The Seeds for The High Republic Phase Two

With phase one officially at an end, phase two of the High Republic is set to kick off later this year, starting in October. Most of the details are locked up tight, but we do know that the phase will jump back in time to 150 years before phase one, shedding light on events hinted at throughout the books and comics so far. The first wave will include the Del Rey novel Convergence from Zoraida Córdova, the young adult novel Path of Deceit from Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton, the middle grade novel Quest for the Hidden City from George Mann, the Dark Horse comic Quest of the Jedi from Claudia Gray, a Marvel ongoing from Cavan Scott, a Dark Horse graphic novel from Daniel José Older, and a Marvel miniseries from Charles Soule.

In general, phase two seems like it will be set in a period with much focus on exploring and settling the Outer Rim. The Grafs and the San Tekkas both rose to prominence in hyperspace prospecting during the era of expansion, so it’s almost certain that they’ll both continue to play important roles. The blurb for Quest for the Hidden City mentions hyperspace prospectors, so we’ll likely see some family members pop up there. Whether or not Mari San Tekka is old enough to have been kidnapped during phase two is hard to say for sure, but Asgar mentions in Eye of the Storm that Mari is already a century old when Marchion is a young boy, so it’s certainly possible it could happen towards the end of the phase.

One of the secondary plot lines in The Rising Storm is the Republic coming together with the very isolationist Togrutas for the first time, but the book does mention that the Republic first ventured into Togruta space “nearly 150 years” earlier. The rocky beginning to Republic/Togruta relations will definitely be an element of the phase and a consequence of the Outer Rim exploration.

This seems like it will be a bit of a darker, rougher time for Jedi than the prosperous era of phase one. In Midnight Horizon, Kantam reflects on how they’ve rarely seen a lightsaber extended for the kill, but things had been thornier during the Outer Rim expansion a generation earlier. Near the end of Light of the Jedi, following the conflict with the Nihil on Elphrona, Porter Engle is said to be quiet, “remembering what it felt like to be the Blade of Bardotta, and remembering why he once chose to never be that person again.” We already know Porter and the events that made him the Blade of Bardotta will be the focus of the Marvel miniseries in wave one from Charles.

As for familiar Jedi that we could see pop up aside from the obvious (Yoda, Porter, Sav), there are quite a few other long lived species we know of. Yaddle returns from a sabbatical on Kronk in Out of the Shadows, so it’s possible we could see her before that. Oppo Rancisis and Yarael Poof are already on the council in phase one, so they were almost definitely alive a hundred and fifty years before it. Masters Obratuk and Arkoff are also both long-lived enough to make appearances, and maybe even a baby Burry. Galactic Bake-Off Spectacular introduces a couple of elder retired alien Jedi, like Fambola the Noble and Griswal, who were likely active during the events of phase two.

Judging from the clues, much of these thornier times seem to have been centered around two planets: Jedha and Dalna. In the Adventures story that serves as a prologue to The High Republic Adventures, both planets are said to be on Marchion’s list to visit when searching for the artifacts to control the Nameless. In The Rising Storm, Kufa Ro mentions the faithful having known to doubt the Jedi on Jedha and Dalna.

In Midnight Horizon, Shug Drabor owns an all-black Spiral-class Viz-Core Eviscerator fighter without a viewport that’s piloted using sensors and the Force. It’s said to be two hundred years old and to have fought in the Battle of Jedha before the Republic petitioned to shut down the line and ban them. In The High Republic Adventures, Maz mentions the time that a young Padawan Sav went undercover with her crew during the battle of Jedha. We already know that this will be the focus of Daniel’s Dark Horse graphic novel later this year, so I suspect Jedha will be a focus early in the phase while the big events on Dalna don’t come into play until towards the end.

Dalna is where all the big clues lie. A Test of Courage mentioned that the Dalnans were reshaped by a war over a century ago that hardened their culture and turned them against outsiders. In Out of the Shadows, Cohmac mentions that fighting the Republic’s battles hasn’t always gone well for the Jedi, with Reath asking if he’s referring to the long ago massacre on Dalna. The “shrii ka rai” lullaby that describes the Nameless was sung to the young Emerick and Stellan by an old Ongree woman named Ruusstha Vidyarvrikt who was from Dalna, implying it originates there.

