When Disney acquired Lucasfilm, a new emphasis was placed on Star Wars continuity. Previously, the Expanded Universe existed as a means for fans to continue enjoying tales with their favorite characters, but George Lucas never regarded them as part of his story. When the canon was established in 2014 and the EU slate wiped clean, new stories of all mediums joined Lucas' films and shows as pieces of the official continuity, though everything previously made can still serve as inspiration for new projects.
The move was made to allow the writers of Episode VII freedom to tell their own story, not beholden to the many events and character arcs that transpired in Legends. In addition to movies and shows, all books, comics, games, and even the Galaxy's Edge theme park became part of the canon Star Wars narrative. Every story told has a role to play in the greater narrative that Lucasfilm is crafting.
With so many projects released or on the way, confusion was bound to happen. The first several years for the company under new leadership led to endless fan inquiries regarding the canonicity of newly announced stories. To this point, 99% of the things released have been - with Visions, the tie-in novel Ronin, and the LEGO games and movies being the most notable exceptions.
As the story has expanded, an official timeline has been in order. Several outlets have made valiant efforts to order all of the Star Wars material with the information available, but nothing is truly accurate unless released by Lucasfilm. At long last, the company has answered the calls for help, as a new book is on the way that will chronicle everything.
Star Wars Reveals Book Documenting Canon Timeline
The official Star Wars website has exclusively revealed a new reference book, Star Wars: Timelines. Written collectively by five different authors, the book will order and detail the events of every canon Star Wars project to date, beginning before the High Republic era and concluding with The Rise of Skywalker. Readers can expect multiple branching timelines that follow storylines over the course of several years, explaining how Lucasfilm's efforts have become interconnected while placing stories where they belong.
One of the authors, Cole Horton, detailed how extensive the research process for the book has been:
"The painstaking process for researching and writing Star Wars: Timelines has been unlike any other book I’ve written. With so many stories told over the decades and through many mediums, these timelines are an ideal way to illustrate the connected, epic nature of Star Wars storytelling.”
Another key contributor, Kristin Baver, discussed the scale of the project and how it compared to her previous work:
“I first gained a real appreciation for the way events across all kinds of Star Wars storytelling intertwine when I was writing Skywalker: A Family at War in 2020, but that was just scratching the surface compared to this project. It’s a thrill to be working with such an accomplished crew of writers to take on this Summa-verminoth-sized job. And it’s opened my eyes to so many of the intricacies that make these stories come alive and give the galaxy that expansive, lived-in feel.”
Binding the Galaxy Together
Lucasfilm has produced many stellar reference books over the decades, but Timelines may be precisely the companion piece that so many fans have been looking for. As time has gone on, the nature of the canon has become far less confusing, but with so many stories filling in the gaps between movies and shows, it's become difficult to precisely place where everything takes place.
Hardcore fans will have a field day n particular, as the countless stories they've consumed will now officially be charted and given deeper exploration. The comics alone have produced dozens of series spanning hundreds of issues, and the events have a tendency to jump around and interweave with visual media and novels. Where do stories get placed when they cover several years' worth of time? This book will have the answers.
It's interesting that the announcement specified stories told before the High Republic era would be included, given that Phase Two of the publishing initiative will be the earliest point in the timeline to date. Is this a hint of things to come? Notably, the demise of the First Order was indicated as being the finishing point for the timeline, so stories set after Episode IX shouldn't be expected in the near future.
The one kicker about books like Timelines is that they're never truly up to date. Just a month after the book is published, The Mandalorian Season 3 will debut, shortly followed by Ahsoka - both of which will be massive stories in the canon. Fortunately, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor Season 1, and The Bad Batch Season 2 will all have aired by then, in addition to a slew of other material, giving the book even more to incorporate until an updated and expanded edition is in order.
Star Wars: Timelines hits shelves in November 2022.