Let’s talk about why we should care about the new High Republic Era.
If you haven’t been following things the other week Lucasfilm announced their next big project for Star Wars: The High Republic. Developed under the title Project Luminous, they are bringing Star Wars stories to the High Republic. This is a new era of Star Wars that hasn’t really been explored yet. Set a few hundred years before the Prequels this is a period when the Republic and the Jedi were at their height. The stories appear to be focused on the Republic’s frontier, with the majority of the galaxy at peace, and it’s been described as a sort of the (Jedi) Knight of the Round Table meets Westerns. Right now the plans seem limited to books and comics but there is the possibility of more to come. Today let’s take a look at 5 reasons (in no particular order) I’m really excited for this era.
Jedi are a core part of Star Wars and one of the huge draws to the franchise. Like most people I absolutely love them. Now yes, I don’t need every story to have Jedi in them. Some of my favorite Star Wars stories, Rogue One, The X-Wing books, The Mandalorian, are either are free of Jedi or have only light interaction with them. While not every Star Wars story needs Jedi, stories about Jedi are also great. A huge part of the old EU was the adventures of Luke’s new Jedi order, getting to see them go out and do stuff, with the new canon we mostly lost that. The High Republic promises to give us back those adventures and to let us experience the Jedi at their height when they aren’t either on the run or slowly being corrupted by a manufactured war. Questing Jedi Knights just sounds so cool.
Star Wars stories are nearly always action-adventure stories or straight up war stories. It’s been rare that we’ve gotten other types of stories though the Clone Wars has done dabbled in other genres. The High Republic however seems to open up a lot of new ground. Because the galaxy is more or less at peace during this era the stories aren’t all going to be dominated by a massive war. While I’m sure we’ll get plenty of action and adventure stories I’d love to see them do other stuff: mysteries, heists, whodunnits, horror, and maybe even romance? I bet you could write a great “Little House On the Jundland Wastes” story.
I covered this last week but the new Era has a ton of great opportunities for games of all types. In particular I really, really, really want to see an RPG in this setting. The way they’ve described the time period sounds perfect for an RPG, especially one focused on Jedi as it sounds like a lot of the stories will be about small parties of Jedi going to the border regions on adventures… which thats just D&D in space. Come on! Make it happen.
2. Western Influences
Star Wars has always had a connection with Westerns. A New Hope, especially its opening act, is heavily influenced by them for instance. Some stories draw on the influences more than others, but the Mandalorian proved just how amazing Star Wars can be when it really embraces Westerns. It’s because of that I was really excited to hear that the High Republic stories are looking to Westerns for influence. The ideas of stories set on the frontier is rich genre to explore and I am look forward to it.
Star Wars has a long history and with that comes a lot of baggage. The old EU was full of great stories, but it could weigh the setting down at times and limited new ideas. When Disney took over they ended up choosing to jettison the EU rather than deal with all those constraints. However, even the new canon has a ton of baggage and new stories have to go through a lot of checks to make sure they fit in with the thousands of bits of pre-established minutia, or be torn apart by people (like myself) on the internet for breaking continuity.
By picking a whole new era, one before ANY of the canon settings (save the questionably canon Old Republic era) the writers are free to do what they want. They’ve escaped the shackles of the Skywalkers and Palpatines, and 40 years of history. This of course IS a huge risk, without Sith, the Empire, or the Galactic Civil War, it can be a struggle to remain Star Wars and have cool ideas to draw people in. The Knights of the Old Republic games managed to do it because they had the freedom of being so removed from the rest of the setting. Let’s hope the High Republic can do the same.
Let us know if you are excited for the High Republic, down in the comments!