How do you kick off an entirely new era of Star Wars, one that’s never been touched upon before and upon which an entire deeply connected series of books, comics and more hinge? That’s where author Charles Soule finds himself with The High Republic, and he spoke recently about the challenge of launching this new era with his Del Rey novel Light of the Jedi.

THR: Light of the Jedi has some heavy lifting to do; you’re introducing a franchise, a setting, and a number of characters that have to both be brand new and recognizably “Star Wars,” and do it all in such a way that feels organic and exciting. It’s especially surprising in the way you treat the Jedi and the Force — it feels almost close to a procedural in a lot of ways. How did you arrive at that approach, and is it a sign of how The High Republic as a whole is going to proceed?

CS: My personal mandate for Light of the Jedi was to explore genre in a way we hadn’t directly seen in the franchise – to bring the concepts of Star Wars to places that would feel fresh and cool. It’s a disaster movie; it’s a mystery; it’s a race-against-time-team-on-a-mission story.

I also wanted to try some new things within my own novel-writing style — experiments with pace and tension and intercutting and the way secrets get revealed. The structure of the novel is unusual, in some ways, but I got that from the Star Wars films, really. If you break down Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the timeline doesn’t make a lot of sense — but it still works. Light of the Jedi has some of that going on. It’s elastic — the story can stretch and pull as needed, and then at the end, it all snaps together for what I hope is one hell of a punch.

Every one of The High Republic projects is different — they reflect the sensibilities of their authors — but they’re all part of the same larger story. What I did with Light of the Jedi isn’t what Claudia Gray did with Into the Dark, for example, but I think that’s good. Each piece of The High Republic tells its own story but is also part of the larger initiative.

THR: In a similar, “how did this come about” vein, where did the idea come from to begin the series with a disaster that reshapes and sets everything in motion? It’s something that also redefines a lot of what people know about their surroundings, allowing for the reader to be on an equal footing in terms of knowing what’s happening as everyone else.

CS: One of the primary concepts of The High Republic initiative is the idea that there are certain key events that happen at the “same time” across the storytelling. It’s a lot like the way the destruction of the first Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope has been seen from endless angles since it was first depicted in the first film.

Those are all mapped out – there’s a document with all of it laid down. The “Great Disaster” that opens Light of the Jedi is one of those. I thought it would work because of the things you cited — the idea of having a lot of people involved in one event that operates on a galactic scale seemed very appealing. I could introduce a large cast in a very organic way, in various locations from the highest levels of galactic government to the “Jedi on the street” as they respond to the disaster.

Plus, it’s a chance to show heroism in many different ways. Light of the Jedi has plenty of lightsaber action, but that’s not the only way to solve problems, and you don’t need the Force to be a good person. There’s a sort of slogan that pops up in the book: “We are all the Republic,” and the Great Disaster seemed like a perfect way to reflect that idea.

Star Wars: Light of the Jedi (The High Republic) (Star Wars: The High Republic)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Soule, Charles (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 01/05/2021 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)