Before ‘The Acolyte,’ Catch Up With These Star Wars Books and Comics

The Star Wars galaxy is full of stories that build off each other, even outside the films. As the franchise expands, it explores new time periods and locations, which is the case for the upcoming series The Acolyte. Focusing on the rise of sinister forces during the height of the Jedi's power, The Acolyte will be the earliest addition to the story to make it to screens, but that doesn't mean there is no context for the era. In fact, there is a lot. Set in the late years of the High Republic, the show will connect to the High Republic novels and comics. Since 2020, a push from Lucasfilm's publishing company has explored the time period with more than 30 novels and comics — not including short stories, audio stories, and other related content — and the series is ongoing.

Though the era in Star Wars history is a long one, and The Acolyte will take place nearly 100 years after the events of the novels, there are certainly still some connections. With so much content, diving into the High Republic stories may seem daunting, but it's not entirely necessary to read everything for the show. Still, as the stories build on one another, picking and choosing what to read is no simple task. With many divisions between the books and only so much time before The Acolyte premieres, fans must quickly decide which stories are the most important. Since many fans watch Star Wars without reading the other content, it's unlikely that these stories will be essential to understanding the show, but a little background knowledge is never a bad thing if you know where to begin.

The Acolyte 2024 New Disney Plus Poster

The Acolyte

The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated.

Release Date

June 4, 2024


Carrie-Anne Moss , Amandla Stenberg , Lee Jung-jae , Manny Jacinto , Dafne Keen , Jodie Turner-Smith , Rebecca Henderson , Charlie Barnett , Dean-Charles Chapman

Main Genre







Star Wars

Which 'Star Wars' Books Will Connect to 'The Acolyte'?

Though the books are set much earlier than the show, Star Wars is known to set up parts of a story long before they become relevant, and The Acolyte's trailer already showed one major connection in the form of a notable character. The Jedi Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson) appears, but she's no longer the young purple-haired Jedi prodigy from the novels. Vernestra's presence in The Acolyte will undoubtedly hint at her past, which readers are intimately familiar with.

Fortunately for those who want to catch up on her story, Vernestra does not appear in all the High Republic content, narrowing down the reading list. The spunky green Jedi shows up in The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, The High Republic: A Test of Courage, The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower, The High Republic: Out of the Shadows, The High Republic: Mission to Disaster, The High Republic: Defy the Storm, The High Republic: Temptation of the Force, and The High Republic comics 2-5, which is still a considerable portion of the story.

Star Wars often reintroduces multiple characters from old stories at once. For proof, just look at Ahsoka, which brought most of the Star Wars Rebels crew to live-action for the first time. But that will not be the case for The Acolyte, as showrunner Leslye Headland confirmed Vernestra to be the only cross-over character from the books. Though this is a significant connection, it does provide a limit of sorts, as reading only the High Republic stories with Vernestra Rwoh will not give a clear picture of the overall plot.

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The High Republic Novels Take Place Over a Range of Genres and Time Periods


The stories are interconnected as they explore the Jedi during their heyday, focusing on a conflict with the Nihil, a group of anarchistic marauders. However, there are very different series available: The High Republic novels are divided into adult, YA, and middle-grade books, each with a different focus, though the characters overlap. Any of these series within the High Republic would give the general context for the era. For those not ready to dive into the complete list of novels, paying attention to these divisions is crucial as starting in the middle of these series would be confusing, even having read the others.

Yet, perhaps the more important division among these novels is the phases. The High Republic spans hundreds of years, and as is typical for Star Wars, the story was not released chronologically. But, in this case, that could be beneficial to those trying to catch up. Phase 1, called "Light of the Jedi," takes place 200 years before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, introduces the era to the audience and consists of only nine books and a handful of comics — a more manageable portion of the story.

Phase 2, "Quest of the Jedi," serves as a prequel to Phase 1, going back 150 years to give context to the events in the previous books, making them less directly related to The Acolyte. Finally, Phase 3, "Trials of the Jedi," picks up after Phase 1 but has only just begun. With three novels (one installment in each of the adult, YA, and middle-grade series) and an ongoing comic run, Phase 3 isn't daunting at all. These divisions can help narrow the focus, as Phase 1 will be the most relevant, followed by Phase 3.

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Prior Knowledge of the High Republic Is Likely Not Necessary To Watch 'The Acolyte'

Before ‘The Acolyte,’ Catch Up With These Star Wars Books and Comics

When it comes to The Acolyte, which High Republic novels will be referenced is difficult to predict. The series could throw in any number of details, making any of the many books relevant to the series. However, since many fans don't read the books, it's unlikely that they will be essential to understanding the show. Sure, readers will pick up on more details, especially in Vernestra's scenes, but the series will not risk alienating new audiences. Star Wars has long struck a balance between referencing their lesser-known works and welcoming the general audience, so not reading anything won't make The Acolyte incomprehensible.

That being said, a little background knowledge never hurts and might even offer extra enjoyment. If nothing else, it is another story in the beloved Galaxy. When it comes to reading these series, what you want to read is up to you. Start in Phase 1 and decide what you're interested in, but don't stress about how it will impact your viewing of The Acolyte. Instead, enjoy the novels for the fascinating story they are.

The first two episodes of The Acolyte premiere on Disney+ on June 4. You can catch up on everything Star Wars on Disney+ in the U.S.


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