The largest multimedia publishing campaign in Lucasfilm history, The High Republic, which began releasing new canon novels and comics in early 2021, sees the Star Wars galaxy rewound some 200 years before the Prequels. And now in Phase II, we go back yet another 150 years into the past. Today sees the release of Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton’s ‘Path of Deceit,’ and I for one cannot wait to dive into this new era of Star Wars history.
But if you’ve kept up with the Phase I releases since Light of the Jedi and have paid close attention to some of the finer details, you’ll probably already be familiar with plenty of events that are set to shape Phase II. Within the many Phase I titles were conveniently scattered a number of historical bits that occurred “over a century ago” or “a century and a half ago.” And that’s exactly what we’ll be discussing today – some of the many instances where we get a mix of subtle and not-so-subtle hints as to what we can expect from the upcoming slate of novels, comics, and more in Phase II of the High Republic. Phase II is also known as the ‘Quest of the Jedi’ era, and woven directly onto the pages of nearly each Phase I title are hints as to what we can expect from Phase II. Some spoilers to follow, but so we’re all clear on the time jump:
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace: 32 BBY (32 years before the first Death Star exploded)
- The High Republic: Phase I: 232 BBY (200 years before the Prequels)
- The High Republic: Phase II: c. 382 BBY (150 years before Phase I)
In the original Star Wars trilogy, much of what we got to see of the galaxy was from the Outer Rim territories, planets on the outskirts of space. This was stylistically important: worlds like Tatooine mirrored the lawless nature of the early American Frontier, while other worlds like Hoth, Yavin, and Dagobah were relatively uninhabited worlds utilized for their ability to hide away from the reach of the Empire.
But by Phase I, some 200 years before Episode I, the Outer Rim is best known by the Republic as the Frontier, as many of these worlds have only recently (on a galactic timeframe) been reached by the Republic. Recently meaning within the last hundred and fifty years that is. According to Light of the Jedi, the San Tekka Clan made their fortune “a century or so ago,” prospecting hyperspace.
Hyperspace, or faster-than-light travel, has been a constant in Star Wars since the first film, and while hyperspace travel existed long before the High Republic, the specific Hyperspace Lanes that reach out to the Outer Rim territories have only recently been discovered, namely about 150 years before Phase I. The Rising Storm tells us that the Republic first entered Togruta Space “150 years ago,” and that “a century or so ago,” the Republic had used antique courier droids in their first push into the frontier. Undoubtedly this will be a primary feature in Phase II of the High Republic, as it’s also been highly teased in its trailers. This is all very exciting, as Midnight Horizon claimed that during the Republic expansion into the outer rim, “a generation ago,” lightsaber use was more common, so we should be seeing a lot more lightsaber action in the novels and comics to come.
As mentioned above, certain families like the San Tekka’s became very wealthy as prominent hyperspace prospectors. 150 years before Phase I was essentially equivalent to the American Gold Rush in the 19th century, but with Hyperspace lanes opening up the galaxy to new worlds, and to new threats. Another family, the Grafs, gained their wealth “a generation before” as hyperspace prospectors, according to Out of the Shadows. It clarifies that “a few hundred years ago,” the Grafs weren’t rich, until they went into Hyperspace Prospecting. On the San Tekka front, it was said that a vollka (a large feline creature) named Remy was discovered by an “adventurous” San Tekka over a century ago. Surely this will all tie into the narrative of the Phase II time period solidly. And unfortunately, this also means we’re likely to get some backstory on what happened to poor little Mari San Tekka.
Mari San Tekka
One of the more mysterious characters in Phase I of the High Republic is Mari San Tekka, an ancient woman who had the unheard of ability to guide ships through hyperspace and to find many of these lanes (or “paths”) on her own. She was abducted at a young age, and was kept alive to find unique paths for the Nihil, a band of Outer Rim marauders. According to Light of the Jedi, Mari was “beyond ancient.” At 6 years old, Mari began prospecting, but something changed in her mind when she began to see hyperspace differently. She was a savant in the field, and because of it she was abducted from her family.
In Out of the Shadows we learn that the Mari San Tekka holovid seen was “over a hundred years old,” from right after she went missing. Mari’s going missing was one of the biggest mysteries “about a hundred years ago,” after the hyperspace rush. By 252 BBY, or 20 years prior to The High Republic’s Phase I, Mari is said to be “a century old,” as per the Eye of the Storm comic. According to The Rising Storm she’s presumed to be older than Pan Eyta, one of the Nihil Tempest Runners, who happens to be dowutan, a species known for their longer-than-human lifespans. Pan himself was said to have been alone since he was 8, having been thrown from his nest, so it’s possible Phase II will showcase more of his backstory as well.
Speaking of Nihil backstories, Marchion Ro’s ancestors were said to have trusted the Jedi in the past and that it “cost them greatly.” The possibility for storytelling here is rife.
The War on Dalna
And while we’re on the topic of storytelling elements that are rife, a century or so before Phase I, Dalna was part of a war which left a culture of blaster ownership rife, as is explained in A Test of Courage. A Frontier world featured prominently in the young adult and middle grade novels of Phase I, Dalna was a world that was newly settled when the Jedi and Republic answered a cry for help, as told in Mission to Disaster. It also claims the “the Jedi Temple on Dalna was newer; only a century and a half old.” The Temple was built in the aftermath of a “devastating battle,” one which the Dalnans blame the Jedi for.
We don’t know the specifics of the War on Dalna, other than the Jedi had fought the Republic’s battle for them, and Out of the Shadows calls the battle a “massacre.” The events in The Fallen Star end in tragedy, and the book describes it as “the greatest disaster to the Republic in a century, perhaps more.” Most likely this disaster that happened over a century ago dealt with the people of Dalna. I can’t wait to find out what happened here. The comic Trail of Shadows claims that some areas of the Jedi Archive regarding Dalna have been deleted, so you know it’s a juicy tale.
The Blade of Bardotta
One of the more exciting Jedi characters to be introduced in the High Republic is none other than the legendary Porter Engle, an ikkrukkian male known by many as the “Blade of Bardotta.” Not much is known yet about how he got the title, but Light of the Jedi claims he’s “over 300” years old and The Rising Storm claims he’s made the rank of Master “many times over.” This is a tale that’s been confirmed for Phase II in an upcoming Charles Soule’ comic called ‘The Blade.’ Discovering how Porter became the legendary ‘Blade of Bardotta’ will certainly be a tale you don’t want to miss.
Other Possible Seeds
There are surely dozens of other hints as to what we can expect from the imminent Phase II of the High Republic that are seeded throughout Phase I. For instance, A Test of Courage says that roughly 300 years prior to Phase I an almanac was created to help chart habitable worlds, something we’ll likely see put into effect as new worlds are reached by the Republic. Midnight Horizon hints that the now-banned Spiral-Class Viz-Core Eviscerators, starfighters that could puncture holes into ships and burrow through their reactor cores, were about 200 years old and were used in the war between Eiram and E’ronoh and the Battle of Jedha. It’s also teased that at this time the Bonbrak population (small hairy sentient beings) hadn’t been stable on worlds like Corellia for “more than a century” thanks to illicit trade.
Whether any or all of these topics will be touched upon is unknown, at least to me (as I’ve steered pretty clear of any Phase II spoilers), but the timing of each of these events seems extremely fitting. While not all the titles quoted above have made their way to the Timeline Journal as of posting this, you can find many more small timeline related notes and nuggets of information from a number of Star Wars titles by visiting our Timeline Journal.
Now that I’ve had the opportunity to explore what may occur, let’s see what actually does! Path of Deceit is available to read right now!