Star Wars: The High Republic’s Darkest Chapter Yet Is Unveiled at SDCC 2021

Star Wars: The High Republic’s Darkest Chapter Yet Is Unveiled at SDCC 2021
The Nihil and the Jedi at war during the Republic Fair disaster. (Image: Jama Jurabaev/Del Rey)

The High Republic started as a golden age for the Republic and Jedi Order alike, a celebration of ideas and experimentation, an age of expansion and peace unlike anything the Star Wars galaxy had seen in centuries. But then it’s Star Wars, and a dark tide rising put short work to that. And now, things are only going to get darker for Republic and Jedi heroes alike.

Just revealed as part of Lucasfilm publishing’s Star Wars: The High Republic panel at San Diego Comic-Con @ Home 2021, the third wave of novels and comics in Star Wars’ latest exploration in the galaxy far, far away is teasing some dire times ahead. After the brief respite earned for the Jedi and Nihil leader Marchion Ro in the aftermath of the recent Cavan Scott novel The Rising Storm — which saw the Nihil’s forces descend on Republic Chancellor Lina Soh’s much-vaunted “spirit of unity” Republic Fair on the planet Valo, slaughtering their way to an intergalactic threat the Jedi and Republic must now reckon with — the third wave of High Republic releases is going to see both sides shore up for the conflict to come.

“I had my maps out on the wall like I was about to find a serial killer,” Rising Storm author Cavan Scott joked about preparing the novel during the panel, hosted by The Star Wars The High Republic Show’s Krystina Arielle. “[It had] all of the major characters — where they were at the end of Light of the Jedi, or the other books, or the comics, where they need to be at the beginning of the Republic Fair, but also where they need to be at the end. And that’s how I start all of these projects, because you have to then weave those lives in and out of each other, and get them from that point. And then obviously, this being a Star Wars book, you want to put your characters, especially the most beloved characters, through the worst possible time.”

Introduced under the ominous banner “The Light of the Jedi goes Dark…”, the third wave of books and comics will conclude “phase one” of Lucasfilm’s plans for The High Republic. In books, Claudia Grey will lead the charge with the next main adult novel in the series from Del Rey, The Fallen Star, picking up in the wake of the earth-shattering events in The Rising Storm. She’ll be joined by two Disney/Lucasfilm press novels from The High Republic Adventures’ Daniel José Older and Out of the Shadows’ Justina Ireland, who will write the YA novel Midnight Horizon — described as “a chaotic mess in the best possible way” — and the Middle Grade novel Mission to Disaster — likewise, “not ominous at all” — respectively.

Light of the Jedi novelist Charles Soule, meanwhile, will return to his Star Wars roots at Marvel Comics, penning a two-issue limited series that will definitely have High Republic fans talking: The Eye of the Storm, which, as the name suggests, will dive deep into the back story of the Nihil’s unpredictable and enigmatic leader, Marchion Ro. “He’s not the boss, he’s subservient to the Tempest Runners [of the Nihil], but over the course of Light of the Jedi he shows that he’s the one who’s been in control all the time, he takes control of the Nihil and gives them this higher purpose,” Soule said of The High Republic’s mysterious, preeminent villain. “He wants to unleash the storm of the Nihil on the entire galaxy. He has a very complicated backstory, much of which has not yet been revealed, but he’s absolutely terrifying. He’s charming in a way — you’ll meet him and he’ll talk to you, and maybe you’ll have a good time and he’ll buy you a space beer, but then you know the minute you leave the room, his face goes blank. It’s all just a mask. Most Star Wars bad guys wear masks, Marchion Ro does too, but that’s his entire personality.”

The next wave of Star Wars: The High Republic begins in January 2022.

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