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Film Codex

Box Office Report: Weekend of 4/23 – Mortal Kombat Opens Strong as Demon Slayer Comes in Close Second

By @HolocronJosh for @FilmCodex

Warner Bros’ Mortal Kombat debuted to strong domestic numbers in its opening weekend in the U.S. From Friday to Sunday, the film adaption of the famous video game franchise took in $22.5 million, a big number during the pandemic.

The film benefited from the largely favorable reviews which praised the action and directing, and currently holds a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, a good number for a video game adaption compared to some of the others.

Meanwhile, ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train’ came in second place, but came close to Mortal Kombat with a surprising $19.5 million. The overall box office in take from these top two films of the weekend made it the largest since the pandemic began. Good news for studios who plan to increase their rollout of films as the summer looms.

Internationally, Godzilla vs. Kong continued its impressive box office performance as it hit the $400 million mark worldwide. Of that total, $320 million came from international markets, where the film has been embraced especially warmly by audiences.

Meanwhile, Demon Slayer’s success has brought its total gross to a whopping $456 million. Studios are bound to be impressed by Mortal Kombat and Demon Slayer’s numbers this weekend.

Stay tuned to Film Codex for more news, reviews, and box office numbers!

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Marvel Tesseract

REVIEW: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 6

by @holocronGeorge for @mar_tesseract

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 6

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Or, should I say, Captain America and the Winter Soldier. 

The conclusion we’ve all been anticipating since the first moments of the series, with Sam finally taking up the mantle of Captain America, came to fruition in this week’s season finale, an action-packed and entertaining, yet somewhat predictable and underwhelming ending.

Going into the season finale, episode 6, titled One World, One People, had a lot to accomplish. Two of the five episodes that aired so far largely gave the central narrative a backseat and, as such, it was difficult to go into the finale without a feeling of: so, this is it? It just seems that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had so many different avenues to explore and, just when things started to get far more interesting in the last few episodes, the season is coming to a premature close. 

And this season closer doesn’t waste any time as we’re thrown right into the mix of things from the start. This was a little jarring considering the meandering pace of the last episode, emphasizing a more systemic issue with this series’ pacing. That being said, the brisk pace affords a host of exciting opportunities for climatic action and suspense. It’s an action-packed episode with each and every sequence expertly crafted by director Kari Skogland.

Where this finale particularly struggles is how all of the different characters’ plot threads come to a conclusion. With John Walker joining Sam and Bucky, Karli becoming increasingly radical despite her good intentions, and the reveal of Sharon as the seemingly not so villainous Power Broker, it’s difficult to discern what we’re supposed to think of all these characters in the end. This season has played around extensively with themes of heroism and villainy, making us question who should we really be rooting for. But, come the end of the season, we’re left with unsatisfying answers to this question. Walker seemed to have become a villain, consumed by his rage that finally unveiled his true colors. So, it was confusing to see him be turned into a hero allying with our titular characters. Also confusing was where we’re supposed to land on Karli in the end. Her intentions to oppose the displacement of survivors of the Snap have been relatable since the introduction of the Flag Smashers. But, after teasing a redemption and an alliance with Sam, Karli becomes more and more merciless. Yes, we as an audience agree with her fight wholeheartedly, but not at all with the way she conducted this fight. What message were they going for exactly with their final alignment of Walker, Karli, and Sharon? Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell.

The episode triumphs, however, in spotlighting Sam Wilson as Captain America. The suit is incredible, as is Anthony Mackie’s stellar performance once again as the character. Previous conversations regarding what it would be like for a Black man to be Captain America are fully capitalized on and exploring in touching and emotionally resonant ways. This is hammered home in Sam’s conversation with Isaiah, highlighting one of the series’ brightest moments.

Verdict: 6.5/10

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier comes to a somewhat abrupt and underwhelming conclusion after significant improving in recent episodes. Convoluted character values and jarring pacing, however, are offset by well-executed attention to relevant sociopolitical themes and a slew of enthralling action sequences. 

