You know those times when you are given so much information at once that as you stare at the screen you immediately hit the back to beginning button? That was what watching episode one of Star Wars: The High Republic Show with host Krystina Arielle was like. And if episode one was anything to go by, then by golly Stardusters, we are in for a TREAT!
Let’s take a deep breath and get to it!
No, seriously – there are spoilers.
You have been warned!
Krystina began with a recap of the current canon universe, leading us hundreds of years back to the High Republic era. She then recapped the book launch releases so far – Light of the Jedi, A Test of Courage, and Star Wars: The High Republic #1 comic – detailing the events and characters they set up, some tidbits on how they cross over, and just where we can begin as a jumping off point. So much information, so quickly. My head was spinning!
After a breathless overview, we dove immediately into Temple of Darkness, a new virtual reality short within the Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge VR experience. Available on the Oculus platform, we were treated to a reel with the designers and animators of the game. They spoke about Yoda not just from an animation perspective but about how the character himself informed the artistic process. Highlighting the lesson that fear is to be overcome not just with a lightsaber but with your mind, I personally am now even more interested in Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge than ever before!
Moving along at the same breakneck pace, the next segment was an author panel with Charles Soule, Justina Ireland (and her frankly amazing Cobb Vanth standee), and Michael Siglain. They each spoke about the excitement of playing in the Star Wars universe with characters whose fates they completely control. They feel a freedom in knowing they are creating entirely new stories for fans, only distantly tied to the characters we know and love by virtue of being in the same galaxy. Themes of loss are ever present, starting with the Legacy Run disaster. However, as Justina Ireland conveyed, an innate sense of justice is also an important feature for fans to resonate with, especially kids who are becoming fans of Star Wars through The High Republic series.
Soule went into a wonderful spiel on the idea of the Nihil and building memorable villains who could not only stand up alongside the likes of Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, but also had an expansive and unique story to tell and relate to through the High Republic.
Justina Ireland brought in the idea of the Starlight Beacon being an endowed object – an object that is more than the sum of its parts, a symbol above what it simply is but also what it can represent. Starlight Beacon is not just a symbol of the hope and light of the Jedi at their height, but also serves as the lynchpin site that allows for crossover between storylines and mediums.
The panel discussed how writing The High Republic was a far more collaborative environment than traditional writing as we were shown images of the writers’ room. What I wouldn’t give to have been a fly on the wall! But I will settle for a panel at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 (in case you are reading, Lucasfilm).
The panel’s discussion of how the Force presents itself to members of our panel as well as to the characters within the High Republic is something I could have watched an entire episode about. The idea of the Force being able to change and adapt to the person perceiving it while also being ever present and ongoing is enthralling. It is such a unique lens through which to view not just these new characters, but also the characters we already know and love.
I was not at all expecting to get an in-depth character feature and episode one brought us a look at Bell Zettifar, a padawan who sees the force as a flame. The feature presents us with artwork to give us more of an idea of what Bell looks like. More character feature episodes will be popping up on the official Star Wars Youtube channel. I personally can’t wait to see those since I’m just more than a little in love with the art we have gotten so far for The High Republic.
The next section focused on questions from social media. I loved this interactive element of the show which allows fans to ask questions that might not necessarily get covered elsewhere. You can use the hashtag #THRSquestions on social media for a chance to have your own questions featured on The High Republic Show!
Switching gears once again, Krystina went over what the next debut pieces in The High Republic will be with some delightful reveals. We got to see a new Jedi character from Into the Dark named Orla Jareni who carries a double-bladed, hinged lightsaber. We also saw a cover reveal for Marvel’s The High Republic #5. Finally, we learned the name and got concept art for Lily Tora-Asi, the lead in the manga series The Edge of Balance. Also confirmed for The Edge of Balance is an appearance from Jedi Master Stellan Gios and… ANOTHER Wookiee Jedi? (Be still my heart!)
This episode was packed with new information. Krystina is an amazing host, and I’m convinced she has some kind of Force power with how quickly she makes her way through each segment. The special guests, including the authors and other various members of Lucasfilm, were equally wonderful at providing all of these tantalizing behind-the-scenes looks at our favorite Galaxy Far, Far Away. If there was a critique to make it is that the episodes could easily be longer with the amount of information given, but then again this is only episode one and we have no idea where we will be going from here.
There is so much for us to learn, so much for us to explore. We here at Project Stardust will be watching, reading, and playing right alongside you.