Everything you need to know about the super-secret Star Wars: 'Project Luminous'

For "Star Wars" fans, the world "luminous" awakens nostalgia that started with a line in "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980), when Yoda explained the Force and its deep metaphysical connections to a young Jedi-in-training, Luke Skywalker.

"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter," Yoda tells Luke. "You must feel the Force flow around you."

Then in April 2019, Lucasfilm teased something called "Project Luminous," a super-secret Star Wars publishing effort that set off nearly a year of intense fan speculation.

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The project has finally been revealed to be a massive publishing effort called "Star Wars: The High Republic," a series of books and comics set in a previously unexplored era of Star Wars canon aimed at adults, young readers and kids, Lucasfilm says.

Here are the top five things we learned about the former Project Luminous:

1. The project will tell a series of interconnected Star Wars stories that start rolling out this summer. There are no current plans for any High Republic movies, video games or streaming shows, says Lucasfilm publishing creative director Michael Siglain. But he says there’s always a possibility these stories or characters might show up on screen at some point -- just don’t expect it anytime soon. As Yoda used to say, "Always in motion is the future."

2. The first book to be released will be called "The High Republic: Light of the Jedi" by Charles Soule. It begins with a seminal event called "The Great Disaster." That calamity ends an era of peace and prosperity in the galaxy, Soule says, and after it, "you see the Jedi, a lot of Jedi, coming together to handle it."

It will be released on Aug. 25, just a couple days before the Star Wars Celebration fan convention in Anaheim, California.

PHOTO: Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi - Book Cover, Written by Charles Soule, is scheduled for release on Aug. 25, 2020. (Random House)

PHOTO: Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi - Book Cover, Written by Charles Soule, is scheduled for release on Aug. 25, 2020. (Random House)

PHOTO: Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi - Book Cover, Written by Charles Soule, is scheduled for release on Aug. 25, 2020. (Random House)

3. The High Republic stories take place roughly 200 years before the prequel film "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace." (1999) The era, says Lucasfilm executive James Waugh, is a time of smugglers and scoundrels. One of the key questions driving the stories, Siglain says, is "what scares the Jedi?" The publications will roll out in phases over multiple years and will feature the Jedi Knights in their prime, Siglain says, evoking the tales of the Knights of the Round Table.

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4. In the time of the High Republic, there is no Galactic Empire or First Order, but there are still plenty of villains. The High Republic features fearsome bad guys known as the Nihil (pronounced like "Nile") and described as "space Vikings." You can also think of the Nihil, says author Justine Ireland, "like Sid Vicious, taking over the galaxy." Their motto: You can’t take it with you, but we can take it from you. Star Wars concept artist Iain McCaig, who originally designed Darth Maul, was asked to help with the look of the Jedi and the Nihil.

5. Five authors with extensive experience writing in that galaxy far, far away. In addition to Soule’s book, the first wave of books and comics were announced Monday: "Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark" by Claudia Gray; "Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage" by Justina Ireland; "Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures" by Daniel José Older; "Star Wars: The High Republic" by Cavan Scott.

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"We are so excited to be opening up such a rich, fertile era for our authors to explore," Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. "We’ll get to see the Jedi in their prime."

An unveiling event Monday night at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, included concept art of the Jedi, the Nihil, droids, civilians and a new space station called the Starlight Beacon.

Scott, an author and Star Wars comics writer, says he first learned about the project in 2018 from Lucasfilm Publishing Creative Director Michael Siglain, who called it the "All Star Initiative."

The five authors first came together in September 2018, Scott says, at George Lucas’ legendary Skywalker Ranch in Nicasio, California. There, Scott says the authors met with Lucasfilm staffers to begin fleshing out story ideas.

"It’s not just gorgeous, but it’s actually designed as a place to incubate ideas," says Gray, who said her story was inspired by an idea to take actor Matthew McConaughey and "put him in a space ship."

Older says his comic will focus on two friends who take very separate paths.

"There’s a sort of clash of cultures," Older says. "And we follow both of their paths, through learning about the Jedi, padawans, life at that time and all the adventures that they have."

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They also joined together to watch the original "Star Wars" movie in the Stag Theater at Skywalker Ranch. On a second visit to the property the group watched "The Empire Strikes Back" but never had a chance to watch "Return of the Jedi."

"It just means we have to go back for a third," joked Scott.

Everything you need to know about the super-secret Star Wars: 'Project Luminous' originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

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