Project Luminous: Guardians of The High Republic

Photo credit: Michael Siglain

The cat is finally out of the bag. After months of conjecture and closely guarded secrets we now only have a few months to wait for the first official foray into this new era of the Star Wars galaxy.

The wait had been painful and then, on 24th February the big announcement came. It was a deluge of exciting details for a period that has never been previously explored. The High Republic era is set 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace. This is fresh, exciting new territory which will hopefully see the Jedi at their peak. A Jedi Order that is no longer shackled by the senate, nor attempting to flee Order 66, or oppressed and persecuted under the brutal rule of the galactic Empire.

This is a brave new world, but the talented writers assembled to influence this era is of the highest order, in my opinion.

I was speaking to Cavan Scott recently and I was trying my best to eke even the tiniest morsels of information from him. Full credit to Scott, it was like trying to get blood from the proverbial stone. I am sure others tried very hard to challenge the resolve of those involved at any given opportunity but hats off to them all for not relenting to the tide of pressure.

Personally, I have been a long-time fan of Scott. He made his name penning some amazing stories for the IDW title Star Wars Adventures and his Choose Your Destiny series. Then came Dooku: Jedi Lost; an ambitious audio drama with a full cast, which has helped bring his name to a new audience and to the attention of so many more Star Wars fans. The success of that particular project even resulted with the script being published as a book.

Buried deep in the script for Dooku: Jedi Lost are mentions of the High Republic and that comes as no surprise. Scott is the master of Easter eggs. One I particularly liked was in Return to Vader’s Castle #2, which was centered around Grand Moff Tarkin, and where Scott used Peter Cushing’s birth date to name a ship; PC-265. These are always fun to find, showing the depth of his expertise and knowledge, which should make for great reading.

Having spoken to Scott on a few occasions, I understand how much ‘he gets it’. He is a very knowledgeable and talented writer who has written for many franchises, and this I think, will be an extra weapon in his arsenal. It was interesting to see him allocated to the Marvel Comics part of the project, but that feels right and seems like a natural progression for his work. His two IDW published Halloween tie-in series set in Darth Vader’s Castle on Mustafar, have seen both fresh and innovative ways of exploring the galaxy’s alternate locations and this is what Star Wars literature needs.

Claudia Gray was a given for this project. Just for her work on Lost Stars alone, she should be involved. In many people’s eyes that has been the highlight of the post-2015 canon book releases so far. This title set a very high bar for many other writers and for Gray herself. It was interesting to see how well her Master & Apprentice novel fit so well with Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott. Many characters span both pieces of work and influence the events of each other. It was very clever writing and I am sure this collaborative type of work is exactly what is needed to make everything bind together for the High Republic era. It’s no wonder that Gray and Scott now share the same PA!

The inclusion of D.J. Older was a surprise name for me on the list of writers. I wasn’t a huge fan of his novel Last Shot. Now I never, ever judge someone over one novel. However, I think his placement within the team, working within the IDW side of the project, will be perfect. His style of writing will suit the visuals brilliantly. It is obvious from reading Last Shot that he understands how to write complex, multilayered stories that bridge a lapse in time, so this type of work means he is a perfect fit for a comic book format.

At the time of the initial launch of Project Luminous, Justina Ireland only had one novel, entitled Lando’s Luck, for younger readers in her Star Wars portfolio. This novel will have bypassed so many of us, but after reading Spark of the Resistance, but I completely understand her inclusion. Ireland fits the bill perfectly for taking on the responsibility of the younger generation of readers for this era. Her writing is clear and easy to read. As an adult reader of Ireland’s work, I found it written at a level that kept me engaged and wanting to finish the story. Her plot for Spark of the Resistance fit really well with the other ‘Journey to: The Rise of Skywalker’ books that came out late last year. Many adult readers don’t give these novels a chance, but I implore you to give them a go, as they can add another level to what you read or watch elsewhere.

And last, but not least, we come to Charles Soule. Soule has penned the best modern era comic – Marvel Comic’s 2017 Darth Vader series. He has now been entrusted with the period set after The Empire Strikes Back in the Star Wars main titles series that started at the beginning of this year. As a fan of comics, and especially as a fan of Soule’s work so far, I was crying out like so many others for him to be ‘promoted’ to the main title for quite some time. Our cries for his inclusion have now been answered and 3 issues in, we’re already seeing what he can bring to the table.

Soule is the master of the curve ball. The move you didn’t quite see coming until it hits you! This is something that I love about the way he writes. He has also written in mentions of the High Republic in his current The Rise of Kylo Ren series for Marvel Comics. His recent Star Wars comic series have both been out and out best sellers, with multiple reprints being commissioned by Marvel. Now this is not unheard of, but it always seems to follow a Soule release.

Unbelievably this will be Soule’s first Star Wars novel. Previously all his Star Wars releases have been via Marvel Comics, but he is no stranger to penning a novel. His own novels, entitled The Oracle Year and Anyone, have been exceedingly popular and were already on my own ‘to read’ list. I am sure that Soule will be a huge success and will bring us so many surprises on the way.

The more details that come out, the more exciting this project seems to become. It has parallels with The New Jedi Order series of novels from the Legends timeline, with an alien race being the chief antagonists. This is likely to have a major impact on where the High Republic era can go. It will also form a strong base for the history of the Jedi, who I assume will operate with more freedom. I’m hopeful it will also shed some light on the Force and its mysterious ways lost to the annals of time – to become myths and legends for the future denizens of the galaxy

It also opens so many questions, and then the immediate example that jumps to mind relates to Yoda. Will Yoda be in it? Will he be a Jedi or a Jedi Master? Will we find out more about his species, or his home planet? And even a question as obscure as; does the current storyline of The Child in The Mandalorian link in?

With the correct writers chosen to guide this era I really do feel we are going to get some absolutely amazing content. So, I really do regard Gray, Older, Scott, Ireland and Soule as the Guardians of The High Republic!

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