New war, same as the old war. We’re so used to Star Wars’ cyclical saga at this point, we were just waiting for The High Republic to reveal some ancient evil or lingering secret Imperial force that could put its generation of Jedi at their peak to the test. Turns out, thankfully, that’s not the case: what the Jedi are up against is so much more fascinating.
After The High Republic — initially set to kick off next month with the release of Charles Soule’s The Light of the Jedi — was delayed into January 2021, we didn’t expect to be hearing much about Burryaga Agaburry and his friends for a little while. But IGN has released the first chapter of Soule’s novel, revealing what it actually is that sets into motion the plight of the frontiersman Jedi Knights, 200 years before the Star Wars prequels.
It’s not some sinister evil in the Force. It’s not even lawless pirates on the fringes of the Republic’s reach. It’s…the Holdo Manoeuvre, to a magnitude made infinitely more horrifying?
You’ll have to head on over to IGN to read the full thing, but essentially, Light of the Jedi opens with an unprecedented disaster the Republic suddenly finds its expansion programs dealing with: a passenger/cargo freighter called the Legacy Run, attempting to avoid debris in a hyperspace lane, breaks up while still at lightspeed. Not only is everyone on board — mostly migrants venturing out into the frontier to start new lives — seemingly killed, the broken-up wreckage of the Legacy Run begins to shunt out of lightspeed and into normal space, becoming screaming projectiles of mass destruction that can hit anywhere from the Core Worlds to the Outer Rim.
“The destruction of the Legacy Run is the catalyst for a galaxy-wide disaster,” Soule told IGN. “In this moment of crisis, the Republic turns to the guardians of peace and justice — the Jedi.”
The Jedi are well-equipped to deal with the Legacy Run incident, and not just because they’re psychic knights who could probably use a bit of that space magic to stop killer debris-projectiles from carving their way through planets. These Jedi, unlike the ones we meet in the prequels, aren’t centralised in one single place. The Jedi of the High Republic have established outreach posts across the fringes of the Outer Rim, aiding colonists and safeguarding them as they attempt to start new lives, meaning they’re all spread out and well suited to act as disaster-relief specialists whenever one of these debris attacks actually happens.
And that’s extremely cool, because we get to see what the Jedi are like beyond wizards with dangerous quantities of weaponised glowsticks. They’re healers, aid-relief workers, botanists, and farmers out on the edge of their civilisation — guardians in a sociological and ecological point of view, instead of necessarily a militaristic one. It would’ve been so easy for The High Republic to make them mystic cowboys battling pirates all the time, or worse, the same kinds of recalcitrant, holier-than-thou warrior monks fighting ancient evils that we’ve seen throughout the movies. A Jedi fighting a Sith Lord is de rigueur at this point. A Jedi having to fight debris that can show up out of a rift in hyperspace and rain down destruction? That’s a much more interesting “battle” to contemplate.
The High Republic: The Light of the Jedi is set to release January 5, 2021.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.