"Without a trustworthy chronology, history would be but a darksome chaos."
"As to your dates, that is the biggest mystification of all."
Dr. John Watson
"The more you define, the more you confine."
"Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify."
Henry David Thoreau
"I’m absolutely BLOWN AWAY by this timeline . . . .
It’s a Herculean task, and what you’ve done is astounding."
"Oh, yeah. Down here, I’m considered the apotheosis of cool."
Greetings, and welcome to the all-new Star Wars Expanded Universe Chronology
. New home, new look, and a new dedication to being the most user-friendly timeline out there. A few notes of explanation are in order before you proceed.
"In what order do I read these stories?" has to be one of the most frequently asked chronology-related questions. I heard the call, and answered. I decided it was time someone addressed this in earnest. Other timelines, much more impressive in scope, focus on relaying the Expanded Universe franchise in toto, breaking down stories into their constituent chapters, even going so far as to include page numbers and paragraph references for precision of historical accuracy. Yet very few are designed to quickly and simply answer this one basic question. Moreover, the complexity of these approaches can actually make the timeline bloated and unwieldy, and difficult to use.
Therefore, my purpose in constructing this chronology has been quite different. Initially fashioned after the primitive timelines that most of us began with (themselves a framework for the abbreviated official timelines available now in the novels and on the Dark Horse Comics website), and refined to be more stylistically consistent with the recent Comics Companion
and Essential Reader's Companion
publications, I have attempted a much simpler, back-to-basics approach that incorporates both simplicity and sophistication. The Star Wars Expanded Universe Chronology
has gone through many iterations, but until recently, failed (in my opinion) to address the fundamental needs of the fan. I have studied everything from gospel harmonies to world history chronologies in order to come up with a system that seemed to answer most of the necessary requirements for readability and understandability. History, archeology, and paleontology have taught me how to be flexible when it comes to dating and understanding of eras and years (I don't believe that truth is relative or that the actual events of history are subjective, but I do know that understanding of past events vary greatly, and thus color our interpretations. But that's another subject altogether, and is relevant only insofar as to say that while time is the medium in which this project exists, it is also a fluid enough medium in the fictive world to allow for a number of seemingly irreconcilable differences to coexist). As official decree is given regarding some of the more difficult-to-reconcile continuity issues, this timeline will no doubt change radically in the future, but in the meantime, I think you will find it one of the most user-friendly chronologies out there.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I use this document?
Look for shaded boxes. Each story is represented by one entry, placed chronologically. It contains the series title, the writer/author, and the publisher. The various media are color-coded for quick and easy reference. Any text following that box relates to the story, and will primarily include information related to placement and continuity (though certain entries warranted more random musings or commentary than others). No summaries are given for stories, as there are plenty of official and unofficial publications that have those. If you are interested in a straight read-through, just follow the trail of boxes and ignore the text. Alternate placements, flashbacks, etc, will be noted, but only the main entry box indicates the recommended placement.
What makes this timeline unique:
On stories taking place concurrently or over large periods of time:
- An adherence to text and substance of the story, rather than official placement. All too often, the "official" Lucasfilm decrees are arbitrary, and conflict with the stories as we read or view them, and the statements of the creators. Like a biblical scholar, I give the original text priority over commentaries (reference books and internal Lucasfilm retroactive continuity fixes, or "retcons"). While official decree may require the overwriting of a story, I still prefer authorial intent inasmuch as shifting continuity will allow. In such cases, the deviation is noted.
- A focus on accuracy rather than precision. This may seem contradictory, but for a full explanation, please see the special note on the Clone Wars section.
- A quick reference system that assumes a certain amount of familiarity with the subject. As previously stated, this is not the place to read detailed history. This is a document designed with the sole goal of guiding people through the already-existing media with a maximum of clarity and minimum of fuss.
