Kathleen Kennedy Teases the High Republic's Live-Action Star Wars Debut

Star Wars, High Republic, Kathleen Kennedy
By Russ Milheim Posted:

The President of Lucasfilm has teased the introduction of The High Republic era in upcoming live-action projects.

For those who may not be aware, The High Republic is an era of time in the Star Wars universe that is set roughly 200 years before The Phantom Menace. The galaxy is at peace, with the Jedi Order at its very height as self-proclaimed peacekeepers.

This time period has mainly been reserved for the publishing side of Lucasfilm. However, with the first phase of books and comics already released and the second only just now beginning—a set of stories that take place even further back on the timeline.

Now, the eventual debut of these stories across other mediums has been teased thanks to a new Art Book.

The High Republic's On-Screen Introduction

High Republic, Phantom Menace
Star Wars

The Direct got our hands on The Art of Star Wars: The High Republic: (Volume One), and within it, the era's eventual depiction outside of publishing (namely into live-action content) was teased, alongside some of their inspirations while inventing this whole new world.

When it comes to transitioning off the page and onto the screen, the book teased that if the High Republic initiative was successful, it would "open up new storytelling opportunities beyond the page:"

"If [the High Republic] gamble succeeded, the story anchoring the new interconnected multimedia initiative stood to open up new storytelling opportunities beyond the page, allowing publishing to evolve into an incubator for new characters and era that could later appear in games or on screen, a role reversal for the department typically tasked with sustaining interest between tentpole projects and big-screen movies that nevertheless honored the genesis of all stories in film, games, and television."

In reference to this era's potential on-screen future, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy simply teased: "It all starts with the word."

Micahel Siglain, Lucasfilm Publishing's creative director, noted that he wanted to have "[their] own corner of the galaxy" to create new stories and add to the Star Wars mythos:

"For the scope of what we wanted [The High Republic] to be—our own corner of the galaxy, the idea of something that was going to be new, yet very authentically Star Wars, something that could be shared from generation to generation—we knew that we had to bring people in who had very different points of view and very different strengths."

He revealed that one of the key questions they asked themselves when crafting this new timeline was, "what inspires [them]:"

"We knew that we needed to craft it in such a way that it would feel like Star Wars, and to do that, we needed to dissect Star Wars... We know what [creator George Lucas] put into it, what he was pulling from and what inspired him. But what inspires us?"

A key concept they eventually landed on was how "the beautiful thing about Star Wars is that it's not all explained:"

"It was important for us to look at it objectively and say, 'OK, what do we love? What do we want to see? What doesn't work? What are we not seeing enough of? What can be done better?' You know, 'What do we not touch?' One of the other important things was to keep that mystery. The beautiful thing about Star Wars is that it's not all explained, Growing up, [filling in those elements] was up to me."

Another big focusing point, according to Lucasfilm Story Group senior creative executive Pablo Hidalgo, was asking the question, "what is the galaxy worth fighting for:"

"What is the galaxy worth fighting for?... When people say we want to restore the Republic, what is the ideal?"

High Republic author Justina Ireland noted that the world "hadn't seen" this Republic that everyone had already raved about:

"Everyone's always talking in such glowing terms about the Republic... It had to have been a functional government that people enjoyed and felt safe under at some point. But we hadn't seen it yet... [But] how do we still make it interesting? Because when things are going well, that's usually when it's the least interesting, right?"

When Will the High Republic See Live-Action

Fans actually already know when they'll see the High Republic for the first time outside of the books and comics, which will be in The Acolyte. The Disney+ series is currently in production, and while a release date isn't known just yet, a 2024 release is most likely.

Yes, the series is technically the High Republic, it takes place towards the very end of that era, as the dark side emerges again. So, it won't necessarily be the same characters and storylines from the current books—in fact, it could be many years after.

At one point in time, many thought Jude Law's The Skeleton Crew was going to be the first High Republic show, but it was later revealed not to be the case, instead taking place around the same time as The Mandalorian.

There's unlimited potential in the High Republic era, and Lucasfilm should absolutely focus on finding ways to expand those storytelling opportunities into other mediums.

In addition to The Acolyte, it would also be great to get a set of movies focused on that same timeline or even a Clone Wars-style animated show.

On the publishing side of Star Wars, the High Republic stories just started their second phase of storytelling. The third and final set (as of now) of stories doesn't currently have a release date—but it'll finally get back to all the cliffhangers left where the first phase left off in Fallen Star and Midnight Horizon.

Star Wars: The High Republic books are on sale now.