After teasing the project for nearly a year, Lucasfilm has finally unveiled the secretive “Project Luminous” to be Star Wars: The High Republic.
A cross-publishing initiative featuring books and comics, Star Wars: The High Republic will feature an entirely new array of characters and worlds in a galaxy-wide narrative that takes place 200 years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The initiative will explore a period when the Jedi were at their strongest and the Republic was spreading across the known galaxy. While elements of the High Republic era have been very lightly teased in the recent Star Wars #2 comic, this new publishing initiative will not overlap with any existing films, TV shows, or stories in canon.
The Jedi are described as a cross between the knights of the round table and rangers patrolling the furthest reaches of the wild, wild west during the High Republic era. Eventually, the Jedi will come face to face with the Nihil, an outlaw-marauder type group with some serious Mad Max meets Star Wars meets Vikings vibes.
The initiative will kick off officially on August 25 with Charles Soules’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, an adult novel that will set the stage for the entire new saga. After Soule kicks off the new saga, Justina Ireland’s young adult novel Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage will tell the story of the Jedi Order’s youngest Knight while Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark will follow a fresh Padawan as he is sent away from Courascant to the frontier of the galaxy.
It’s not just novels, though- this new initiative also features brand new comic book series from IDW Publishing and Marvel. Writer Cavan Scott will steer the monthly Star Wars: The High Republic comic from Marvel, which will follow new Jedis as they patrol the galaxy from the Republic’s awesome frontier space station- the Starlight Beacon. IDW, on the otherhand, will publish Star Wars: The High Republic: The High Republic Adventures, a young-adult comic by Daniel Jose Older that will examine young Jedis learning about the galaxy and the fearsome Nihil.
All of these books and comics make up phase 1 of Star Wars: The High Republic, with Lucasfilm Publishing officially calling this phase “Light of the Jedi.” All announced books are currently available for preorder, with Star Wars: The High Republic: The Light of the Jedi out first on Aug. 25, followed by Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage on Sept. 8, and Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark on Oct. 13. No release dates have been announced for either comic, but don’t be surprised if they hit shelves by Star Wars Celebration in August.
Project Luminous was first announced at Star Wars Celebration Chicago’s Lucasfilm Publishing: Writers Roundtable on Monday April 15, 2019 as a special event that spans across books and comics to tell one cohesive story. Del Rey, Disney–Lucasfilm, IDW Publishing, Marvel Comics, Titan Books, Viz Media, Abrams Books, DK, and Inside Editions are all publishing partners participating in the project, with the latter five getting involved after “Light of the Jedi” concludes.
Lucasfilm Publishing’s creative director, Michael Siglain, is the man behind the inception of Project Luminous and hand-picked the five authors chosen to help bring the project to life: Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older, Cavan Scott, and Charles Soule.
When Siglain approached each author in the Summer of 2018, Project Luminous was simply known as the “All-Star Initiative” and when speaking to each author, he didn’t reveal who else would be working on the project alongside them.
In September of 2018, all five authors chosen for Luminous were invited to Skywalker Ranch in California, where alongside the Lucasfilm Publishing editorial team and Lucasfilm Story Group, they began to flesh out and construct Luminous’s story.
We know that during the creators time at Skywalker Ranch they experienced a 4K screening of Star Wars: A New Hope, and later in March of 2019 took part in a 4K screening of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It was revealed on Feb. 24, 2020 that these five authors were essentially given a clean slate to do what they please with this new initiative.