Chronology of the SW Canon


A few interesting quotes from the RotS novelization:

39 "[...] Obi-Wan is sixteen standard years Anakin's elder [...]"
(And, it's 13 years since Qui-Gon's death.)
Since Anakin was nine in TPM, Obi-Wan was twenty-five.   Anakin is thus 22 in Sith, Obi-Wan 38.

And, since we see the birth of Luke and Leia in this film, we can establish more facts.  In the TESB novel, Luke is said to be barely 23, with the events of ANH occurring three years prior.   Luke was thus barely 20 in ANH, and therefore ANH is 20 years after RoTS.

And so the old wizard Ben Kenobi is thus only 58 in ANH.  (Alec Guinness was about 63 upon the release, and would've been 62 during most of the filming of the original Star Wars.)

Qui-Gon was "nearing 60" according to the TPM novel.

 

185 "The Jedi Temple also contained the archives, the vast library that encompassed the Order's entire twenty-five millennia of existence:  everything from the widest-ranging cosmographical surveys to the intimate journals of a billion Jedi Knights." The Jedi Order has existed for 25,000 years.  Earlier, Yoda said (on p. 173) that "Jedi Knights served the Force long before there was a Galactic Republic, and serve it we will when this Republic is but dust."

Thus, the Republic itself must be less than 25,000 years old.  To be sure, an interplanetary organization such as the Jedi Order might've been a prelude leading quickly to a republic . . . or the original Jedi Order might not've been interplanetary at all.  In any case, though, you can't really have Jedi Knights before you have a Jedi Order to knight them.

212-
213
"Since the fall of Darth Bane more than a millennium ago, there have been hundreds of thousands of Jedi [...] and in all these thousand years, there have been only two Sith at any time. [...]
We don't even truly understand what it means to bring balance to the Force."
When you put it that way, it seems clear what it means.

Also note that the Sith were in some sort of action a thousand years prior.  We also hear references to them ruling the galaxy at some point.   Interesting and mysterious are the past 25000 years. 

Intriguingly, though, compare these hundreds of thousands of Jedi over the past millennium to the comment on p. 185 that there'd been a billion Jedi in the past 25 millennia, or the notation in TPM that there were ten thousand of them thirteen years ago (in ch. 9).

This implies a drastic reduction in the average Jedi count over the years.   After all, even if we assume that Mace Windu is referring to a cool million Jedi over the past 1000 years, then at that rate there would've been only 25,000,000 over the past 25,000 years.   Instead, there have been forty times that many.  There's not a lot of evidence to go by in figuring out what happened here, unfortunately, but it seems clear that at some point the Jedi Order was way more popular than it has been in the past 1000 years.

Perhaps they ought to have been rethinking this no-procreation thing.

 

So, we can construct a Star Wars chronology based on the canon.   For ease, we'll start with the fall of the Republic, moving backward a semi-arbitrary 1000 years from the fall of the Republic in Revenge of the Sith (based loosely on the frequent comments of 1000 years in the prequels and such, and also because I don't want to have to deal with the BC/AD issue that would come with a starting point within the film era).  So, the fall of the Republic occurs in 1000 RE.

Thus, by our Republic Era standard:

Film Starts Character Births
TPM:
AoTC:
RoTS:
ANH:
TESB:
RoTJ:
987 RE
997 RE
1000 RE
1020 RE
1023 RE
~1024 RE
Yoda
Count Dooku
Qui-Gon
Palpatine
Obi-Wan
Anakin
Han
Boba
c.120 RE
917 RE
c.928 RE
c.939 RE
962 RE
978 RE
c.985 RE
987 RE

Han and Palpatine's ages are based on the actor's ages (Han from ANH, Palpatine from RoTS).  RoTJ is uncertain because of the unclear duration of TESB.

Many other Star Wars chronologies feature a different arbitrary start date for the year-count . . . in most cases, the years are based on the Battle of Yavin (i.e. ANH).   Thus, whereas my chronology features Revenge of the Sith as occurring in the year 1000 RE, other chronologies would place the events as occurring in 19 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) or, as in the case of Nathan Butler's Star Wars Timeline Gold, 19 BSW4 (Before Star Wars Episode IV).

The problem there is that many folks get confused by the zero point on a calendar with no zero year, and many Star Wars fans have found themselves a year off,  one way or another.  Given that all the really good stuff happens within thirty years of the Battle of Yavin in either direction, I personally view it as much simpler to throw the zero point further back.

Conversion is simple enough . . . just subtract 1019.  That puts ANH as year 1 and RoTS as year -19 (or 19 BBY).  However, it doesn't work for the year 1019, one year before ANH.  Them's the breaks.


Unfortunately, this maneuver cannot be considered unique.  As I discovered months after originally creating the above, Expanded Universe authors have already created a  sort of "Republic Era" of their own.  In earlier EU materials, the Republic was said to be 25,000 years old.  Frequent mention is made of the 25,000 year history of the Republic.  However, when Lucas was making his prequels he used the value of 1000 years and also had reference to a lack of warfare in the Republic's history, both of which trashed a number of EU stories.  As such, Licensing's teams crafted a retcon fix wherein reforms occurred in the Republic after a great battle, resulting in a calendar reset to zero and a vague notion that the history of the pre-reform Republic wasn't really the history of the Republic.  I'm not sure if their year zero is exactly the same as mine, but I'm not really that concerned about it.