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Review: Star Wars Insider Issue 199, Featuring All-New and Exclusive Fiction by Charles Soule

Review: Star Wars Insider Issue 199, Featuring All-New and Exclusive Fiction by Charles Soule

Star Wars Insider Issue #199 marks the return of original and exclusive fiction to the publication for the first time since 2017. That alone makes this issue a stand-out. However, it also contains some great interviews with the likes of Ahmed Best, Ashley Eckstein, Sam Witwer, and more. There's also a lengthy and informative interview with the authors involved in ushering in the new era of Star Wars publishing, The High Republic.

Star Wars Insider #199 Newsstand

Having mentioned the interviews, they really are good fun. Not everything will be news to those who follow the actors closely, but it's still fun to hear from Ahmed Best as he talks about his participation as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq in Jedi Temple Challenge (airing on the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel) and his role as Jar Jar Binks in the prequels. His love and appreciation for Star Wars shines through.

The same goes for Ashley Eckstein enthusing about the return of The Clone Wars on Disney+ earlier this year, and her reprisal of the role of Ahsoka Tano, and Sam Witwer discussing the different incarnations of Darth Maul he's breathed life into over the years. Like the characters they play, Ahmed, Ashley, and Sam have become ingrained in Star Wars fandom, and we're all better off.

Other interviews include E.K. Johnston, author of Ahsoka and two novels about Padme Amidala (Queen's Shadow and Queen's Peril) as well as a roundtable with the authors tasked with crafting Star Wars: The High Republic — Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older, Cavan Scott, and Charles Soule…. Which brings me to the centerpiece of this issue, the long-awaited return of original fiction written exclusively for Star Wars Insider!

Charles Soule's book Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi will kick off the new era January 5, and for this issue of Insider he has contributed a story introducing readers to several new characters who will all have roles to play in his upcoming book. In “Starlight: Part 1: Go Together” we meet Joss Arden and his wife Pikka. Both are project managers working on an ambitious space station called Starlight Beacon, located in the Outer Rim. Starlight Beacon was designed to highlight the best the Galactic Republic has to offer, and is the first of several ambitious endeavors planned by Chancellor of the Republic, Lina Soh.

Their work largely complete, Joss and Pikka are preparing for a well-earned vacation when a complication arises that needs their expert attention, even if it means forgoing their plans. However, they both understand the importance of the station and what it symbolizes for the galaxy, and they've worked too hard to let the formal dedication be delayed.

As the story progresses we are introduced to the Chancellor, Admiral Kronara of the Republic Defense Coalition, and several members of the Jedi Order. Starlight Beacon houses a Jedi temple, so the Jedi have a particular interest in the station. It's also our first look at the Jedi of this time period, and how they are perceived by those who don't necessarily come into contact with them too often. At first glance, there's a formality to the Jedi of the High Republic that's a bit different from what we've come to know through the films.

“Go Together” acts as a good jumping in point to see where the galaxy is at this point in the Star Wars timeline, 200 years prior to the events of The Phantom Menace. Joss and Pikka are a great couple and are fleshed out nicely as characters in just these few pages. The story also sets up the tragedy that will be the impetus for the events of Light of the Jedi, and whose after effects will reverberate throughout The High Republic.

Other features include a very interesting look behind-the-scenes of ILMxLAB with Executive Creative Producer Mark S. Miller and the creation of the VR experience Vader Immortal, and an in-depth exploration of the Jedi Council in a great read titled “A Seat on the Council.”

I've only scratched the surface here. There's a lot of solid Star Wars content to appreciate in this issue, so you'll want to pick up a copy if you haven't done so already.

Star Wars Insider Issue #199 is available on newsstands now.

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Thank you to Titan for providing a copy of Star Wars Insider Issue 199 for review purposes.

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