Images courtesy of Marvel Studios and Disney+

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Marvel Tesseract

Captain America 4 in Development

By @HolocronJosh for @Mar_Tesseract

A new Captain America movie is in the works at Marvel Studios and Disney, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

This is hot off the heels of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the Disney+ series which shows Sam Wilson’s transition from Falcon to Captain America. He gave up the shield in the first episode, and it was given to John Walker before finally finding its way back to Wilson.

Malcom Spellman, the head writer on that show, is returning to write the script with Dalan Musson, who also worked on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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Star Wars Holocron

Maya Erskine Joins Cast of Obi-Wan Kenobi

By @HolocronJosh for @sw_holocron

The upcoming Disney+ show ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ has added another cast member: Maya Erskine.

Erksine, best known for her starring and creator role in PEN-15, will appear in at least three episodes of the show, according to Deadline.

Erksine joins a diverse cast for the show that includes Ewan McGregor in the starring role, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Moses Ingram, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Rupert Friend, Simone Kessell, and Benny Safdie. Hayden Christensen will also reprise his role as the infamous Darth Vader – the first live action performance he’ll make in the franchise since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith.

The series is scheduled to begin filming this month.

Source: Deadline

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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

It’s incredible to think that we are mere weeks away from the 30th anniversary of Heir to the Empire and, therefore, the debut of the one and only Grand Admiral Thrawn. The blue-skinned, intimidating officer of the Chiss Ascendancy turned Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy has been a seemingly ever-present fixture in Star Wars following his debut in author Timothy Zahn’s 1991 novel. 

The character’s incredible longevity is further evidenced by his most recent appearance in Thrawn Ascendancy Book 2: Greater Good, the middle installment of Zahn’s latest Thrawn trilogy. A follow-up to last year’s Chaos Rising, Zahn continues expanding Thrawn’s backstory as a member of the Chiss Ascendancy  following the victory for the House of Miith out in the Unknown Regions. As many second parts go, the underlying threat was not extinguished and now it’s time to face enemies who don’t appear to be enemies…

Greater Good continues in the fashion of its predecessors in crafting a tale rather distinct from other events and characters in Star Wars lore. Thrawn’s introduction in the aforementioned Heir to the Empire and his role in projects like Star Wars Rebels and Zahn’s first canon trilogy are largely centered around established moments and plot lines – Thrawn is brought IN to the fold of existing plot machinations. This is a relatively, and refreshingly, stark contrast to Zahn’s work on the Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy. Despite taking place during the Clone Wars, Greater Good feels beautifully disconnected from other stories. In fact, this is one of the most disconnected tales we’ve gotten in canon yet, as it really feels like the adventures of Thrawn and his crew are occurring in their own little world. This allows for a lot of world-building and expansion in that, as a reader, we’re being immersed in the conflict at hand, rather than trying to piece together its relevance relative to other plotlines. This is a tale about Thrawn and the Chiss Ascendancy, a tale in the Unknown Regions, a tale not beholden to preexisting events necessarily. 

As such, however, this requires readers to be on their toes a little bit. It’s been a little while since I read Chaos Rising and there were times where I felt like I could have done with a bit more of a refresher, particularly regarding the world-building of the Chiss in that novel. At times, this issue is heightened by the introduction of a whole host of new characters, many of whom are difficult to keep track of and, ultimately, detract away from our focus on Thrawn. That being said, the novel really excels when it centers on Thrawn, the central plot, and some of the more interesting attempts at world building.

Similar to many of the best Legends books, Greater Good adopts an interesting storytelling that fosters a sense of empathy toward our titular character. In canon, Thrawn is introduced as an antagonist to the crew in Rebels – a heartless servant of the Empire. But, that isn’t exactly the Thrawn we get here. Thrawn is more relatable and his intentions are understandable, although it’s difficult to not see the impending darkness within on the horizon. This is a unique opportunity afforded by presenting this story in novel format. A story like this is perfectly designed to unfold in a trilogy of novels, as opposed to a television series or theatrical films. We’re given a more introspective glance into the inner-workings of Thrawn, something Zahn has captured brilliantly over the last 30 years.

Unfortunately, at times, the book feels much like a preview of the final installment of the trilogy releasing later this year – Lesser Evil. Indeed, I finished Greater Good and just wanted to pick up the next book immediately, in large part because this second chapter doesn’t progress at the speed and with the momentum one would hope. Nonetheless, Book II: Greater Good works incredibly well as a neo-noir mystery novel with interest increasing as the events unfold.

