ith the sheer amount of material published over the decades—novels, comics, video games, tabletop games, and more—it can be puzzling and even intimidating to navigate the Star Wars Expanded Universe. When you consider the amount of in-universe time all this media covers, (128 years in Canon so far and more than 25 thousand years in Legends), the task of making sense of it all can be downright daunting.
Fortunately, at Youtini, sorting out the Star Wars Expanded Universe is our specialty. Not only do we offer a regularly updated schedule of new releases and a handy interactive timeline that can be sorted by Canon and Legends and types of media, but we also have a bookshelf to help you keep track of your collection.
But before getting into all that, perhaps it might be helpful to take a look at how this expansive timeline is organized.
Note: This guide was co-authored by Youtini Staff Writer, Meg Dowell
The Star Wars Timeline According to Lucasfilm
Just like in the real world, the Star Wars timeline is divided by a seminal event. For the stories that take place in a galaxy far, far away in both Canon and Legends, that event is the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the first Death Star.
Events from the founding of the Republic and Jedi Order to the Clone Wars and establishment of the Galactic Empire are dated in years “Before the Battle of Yavin” (BBY). Events like the Battle of Endor, Canon’s Battle of Jakku and Hosnian Cataclysm, and Legends’ Yuuzhan Vong War are dated in years “After the Battle of Yavin” (ABY). It may not be exactly perfect, but it’s handy enough as a starting point in organizing all the stories that have come our way since George Lucas sat down with his first yellow legal pad.
Over the subsequent decades, literally hundreds of titles were published in what would eventually be branded as Legends. To help organize the timeline, Lucasfilm established several eras.
Before the Republic
This era covers everything before the establishment of the Galactic Republic. Ostensibly, this includes the formation of all the species of the galaxy and their civilizations. While published material references ancient things like Xim the Despot and flashbacks to migration of Force-sensitive individuals to a planet called Tython, the only stories from this era we get to enjoy first hand are the Dawn of the Jedi comics and the associated novel Into the Void. Here, we meet the Je’daii, forerunners of the Jedi Order, and their struggle with the inaccurately named Infinite Empire.
The Old Republic
The longest era in the publishing timeline, this era spans from 25,000 BBY to 1000 BBY. Much of this era is referenced only in lore and historical references, with fully realized stories beginning around 5,000 BBY. We see the Hyperspace War and the rise and fall of several Sith Empires. We witness the emergence of Revan in the Mandalorian Wars, then his fall and redemption in the Jedi Civil War.
- Revan is the first in The Old Republic series of Star Wars books that follows the ruthless war between the Jedi and the Sith -- long before Darth Plagueis and Palpatine. The iconic character from the beloved Knights of the Old Republic video game kicks off the series with a dangerous quest to stop evil once and for all.
- The Darth Bane Trilogy follows the legendary Darth Bane as he establishes the infamous Rule of Two. This series of Star Wars books sets the foundations for Palpatine’s Empire long before it crushes the Galactic Republic.
Rise of the Empire
Covering the last thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, this era begins with Darth Bane establishing the Rule of Two and a new plan to realize a Sith-controlled galaxy. It includes the appearance of then-Senator Palpatine, the Clone Wars, the Great Jedi Purge, and the reformation of the Republic into the Galactic Empire. But it also includes the roots of the Rebel Alliance under the leadership of Senators Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, along with the latter’s adopted daughter Leia.
This era, ranging from 0 ABY - 5 ABY, is anchored around the Original Trilogy, beginning with the theft of plans for the Death Star and its subsequent destruction and ending shortly after the Battle of Endor and splintering of Palpatine’s Empire into an Imperial Remnant and various warlord controlled territories.
New Republic Era
Spanning from 5 ABY to 25 ABY, this era includes the establishment and consolidation of a New Republic, which still must contend with various remaining Imperial factions and other threats. It also includes Luke Skywalker’s establishment of a New Jedi Order.
- The original Thrawn Trilogy was Timothy Zahn’s first venture into Star Wars books and arguably the most influential trilogy in the expanded universe at the time. It introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn and also featured the birth of the Solo twins, Jacen and Jaina, who became important characters in their own right as the expanded universe, well … expanded.
- The X-Wing series is one of the most iconic Legends series of Star Wars books you’ll find. Similar to Canon’s Alphabet Squadron trilogy, these books focus on a group of pilots as they fight for the New Republic’s right to govern over the galaxy.
New Jedi Order Era
This era features Luke’s Jedi Order—including the sons and daughters of the Original Trilogy’s heroes—facing a brand new threat in the form of the immune-to-the-Force Yuuzhan Vong, and then the re-emergence of an ancient species in service to the Dark Side.
