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The global pandemic has hit basically every corner of entertainment and media. Movie releases, movie productions, and future release dates are all on hold. The same holds true for both television and even video games. At a time when people have had a lot more time to consume media, there has been a serious halt to creating it. One corner of pop culture that has remained largely untouched, however, has been the Star Wars franchise. Enough of that galaxy has been far enough away, or close enough, that we haven't seen significant delays, until now.
Today, the official Star Wars website revealed that the recently announced major Star Wars publishing initiative, The High Republic, which was set to see the first books come out this summer, has now been pushed back into early 2021. Charles Soule’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi and Justina Ireland’s Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage will now be released January 5, 2021. Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark is now set for February 2, 2021.
The High Republic is a new publishing driven part of the Star Wars universe which will be set hundreds of years prior to the prequel trilogy. We'll see the Galactic Republic and the Jedi at the height of their power, rather than seeing them in their final days. It's an exciting idea as it will give fans a first glimpse into a previously unexplored era with new characters, new enemies, and a galaxy wide cataclysm that will launch the events.
The reason given for the delay, in a letter by Lucasfilm Publishing head Michael Siglain, is that, under the current circumstances, the launch of the books simply wouldn't be able to be the grand experience that Lucasfilm Publishing wants to have.
For the most part, the random timing of the pandemic hasn't hurt Star Wars in any major way. On the film side, no movies were even close to being in production. The first movie post Skywalker Saga isn't expected for more than two years, and the people running that movie left the project, so if that movie does get delayed, it will likely be for reasons unrelated to global pandemics.
On the television side, The Mandalorian Season 2 had completed filming before productions were closed down, and post production can largely be handled even under quarantine conditions. The other Star Wars TV project, the Cassian Andor series, has needed to shut down, but as the series has never been given a release date, we will likely never know if an actual delay took place.
If you're a fan of Star Wars in book form, which has previously created some pretty great stories that add flavor and context to the films, this will surely be a disappointment. Under the circumstances now would be the perfect time to get yourself a new book and hunker down with it.
Still, it would seem that when The High Republic does come, it's planning to make a big splash, and that will be a welcome thing to see again as well.