In just over a month, the next wave of Star Wars: The High Republic content well land in this galaxy.
The massive Lucasfilm Publishing initiative launched in January, and Charles Soule's Light of the Jedi quickly found its way onto the New York Times' Bestsellers list. That story was shortly followed by Claudia Gray's young adult novel, Into the Dark, Justina Ireland's A Test of Courage, and Marvel and IDW's ongoing comic series from Cavan Scott and Daniel José Older, respectively.
Propelling Star Wars fans into uncharted territories of the timeline, The High Republic has been met with great acclaim, and anticipation runs high for the next tales in the time period waiting to be told. As has become customary with Lucasfilm Publishing, there are surprise announcements in store at any given moment - and High Republic fans have just received one in the form of a new comic series...
THE HIGH REPUBLIC COMIC SERIES - WITH AN X-FILES TWIST
The official Star Wars website has announced that author Daniel José Older will be penning a new Marvel Comics mini-series, Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows. A description and variant cover for the first issue of the project were shared as well, and can be seen below:
Following the shocking events of the Republic Fair, the Jedi call upon one of their own, Emerick Caphtor, to investigate a strange mystery with ties to the Jedi Order. At the same time, Chancellor Lina Soh calls upon Sian Holt, a high-end, in-demand private detective to look into the same mystery. But will either solve this riddle before anyone else dies?
Older summed up the project simply, sharing his excitement for the "thrilling, creepy, delightful story:"
“I am beyond excited to be working on this thrilling, creepy, delightful story...my lifelong love for Star Wars with my lifelong love of noir, crime stories, and mystery.”
Michael Siglain, Lucasfilm Publishing creative director, says the aim is to put a Star Wars twist on a story inspired by classic detective relationships:
“We’re certainly looking to iconic detective relationships as inspiration."
Ario Anindito, one of the variant cover's artists, likened the partnership of the two main characters to those in the X-Files:
“One is more spiritual with the Jedi conduct, has his own personal and emotional approach to things, and the other is more into the detective side: sharp, practical and logical. Those personalities made interesting chemistry.”
Siglain affirmed this, but insisted that the High Republic lens would be front and center:
“There are definite Dave and Maddie and Mulder and Scully vibes. And maybe even a hint of Nick and Nora Charles, but all by way of a galaxy far, far away, and all through the lens of The High Republic.”
Trail of Shadows will directly tie-in with Cavan Scott's forthcoming novel, The Rising Storm, though the creators wouldn't get too specific. Marvel editor Tom Groneman teased that the story will have huge ramifications for the galaxy as a whole:
“The mystery at the center of our story will expose cracks and splinters in the mighty foundation built by the Jedi. The hunt for the truth and the trail that leads to understanding the scope of this threat will not only affect our two detectives but also have ramifications for the entire galaxy.”
Speaking of The Rising Storm, a Target exclusive cover for the novel was also revealed, and will hit shelves on June 29:
Additionally, variant covers for Justina Ireland's Out of the Shadows, releasing on July 27, were also revealed, and can be seen below.
The Target exclusive cover:
The Walmart exclusive cover can be seen here:
WHAT'S TO COME FOR THE HIGH REPUBLIC
A very wise Jedi Master once said not to look to the future, to the horizon, but it's difficult not to with such an exciting lineup of High Republic content on the way.
The first wave of stories revolved around the Great Disaster, a colossal hyperspace crash that led to the loss of millions of lives. Light of the Jedi and Into the Dark did a phenomenal job of setting the tone for the time period, and it was made abundantly clear that era's villains, the Nihil, were just beginning their reign of terror on the galaxy.
It sounds like the next major attack will transpire at the Republic Fair, set around a year after the initial events of the High Republic storyline. With that attack likely being the focal point of The Rising Storm, it's only natural that other stories would be present to explore the situation from other perspectives.
And it sounds as though Trail of Shadows will be doing that and then some, taking a deep dive into the assault that transpires through the lens of a Jedi and a private detective, who will uncover stunning secrets.
Many Star Wars readers had been wondering when another High Republic title would be added to the Marvel Comics line, and at last they have their answer. While no official release date for the first issue was shared, one can hazard a safe guess that it won't be too long after some of the other stories in the second wave make their debuts to establish the events in question.
The title Trail of Shadows is undoubtedly intended to connect with Ireland's Out of the Shadows, hinting that the Jedi and Republic will be forced to face threats previously unseen. While the Nihil revealed themselves to be the criminals behind the Great Disaster, leader Marchion Ro undoubtedly has bigger plans in mind for how to wreak havoc across the galaxy, and it will be up to the heroes to keep the citizens safe.
In truth, the regular covers for The Rising Storm and Out of the Shadows left a bit to be desired. While the art is well done, the covers lack the majestic nature of some of their counterparts, like Light of the Jedi. Fortunately, the store exclusive covers each look phenomenal, giving more spotlight to height of the Jedi Order and the darkness of the Nihil.
Lucasfilm Publishing has stressed that The High Republic initiative will be big, but the true scale and scope of the project still remains an unknown. How far along Phase One of the project is has yet to be disclosed, and with more projects like Trail of Shadows being announced at random, there's a good chance this storyline has a long way to go.
Strap in, pick a cover, dive into mystery, and enjoy the ride - these stories will be making fine additions to readers' collections.