While many Star Wars fans are gearing up for the imminent release of The Mandalorian season 2, other areas of the galaxy have seen new details being released.
One of these is Star Wars: The High Republic, Lucasfilm's new multimedia initiative that covers an entirely new era in the Star Wars universe. While the project's launch has unfortunately been postponed to 2021, there is still plenty of information to tide fans over in the meantime.
A first look was provided for the first issue of The High Republic series from Marvel Comics. The new lightsabers from The High Republic were also revealed in the upcoming book The Lightsaber Collection. The opening crawl for the project was also released, which provided a bit more context for the state of the galaxy during this time period.
Fans have now been treated to a brand new look at some of the Jedi characters that The High Republic will revolve around...
Star Wars has officially revealed new Padawan characters from Star Wars: The High Republic. New concept art of four new Jedi apprentices have been released, depicting a diverse range of characters.
Lucasfilm Publishing executive editor Jennifer Heddle spoke about the "wide range" that the Padawans cover:
The High Republic Padawans really run the gamut in terms of skill, devotion, and personality...Some are reluctant to seek out adventure while some are perhaps a little too eager; some are extremely talented in the Force while others maybe have to work a little bit harder. We wanted to showcase a wide range of young people in the hopes every reader can find someone they relate to.
The first new character is named Burryaga, a Wookiee Jedi that will appear in the novel Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule. Burryaga is the apprentice to Jedi Master Nib Assek. Assek is said to have learned the Wookiee language Shryiiwook to properly teach her student.
Soule provided a bit of backstory to Burryaga in Light of the Jedi, saying:
“Burryaga is one of the few Wookiees to travel from the lush forests of Kashyyyk to study in the ornate halls of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant...While he is skilled with his two-handed lightsaber, it is Burryaga’s natural, effortless ability to sense the emotions of others that sets him apart from other members of the Order.”
The new Padawan is named Reath Silas, who is set to appear in the young adult novel Into the Dark by Claudia Gray.
Gray spoke about Reath's role in the book, speaking about the "huge transition" that he will experience during the story:
Reath’s had a somewhat privileged apprenticeship because his master, Jora Malli, is a member of the Jedi Council. That means he’s spent a lot more time on Coruscant, in elevated diplomatic meetings, and that kind of thing — so the frontier is going to be a huge transition for him...Reath’s learning what he’s really made of.
The third new character is Lula Talisola, who will appear in IDW's The High Republic Adventures.
Writer Daniel José Older said she is “all about the Jedi Order,” and mentioned that she will be joined by two other friends in the series:
She loves it, can hardly wait to get Knighted, and wants to be the best Jedi that ever was. Besides being amazing and top of her class with a lightsaber, she’s loyal and compassionate and looks out for her two best friends, Farzala and Qort. Especially when they’re causing mischief.
The last character is Bell Zettifar, who will also appear in Light of the Jedi alongside Burryaga. Zettifar is accompanied by a 'charhound' named Ember and is said to spend most of his time training.
Charles Soule talked about Zettifar's role in the story and how he would be positioned in the Outer Rim:
Bell Zettifar is apprenticed to the legendary Loden Greatstorm, and he hopes he survives the experience...He and his master are currently stationed at a Jedi Outpost on the ore-world of Elphrona, deep in the Outer Rim, where they work to keep the peace and spread the light.
Overall, these characters look to be an exciting and diverse lineup that readers of all ages will be able to see themselves in. Their outfits are a new take on the typical Jedi robe, emphasizing the regality of the attire and the Jedi Order as a whole.
The characters are also wielding new lightsaber blades from the series, all looking ornate and detailed in comparison to their future renditions. Alien Jedi being featured in Star Wars stories is somewhat rare, so it is nice to see a Wookiee being given a chance to flex his Force powers.
The prominent inclusion of Padawan characters indicates that this will be a project aimed towards a younger audience, growing up in their respective series to mirror the lives of their readership. This could leave the door open for these characters to grow older as their series go on, similar to how Ahsoka Tano and Ezra Bridger progress in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, respectively.
The first entries in the Star Wars: The High Republic lineup, that being Light of the Jedi and A Test of Courage, will be released on January 5, 2021.