Star Wars is focusing on books and comics again, and we couldn’t be happier

Image: Iain McCaig
Image: Iain McCaig /

Star Wars: The High Republic recalls days of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (aka Legends). The galaxy far far away is getting literary again.

The past couple of years have given Star Wars fans an overwhelming amount of content. First came the sequel trilogy, which kicked off in 2015 with The Force Awakens and ended with The Rise of Skywalker in 2019. We also got two spinoff films: Rogue One in 2016 and Solo in 2018. Not to mention there are several animated and live-action television shows like Star Wars Rebels, the seventh season of The Clone Wars, and The Mandalorian that have taken the fandom by storm.

And that’s just the beginning. Disney’s recent Investor Day conference gave us info on a ton of new Star Wars shows coming to Disney+, like the Obi-Wan Kenobi mini-series and the Ahsoka and Cassian Andor shows, The Bad Batch animated series, and more! Now that the sequel trilogy is finished, it looks like television will be the primary focus of Star Wars going forward.

However, we’re also getting Star Wars: The High Republic, “an interconnected mega-story told across books, comics, and magazines.” Many Star Wars novels and comics have been published since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, but this is on another scale.

The High Republic could be an exciting new step for the franchise for two main reasons: It gives the series opportunities to explore new stories that expand the lore outside of films and TV shows, and it signifies the return of supplementary material playing a significant role in the Star Wars canon.

Before the prequel trilogy came along in the late ’90s, various books, comics, and video games made after 1983’s Return of the Jedi kept the franchise alive. This became known as the Expanded Universe. Notable works include Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novel trilogy, Drew Karpyshyn’s Darth Bane novel trilogy, Marvel’s Star Wars comics, Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic video game series, etc. When Disney took control of Star Wars, they de-canonized the Expanded Universe, renamed it Legends, and started from scratch.

So far, Disney’s complementary works have failed to reach the creative heights of the Legends and have mainly acted as supporting material for the films and shows. There are a few expectations, of course. Timothy Zahn returned to write new Thrawn novels, and EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game had a surprisingly refreshing take on the universe.

The High Republic could change that. The story takes place back when the Jedi were at the height of their power, hundreds of years before Anakin Skywalker became a Jedi Knight. This is exciting, as we have yet to see the Jedi Order during their prime in the current continuity.

It’s also exciting because there are many types of stories the writers could explore within this timeline. It was smart to choose an era in Star Wars that is completely divorced from the Skywalker story. This way, the writers are pretty much free to do what they want without being confined to the Sith, the Empire, or the First Order. Other Star Wars books, comics, games, etc., have been able to tell good stories while removing themselves from the films’ main setting. Hopefully, The High Republic can do the same.

If the writers want to be really daring, they could explore other genres like horror, mystery, and romance within The High Republic. Just think of how exciting a terrifying horror comic with well-illustrated and detailed panels could be if it’s set in the Star Wars universe.

On top of that, movies, shows, and video games can use the new material from The High Republic as the basis for other adventures in the future. The newly announced Disney+ show The Acolyte is supposedly set at the end of the High Republic era and will also explore the emerging Dark Side threat. Could The High Republic explore the origins of infamous Sith lords like Plagueis or Sidious?

It seems like Yoda’s past will also be explored, at least if the concept art of the younger Jedi master is any indication. Maybe ancestors of famous Jedi will also pop up. There are so many places The High Republic could take Star Wars!

Only time will tell if The High Republic will equal the ingenuity and significance of Legends. The first set of novels and children’s books are available now, and they seem to be getting positive reviews. If this is a sign of things to come, then Star Wars literature could be making a huge comeback.

Next. Every Star Wars movie and TV show Disney has made, ranked worst to best. dark

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Get HBO, Starz, Showtime and MORE for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels