Star Wars, more than 40 years after first introduced us to a galaxy far, far away, remains one of the most popular and beloved franchises on the planet. What started as a trilogy of movies has expanded into a multi-media behemoth, now controlled by Disney, thanks to its purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012. That behemoth has extended far beyond the events covered in the original trilogy, spanning hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Recently, Disney and Lucasfilm provided an update to the official Star Wars timeline to coincide with the release of the first wave of The High Republic titles. This massive publishing initiative is exploring an entirely new era, taking place roughly 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace when the Jedi were still the defining force of law and order in the galaxy. It is a huge undertaking that Lucasfilm is treating quite seriously. It will see a number of novels, comics and even TV shows like The Acolyte arriving over the next several years.
With The High Republic comes new names for each of the official eras in the Star Wars timeline. We are here to break down each of these eras, explaining when they take place and what media is included. To do that, it helps to understand how the timeline is often broken down, using BBY and ABY. This means before the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope (BBY), and after the Battle of Yavin (ABY). So, essentially, this places events, in years, in relation to the events of the first movie. With that out of the way, let’s dive in.
The High Republic
For now, this is the furthest point back in the official Star Wars timeline. Lucasfilm’s latest, major project takes place approximately 200 years before the events of the prequels. That puts it roughly 230 BBY, give or take. This is the point when the Jedi were at the height of their power as the final word in law and order among the galaxy. Prior to The High Republic publishing event, which will span multiple titles and multiple mediums over the course of several years, little had been explored in this era. Aside from the books and comics on the way, the Disney+ series The Acolyte, which is being developed by Leslye Headland, will take place at the end of The High Republic era. Our knowledge of this era will expand over the next couple of years as more of the content arrives.
The first wave of titles includes Light of the Jedi by author Charles Soule, which kicks off the event. There is also a Marvel Comics series, as well as one from IDW. Other novels coming down the pipeline include A Test of Courage, The Great Jedi Rescue and Into the Dark. The event is broken down into three phases; Phase I: Light of the Jedi, Phase II: Quest of the Jedi and Phase III: Trials of the Jedi. Lucasfilm is putting a lot of eggs in this basket so expect to hear a lot about The High Republic in the years to come.
Fall of the Jedi
Fall of the Jedi is the era formerly known as the prequels. This is the time when Palpatine was beginning to rise to power and the Jedi were on the verge of falling apart. It contains George Lucas’ second trilogy of Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, which chronicle Anakin Skywallker’s journey from a young boy on Tatooine to becoming Darth Vader.
Aside from the prequel trilogy, this era contains the entirety of The Clone Wars animated series. For context, The Phantom Menace takes place around 32 BBY. So this is far removed from The High Republic era, meaning that there is, at the very least, a hundred year gap between The High Republic and the Fall of the Jedi. For those looking to dive deeper, this era also includes novels such as Dark Disciple and comics like the Darth Maul series and Obi-Wan and Anakin. While this era was once looked at in a negative light, thanks to the initial reception of the prequel trilogy, it has become fertile ground for Star Wars storytelling.
Reign of the Empire
For an era, Reign of the Empire is somewhat brief, per Disney and Lucasfilm’s official description of it. This takes place approximately from 19 by right up to the formation of the Rebellion, several years before A New Hope. So this is a little less than two decades when the Empire was at the absolute height of its powers. Whereas the Jedi were peacekeepers in the galaxy for a thousand generations, the Empire had its stranglehold on the galaxy, firmly, for less than 20 years.
As far as on-screen content goes, this only encompasses Solo: A Star Wars Story and the animated series The Bad Batch, which takes place in the aftermath of The Clone Wars. Several key novels take place in this era though, such as Catalyst, which is a prelude of sorts to Rogue One, Lords of the Sith, Tarkin and Thrawn. Several comics fall into this timeline as well, such as Kanan, Han Solo – Imperial Cadet and Lando: Double or Nothing. It is also worth noting that the video game Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order takes place in this period as well. So this is when Cal Kestis’ journey largely happened.
Age of Rebellion
This is where we start getting into what one might call “classic” Star Wars territory. The Age of Rebellion takes place starting around 5 BBY. It is when the Rebellion emerged and began to challenge the Empire across the galaxy. For several years, Palpatine’s rule went unchecked. But it was only a matter of time before the oppressed people in the galaxy decided to band together and make a stand. This was the struggle at the center of George Lucas’ original Star Wars tale that would go on to define the franchise, making it what it is today. Even though it is, chronologically speaking, kind of in the middle of the official timeline, this is, in many ways, where it all began.
The era includes the Rebels animated series, which largely focuses on the formation of the Rebel Alliance. It also includes the original trilogy of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as Rogue One. There are quite a few novels that take place in this time as well, such as Thrawn: Alliances and Thrawn: Treason, as well as Heir to the Jedi, the Battlefront books, Inferno Squad and Twilight Company, and A New Dawn, which ties into Rebels.This is also a rich era for comics, as much of the main Star Wars title takes place in this period. Plus, the acclaimed Darth Vader series by Kieron Gillen, which introduced us to Doctor Aphra, happens in this era.
The New Republic
This is perhaps the “wild west” era of the Star Wars timeline right now. It takes place between the end of the original trilogy and the Disney sequel trilogy, encompassing roughly 30 years, from 4 ABY to 34 ABY, and has hardly been explored at all. The Mandalorian, which takes place approximately 10 ABY, is set in this era. The show, which introduced us to Baby Yoda, has become a massive hit and shown us that this is a period of time filled with lawlessness and uncertainty in the galaxy. Just because the Death Star blew up (again) doesn’t mean the Empire just went away quietly. It left a power vacuum and a struggle emerged in an attempt to fill it.
What we know for sure is that this era will be explored a great deal in the years to come. Disney and Lucasfilm have a handful of live-action shows planned that will take place during The New Republic. Some of the ones that we know about included Ahsoka, Rangers of the New Republic and at least some of The Book of Boba Fett, in addition to The Mandalorian season 3. All of these are said to be building to a mysterious event series that will take place in this era as well. The New Republic remains an era that can be filled in a great deal, and it’s a time that offers rich storytelling opportunities.
Rise of the First Order
Here we get into the last official era on the Disney timeline, the Rise of the First Order. This is where the sequel trilogy takes place. This is where Kylo Ren and Snoke begin to take up the mantle once held by the Empire. This is where the New Republic is crushed and new heroes such as Rey and Finn must stand up against the forces of evil alongside the Resistance. This era kicks off around 34 ABY.
Rise of the First Order includes the sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. It also includes the relatively short-lived animated series, Star Wars: Resistance. Several novels have been released that take place in this timeline including Canto Bight, Resistance Reborn and Black Spire. Several comics occur at this time as well, including the Poe Dameron series, Galaxy’s Edge and Captain Phasma.
Bonus Round: The Old Republic
Though not officially part of the current Disney/Lucasfilm timeline, it feels like an inevitability that The Old Republic will be acknowledged at some point or another. Especially since Star Wars: The Old Republic, an online multiplayer role-playing game, has been active since 2011. This is an era that gained a lot of notoriety among fans thanks to the Knights of the Old Republic video game, which originally launched in 2003. This era takes place thousands of years BBY, nearly 4,000 years before any events on the current timeline.
This is a time when the Sith and Jedi were at war with one another in an ancient (relatively speaking) version of a galaxy far, far away. Beloved characters such as Darth Malak and Revan existed in this time. While there are no official canon materials that take place during The Old Republic, this era is so distant from anything Lucasfilm has explored in the movies that much of what was beloved about the Legends tales could easily be brought into the new canon. There have been rampant rumors regarding projects taking place in The Old Republic but none of them have come to light as of yet. Though it may only be a matter of time.