Verdict:

Author Timothy Zahn and Del Rey’s newest venture into the world of Thrawn excels far more than it fails. The novel is bogged down by some convoluted world-building, disinteresting side characters, and sluggish pacing, but the uniqueness of the Chiss culture and Unknown Regions, the superb action sequences, and the brilliance of our titular character carry the story brilliantly into the upcoming final chapter of the trilogy.

Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good hits bookshelves Tuesday April 27th

Images courtesy of Del Rey and Lucasfilm

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Film Codex

Box Office Report – Weekend of 4/16 – ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Is Number One Again

By @HolcronJosh for @FilmCodex

Godzilla vs. Kong’ has topped the domestic and international box office once again this weekend. After surpassing expectations with pandemic high totals so far, the latest in the monsterverse franchise took in another $7.7 million domestically, taking its total to $80.5 million. This is an impressive total given rising COVID-19 cases amidst a global pandemic.

Worldwide, the film has accumulated $390 million worldwide. According to Deadline, the film is poised to make a profit, a rarity in the pandemic movie market. Although no numbers have officially been released, the film has certainly brought subscribers to HBO Max, adding to the total brought in through theaters. Warner Bros. are certainly happy.

Elsewhere, Nobody came second once again with $2.52 million to a total of $19.05 million. The film was recently released on VOD, which has brought in more money for the Bob Odenkirk project. Rounding out the top 5 domestically are, once again, The Unholy, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Tom and Jerry.

Mortal Kombat will release next weekend and is expected to see good box office returns. More theaters are open now than ever since the start of the pandemic, a fact that could see the latest Warner Bros./HBO Max release rake in a large amount of money.

Stay tuned to Film Codex for our review of Mortal Kombat next week, along with next week’s box office report!

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Star Wars Holocron

The Five Deaths of Shaak Ti Explained

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

From Maul to Boba to Palpatine, Star Wars has a long standing tradition of death not being taken too seriously. But Shaak Ti really takes the cake with dying not once, not twice, not 3 times, not even 4 times, but a whopping 5 times in Star Wars lore. In this article, we’re going to take a look at each and every one of Shaak Ti’s deaths – how she died, in what project did it occur, the history surrounding it, behind the scenes info, and more. 

Death #1

After an extremely brief appearance in Attack of the Clones, Shaak Ti was due to play a much more significant role in Revenge of the Sith. The beginning of Episode III originally featured a much longer Battle of Coruscant that spanned nearly a full hour. In addition to more obstacles faced by Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine, this opening act of Revenge of the Sith also portrayed one of 5 deaths of Shaak Ti. 

Anakin and Obi-Wan are traveling along the halls of the Invisible Hand when they come across a despondent Shaak Ti on her knees in front of General Grievous. It is implied that Shaak Ti was captured at the same time Palpatine was on Coruscant and, as such, is being kept prisoner by Grievous like the Chancellor himself. After apologizing to Anakin and Obi-Wan for failing to protect Palpatine, Grievous brutally stabs Shaak Ti from behind – killing her immediately. 

This marks the earliest version of Shaak’s death as it appeared in George Lucas’ first drafts of the Revenge of the Sith script. Lucas originally planned for Shaak to die at the hands of General Grievous and then have Tsui Choi, a Jedi from the Expanded Universe, take her seat on the Jedi Council. The inclusion of Shaak’s death in this manner actually leaked before the May 2005 release of the film across different fan sites and The Revenge of the Sith action figure of Shaak Ti even included a hole in her chest to reflect this version of her death. 

But, as we all know, Shaak Ti’s death was absent from Revenge of the Sith, which leads into…

Death #2

In the editing process of Revenge of the Sith, the Battle of Coruscant was radically cut down, which included the removal of Shaak Ti’s death at the hands of Grievous. At this time, Tartakovsky and colleagues were developing the final season of their Cartoon Network series. 

As a means to explain Shaak Ti’s absence in Revenge of the Sith, the microseries shows the Jedi die again, also at the hands of Grievous. 

