Jedi on a Rancor, Jedi on a Rancor, Jedi on a Rancor, Jedi on a Rancor

Jedi on a Rancor, Jedi on a Rancor, Jedi on a Rancor, Jedi on a Rancor
Horses are *so* 300BBY. (Image: Phil Noto/Marvel Comics)

Sometimes, you want a new era of Star Wars to say something meaningful and unique about the franchise entrants that came before it, to question and challenge our preconceived notions about institutions and concepts like the Jedi Order and the Force. Sometimes, you just want a space wizard igniting a weaponised glowstick atop a giant monster.

Marvel’s comic book entry into the ever-growing High Republic initiative has so far given us some interesting things to chew on — whether it’s in its nuanced protagonist, young Jedi Padawan-turned-Knight Keeve Trennis, or how it examines the stereotypes around Star Wars’ use of the Trandoshans through her former master, Sskeer. It also began poking at a creepy new threat teased elsewhere in the wider line of books and comics, the Dark Side-fuelled sentient plant race known as the Drengir. That’s a conflict that seems like it’s about to heat up, if the new cover for the sixth issue is anything to go by.

Posted by last night, Phil Noto’s gorgeous cover for The High Republic #6 puts Avar Kriss, the Order’s darling and the Marshal of the Republic’s outer rim hub at Starlight Beacon, atop a massive Rancor, ready to hack away at vine-y tendrils. According to the site, the issue will see the Jedi “clash with Hutt forces — meaning Gamorreans, Nikto, and battle Rancor — while Starlight Beacon is over-run by a creeping alien horror.”

Image: Phil Noto/Marvel ComicsImage: Phil Noto/Marvel Comics

Now, this isn’t the first time Star Wars has ever inverted the Rancor/Force User conflict since Luke Skywalker fought Jabba’s pet only with his wits and a convenient, back-story-ladened skull in Return of the Jedi. The 2008 video game The Force Unleashed, for example, let your protagonist Starkiller briefly ride the monsters, and the Nightsisters of Dathomir were renowned for taming the beasts as mounts. But those were tussles of dominance by powerful Force users — presumably, Master goody-two-shoes Avar Kriss’ partnership with the giant beast is going to be something more reflective of her open-minded and fascinating ability to connect with other beings through the Force.

Which she’s then going to use to aggressively negotiate with evil plants and Hutt mercenaries, naturally. What more could you want? I don’t really know what else to say, honestly.

Star Wars: The High Republic #6 hits shelves in June.