Earlier this week, Lucasfilm revealed the Star Wars: The High Republic. This is a new era they will be focusing on in their books and comics, and they hope to usher in an era of quality storytelling with this publication push. Hopefully, it’ll bring with it risky stories, epic tales of consequence, and a whole new batch of characters readers can fall in love with all over again.
Among many of us here at the site, the comparisons were obvious. This would essentially be a shared pocket universe, with each story likely having crossover or elements from the others — kinda like what comic books have been doing forever. It’s an ambitious approach to storytelling, and one that will span across demographics and publishers.
The Comic Book Comparison
“ This started way back when,” Lucasfilm Publishing creative director Michael Siglain said in a roundtable interview. “This was an idea that I always wanted to do with Star Wars publishing, in that I wanted to tell a massive story, told across multiple formats over multiple years, for every type of fan. So if you’re only reading a Del Rey novel or you’re only reading a Marvel comic, you’re getting one piece of the story. But if you’re a core fan and you’re reading a Del Rey novel and a YA novel and a Marvel comic, you’re getting a much bigger part of the story. You’re getting the whole picture. It’s not as if it’s one story aged down or up depending upon format, there’s not one “A” story. Every one of these stories is the “A” story, and then they combine together into a massive, massive story.”
So, while each of the stories would likely be standalone in nature — hence, each one being the “A” story — you would only be getting a small piece of the whole story.
Siglain continued, “The origin of this is really a comic book crossover, only instead of one super hero crossing over with another and another, it’s different publishers crossing over with each other, with one story or character leading into another.”
I’d like to posit a different metaphor. Perhaps it can better be likened to something like A Song of Ice and Fire. Except, instead of getting the entire story, you get each perspective separated into its own story. So, if you were to follow each perspective by itself, it’d still be a complete story. Though while it could tell the complete arc of the character, each “book” likely wouldn’t give us a complete view of the picture as a whole. In essence, it’s a tapestry of a greater piece that could somehow still stand on its own.
Yes, I understand I’m really stretching with this metaphor, but I think it’s slightly better than the comic book one. And I think it’s a pretty cool idea, and I love the fact that they’re taking the time to plan this all out. But is this the best approach?
Is It The Right Approach?
I’ll admit, I have one small beef with this whole thing: the demographics. Okay, so I don’t really mind them telling a bigger story over several connected, tangential books. What I worry about is that in order to get the whole picture, adult fans have to read kids books and kids have to read adult books. Is this the best way to go about splitting things up? That is my question, and to be honest, I’m not sure I know the solution.
On one hand, one could argue that they should keep one entire era of storytelling to one demographic — kids, teens, or adults — but that would only limit the types of stories that can be told within that era. On the other hand, you could make each demographic and medium have its own stories that intertwine — but that would run the risk of these stories feeling arbitrarily siloed off from one another.
It’s kind of a no-win situation here, so all we can do is hope that even the kids books are appealing enough for all audiences that they can keep the attention of adult readers. It’s certainly not impossible — Pixar has managed to do that for decades now — but we can only hope it’s a task they’re up for.
What do you think of this whole thing? What would you do if you were in charge at Lucasfilm? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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