As “The Eye of Darkness” picks up after two whole phases of “The High Republic,” there is going to be a huge swath of things that connect to other parts of the publishing initiative, but there are some cool details and bits in here that might go by unremarked upon that I’d like to point out.
First, this book talks about the “Jedi Guardian Protocols.” This is a protocol that recalls all the Jedi not out on vital missions — something Palpatine tries to fool Jedi into thinking after Order 66 until Obi-Wan Kenobi tells them all to stay away — and also indicates that no Jedi is to travel alone. More than that, it states that for “the first time in generations” Padawans would be fast-tracked to undergo their Trials in order to replace lost Jedi. This all presages the transformation the Jedi undergo during the Clone Wars and they do very similar things, asking us to view this era as, perhaps, the beginning of the Jedi’s end.
One character I thought to point out was Baron Boolan, who is Marchion Ro’s evil “Minister of Advancement” and works on nefarious experiments to weaponize the ability of the Nameless against the Jedi. The Ithorian Boolan appeared throughout the second phase of “The High Republic” as a child. At the end of “Path of Vengeance,” he was tasked along with the other Littles to bomb caverns to kill Jedi and it seems as though his thirst for Jedi death has never been quenched.
You’ll also notice the return of Ghirra Starros (the ancestor of the popular comics character and one-time love interest of Han Solo Sana Starros). She’s turned her back on her seat as a Republic Senator and has engaged in a relationship with the Eye himself, Marchion Ro. She tries to bring the Nihil to heel and end the death and create a political solution to the war between the Nihil and the Jedi, but she’s really only being used by Ro.
Another character with ties to other phases includes General Viess, a Mirialan who has joined the Nihil as the “Minister of Protection.” Eagle-eyed fans will recognize her from Charles Soule’s “The Blade” comic mini-series that started coming out last year. Viess has a long history with the Jedi Porter Engle and she makes it well known here.
It was also fun to see an Ughnaught character in the form of Belin, who aids Avar Kriss in her journey behind the Stormwall. It is apparently a long, cultural thing for Ugnaughts to say “I have spoken,” as Belin does this in the book. Just like Kuiil in “The Mandalorian.”
The last character I’d like to point out from other media that appears is the Quermian Jedi Yarael Poof, who first appeared in “The Phantom Menace.” Still on the Jedi council so many years later, I found it hilarious that Poof is only ever seen via a hologram in this book with no explanation as to why.