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'Star Wars: The High Republic' revealed: New books will introduce a bygone Jedi era

"Star Wars" is launching a new storytelling initiative dubbed "Star Wars: The High Republic."
"Star Wars" is launching a new storytelling initiative dubbed "Star Wars: The High Republic." (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

"Star Wars" is starting an epic "storytelling initiative" to fill out the history of the franchise some 200 years before the events of the 1999 movie "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace."

The franchise began in 1977 and has been releasing a new film every year since "The Force Awakens" in 2015. "Star Wars" is well-known for portraying the ongoing battle between lightsaber-wielding Jedi knights and forces of evil. But the new books and comics come from a happier time, Disney Publishing Worldwide said in a press release.

"'Star Wars: The High Republic' is set in an era when the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order are at their height, serving and protecting the galaxy," Disney said in the statement. "This is a hopeful, optimistic time, when the Republic and the Jedi are noble and respected."

Related: Baby Yoda toys from 'Star Wars' will launch an unstoppable campaign of cuteness this year

As for why the series is set so long before the movies, Disney said it would be so the timeline "will not overlap any of the films or series currently planned for production." The comic-publishing program is planned in several phases; the first one will be called "Light of the Jedi." Other titles include "Into the Dark" and "A Test of Courage."

"We are so excited to be opening up such a rich, fertile era for our authors to explore," Kathleen Kennedy, president of the production company Lucasfilm, said in the statement. "We'll get to see the Jedi in their prime."

Many well-known authors are participating in the project. They include Claudia Gray, Charles Soule, Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older and Cavan Scott. Comics and books will be released at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in August 2020, and some of the titles are available now for pre-order, Disney added.

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.