There were a lot of things that disappeared at the end of the "Expanded Universe" phase of Star Wars's existence, and slowly but surely, fans are starting to see some of those things drifting back into the official canon of the Disney-owned Star Wars universe. The latest? A cool weapon that never showed up in feature films but managed to capture the attention of plenty of fans: a light saber whip. Because, really, who hasn't thought of merging Star Wars with Indiana Jones at least once in their lives, and seeing how Harrison Ford would play the duality of it all?
Fans will have to wait until January when the High Republic publishing initiative launches to figure out how it's going to play into the larger story, but that branding -- which tells stories set in the Star Wars universe and not directly tied to any film or TV projects currently in development -- promises to be exciting enough that it's worth reading anyway. The whip, for its part, will reappear in Justina Ireland's novel A Test of Courage, out January 5.
A middle grade book set in the High Republic canon, A Test of Courage centers on young Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh, a 16-year-old who has been charged with supervising twelve-year-old aspiring inventor named Avon Starros on board a cruiser headed to the dedication of a new, high-tech space station called Starlight Beacon.
Here's the rest of the premise, from the book's official synopsis at Penguin Random House:
"But soon into their journey, bombs go off aboard the cruiser. While the adult Jedi try to save the ship, Vernestra, Avon, Avon’s droid J-6, a Jedi Padawan, and an ambassador’s son make it to an escape shuttle, but communications are out and supplies are low. They decide to land on a nearby moon, which offers shelter but not much more. And unbeknownst to them, danger lurks in the forest?"
It seems likely that eventually Vernestra and Avon will find some common ground in tinkering; in a brief excerpt from the novel published at Nerdist, it's explained that Vernestra had modified her light saber to have a "whip" setting herself, after the idea occurred to her in the middle of the night and she couldn't get back to sleep without completing the modification and testing it out. In the book, readers will first hear of it being used to clear a path through heavy forest.
The lightwhip had appeared a few times in the Legends era of Star Wars, but up to this point had not appeared in the current storytelling continuity (although Nerdist notes them being mentioned, but not playable, in a role playing game).
Vernestra's first mission will be the one tracked in A Test of Courage, but given that she has had training, don't expect her "first mission" story to be like Luke Skywalker's.
"Like most overachievers she is both excited and a little trepidatious at having such an important job to do," Ireland told Nerdist. "Vernestra feels a deep attachment to the Order and truly does consider it her calling, so all she ever wants to do is the best job that she can, Force willing. She isn't proud or self-congratulatory, instead she is just deeply committed to serving the light."