The High Republic begins two centuries before The Phantom Menace, illustrating an era of peace and prosperity. The Jedi reign and the Galactic Senate hold power. It’s a golden age. But while authors Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older, Claudia Gray, Cavan Scott, and Charles Soule were imagining these halcyon days of the galaxy far, far away, the real world was dealing with upheaval and widespread horror.
Creating in the age of COVID-19 is no easy feat. Orchestrating a huge publishing initiative meant to shape the future of Star Wars for years to come wouldn’t have been easy in the before times. But this team of intrepid creatives have managed just that. In fact, what could have been an overwhelming undertaking became a support group of sorts.
“Writing is a lonely profession, and this past year could have made that so much worse for us,” Scott told Nerdist. “We’re really lucky that we’ve had this group, and that we’ve had this team. We’ve been able to create through it and I think that’s the joy of Star Wars and the joy of this kind of project.”
Older agreed: “To add onto that, on the comics side Harvey Tolibao is doing the art on the IDW stuff and it’s incredible. Then getting to be the go-between looking at the concept art from Lucasfilm and Disney, then passing it onto Harvey and seeing what he does with it and how he transforms it. And then seeing how Ario [Anindito] does it in the Marvel comic, it’s all of these different voices coming together to create this and that’s what makes it really special.”
A good analogy for the process, Older explained, would be “the different ideas of the Force.” He said, “Some see it as music, some as an ocean, some as a wave, some as a city. It’s the same Force but different Jedi come to it with their different understandings of how it works. And that’s true of story too and all of the different creators involved with this. That’s what’s been fascinating. It’s been like onsite learning about how different people process and think through story. We’re all just learning so much. Just constantly learning about each other and about our own process and getting to do it in one world. Finding out how to make things cohesive with that truth is really the best part and the greatest challenge of the whole thing.”
Though it all sounds quite dreamy, there’s of course a level of chaos to the process. “What Daniel is trying to say is,” Ireland laughed, “Imagine a kitchen and one chef says, ‘I’m gonna make chocolate lava cake.’ And then the other chef says, ‘No, I’m gonna make chicken cordon bleu.’ And meanwhile, the kitchen is also on fire. And the people in the restaurant have no idea what this kitchen looks like. All you know is the meal you are served is a beautiful chicken cordon bleu and a brilliant haricot vert and for dessert there’s lava cake!”
Soule shared what the unexpected support network looks like. “We have a Slack channel that we use as a way to connect about the projects and ask each other questions, get comments, help each other,” Soule explained. “We also have a weekly call. To a degree, writing is solitary, so you do have to go off and sit and type it, write your manuscripts. But we have built in a system where we’re all in constant dialogue about our stories. Whenever anyone needs help or input or feedback, whatever it might be, we have built a lot of systems that allow us to be there for each other. That’s something I don’t think any one of us really anticipated when this started. But here we are and I really wouldn’t have it any other way.”
You can find more about The High Republic here!