For tales that take place concurrently with others, I have typically chosen to place them directly after their "source" (usually a film) and in sequence with each other. For stories spanning a great deal of time, I have chosen to place them in one spot that seems to make the most narrative and dramatic sense. Generally, this is at the point at which the story ends, rather than begins, as it tends to minimize spoilers that way.
On flashback tales:
With very few exceptions, I have placed narratives that take place in multiple time periods at the dramatic locus of the frame story. I have attempted to make note of the times in which chapters of a novel are given out of sequence, but only for the sake of context and clarity.
On the Role Playing Games (RPGs):
I would really have preferred to leave Role Playing Games (and indeed video games) out of the Chronology altogether, as their very nature keeps them from being entirely locked into canonical status. However, the newer approach to these entries is to treat a certain amount of information in them as part of the overall dramatic saga, and there is a fair amount of overlap of details in the games, novels, and comics. Moreover, several authors for the RPGs have contributed to the short story/novel universe, and vice-versa. Initially, the West End Games material was used primarily as sourcebooks for terminology, but the approach has been more and more interwoven since the publication of The Official Star Wars Adventure Journal
. Many of the games are set in a vague period of time, and I have simply placed them arbitrarily until more detailed information is available to me.
On fan fiction:
Fan submissions are not included unless they are related in some way to an official source. For example, in the case of Parallels, Timeline Gold author Nathan Butler's short story, "Equals and Opposites," was published by Dark Horse Comics in their Star Wars Tales
series. This does not make his fan stories canon, but I like to include authors' bodies of franchise-related work when I can, as I think it gives a stronger picture of authorial intent.
On canceled and unpublished stories:
My criteria for including these are similar to that which I use for including fan works. If the story was written by someone who has been officially published or worked with Lucasfilm, it is included as part of their body of work, even if it is not considered canon, because frequently these unpublished tales complete dramatic arcs that were left unfinished in their original publication. I have taken this one step further, and included only those stories that are available in some form or another (usually online).
On dating conventions:
The dates given are based on the basic system of utilizing the Battle of Yavin as a zero point, so everything prior to Star Wars Episode IV
is dated B.B.Y. (Before the Battle of Yavin), and everything after it A.B.Y. (After the Battle of Yavin.) Since the introduction of the in-universe dating system utilized in The Old Republic
video game, I have decided to put these dates in parentheses next to the more common dates. Thus, B.T.C. (Before the Treaty of Coruscant) and A.T.C. (After the Treaty of Coruscant) are listed as alternate dating conventions. Special exceptions are made for months after the Battles of Geonosis, Yavin, and Endor, in order to more precisely place stories.
On relative chronology vs. absolute chronology:
In creating The Star Wars Expanded Universe Chronology
, I realized that there are two basic factors that go into placing a story:
A final note before delving in:
- The dates involved, either in-text or otherwise assigned to the story from an official source (absolute chronology)
- The events and characters involved (relative chronology)
With a relative chronology, the focus is primarily on the events. With an absolute chronology, the events are fixed within the context of precise dates and historical information. I have attempted to use an absolute chronology wherever possible, and resort to a relative chronology whenever necessary. The revision of the events of The Clone Wars mandated a change from an absolute to a relative chronology for that entire portion of the timeline (see the introductory notes for that section for a full explanation). Examples of this are noted throughout the entire document.
I am most grateful for the feedback I have gotten on this chronology over the years, and the patience of my fans as I have structured and restructured it multiple times to fit my level of discontent. There is no perfect Star Wars
timeline out there (though some come very close), but it is my goal to provide you with one of the most accessible. Thank you, as always, and suggestions are more than welcome.
About the creator:
Robert Mullin is a seasoned cryptozoologist who has traveled three times to Africa in search of a possible living dinosaur, and was featured on the History Channel show MonsterQuest
. He is also the author of Bid the Gods Arise
, the first novel in a science fiction/fantasy epic available from Crimson Moon Press.
All titles, images, and terminology specific to Star Wars are the property of the respective publishers. This is a not-for-profit fan publication not affiliated with Lucasfilm, Ltd.