Death #3

Star Wars Insider 87 stated that Shaak Ti’s deaths at this point, including one in Revenge of the Sith we haven’t got to yet, weren’t canon – meaning she lives past Episode III. This led to her appearance in the acclaimed video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, sporting a really cool new look. 

At this point, Shaak Ti had survived Order 66 and was in exile on the planet Felucia, where she trained a new Padawan and Force-sensitive natives.Her peace didn’t last long, however, as Darth Vader sent his apprentice – Galen Starkiller – to kill Shaak. Shaak and Starkiller engaged in an epic duel, but, eventually, Shaak was defeated by Starkiller.

Death #4

Weirdly enough, Death #4 is an alternate take on Shaak Ti’s death in The Force Unleashed. In the mobile version of the game, Shaak is killed when Felucian carnivorous plants are made to eat her by Starkiller. 

But, so far, all of these deaths are Legends or EU content. So, how does Shaak Ti die in canon?

Death #5

The fifth and final death of Shaak Ti is perhaps the most poignant and heartbreaking. George Lucas filmed not one, but two death scenes for the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith. 

The first death, the one aboard the Invisible Hand that I already mentioned, was written, filmed, and eventually scrapped in favor of a second death sequence occurring in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. 

As Palpatine instigates Order 66 and Anakin (as the newly anointed Darth Vader) raids the Temple, Shaak Ti is mediating in peace. Vader approaches Shaak Ti, who is unaware that Anakin has turned to the dark side. Before she becomes wary that something is wrong, Vader stabs and kills her with his lightsaber. 

This scene is included as a deleted scene on the Revenge of the Sith Blu-ray and on Disney+. It’s also shown in the LEGO Star Wars: The Video game adaptation of the film and in Yoda’s vision sequence in The Clone Wars.

With so many potential deaths, the 2016 reference book Star Wars: Galactic Atlas eventually confirmed that Death #5, her death in the Jedi Temple, was canon, rendering the others to be Legends or EU content. This is a good decision ultimately as The Force Unleashed and Clone Wars microseries are Legends content and her death aboard the Invisible Hand feels a little out of place amidst the important plot points occurring during Revenge of the Sith’s first act.

All in all though, there you have it – 5 deaths of Shaak Ti. This truly feels like something unique to Star Wars that other franchises simply don’t have – a franchise with some obscure character with barely any screentime being featured and explored so extensively in other projects, culminating in 5 unique takes on her death. 

Images courtsey of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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Marvel Tesseract

REVIEW: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 5

by @holocronGeorge for @mar_tesseract

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 5

The high octane, action-packed, spy thriller that was last week’s episode takes a step back in this week’s installment of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with an intimate and engaging episode that largely hits pause on the central plot. Episode 5, titled Truth, follows the aftermath of John Walker’s brutal murder of a Flag Smasher in public as Sam and Bucky reclaim the shield and step away from the conflict.

Truth feels, in many ways, like a brief interruption to our regularly scheduled programming that will conclude in next week’s finale. Whereas the last several episodes took significant leaps in propelling the plot forward – offering insight into Karli’s plans, developing John Walker as a character, and following Sam, Bucky, and Zemo as they try to stop the Flag Smashers – episode 5 slows things down significantly. The downside of this change in pace is that it feels a little jarring to largely halt our primary conflict in favor of a slower, more introspective episode. This isn’t to say the episode’s slower and more introspective moments don’t work – in fact, they’re fantastic and some of the most gripping moments in the series so far. But, this jarring narrative refocus seems indicative of a broader issue The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has had in pinning down a pace and cohesive narrative thread. 

That being said, this latest episode excels scene-after-scene in providing some of the best character development we’ve seen in the series yet. The financial conflict plaguing the Wilson family feels more organic and less forced than it did in the premiere episode, providing some great moments between Sam and Bucky. We really get to see their relationship build in a way we haven’t seen in previous films and episodes as the bitter back-and-forth banter is slowly replaced by a brotherly bond. In this sense, the episode’s change of focus allowed for this sort of character and relationship development in a way that more action-packed, plot-heavy episodes simply could not execute. Finally seeing Sam reclaim the shield and discuss difficult matters, including Bucky’s psychological trauma from his tenure as the Winter Soldier, was touching and intimate.

