We have to wonder how much legitimate fan interest there is in Lucasfilm’s new Star Wars: The High Republic publishing initiative, as according to Google Trends organic searches for the term are significantly lower than searches for “The Mandalorian” and even Cara Dune actress “Gina Carano” during the past month.
This despite the fact that the first of The High Republic novels and comic books would have been shipping during this time frame.
Now that’s not to say that Star Wars: The High Republic will necessarily be a failure or that it won’t pick up momentum in the coming weeks and months.
And to be fair, we are talking apples and oranges here. The Mandalorian is a highly rated streaming series and the flagship series of Disney+. The High Republic is, thus far, relegated to the publishing world — although there are plans to branch out into other media soon.
The High Republic initiative will encompass novels, comics, video games and, reportedly, Leslye Headland’s The Acolyte series on Disney+.
Why it’s a little concerning is that The High Republic was touted as the future of Star Wars. Set 400 years before Episode I, The High Republic was announced with great media fanfare last year, and it seemed at the time that Lucasfilm was effectively betting the future of the franchise on new characters and new concepts that came out of it.
Since its announcement, the initiative was pushed back several months (Lucasfilm claims it was due to COVID-19) and it seemed as if the general public’s interest waned during the interim.
It also seems as if Lucasfilm took some time to tweak some of its initial character designs, as there was some fan complaints that the characters didn’t look, well, Star Wars enough.
But now that The High Republic is finally here, it’s quite possible that The Mandalorian stole its intended thunder. Luke Skywalker returned with great fanfare, and it would seem that the future of Disney Star Wars might be with classic characters and spinoffs and not with brand new characters and unproven concepts after all.
I mean, that’s kind of a given if you’ve paid any attention to the complaints of Star Wars fandom over the past couple of years, but their complaints often seem to fall on deaf ears. It seems like only when the money runs out that Disney listens.
The High Republic Novel Debuted High on the New York Times Bestseller’s List… For One Week, Anyway.
This first novel in The High Republic series, Charles Soule’s Star Wars: Light of the Jedi, debuted at #2 on the Combined Print & E-book Fiction list its first week, behind the first Bridgerton book.
This week it has already dropped to #10.
On book rating site Goodreads, Star Wars: Light of the Jedi has an impressive 4.2 out of 5 rating with close to 2,500 reviews.
That’s pretty decent, for sure, but there was this curious question asked several months ago…
Hmm. Probably Advanced Reader Copies. Probably.
The High Republic #1 Comic Book from Marvel Comics Reportedly Sold Over 100,000 Copies to Comic Book Shops.
According to comic book news site Bleeding Cool, The High Republic #1 comic book sold over 100,000 copies (possibly as high as 200K) to comic book shops. Curiously, Marvel ordered a reprint of #1 claiming it sold out before even hitting shops.
It should be noted that those are sales to comic book retailers and not sales to consumers.
With all of this success, though, wouldn’t “The High Republic” be trending higher on Google search results? You would think…
The High Republic Promo Videos Aren’t Doing Terribly Well on YouTube.
The first video that spotlights the new Jedi of The High Republic only managed to garner 88,000 views in a little less than a week on the official Star Wars YouTube channel… a channel that has over 3.5 million subscribers.
That’s… not great. Much smaller fan run channels can pull higher numbers on a video in under 24 hours.
There’s also the downvote ratio. The first video focused on Vernestra Rwoh has 3.5K Upvotes to 2.7K Downvotes.
While it’s not quite the disaster that was the Star Wars: Resistance animated series trailer… it’s not good. It’s really not good.
The Krystina Arielle Situation Might Hurt ‘The High Republic’ Brand.
Krystina Arielle was announced as the host of The High Republic Show on the official Star Wars YouTube channel. Not long after, tweets many considered to be racist against “White People” surfaced and led to online backlash.
The official Star Wars Twitter account defended Arielle, but many Star Wars fans and even mainstream media outlets called out that Lucasfilm didn’t defend John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran, leading to even more backlash.
The fiasco has blown up into yet another “civil war” between Star Wars fans on social media, not unlike The Last Jedi in 2017.
Could this put another dent into Lucasfilm’s plan to push The High Republic initiative to the fandom going forward?
It’s too early to tell if Star Wars: The High Republic is successful or not.
The truth is there will be no way to know if Lucasfilm’s gamble on The High Republic will pay off or not for several months. If the product is consistently good and resonates with fans, it’s possible that this new chapter of Disney Star Wars could have legs for years to come.
But if I had to call it right now based on the available data, I’m not sure it’s connecting the way Lucasfilm was hoping.
It would appear that the future for The Mandalorian is pretty bright, however. This despite some news outlets constantly speculating about Gina Carano getting fired.
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