If there’s one thing I didn’t expect from Star Wars: The High Republic, it’s “an elaborate ruse involving a galactic pop star.” Midnight Horizon, the latest novel by Daniel José Older, scratches this one from the bingo card.
I managed to catch up with Older before the book launched on Feb. 1, and he describes it as one of the most fun writing experiences he’s ever had. However, it also swings its Jedi heroes into a dark new era.
Older always dreamed of working on Star Wars. In fact, he wanted to play in this universe since he was three years old.
“One of my first dream jobs was creating monsters for the Creature Shop,” he says. “In a way, I totally do now. I don’t have the aesthetic genius, the patience, or the glue gun skills to build monsters, but creating them on the page turns out to be a whole different guy. of thrill.”
The High Republic – essential information
Announced in 2020, The High Republic is a canon series of novels and comics set hundreds of years before The Phantom Menace. The Jedi are at their peak here, but a dangerous new threat known as the Nihil is emerging to threaten this peace. An upcoming video game called Star Wars: Eclipse is set around this time, and a new TV show called Star Wars: Acolyte will also explore this time period.
He got his first opportunity in 2018’s Solo tie-in book, Last Shot, and is now tasked with helping define a series that lands on lists of the best Star Wars books and Star Wars gifts. Indeed, La Haute République takes us into uncharted territory; Until recently, Disney’s new Star Wars novels were mostly concerned with filling in gaps or expanding on what we’ve seen before. This series changed all that by exploring events that took place centuries before the movies ever happened. Built from the ground up by a who’s who of Star Wars talent, these authors crafted what was then called “Project Luminous” at Skywalker Ranch in 2018.
“That’s the best part and the hardest part,” Older says of the band’s work together. “I love a challenge, I think we all love it, and it’s been so cool to see this story grow between us. It also really helps to have four friends writing side-by-side. We’re learning from each other. others and we grow as we go. Writers. Coordination is hard, sure, and it turns out it’s just as hard when it’s with yourself as it is with other writers. had a few crossover moments between the comics and Midnight Horizon and I’m still scratching my head on how it all came together – [it’s] one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as a writer.”
Midnight Horizon comes at the end of the initiative’s first arc, and it follows the Padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jomaram as they go into hiding to thwart an attack on Han Solo’s homeworld of Corellia (though a few hundred years before the birth of the smuggler, of course). It’s not the kind of mission we’re used to seeing from Jedi, and it was crucial for Older – to keep things interesting, it was important that his heroes couldn’t just get their way out of a bind. with a lightsaber.
“In a way, you’re always trying to get your characters out of their comfort zone. For the Jedi, they’re those incredibly powerful and wise heroes who have trained their whole lives for all kinds of situations. That means we, in As writers, we have to be very creative and sometimes cruel when we build conflict around them.”
According to Older, this is part of the reason he introduced a character called Crash. As “a chaotic and hilarious tour guide through the underbelly and upper echelons of Corellia”, they are an unpredictable wildcard in defying Jedi self-assurance. Considering that’s probably where this crazy conspiracy involving pop stars came from, I’m not complaining.
Midnight Horizon comes at the end of the initiative’s first arc, but like other products of this High Republic wave, it can stand on its own despite being “very conversational with the other books”. Much of this is down to the freedom Older has had to shape his own corner of the Star Wars universe.
“I felt a lot more free with this project because I kind of commandeered a little corner of the galaxy to play with these kids,” he notes. “Corellia itself is largely unknown at this time, so I was able to go wild with the local politics, traditions and culture. [The Lucasfilm] Story Group was a big help with all of this as well, but overall it’s been such a different experience from writing in the more established days of the Skywalker saga.”
While The High Republic started out as an optimistic look at Jedi in fine form, things seem to be taking a dark turn with the next wave of stories – the “light of the Jedi” is apparently going out, and not all characters will survive. not .
This unique flavor is partly due to the fact that there is no pre-existing movie or plot to tie into; there is a feeling of freedom. However, that’s not to say the High Republic went exactly as planned in 2018. While its central arc is well-defined, the road there is much more nebulous.
“It’s been a great mix of getting to know the rhythms of the larger story, both in the initiative, in the galactic story, and for the main characters, but still having room to be fluid, improvise, see where things go. So I learned a lot of characters that I didn’t expect, and really enjoyed moving around within the confines of this massive story.”
While some would find these limitations frustrating, Older found the inspiration that kept him going.
“I think the importance of story and world-building is something I’ve always admired in Star Wars, and even more so from within,” he tells me. “It’s amazing to work with all these wonderful creators who are so immersed in it, both in the galactic story and in the narrative story of the world itself. I really admire the love that everyone at Lucasfilm has for this job.”
Speaking of which, what advice does Older have for fans hoping to become Star Wars writers themselves one day?
“I would say focus on the chops of storytelling: character development, how stories work, world-building, rather than getting to know the intricacies of the Star Wars universe itself. Of course, you want watch and read a ton of Star Wars stuff, but you “I probably already do that. What makes Star Wars great is great storytelling, and that’s what they always look for from writers. “
Star Wars The High Republic: Midnight Horizon is now available on Amazon as a hardcover book for $14.39and it will launch in the UK on February 10.
Looking for more reading material? Here are the very best game books and the best video game art books you can add to your collection. As for something a little fancier, you can always check out our guide on how to read The Witcher’s Books.