The New Jedi Order series is a collection of nearly 20 books that make up this entire Legends era. Twenty-one years after A New Hope, the galaxy is invaded by the Yuuzhan Vong, causing widespread conflict and destruction. If you want to dive into this series, be prepared: There are 19 books in total, plus a few short stories if that many books isn’t enough.
This final era, which has no official end date, begins after the Dark Nest Crisis. Generations of successive wars leave a convoluted legacy for the Galactic Alliance (the successor to the New Republic) and the Jedi Order to sort out. Disputes about how to rebuild pit former allies against each other in a Second Galactic Civil War while a new Sith Lord rises. His defeat and the end of the war cast its own shadow, and conflict—including the emergence of a long lost offshoot from one of the original Sith Empires—would ebb and flow for at least another hundred years. The franchise isn’t called Star Peace, after all.
- The Legacy of the Force series is set 40 years after the events of A New Hope. During this time, systems begin leaving the Galactic Alliance, stirring up conflict and threatening to allow new factions to rise to power -- not all of them for the greater good. The Jedi Order may be on the verge of crumbling, and the Jedi might not be able to save it.
- The Fate of the Jedi series is set two years after the conclusion of the Legacy of the Force series and follows Luke Skywalker’s quest to hold together what remains of the Jedi Order after one of its apprentices falls to the dark side.
The Star Wars Timeline According to Youtini
Before you ask, don’t worry -- Youtini retains the BBY/ABY convention. It would complicate things far too much to establish our own (even if an unnamed writer/podcast host might have preferred a calendar system based on the birth of Bail Organa), and our whole mission is making it easier to enjoy more Star Wars!
After all, it is the way.
But that means we also had to develop our own system of eras. That’s because we celebrate both Canon (everything published since the Disney Purchase) and Legends. The previous timeline doesn’t fit terribly well with the Sequel Trilogy and associated material. Moreover, we felt that it lumped all the considerable amount of material covering the Clone Wars with a couple millennia of backstory. Until Lucasfilm sets a new official era system, your friends at Youtini present the following:
The Old Republic Era
While this era doesn’t include any Canon content, this is where Youtini groups the Legends stories about the origins of the Republic and Jedi Order, the events surrounding the Knights of the Old Republic games, and the rise of Darth Bane and the Rule of Two.
Prophecy of the Force Era
In our system, this includes Legends stories about the apprenticeship of Obi-Wan Kenobi to Qui-Gon Jinn and that of Palpatine to Darth Plagueis the Wise. It also features Canon and Legends stories surrounding The Phantom Menace and its aftermath. The bulk of Cavan Scott’s Dooku: Jedi Lost takes place in this era.
- Darth Plagueis is James Luceno’s retelling of the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. This Legends book also provides the dark origins of Palpatine and leads right into The Phantom Menace … and events occurring alongside the film you never knew were happening.
- Master & Apprentice is the only Star Wars book to date to prominently feature Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before The Phantom Menace. It further establishes the complexities of their relationship and also contains a delightfully unexpected twist.
- Queen’s Peril and Queen’s Shadow both heavily feature Padmé Amidala and her handmaidens and touch on many of the political dilemmas that arise before The Clone Wars. We also see glimpses of the very early seeds of the future Rebellion.
Clone Wars Era
This era includes all the events surrounding Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars, all the way up to Legends’ Labyrinth of Evil and staff Canon favorite Dark Disciple. Between all the Legends material and the Canon Age of Republic series and other titles, we think this segment of galactic history deserved its own era.
- The Republic Commando series set during The Clone Wars era, follows a group of clone troopers as they form unbreakable bonds with one another and try to survive on and off the battlefield. Sadly, this series was never finished, but the stellar titles that were published sure that it’s worth the read all the same.
- Dark Disciple follows Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos as they team up to complete an assignment on behalf of the Jedi Order. The book shows the Jedi’s desperation to win the war and ends up telling one of the greatest love stories in Star Wars history.
Rise of the Empire Era
Though we retained the previous name, Youtini’s Rise of the Empire era encompasses Revenge of the Sith—the death of Dooku and Grievous, the fall of Anakin, Order 66, and the proclamation of the Empire. It includes great Legends works like A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy in addition to Canon looks at the growth of Darth Vader, the fate of Ahsoka Tano, works related to Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the early Rebel Alliance and its precocious Princess.
- Ahsoka is a stand-alone novel by E.K. Johnston about Ahsoka Tano’s life just one year after the end of The Clone Wars. It’s the only bridge we have between the Ahsoka we know in her debut TV series and the Ahsoka we meet in Star Wars: Rebels, and explains how she got to the latter.
