
Charles certainly made his mark on the franchise with his first big Jedi character in Light of the Jedi: Avar Kriss.
The Jedi Master has all of the characteristics of some of the already well-established characters in Star Wars, but with a distinct difference to her Force powers.
Instead of simply “sensing” the Force, Avar Kriss experiences it through hearing music – a first for the franchise.
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Avar Kriss is also one of the few female Jedi in the entire Star Wars mythos thus far.
She joins other canonical lightsaber-wielders Princess Leia, Ahsoka Tano and Rey Skywalker.
Writing a powerful female Jedi was not a tough decision for Charles, as he said: “The High Republic is very much the golden age. I think Star Wars is not concerned with whether a Jedi is a man or a woman or an alien or anything.
“It’s more about: Who are you? How do you act? What are the choices you make? How do they affect other people?
“Those are the things that, generally speaking, Star Wars is concerned with. For me, I wanted Light of the Jedi … to reflect a very broad slate of characters and types and people, because they’re all people!”
The second book in The High Republic, The Rising Storm, written by Cavan Scott, is due out in July this year.
Beyond that, Charles couldn’t give much away on what is coming for the ongoing adventure series.
He teased: “I am part of the five-member brain trust … we are very involved with where the stories are going to go from here. We have weekly calls to plan what’s going to happen [next], we have the whole story in mind. It’s a three-phase story.
“The first phase is Light of the Jedi, then it’s Quest of the Jedi and then Trials of the Jedi. It should feel like a movie trilogy, except this happens to be done in novels.”
Star Wars The High Republic: Light of the Jedi is out now.
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