The stunning creativity of Star Wars: The High Republic fans

Highlighting two amazing fan projects because fans are fantastic and that's a fact!

The stunning creativity of Star Wars: The High Republic fans

One of the joys of being involved in Star Wars: The High Republic has been seeing the sheer creativity of fans. From fan art and custom toys to original soundtracks and awesome cosplay, I’m always wowed by the talent out there as well as being humbled that people spend so much time with our characters to create such wonderful art.

Today I’m kicking off an irregular series of posts celebrating just some of that creativity, highlighting two amazing projects!

And both have links to Sskeer, the Trandoshan Jedi from my Star Wars: The High Republic comic.

Sssaber’s Grace! Sskeer gets animated!

Okay, this just blew me away. I opened Twitter one evening to find this waiting in my feed…

It’s the work of Twitter user Artoo43068467 who lives near Paris in France.

Inspired by such shows as Dragonball Z, Bleach and Spectacular Spider-Man, Artoo only started animating in 2019. “It was just me doing silly drawings with my finger on my phone,” the 21-year-old animator told me. “I really started taking it seriously about two years ago, although I stopped completely over the last few months to improve my drawing skills.”

The Sskeer animation took a total of four days, from storyboard to final short, using a combination of Blender for the background and Clip Studio Paint X for the Trandoshan Jedi himself.

Here are Artoo’s original sketches for the animation, created in Procreate:

But what inspired them to choose Keeve Trennis’ troubled master in the first place?

“I absolutely love his design,” Artoo says, “how he’s more violent than the other Jedi but despite being conflicted, tries to remain hopeful. He’s just a really cool character and as I don’t think we’re going to see him animated anytime soon I wanted to do it myself.”

The Trandoshan’s design itself was the most challenging part of the project. “It’s very neat but a bit complicated,” Artoo explains, “especially the face, so I had to try to remain faithful to the original while simplifying everything to keep the animation ‘smooth’”

As Artoo eventually wants to go professional, I asked about their dream job. The answer came back immediately: “Star Wars!”

And they haven’t stopped with Sskeer, next turning their hand to Jedi wayseeker Orla Jareni!

You can check out Artoo’s progress on their twitter feed! I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Bringing Jedi to life

My friend Marc Thompson, best known to Star Wars fans as the narrator of countless wonderful audiobooks, is a master of voices. He also has a line in natty Jedi robes including this impressive High Republic getup he revealed at SDCC last month.

The costume, inspired by Sskeer’s mission robes, was created by cosplayer Marie Bernadette who I first saw dressed as Jedi Marshall Avar Kriss. Marie, known on Instagram as SewMuchLife, got into costuming at an early age.

“I was involved in theatre and dance from about six years old,” she told me, “so costumes were always a big deal. My mother is really good at sewing, and whenever I needed to make or modify an outfit for a show, she was there with ideas, teaching me what she knew.”

When Marie decided to go to her first convention in 2016, she knew she couldn’t just turn up in plain clothes! A costume was required!

“My partner and I dressed as Sheldon and Amy from The Big Bang Theory. We’d been advised that for our first convention, we should dress in something comfy because conventions can be pretty overwhelming. And we were in graduate school at the time, so the characters felt appropriate.”

Then came the High Republic. “I love cosplaying characters that are meaningful to me in some way, that I identify with. I picked up Light of the Jedi in the spring of 2021, and almost from the minute Avar was introduced I fell in love with her character and began planning how I could cosplay her. An added bonus is that the High Republic designs are just so beautiful. I’d been a Star Wars fan for several years, but I hadn’t found a character that I both identified with and felt confident in my skills to make their outfit, until Avar.”

After unveiling her first Avar cosplay, a few friends told Marie that they wished they could make something similar, but they would totally buy one if they could. At the time there weren’t many costumers selling High Republic pieces so Marie figured out how much she’d need to spend of fabric and how long a full costume would take to produce.

After a handful of commissions, Marie posted some of the robes she’d made to a High Republic costuming group on Facebook, which brought her into contact with Marc: “He wanted something to wear to SDCC, so we talked about different design elements that he liked both aesthetically and practically to come up with something custom.”

The finished ensemble took about two weeks, fitting the sewing around Marie’s day job, the project proposing the same challenges as her Avar pieces:

“With High Republic costumes, it’s all about the details. The base Jedi tunics and tabards aren’t so hard, but the era has all of those beautiful gold emblems and trims. I’ve seen people take a dozen different approaches to that, based on their crafting experience and personal taste. I chose to tackle them using appliqué, which is a method where you cut out shapes from fabric and then stitch them onto your costume. It’s something that I had a lot of experience with, but it’s definitely the most time-consuming part of the process.

And then there’s the question of which fabrics to use. “At the moment, we really only have comic book images to look at, so we can’t really get a sense of the weight or textures of different fabrics.” Fabrics that don’t have to conform to the laws of physics on the page! A cape that billows in a comic won’t necessary perform the same way in the real world - or match weather conditions!

“The brown outer tunics are also supposed to be leather, according to Ario, and that’s pretty difficult, especially in hot climates. So, finding ways to bring comic panels to life realistically is a unique challenge, but one I’ve had a lot of fun with.”

Marie is currently in the planning stage of a Megara costume from Hercules as well as Satine Kryze and Bespin Leia from a galaxy far, far away, although she doesn’t know which one will be made first “It’ll depend on what fabric I end up finding first, since I source a lot of my fabric from thrift stores. Both my Avar cosplays were made almost entirely of curtains, bedsheets and tablecloths from charity shops!”

You would never know! They look truly luminous!

I’m always on the lookout for stories of more creative fans, be they fans of Star Wars, Doctor Who or just about anything! Please keep tagging me with any fan art and creations you see on Instagram, Bluesky, Threads and yes, Twitter or whatever you’re supposed to call it these days. I’m still on the ex-bird site, but don’t post there very often!

I’ll be publishing another fan focus soon, so make sure you’re subscribed to have it pop into your inbox!