"Crazy thing is, it's true. The Force, the Jedi... all of it. It's all true."
With 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.
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, 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, that 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 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.
Old Republic Era: 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 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.
Rise of the Empire Era: 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.
Rebellion Era: This era 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.
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.
Legacy Era: 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.
Youtini retains the BBY/ABY convention. It would complicate things 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:
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.
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 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.
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.
Rebellion Era: 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 and Rebel Rising. It also includes Marvel’s seminal mainline comic series and the Doctor Aphra series.
Ascension of the First Order Era (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 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 Cordova and Dawson connected to Galaxy’s Edge. This era roughly matches the old Legacy Era, though—again—the story is vastly different.
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.
Our timeline, mentioned earlier, 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.
Our timeline also 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 beings.
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!