Star Wars Insider The High Republic Phase Two: New Prospects Thoughts

This year, Lucasfilm Publishing will release the shorts series initially published in Star Wars Insider and written by Cavan Scott, Justina Ireland, and Charles Soule. The series of short stories follow Velko Jahen, an Administrator who worked on Starlight Beacon, the staple location of Phase One. For Phase Two, there are already vital locations emerging. Dalna, which already played a significant role in Phase One, Eriam, a planet engulfed in a war with E’ronoh, and Jedha, the center of the Star Wars Insider short stories for Phase Two. Jedha City is the Star Wars Holy City and the location of the Convocation of the Force. It seems it will also play a significant part in Marvel’s The High Republic series and the Star Wars audiobook, The Battle of Jedha.

And of all the places in the galaxy, I never thought that a bar on Jedha would be such a fun place to tell space frontier stories.

Our story, written by George Mann, begins on a cold night in Jedha City; Keth Cerapath heads to a tap bar, Enlightenment. He works at the Temple of Kyber, is bored with his life but always looks forward to spending time in the bar. One night the bar owner, Kradon, introduces him to Saretha Von Beel, a prospector out of work and in need of a drink. And she has a story to tell…for the price of a drink.

**Spoilers for New Prospects**

The Main Story

Jedha City is truly a city on a hill in Star Wars | credit Lucasfilm Publishing

The main story is from Keth’s point-of-view, a regular at Enlightenment, along with his friends, Moona and Piralli. He is an adjunct in the Temple of the Kyber (assuming it is similar to our world would mean he was some educator), and he has a sarcastic droid, P3-7A, who was banned from the bar. For Keth, Saretha’s adventure story offers him a glimpse of the galaxy beyond Jedha. While we know that the following stories in Star Wars Insider will be other tales from Enlightenment, Keth may only be in this one story. I doubt it since it is established early that he is regular, and it would be a way of learning more about his character, Moona, Piralli, and Kradon.

Keth’s offer to pay for Saretha’s drink pays off as she tells them how she escaped being eaten by a monster with a Jedi Master. But by the end, Saretha has enough money to fix her ship and move on from Jedha, while Keth and his friends’ lives continue, possibly awaiting the next great tale.

Even though Keth and the other Enlightenment regulars are the surrogate audience for these stories, they should have their own role to play in The High Republic as Phase Two develops. Jedha will be a battlefield with The Path of Open Hand arriving with the Nameless and open hostility towards the Jedi. And Keth will have a front-row seat working at the temple of Convocation of the Force. Perhaps the last story of Enlightenment will be his.

The Nested Story

I am partial to a nested story, and this is an excellent start to the Phase Two short stories in Star Wars Insider. Saretha’s story is the bulk of “New Prospects,” as the prospector recounts how she went on an adventure with a Jedi Master. It starts like all good stories do, with a pirate attack. She was working out of Batuu, trying to map out hyperspace routes but pushing further into the frontier. Saretha had just mapped a new route coming out of hyperspace when she was attacked. When the pirates capture and bring her on their ship, she meets Jedi Master Lee Harro. She finds out that Harro is on the pirate ship by choice, allowing himself to get captured because the pirates were heading toward his desired destination, and he needed a ride. Despite the inconvenience, Harro rescues Saretha, and the prospector thanks him by giving him a ride to Vexos.

Not wanting to leave the Jedi alone on a planet full of predators, Saretha stays with Harro. The Jedi Master was on a quest, like other members of his Order (he mentions Barnabus Vim), to search for new ways to learn about the Force. The planet Vexos and the Jedi Barnabus are mentioned for the first time here, but I am sure we have not heard the last of them or Lee Harro. 

Harro tells Saretha they must get swallowed by a giant underground worm to get to a cave with old paintings. I am unsure how one survives getting eaten by a giant worm, even if you avoid the digestive acid. Perhaps this was an embellishment of Saretha’s story, and Star Wars prospector stories are like fishermen’s stories. 

When the two find an alternative way back to the surface after exploring the caves, the pirates are waiting for them. Luckily, Harro summons other predators to chase them off, then takes their ship, giving Saretha a piece of rock from the cave systems before they say their goodbyes. She had just enough fuel to make it to Jedha.

Keth asks to see the rock Harro gave Saratha and confirms that the rock is pure kyber, worth enough to fix her ship. And Jedha is the perfect place to sell it. Saretha, realizing that Harro must have known what he was giving her, tells the patrons that the next round is on her.

Both stories are fewer stakes than the previous Starlight Stories, but I find the Jedha bar (and Jedha City as a whole) more appealing as a location for these stories. Speaking of locations, Batuu is an established planet in the Outer Rim during this time and is a popular pit stop for prospectors looking for new routes. Like a small town, as more hyperspace lanes were discovered, most travelers bypassed the planet, leaving it to smugglers and explorers. During The High Republic Phase One, a Jedi Temple gets corrupted by the dark side and sealed by Yoda, claiming it lost. Batuu was also briefly mentioned in Path of Deceit by Jedi Master Zallah. If we get more stories, will one involve the Baatuu Jedi Temple? 


Aside from the stories, it is also interesting that both Keth and Saretha hold the Jedi in high regard. Will that change with The Path of the Open Hand arriving on Jedha? And will perceptions of the Jedi vary through the different tales and visitors to Enlightenment? 

The only way to find out is to wait for the following issues, but “New Prospects” is a solid start to the Phase Two short stories.