Speaking of intimate, perhaps the highlight of episode 5 was the conversation between San and Isaiah. Their exchange not only provides important plot context for Isaiah’s place in history as a Super Soldier, but it also offers a profoundly emotional and disturbing insight into the struggles of government manipulation, torture, injustice, the corrupted meaning of beloved symbols, and, perhaps most poignantly, what it means for a black man to be Captain America. So far, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has only skimmed the surface of certain sociopolitical matters that seem ripe for exploration in a series like this, but episode 5 capitalizes on this potential wholeheartedly. Isaiah’s tale is heartbreaking and, for a character we’ve only seen once before, it’s hard not to feel a deep, guttural sense of empathy for what the man went through. Carl Lumbly’s performance is outstanding, as is Anthony Mackie’s largely understated role in the scene. 

Beyond some of its poignant emotional touches, Truth also offers a few unexpected and interesting teases heading into the finale of the series and the future of the MCU more broadly. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss shows up out of nowhere as Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. This poses a lot of interesting questions about her role in the MCU, but it’s clear she’s up to no good following her conversation with Walker. Speaking of the ex-Captain America, Wyatt Russell puts in another incredible performance as the complex, troubled, and increasingly villainous U.S. Soldier, As the MCU has done with some of its best villains, whether it be Killmonger or Thanos, it puts us in a strange place to understand the rationalization of Walker’s actions and somewhat sympathize with the emotions he feels.

On a final note, Daniel Brühl’s Zemo very much felt short changed in this episode. I hope this isn’t the last we see of him, because there’s clearly so much more that could be done with this character, especially with an actor of Brühl’s caliber in the role. Regardless, we’re sure to see Zemo again at some point, whether it be in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier or another series, and his imprisonment on The Raft by the Wakandans is definitely an interesting turn for this character to take.

Verdict: 8/10

The Flag Smasher narrative takes an unexpected backseat in favor of a more intimate, slow paced installment. Sam and Bucky’s relationship is expanded more than ever and the episode touches on issues of race and patriotism with profoundly emotional effects, making Truth a satisfying penultimate episode ahead of next week’s finale.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Marvel Studios

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Star Wars Holocron

EXCLUSIVE SPREAD: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Mando and IG-88 silently walk into the building previously heavily guarded by a myriad of armed figures. After disposing of the enemies at the encampment, our titular character and his foe-turned-ally droid partner are closer to ‘the asset’ than ever. The tracking fob beeps louder and louder, more frequently and more frequently. They approach a silver pram only to uncover an infant of the same species as Yoda – a Baby Yoda, later known as Grogu. Disposing of IG-88, there’s an immediate connection between Mando and the Child…

And at the point, if it hadn’t happened already, we were already gripped by the stunning first series of The Mandalorian on Disney+. We can never get enough of The Mandalorian, which is why we’re particularly excited about Titan Comics’ upcoming release Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One. The book, which releases on May 18th, features character files, plot points, never-before-seen images, a complete episode guide, and a detailed behind the scenes look at how the iconic series came to life.

Ahead of the release of The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One, we’re happy to present an exclusive spread from the upcoming title:

MANDALORIAN ARMOR AND WEAPONS

To Mandalorians, armor is more than a metal covering to wear in battle: it is, in fact, a part of their identity and culture, something that makes them immediately recognizable by fellow warriors and enemies alike. In this regard, Mando’s gear is no exception.

Following the Mandalorian tradition, he wears a helmet with a T-shaped visor equipped with a macrobinocular viewplate, shoulder pauldrons, gauntlets, vambraces, a cuirass, a cape, and a bandolier. After receiving a camtono of beskar steel from the Client when he recovered and delivered the Child, Mando managed to replace his damaged armor with a full set.

Weapons are equally important, for they are, as stated by Mando himself, part of the Mandalorian religion. Indeed, the bounty hunter has plenty of weaponry at his disposal, such as a blaster pistol, a vibro-knife and an Amban sniper rifle – which can also be used as a taser or a sonic detector if needed. Further to this, Mando has also got several tricks up his sleeve: a whipcord launcher, dual flamethrowers and whistling birds—tiny missiles useful for striking multiple targets simultaneously. Before leaving Nevarro to reunite the Child with his people, the Mandalorian also receives a long-coveted device: a jetpack, often used by Mandalorian warriors as well as by other armed forces.

