Review: Star Wars Insider Issue 203, Featuring Exclusive ‘The High Republic’ Fiction by Justina Ireland

Review: Star Wars Insider Issue 203, Featuring Exclusive ‘The High Republic’ Fiction by Justina Ireland

Star Wars Insider #203 hits newsstands today, and this issue has a good amount of enjoyable content to get your summer reading off to a good start. In addition to regular features you’ve come to expect — such as Launchpad, with a round-up of all the latest Star Wars news, and Worldwide, spotlighting fans and their activities — there’s an interview with Neal Scanlan, creature and special effects supervisor extraordinaire, original trilogy location scouting with Robert Watts, and original fiction set during The High Republic era by Justina Ireland.

Newsstand Cover

One highlight for sure was “Mando Mania” focusing on — you guessed it — The Mandalorian and the secrecy surrounding the reveal of ‘The Child’ and the triumphant return of Luke Skywalker. It’s really striking that as much as the world has fallen completely in love with Grogu, there was a time not so long ago we had no idea who he was and what his impact would be. You could almost delineate time now as BG (before Grogu) and AG (after Grogu).

Another really enjoyable piece was an interview with Paul Brooke, the actor who played Malakili, the rancor keeper in Return of the Jedi. The rancor is one of this reviewer’s all-time favorite creatures, and finding out a little bit about the man who made the demise of the rancor so heartfelt was a joy. The rancor wasn’t just a terrifying beast, he was loved and cared for by Malakili. And Paul Brooke brought that to life in a small but memorable role.

“Rebel Rousers” is a list of the Top Ten Rebels in the Star Wars saga. It’s an interesting list, and this reviewer does take issue with the placement or omission of certain characters. But that’s the nature of any sort of ranking — it’s meant to promote dialogue and examination, and that’s the fun of it all! In that, this list certainly succeeds.

Two features that go nicely hand-in-hand are “Location, Location, Location!” with Robert Watts as he discusses location scouting for the original trilogy, and “A Galaxy on Your Doorstep” which gives readers a rundown of Star Wars filming locations found here in the United States. If you’re planning a GFFA-themed vacation this summer, this might serve up some inspiration for your travels.

Exclusive original fiction continues its run in this latest issue of Insider with another short story taking place on The High Republic timeline. “Starlight: Hidden Danger, Part One” by Justina Ireland takes place in the aftermath of an incursion by the carnivorous and sentient Drengir on Starlight Beacon. Things seem to have settled down, and the Beacon is preparing to host a conference of the Galactic Agricultural Alliance. The planning is mundane enough, deciding on the colors for banners and placement of decorations, and trying to keep scientists happy. Nothing at all for administrative aide Velko Jahen to be concerned about — except something tugs at Velko’s consciousness, especially after an odd encounter with tech savvy girl named Avon Starros, whose task is to deliver decorative plants to the dining facility. But there is still much to tend to, and Velko is soon on to other things that require her attention. As members of the scientific community arrive at Starlight Beacon, and the conference gets underway, peace is broken when the guests begin to act out in aggressive ways that are all too reminiscent of recent events. The cliffhanger will wrap up in the next issue of Star Wars Insider.

We first met Velko Jahen in the Insider two-part short story “First Duty” by Cavan Scott from issues 201 and 202, and Avon Starros in the young adult book A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland. These two characters coming together in this new story for Insider serves to highlight the interconnectedness of The High Republic and all the mediums in which that story is being told — books, comics, and short stories.

Not everything is required reading for The High Republic, but short stories like “Hidden Danger” pack their own excitement, introduce interesting characters, and help to fill out the events that take place within the larger context of the books. They’re worth checking out!

Star Wars Insider #203 is available on newsstands, mailboxes, and comic shops today. For a complete synopsis of this issue, and to see exclusive covers, click here.

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Thank you to Titan Publishing Group for providing a copy of Star Wars Insider #203 for review purposes.

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