Star Wars: The High Republic will be the next era of the franchise that Lucasfilm introduces to fans, and it is certainly a period of the franchise timeline that is rich with potential. Taking place 200 years before the events of the Skywalker Saga of the Star Wars Prequels, The High Republic is a time of peace in the galaxy, when the Sith Empire has been destroyed. Or so The Jedi think. While The Jedi Order and The Republic were busy flourishing during this era, we also know the Sith were regrouping in the shadows, with one main figure leading them through the darkness: Darth Plagueis.
So: will Star Wars: The High Republic finally introduce us to Darth Plagueis The Wise?
There's been a lot of question about why Star Wars is introducing The High Republic era as its next big franchise push. With so much of the franchise's intrigue hinging on the battle between the light and dark Force warriors, it's fair to wonder what intrigue there is in following a time when The Jedi reigned strong, while The Sith were all but extinct. In other words: what possible threat or stakes could there be for the Jedi, or the franchise, when we already know that the only thing to threaten the Jedi Order won't arrive for another two centuries. Well, the story of Darth Plagueis could be the answer to that.
Right now in Star Wars canon, there's one big gap in the story of the Sith Empire's fall, and it's eventual return: the stories of Darth Bane and Darth Plagueis.
Darth Bane was the sole survivor of the Jedi's destruction of the Sith Empire, who kept the dark order alive and established "The Rule of Two" (a Sith master and his/her apprentice) that would eventually destroy the Jedi Order and Galactic Republic, alike. However, Darth Bane's story occurs 1,000 years before The Clone Wars; the next time the official story of The Sith picks up, it is Darth Plagueis and his apprentice Sheev Palpatine that step into view.
Star Wars has never officially set the timelines of Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious' lives, but it's clear from their story that neither man followed the normal pattern of life and death. Plagueis' entire claim to fame was his discovery how to manipulate midi-chlorians (source of The Force in people's bodies) to create life and preserve it. It was his studies of The Force, life, and death, alongside his apprentice Darth Sidious that allowed Plagueis to basically unlock the key to immortality. Unfortunately for Plagueis, all that study didn't stop Darth Sidious from betraying and killing his master.
If Darth Plagueis could preserve his life and teach Palpatine / Sidious to do the same, then the 200 years prequel setting of The High Republic is definitely prime space for Plagueis's story. In fact, it almost seems like Star Wars has no choice but to use The High Republic to flesh out the series canon about how Darth Bane set up The Sith to survive in secret; the line of Sith lord succession that led to Plagueis falling to the dark side; and how Plagueis mastered the dark side and began his partnership with Sidious, in order to conquer death itself.
The Rise of Darth Plagueis is about the only major Sith mystery / villain arc that could matter to the larger Star Wars fandom during The High Republic era, so skipping it seems like it would be a huge missed opportunity, no?
The first Star Wars: The High Republic books and comics arrive later this year.