In just a few weeks, The High Republic ushers in a bright new era of Star Wars storytelling — but last week, we learned that one of Lucasfilm’s big new Disney+ projects will show us a glimpse of its twilight in the form of The Acolyte, the new series being worked on by Leslye Headland. For the writers behind this adventure, the thought of more people playing in this space is anything but dark.
Speaking to Gizmodo at a press day for The High Republic, the writers of the first wave of releases for the publishing initiative — Light of the Jedi’s Charles Soule, Into the Dark’s Claudia Grey, A Test of Courage’s Justina Ireland, The High Republic’s Cavan Scott, and High Republic Adventures’ Daniel José Older — looked back at last week’s announcement and pondered the thought of other people playing around in this setting they have come together to create.
For Lucasfilm Publishing creative director Michael Siglain, in part, seeing the announcement of The Acolyte offered relief for the secret being out there. “I think it’s incredibly exciting…we’ve spent years building this era and working on this initiative — specifically, Project Luminous, which is different from The Acolyte — and that’s a good thing,” Siglain said. But for him, it also means there is space to tell a wide variety of Star Wars stories within the framework of the High Republic as a setting, 200 years before the prequel movies.
“Because it means there are more High Republic stories to go around. The fact that there are hundreds of years between means everyone gets to have so much creative freedom with it. I certainly got goosebumps. To have that news out in the world, and working within this era has just been incredibly exciting.”
All we know of The Acolyte is that it is set in the last days of the High Republic era, and will explore “a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers.” That’s a radically different kind of story to the ones being told in The High Republic’s opening salvo. But they’re also not the only stories that are tackling it already.
Marvel’s Star Wars ongoing comic recently seeded the setting with Luke exploring the ruins of a Jedi temple from the period. ILM’s latest Oculus Virtual Reality game, Tales from Galaxy’s Edge, includes a sequence where the player character flashes back to a High Republic Jedi’s tutelage under a young Master Yoda — something Older, whose work in High Republic Adventures deals with the Jedi Master and a cast of young padawans, was very excited to see someone else play with.
“The virtual reality thing, too, [Tales]? It’s so much fun. The idea of working toward that High Republic stuff — I tingle with excitement every time because that’s always what’s been so cool about Star Wars,” Older added. “It’s always been a cross-medium format for so long. I think that’s what we all love about it — getting to read about a character then seeing that character pop up in a comic, or game, or what have you. It’s this huge conversation all these different creators are having with each other.”
But even with the excitement of more creatives playing in this new era, for Older the unity among this first group of creatives to forge The High Republic as we know it is still paramount.
“The difference here is that we have it here, in real-time — jump onto the Slack, ‘What’s your character doing at this moment right now?’,” Older concluded. “But the characters are actually in conversation, too. It’s really fun.”
We’ll have more from our chat with the team behind The High Republic soon.