BEHIND THE SCENES

The concept art of Boba Fett—the first character to wear Mandalorian armor in a Star Wars film—was influenced from the “Man With No Name”—the character played by Clint Eastwood in three western movies by Sergio Leone. The same iconography inspired the design of Mando, making him a character full of mystery. Therefore, it is no coincidence that actor Pedro Pascal watched several samurai and western movies by Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone to get into the character, and was heavily inspired by Clint Eastwood in films such as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966). Pascal truly reached for the stars when it came to enhancing his performance: right before rehearsing for the season finale, the actor injured himself while walking out of the makeup trailer.

As he was about to film the ‘unmasking’ scene with droid IG-11, Pascal went to the hospital with his face covered in fake blood and wounds, unsurprisingly alarming the hospital personnel. Seven stitches later, however, the actor went back on set and shot the scene as originally planned, thus proving to be as tough and heroic as only a true Mandalorian would be. But Pedro Pascal was not the only one who portrayed the Mandalorian in the series. He actually modelled his performance around the physicality of his stunt doubles: Brendan Wayne, the weapons expert, who took care of the gunslinger aspect; and Lateef Crowder, the martial arts expert, who performed the fighting sequences. Therefore, the Mandalorian is the result of the work of three different people who act as one.

Cover art for The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One is presented below:

Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One will be released on May 18, 2021 and is available to preorder from Amazon and Forbidden Planet.

Images courtesy of Titan Comics

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Star Wars Holocron

New Details on Upcoming The High Republic Stories Revealed

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

StarWars.com recently announced official descriptions and additional details for a slew of upcoming projects in Phase I, Wave II of The High Republic. After a thrilling first wave that introduced us to Force-sensitive protectors of the Republic and an ominous, burgeoning enemy in the Nihil, we’re more excited than ever about what’s to come in the era before The Phantom Menace. Check out some of the upcoming titles in The High Republic initiative below:

The High Republic #6

The sixth issue of Cavan Scott’s Marvel Comics series arrives on June 2, 2021. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “HEART OF THE DRENGIR! New story arc! The REPUBLIC FRONTIER in crisis! The JEDI of STARLIGHT BEACON join forces with their most feared enemy to face the terror of the unstoppable DRENGIR horde. AVAR KRISS and her new allies fight nightmarish creatures on a harsh lava world. Can young Jedi KEEVE TRENNIS save her former master from the darkness? Also who or what is the GREAT PROGENITOR?!”

Hidden Danger – Part 1

Titan Magazines and Justina Ireland are delivering a new story set in The High Republic era as part of Star Wars Insider #203 on June 8. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “In preparation for the Republic Fair on Valo, the Agrarian and Agricultural Alliance is having their annual seed bank conference on Starlight Beacon.  This is a chance for the agricultural experts from all over the galaxy to come together to discuss experimental farming techniques and sustainability.  Administrator Velko Jahen and Starlight Beacon’s Head of Security Ghal Tarpfen have been stressed nearly to the breaking point with ensuring the safety of the Starlight while also making certain that the conference goes off without a hitch. And the pair will be pushed to the limit when the Drengir slither onto the scene…”

The Rising Storm

Del Rey and Cavan Scott team up for a follow-up to the acclaimed Light of the Jedi in this new adult novel that releases on June 29. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Following the dramatic events of Light of the Jedi, the heroes of the High Republic era return to face a shattered peace and a fearsome foe. In the wake of the Great Hyperspace Disaster and the heroism of the Jedi, the Republic continues to grow, bringing more worlds together under a single unified banner. Led by Chancellor Lina Soh, the spirit of unity extends throughout the galaxy, with the Jedi and newly established Starlight Beacon station at the vanguard. In celebration, the chancellor plans “The Republic Fair,” a showcase of the possibility and peace of the expanding Republic—a precept the Jedi hope to foster. Stellan Gios, Bell Zettifar, Elzar Mann, and others join the event as ambassadors of harmony. But as the eyes of the galaxy turn toward the Fair, so too does the fury of the Nihil. Their leader, Marchion Ro, is intent on destroying this spirit of unity. His storm descends on the pageantry and celebration, sowing chaos and exacting revenge. As the Jedi struggle to curb the carnage of the rampaging Nihil, they come face to face with the true fear their enemy plans to unleash across the galaxy. The kind of fear that even the Force cannot shield them from.”

