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Beginners Guide To Star Wars: The High Republic-Phase I

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With the Acolyte now out it might have peaked the interest of some to engage with the High Republic era so that they can discover more to this wonderful age of the Star Wars timeline. For those who did not read the High Republic when it first started, it can seem quite daunting to get into. Even if you might be a die hard Star Wars fan. However, have no fear because this article shall provide you with an easy guide of what to read if you would like to dip your toes into the High Republic, or if you would like to just dive straight in. A well thought out idea for this publishing initiative is that the High Republic stories have been divided into phases. So here is a list of suggested material to read from Phase I of the High Republic.

The introductory book that starts off this entirely new era is Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule. Since it is the first novel in the series it carries the difficult task of introducing this new era and all the challenges that come with it. Such as the changes to the technology that we have come to know since the 70’s, new characters, the state of the galaxy and the overall ambiance that surrounds the galaxy during this time. Light of the Jedi is an adult novel and it does throw  quite a bit at the reader, but it does act as a good introduction to many high profile characters in this era. So it is recommended that this is where readers start when getting into the High Republic. The main piece of reading advice for this book though is to not worry about all of the characters that get name dropped. Focus on the ones you can remember and the ones you like. As long as you don’t fret over remembering every character and all the little details you will be in the clear. After reading this novel you have set the stage for the majority of the other High Republic stories. While there is a fair bit of stories to read there are luckily some stories that do not need to be prioritized.

Credit: Disney

The books that will be recommended from here on out are books that will help with filling in some vital moments to this period in time. But will also include quality stories that will help complement and flesh out the overall High Republic era.

Into the Dark by Claudia Gray is an excellent piece of supplementary material after Light of the Jedi as it follows the tale of Padawan Reath Silas and how he deals with loss, the unknown and unfamiliar environments that are outside of his comfort zone. This young-adult novel is a great read as it helps really puts into perspective how different the Jedi Order is when compared to their Prequel era counterparts. The exploration of grief and encouragement in exploration within one’s emotions is hard hitting and a breath of fresh air within the Star Wars universe as it often goes by unexplored with Jedi Order adjacent characters. This novel can easily be read without needing to read Light of the Jedi or anything else for that matter, but it does help and provide a bit more context to the tragedies that occur and the motivation of some characters.

Credit: Disney

The Edge of Balance written by Justina Ireland and Daniel José Older and drawn by Shima Shinya is the manga series set during this era and luckily for readers the manga does not really require any prior reading. If you would like to just read the manga, then you can absolutely do so. It is nothing but an absolute joy to read and has an excellent story following young Master Lily Tora-Asi, her Padawan Keerin Fionn and some younglings as they navigate a challenging situation put before them. The most fascinating narrative in the story comes from Lily and how she is trying to teach her apprentice as she tries to overcome her need to rely on her old master; a Wookie Jedi named Arkoff

The Monster of Temple Peak written by Cavan Scott and drawn by Rachael Stott is a quick and easy four issue read also available in trade paperback form that focuses on one of the most interesting characters created for the High Republic era. The character is Ty Yorrick who was once a member of the Jedi Order, but left and became a mercenary. Still attuned to the force and carrying about her lightsaber, she travels the galaxy as a saber-for-hire who may act cold towards others, but deep down still has the heart of a true Jedi of the High Republic era. Just a bit more of an unconventional one. The story is an excellent standalone tale and a very satisfying read for anyone who just wants a story about a Jedi being a true peacekeeper to the galaxy as they deal with any inner turmoil or conflict within them as they protect others.

Credit: Disney

The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray is one of the best novels from the High Republic launch initiative. The novel is exquisitely paced and methodically written till the point where it was difficult for me to put the novel down. The story is suspenseful, it is not too cluttered with other stories that it can easily be pulled away to and it is an excellent study of some of the most popular characters in this era that only make them more beloved amongst readers. Stellan Gios, Elzar Mann and Burryaga Agaburry are highlights of this novel and due to this novel hold great potential to become as iconic in Star Wars extended universe material as Thrawn and Mara Jade have become. Like Thrawn, they can become even popular if they’re able to make the jump from novels to television or film. This novel is a good read on its own but it can gain some benefits for the reader if they also have read the comic mini-series Trail of Shadows and the novel The Rising Storm.

Credit: Disney

Eye of the Storm from writer Charles Soule and artist Guillermo Sanna is a nice 2 issue story that is collected in The High Republic – Jedi’s End. This comic explores the story of the primary antagonist of the High Republic era, Marchion Ro who has been carefully and meticulously plotting his assault against not only the Jedi, but also the Republic since Light of the Jedi with the Nihil. Eye of the Storm looks into what makes Marchion tick, what he is motivated by, how he achieved his title and status as leader of the Nihil. In Star Wars we have been provided with some of the best villains in pop culture. Thrawn, Vader, Palpatine and Maul are all iconic, but believe it or not, what Marchion Ro does throughout the High Republic era is far more villainous and diabolical than what anything else other villains have done throughout the galaxy far, far away. So why not get a glimpse into what motivates one of the most terrifying antagonists in Star Wars

The main High Republic comics published by Marvel, written by Cavan Scott is the final piece of recommended reading material for Phase I of the High Republic era. Only three trade paperbacks are in the Marvel published High Republic series so it’s nothing too much to invest in. The story’s primary protagonist is recently Knighted Jedi Keeve Trennis, and the story told in this series through her experience is nothing short of exceptional. Like any good Star Wars story involving the Jedi, having a character battle against what they personally want, what the force calls them to do and what the expectations of a Jedi call her to do in scenarios where they are at times all conflicting with each other, always makes for excellent tension. Now, if she is not a character that you latch onto entirely, that is fine because she has an excellent cast of supporting characters who take a fair bit of the centre stage too. Like her master Skeer who is a Trandoshian (same species as the bounty hunter Bossk) suffering from a brain degenerative disorder that corrupts his connection to the Force, the Jedi twins Ceret and Terec who are both one through the Force till the point where if one’s connection to the force is poisoned then so is the other’s and Jedi Knight Avar Kriss who has been one of the forefront faces of the High Republic era. The High Republic comics are where you go if you want to see the Jedi be badass, overcoming the darkness that not only surrounds them but is also within them and get to visually see some of the strangest concepts conceived yet in the Star Wars universe.

Hopefully this list of reading recommendations for Phase I of the High Republic has helped make this expansive publishing initiative feel less daunting and more approachable. More than anything though, remember that if a story sounds at all intriguing to you, give it a try and see how you might like it. A phase II recommendation list will come shortly, as well a phase III recommended reading list.

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