The following contains MILD SPOILERS for the the first batch of Star Wars: The High Republic books
This week sees the launch of Star Wars: The High Republic; we now have the first books in what is set to be a long running endeavor that will explore a new era in Star Wars storytelling through a variety of different media forms, namely on page. Set a couple hundred years before the time period of Star Wars that we know and love, the whole idea behind The High Republic is to take the shackles off of Star Wars and tell original stories using new characters, new places and even a significantly different (but, not totally different) Jedi Order. However, that doesn't mean that long time fans of Star Wars who know all the ins and outs of hyperspace won't find a few names and places that sound familiar, and they might give fans a bit more insight into some less explored parts of the galaxy far, far, away.
The great thing about Star Wars: The High Republic is how welcoming it is to newcomers. None of these references are strictly necessary to understand the stories, but if you've read the first batch of books, or are just curious what and who can be found inside the pages, here are some of the people and places referenced, and how they connect to the larger Star Wars franchise.
The San Tekka Clan
One of the first people we see in the Star Wars sequel trilogy is Max Von Sydow. He's playing a character who is never given a name on screen, but he's in possession of something quite important: a piece of a map that, at the end of the film, leads Rey to Luke Skywalker's location. In ancillary Star Wars media, the character is given the name Lor San Tekka, which still doesn't explain who this man is or why he has such an important item.
But Charles Soule's Light of the Jedi might actually give us a hint in that regard. Midway through the novel, we're introduced to Marlowe and Vellis San Tekka. The pair live together on Naboo, a place well known to Star Wars fans, and have become quite wealthy as their family had made quite a little industry out of mapping hyperspace routes. Hyperspace, what it is and how it works is a big part of The High Republic so far, so the expertise of this pair is sought out by the Republic after a hyperspace disaster takes place. They're small characters in the grand scheme of things, but surely Max Von Sydow's character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is related to these two.
Chandrila Star Lines
Some of the little references to other parts of Star Wars are intentionally small, in order to not take one out of the story. However, one reference, found in A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland, is actually massive... or at least it will be once it's actually completed. The new book follows a collection of young characters who are on their way to the launching of the Republic's Starlight Beacon when their luxury space yacht is attacked. The ship takes off from a spaceport that was specifically designed to handle luxury spacecraft from all the major touring companies, including one called Chandrila Star Lines.
Many won't recognize the name Chandrila Star Lines because it doesn't technically exist quite yet. It's actually the in-universe name of the owners of the Halcyon, the home of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the new hotel/Star Wars experience that is coming to Walt Disney World. The location will be home to a two-night Star Wars experience that will let guests live out their Star Wars fantasies like they're spending a couple of days flying through the galaxy, with a brief stop on the planet Batuu. Apparently guests will be able to trust in Chandrila Star Lines, because the company has been showing people the galaxy for over 200 years.
Because The High Republic is set 200 years prior to the Prequel Trilogy, the cast of characters that we're dealing with are all brand new. The only exception is Yoda, who, in in the initial run of books and comics, does appear, but is thus far only referenced or a minor side character in the various stories. And since having children isn't really part of being a Jedi, it's not like we're meeting a lot of the great-grandparents of the heroes from the movies. We are, however, meeting the ancestors of other characters and learning just how much can change in 200 years.
A Test of Courage introduces us to a young woman with a head for science named Avon Starros. She's the daughter of Republic Senator Ghirra Starros and she's one of the people stranded by the ship explosion mentioned earlier. If you've only seen the Star Wars movies or watched The Mandalorian, then the name Starros won't mean much, but readers of Star Wars comics will recognize the name. Sana Starros was a smuggler who was in league with Han Solo and actually claimed to be married to him. It's possible Avon, being seen as "trouble" by her Senator mother, is the one that sets the family down this very different path.
There are several other moments in the first High Republic books that may or may not be meant to specifically call out to characters we know. In the familiar era of Star Wars, Mace Windu is the only Jedi to wield a purple lightsaber, but Vernestra Rwoh has one as well. It doesn't seem to be meant to be a big deal, though it does some other things that are somewhat more unique. In the book Into the Dark by Caludia Grey, Jedi Wayseeker Orla Jareni carries a Darth Maul style double-bladed saber of white, another rare color to our eyes, but not apparently 200 years ago.
There are certainly a lot of other references to Star Wars that aren't nearly as unusual or obscure, and odds are that as The High Republic rolls on, we'll see more connections to the future of the galaxy that aren't as clear now. What is clear is that The High Republic will include lots of fun for both serious Star Wars fans as well as the more causal ones who might stumble upon a new book and wonder what Star Wars was like 200 years in the past.