- Most Wanted is Rae Carson’s debut Star Wars novel and a fast-paced glimpse into the lives of Qi’ra and Han before Solo: A Star Wars Story.
- The Canon Thrawn Trilogy was Thrawn’s introduction into Star Wars Canon and his first development in the Expanded Universe alongside Star Wars: Rebels. The trilogy follows Thrawn as he rises through the ranks of the Empire, teams up with Darth Vader, and faces a new galactic threat.
This era closely tracks the earlier Lucasfilm era, in that it generally encompasses the original film trilogy and related titles. For us, it also includes Rogue One’s immediate “prequel” books like Guardians of the Whills. It also includes Marvel’s seminal mainline comic series and the Doctor Aphra series.
- Rebel Rising features a young Jyn Erso as she tags along with Saw Garerra and his special brand of rebel fighters. It fills in many of the gaps between the prologue of Rogue One and the remainder of the film once Jyn has grown up.
- From a Certain Point of View is a collection of short stories that expand upon details throughout A New Hope, such as a retelling of the trash compactor scene from the dianoga’s point of view. Another installment of this Star Wars book format, A Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back, does the same for Episode V.Ascension of the First Order (Canon)
Ascension of The First Order (Canon)
Our timeline once again departs from the old one at 4 ABY. We set this era to encompass stories about tying up the loose ends from Return of the Jedi—including Alexander Freed’s Alphabet Squadron trilogy and Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy—as well as the stories that set the stage for the Sequel Trilogy like Delilah S. Dawson’s Phasma, Claudia Gray’s Bloodline, and the beginning of the Poe Dameron comic series. This era roughly lines up with the old system’s New Republic and New Jedi Order eras, though by this point, the stories are on diverging arcs.
- The Alphabet Squadron Trilogy, similar to Legends’ X-wing series, follows a group of pilots as they work to snuff out what remains of the Empire after the Emperor’s demise. Each character faces moral dilemmas, trauma, and sacrifice to save the causes they’re fighting for.
- The Aftermath Trilogy tells the story of the New Republic forces who put their lives on the line to make sure darkness would not be allowed to rise again. Even after Palpatine was defeated, the Galactic Empire refused to surrender.
- Bloodline is a stand-alone novel by Claudia Gray that follows Leia through her struggle to align with the politics of the New Republic. The book explains her decision to form the Resistance and break away from the government.
The Force Awakens Era (Canon)
Our final era, so far, encompasses what we’ve seen of the Skywalker Saga in the Disney Era: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker along with all the connected titles. The bulk of the Poe Dameron series takes place here in addition to Rebecca Roanhorse’s Resistance Reborn as well as works by Zoraida Córdova and Dawson connected to Galaxy’s Edge. This era roughly matches the old Legacy Era, though—again—the story is vastly different.
- Resistance Reborn serves as a bridge between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker with a story focused on key characters such as Poe Dameron and Leia Organa as they work to rebuild the Resistance
- Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire shows the First Order’s growing brutality against those who resist it and the Resistance heroes big and small who are willing to risk everything to secure victory over the regime.
How to Navigate the Youtini Star Wars Timeline
Even though the history of the Star Wars universe has been divided into eras that we hope are at least as helpful—if not more so—than the geologic eras used here on Earth, it still leaves an awful lot to sort through. But, to paraphrase a young Jedi Knight making a visit Kamino, that’s… why we’re here.
Canon vs. Legends
Our timeline allows you to select between Legends, where we maintain Lucasfilm’s system for everything after the Rebellion Era, and Canon, where we split things into the era where authors tie up Episode VI’s loose ends and the era where the Sequel Trilogy’s backstory begins.
BBY vs. ABY
The Youtini Star Wars timeline is also divided into BBy and ABY so that you can search for and select Star Wars books based on when they take place relative to the films, for example. If you know a book takes place after A New Hope but aren’t sure exactly when, you at least know to search in the ABY section.
Different Kinds of Star Wars Books
Our timeline lets you select different types of media. If your passion is comics and graphic novels, then you can focus on those. If you only want to see traditional novels, you can make that happen. Or, if like some of us, you approach Star Wars publishing like a glutton at a buffet, you can select everything and see how it all lines up chronologically.
Regardless of your favorite kind of media, or your favorite eras of the Star Wars timeline, your friends at Youtini can help you find your next favorite story from a galaxy far, far, away!
Check our regularly updated Release Schedule if you want to stay in the know about which Star Wars books and comics are releasing and when. Each entry on that page has its own book profile that tells you exactly where that book or comic falls on the timeline so you can compare it to other Star Wars stories of its kind.