Since the Skywalker family's story wrapped in 2019's The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars fans have looked forward to a new wave of stories in an untouched part of the timeline. That direction has come in The High Republic, a publishing initiative that will take us back 200 years prior to the events of The Phantom Menace.
The first wave of High Republic books was initially set to debut in late August, but the coronavirus outbreak delayed the string of releases to January 2021. Lucasfilm has since begun the marketing campaign for the new series, dropping an excerpt from the first chapter of Charles Soule's Light of the Force last month and sharing details on the official website.
The various figures taking center stage in the series have slowly been unveiled since the project's announcement in February, and an exclusive web post brings another new character into the fray, as well as a clan with a familiar name...
In Part 2 of their Inside Star Wars: The High Republic series, Lucasfilm shared details on the San Tekka clan's involvement in the upcoming publishing program.
In The Force Awakens, audiences were introduced to Lor San Tekka (portrayed by Max Von Sydow), a member of the Church of the Force cut down by Kylo Ren on Jakku after giving the map to Luke Skywalker to the Resistance. The High Republic will be taking a deeper look at Lor's ancestry.
Author Charles Soule describes the family as a 'rags to riches' group, one with great power and importance to the expanding galaxy:
"Once just a family of hard-scrabble hyperspace prospectors seeking valuable routes in the outer reaches of the galaxy, the San Tekka clan has become a dynasty, at the forefront of technologies and techniques that let Chancellor Lina Soh’s great galactic Republic continue to expand safely to new areas."
All events in The High Republic will revolve around the Great Disaster, something Soule says the San Tekka clan will assist in navigating while preserving a secret from their past:
"Overseen by scions Marlon and Vellis San Tekka, the clan operates in close conjunction with the Republic, and becomes crucial to its response to the Great Disaster. But the San Tekkas have a secret…their rise did not come without cost.”
Lucasfilm also pulled back the curtain on a new Jedi Master, a Trandoshan by the name of Sskeer.
Author Cavan Scott described Sskeer as a gruff, but loyal:
"He’s a gruff, opinionated Trandoshan who has been around the block more times than he cares to remember. Loyal, but brutally honest, you can always be sure Sskeer will tell you exactly what’s on his mind…or so Avar Kriss and his fellow Jedi think."
The Trandoshan, seen above in two new concept art pieces, doesn't come without conflict, as teased by Scott:
"This is a Jedi Master with a secret that is tearing him apart.”
As has already been revealed, Avar Kriss will be one of the focal points of The High Republic, a Jedi Knight described by Lucasfilm Publishing creative director Michael Siglain as being among the best:
“She’s a wise and compassionate Jedi Master who plays a major role in the Great Disaster that opens the story. The answer to the question, who is the ‘Hero of Hetzal’, which we’d teased? It’s Avar Kriss. But the answer to why is she the “Hero of Hetzal” can be found in Light of the Jedi this January."
WHAT THIS MEANS
We were only treated to about five minutes of Lor San Tekka before Kylo Ren executed him, but the character's background offered a great deal of room for exploration. The Church of the Force is a group still largely unexplored, and Lor's faith in the Jedi and the mystic energy field may be something that goes as far back as his ancestors in the High Republic era.
Sskeer will be the first Trandoshan Jedi we've ever been introduced to, and based on the concept art he'll be a force to be reckoned with. While the galaxy is in a state of relative peace, it sounds as if Sskeer has some skeletons in his closet that may alter the way his fellow Jedi view him forever.
Avar Kriss seems to be the hero of this era, the Anakin Skywalker of the High Republic. If the Hero of Hetzal will be a major player in responding to the Great Disaster, we can look forward to seeing the Jedi at their highest point. The mission attire seen in the concept art for both Jedi indicates that they'll be getting their hands plenty dirty, and experiencing the ancient Order at their best will be a thrill.
The High Republic's release steadily approaches, despite the delay. The creatives behind the project have teased that details regarding Phase 2 of the series' books will be announced in the near future, giving us a good indication of the trajectory this effort will be taking. The new era of Star Wars publishing is nearly here, and there will be plenty of details to learn that will hold us over until January.