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Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Obi Wan and Qui-Gon with lightsabers at the ready

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The future of Star Wars has been in a state of uncertainty at the moment, with longterm plans seeming to favor TV over movies in the immediate future. Though one persistent rumor that has been circulated is that an era of prequels known as the “High Republic” will be in play for the next cinematic phase of the property. That rumor is at least partially right, as the High Republic will be a priority for Star Wars in the near future. However, it will be explored through publishing rather than filmmaking.

Lucasfilm’s strategy for this particular era of Star Wars tie-in media was confirmed in the following statement, which was part of a greater announcement for what’s now known as Star Wars: The High Republic:

Later this year, Lucasfilm will launch an epic new era of Star Wars storytelling that will be explored through multiple voices in adult and young adult novels, children’s books, and comics from a variety of publishers including Disney Lucasfilm Press, Del Rey, IDW Publishing, and Marvel.

Star Wars and Lucasfilm have announced these details to a brand new era of storytelling after they had been rumored to be in the works for some time. Still, much like those who were speculating that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would be one of the next films in line, and that Keanu Reeves would make a fantastic Darth Revan, the cinematic universe felt like the place this era of storytelling would unfold.

Not only has that possibility been debunked, but further down in the official announcement there is also a very clear explanation of the specific lane that Star Wars: The High Republic will be driving in:

Star Wars: The High Republic, which has previously been referred to as “Project Luminous”, will be set in an era when the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order are at their zenith, about 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This period on the Star Wars timeline will not overlap any of the filmed features or series currently planned for production, giving creators and partners a vast amount of room to tell Star Wars stories with new adventures and original characters.

Switching things up from the previous eras of storytelling, Star Wars: The High Republic is sandwiched between known historical epochs in the Star Wars canon. For those of you following along on your official Star Wars timelines, that’s some pretty uncharted territory, as Knights of The Old Republic was set thousands of years prior to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

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The most telling piece of information is perhaps the fact that this specific era, at least for now, will not be touched by any films or TV projects in the Star Wars galaxy. It’s a Goldilocks zone of pre-established history that theses stories will have to abide by, but also a range of free rein for those who explore the era of The High Republic. Which is fantastic, considering Star Wars: The High Republic already has some top-tier talent drafted in its ranks as well. Authors like Claudia Gray, Delilah S. Dawson, and Daniel Jose Older are all on board, as their previous experiences telling stories in the Star Wars universe have made them invaluable talents in ushering this new era of storytelling.

Some may be disappointed that Star Wars: The High Republic isn’t the next cinematic evolution of the Star Wars series. Yet, considering how the Legends canon between seeing Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace in theaters saw some of the most iconic characters and events come to pass, this could be the new renaissance that Star Wars needs to keep itself fresh.

This summer will show us the first fruits of those particular labors, as the first wave of books, comics, and such from Star Wars: The New Republic will be will be on display for the public at Star Wars Celebration this August.

In the meantime, you can catch up on the Star Wars universe of movie and TV projects through the extensive library of such projects housed on Disney+. If you don’t happen to be a subscriber just yet, check out a free 7-day trial, and be one with The Force!