Race to Crashpoint Tower

Also on June 29, Daniel José Older and Disney-Lucasfilm Press are coming out with this new middle grade novel. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Republic Fair is coming! Visitors from all over the galaxy are traveling to the planet Valo for a massive, awe-inspiring festival celebrating the Republic. While his fellow Valons prepare for the fair, Jedi Padawan Ram Jomaram is hiding out in his favorite place: a dingy garage filled with mechanical parts and tools. But when a security alarm goes off on the nearby hilltop nicknamed Crashpoint Peak, he ventures out with his trusty droid V-18 to investigate. There he discovers that someone has knocked out Valo’s communications tower—a frightening sign that Valo, and the Republic Fair, are in danger. Sure enough, as Ram races to warn the Jedi, the dreaded Nihil unleash a surprise attack! It’s up to Ram to face down the enemy at Crashpoint Tower and send a call for help to the Republic. Luckily, he’s about to get some assistance from unexpected new friends…”

The High Republic Adventures 6

Older’s fantastic High Republic Adventures series from IDW Publishing continues with the sixth issue on July 7. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “As the galaxy prepares for the Republic Fair, Qort and Farzala leave their Padawan friends to join Leox Gyasi and the crew of the Vessel on a secret mission for the Jedi. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out: literally everything.”

Out of the Shadows

Justina Ireland delivers a YA novel following her middle-grade book Into the Dark earlier this year. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The darkest secrets are the hardest to bring to light….Sylvestri Yarrow is on a streak of bad luck with no end of sight. She’s been doing her best to keep the family cargo business going after her mom’s death, but between mounting debt and increasing attacks by the Nihil on unsuspecting ships, Syl is in danger of losing all she has left of her mother. She heads to the galactic capital of Coruscant for help, but gets sidetracked when  she’s drawn into a squabble between two of the Republic’s most powerful families over a patch of space on the frontier. Tangled up in familial politics is the last place Syl wants to be, but the promise of a big payoff is enough to keep her interested…Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh has been summoned to Coruscant, but with no idea of why or by whom. She and her Padawan Imri Cantaros arrive at the capital along with Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus and his Padawan, Reath Silas—and are asked to assist with the property dispute on the frontier. But why? What is so important about an empty patch of space? The answer will lead Vernestra to a new understanding of her abilities, and take Syl back to the past…and to truths that will finally come out of the shadows.”

Tempest Runner

Following his acclaimed audio drama Dooku: Jedi Lost, Cavan Scott returns to this medium with a new audio drama from Del Rey on August 31. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “As one of Marchion Ro’s most trusted allies (well, as far as Marchion trusts anyone) Lourna Dee has carved out a place for herself as a leader among the Nihil. But it’s lonely at the top, and a Tempest Runner like Lourna is always watching her back for threats—whether those threats are from the Jedi or her fellow Nihil.”

The Edge of Balance

One of the more unique projects on the horizon is a Manga from Justina Ireland and Shima Shinya on September 7. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “In the aftermath of the Great Hyperspace Disaster, young Jedi Knight Lily Tora-Asi is assigned to help displaced civilians relocate to Banchii, a planet in the Inugg system far in the Outer Rim. While balancing the arrival of incoming settlers and teaching the Padawans on their Temple outpost, Lily must also confront an attack by the insidious Drengir and, after the events of the Republic Fair, deal with the growing threat of the Nihil. But the dangers to Lily and her Padawans are much closer than she thinks….”

Showdown at the Fair

And, finally, George Mann brings us a new storybook from Disney-Lucasfilm Press on October 5. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Republic Fair has come to the planet Valo, and everyone is celebrating. Until the dreaded Nihil launch a surprise attack and Burryaga the Wookiee and the other Jedi of the High Republic must save the day!”

Images courtesy of Disney, Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Del Rey, Viz, IDW Publishing, and Marvel Comics