Mission to Disaster, which is largely set on Dalna, gives us the most explicit clues towards what happened there yet. The Jedi temple on the planet was built 150 years before phase one in the aftermath of a devastating battle called the Night of Sorrow. When Dalna was newly settled, the Republic and Jedi answered a call for help, but some confusion led to many deaths and a longstanding bias against the Jedi on the planet. No records of it existed in J-6’s database, and in Trail of Shadows Stellan mentions that some areas of Dalnan history seem to have been deleted from the archives.

As for the Nameless themselves, they were first mentioned as a myth traded by Jedi younglings during Dooku’s youth in Cavan’s Dooku: Jedi Lost. In Claudia’s Master & Apprentice, a particularly interesting prophecy is read by Qui-Gon: “Only through sacrifice of many Jedi will the Order cleanse the sin done to the nameless.” Cavan’s Ghosts of Vader’s Castle has a mention of “records from the Nameless purge” stored in the Graf Archive, which brings to mind the mentions of deleted information about Dalna. One Nameless was buried in the ice on Rystan and watched over by Kufa Ro, while Marchion later found more on their living homeworld using old family knowledge. To some, they’re called the shrii-ka-rai, or “eaters of the Force.”

Judging from the allusions to them having been on Jedha and Dalna, it seems likely that the Ro family will still serve as key characters in the phase. Eye of the Storm mentions that it was Asgar’s grandmother, Marchion’s great-grandmother, who founded the Nihil, so she may prove to be the biggest Ro player. They may not actually start the phase as antagonists; in Light of the Jedi, Marchion reflects that “his family had trusted the Jedi once, and it cost them everything.” He also recalls that the Nameless-controlling device “was almost as fully to blame for what happened to his ancestors as the Jedi.” In Eye of the Storm, Marchion further says his family was connected to an attempt to use the Nameless long ago, and the Jedi attempted to exterminate them afterward.

According to The High Republic Adventures, both Yoda and Elder of the Path Tromak were present during the events on Dalna, briefly crossing paths. Race to Crashpoint Tower includes an appearance from another Elder of the Path, Barbatesh, who is said to have “survived some long-ago massacre and kept the dwindling light of his strange little community alive long enough to find them a safe haven on Trymant IV.” It’s possible that the Jedi involvement in the massacre gave the Elders their bias against Force users that had such an impact on Zeen. Barbatesh also says that the Nihil began as an infection within the Elders of the Path before splitting into their own group.

Vrant Tarnum is another planet we’re likely to see pop up in phase two. Like Jedha and Dalna, it was a key part of Marchion’s scavenger hunt for information and artifacts on the Nameless. He found part of his device to control the creatures in a cave on the planet after it was hidden there by the Elders of the Path, and in Trail of Shadows Emerick finds the “shrii ka rai” lullaby carved into that cave, which the Nihil are said to have some reverence for. Also carved is the message “pierce the veil,” referring to the method Marchion uses to get through the hostile atmosphere of the Nameless homeworld in Eye of the Storm. Yoda and Elder Tromak visited Vrant Tarnum in The High Republic Adventures only to be shot out of the sky by automated defense systems. In Midnight Horizon, Yoda returns accompanied by a mysterious hooded figure singing the “shrii ka rai,” now possessing knowledge about the past that will prove key to the future.

It seems likely that the Republic was called to Dalna for help and trusted by the people there until they made a mistake so big that it caused scores of deaths and heavily affected both the Ros and the Nameless, possibly even a mistake so big that they tried to erase it from memory. The fallout from this event seemingly sends the Elders of the Path to recover on Trymant while Marchion’s great-grandmother splits from them to form the Nihil and seek vengeance on the Jedi. According to Elder Tromak, the Elders hid the Nameless-controlling relic on Vrant Tarnum because of its power; it’s possible they hid it specifically from the newly formed Nihil in the aftermath of the schism.

Much has been made between all of the appearances of the Nameless about how they trigger a primal fear in Jedi by cutting them off from the warmth of the Force, to the point that the original pitch of the initiative was even “what scares the Jedi?” The summons to Dalna could have caused the Jedi to cross paths with the Nameless for the first time and be driven by fear to lash out in a way that would be usually uncharacteristic. Whatever the case, it’s probable that when we return to the present day in phase three, the Jedi that we know already will be forced to grapple with these sins of the past, and it will be up to them to heal these old wounds.

Thanks to Ben H. (@bhx_1138) for helping me compile all of these clues and write this up!


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Numidian Prime

I like Star Wars. And Marvel too, to a lesser degree.

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