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Inside the ‘great disaster’ that kicks off Star Wars’ new pre-Empire era

Think The Poseidon Adventure with lightsabers

Yoda in the High REpublic concept art
Yoda in his High Republic era mission attire
Image: Lucasfilm (2020)
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

The galaxy is at peace in the High Republic, the newest era of Star Wars storytelling from Lucasfilm. But that peace is threatened by the “Great Disaster,” a mysterious, well, disaster that calls every Jedi in the galaxy into action.

In a panel at NYCC 2020, Michael Siglain, creative director of Lucasfilm, laid out exactly what the Great Disaster is, and what makes it so great. Basically, it’s the Titanic, but in space. But also worse, because the Titanic just sank — it didn’t put everyone on the Atlantic coast in danger.

“We have the Legacy Run, which is this massive cargo ship, traveling through hyperspace, going out to the frontier.” Siglain said. “It’s bringing cargo and supplies; people looking to start a better life out in the Outer Rim. And as it travels through hyperspace, alarms start to blare and you realize that there’s something in hyperspace. Legacy Run is on a collision course with it.”

That collision can’t be stopped. And while the Great Disaster starts in one place, it quickly becomes a galaxy-wide problem, as all the pieces of the Legacy Run — including the ship’s cargo containers, supplies, and many cars containing imperiled passengers — start “rocketing out through hyperspace” on their own collision courses with planets around the galaxy.

“That’s when the cry goes out for help,” Siglain concluded, “and the Jedi of the High Republic answer that cry.” And as we know from the first announcements back in February, a set of all new villains called the Nihil (pronounced like the first bit in “nihilist”) appear, presumably to take advantage of the chaos.

What happens next is in the hands of the team of writers working on High Republic comics, YA novels, and adult-oriented novels, who were also on hand at the panel to talk about the huge cast of Jedi and padawan learners who answer that cry. And yes, there’s even a Wookiee Jedi.

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