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Star Wars timeline: Every major event from a galaxy far, far away in chronological order

The Star Wars timeline can be as tricky to navigate as the Kessel Run. Since our first trip to a certain galaxy far, far away in 1977, we’ve seen the Republic fall; the Empire rise then fall; the Republic rise and fall again; and, finally, the First Order takeover – itself leading to the formation of the Resistance. Plus, the whole thing’s bound together by a mysterious energy field called the Force, and the Skywalker family has had an implausibly large influence on it all.

There’s enough history to make R2-D2’s memory banks short circuit because official Star Wars canon isn’t just limited to live-action movies and multiple TV series (with even more coming to Disney Plus). There’s also numerous official novels and Marvel comics that expand the epic mythology of the worlds George Lucas created.

And it could have been even more complex had the post-Disney buyout Lucasfilm not decided to purge the previous Expanded Universe stories from official chronology. This means anything that wasn’t a movie or the CG-animated Clone Wars TV show moved across to the separate, historic “Legends” line, with new stories existing in one all-encompassing Star Wars continuity. Still with me?

In the interests of our collective sanity, that’s probably a good thing. While it’s a shame that the ancient history of the classic Knights of the Old Republic games is no longer canon, and unlikely treats like an evil Luke Skywalker clone working for a resurrected Palpatine and Dengar’s wedding (a post-Sarlacc Boba Fett was best man) are now banished to history, the old Expanded Universe was also contradictory and unwieldy. Now we have at least a fighting chance of explaining the entire Star Wars timeline in a coherent order.

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And although this is a comprehensive list of key events in the Star Wars timeline, we haven’t included absolutely everything that happened in a galaxy far, far away – does anybody really need to know when Dexter Jettster opened his diner on Coruscant? You’ll also notice that the entries for the prequel trilogy are rather longer than those for the originals. That’s because there’s so much more happening on a galactic scale in this era – there are many moving parts when you’re an evil genius bringing down an entire republic, you know! Oh, and we've included which movie/TV show/book each event appears in in brackets afterwards just incase you want to go back and see The Trade Federation deciding to blockade Naboo…

As for the calendar, everything in the Star Wars galaxy is dated relative to the Battle of Yavin, where Luke Skywalker blew up the first Death Star. So Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, which takes place 19 years ahead of Star Wars: A New Hope, is set 19 years Before the Battle of Yavin (in 19 BBY). Meanwhile, Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 34 years After the Battle of Yavin (in 34 ABY). And yep, I know that it’s weird to use Earth years in a galaxy far, far away, but we suggest you just roll with it for the sake of the Star Wars timeline making any sense at all.

Now that all that's taken care of, let's start with an at-a-glance guide to the chronological order of the Star Wars movies and TV shows we've had so far:

Star Wars movies and TV shows in chronological order

Star Wars timeline

~900 BBY - Yoda born, though nobody ever thought to ask what species he belongs to. (Return of the Jedi)

41 BBY - Anakin Skywalker is somehow conceived by the Midichlorians (and his mum, Shmi). (referenced The Phantom Menace)

32 BBY - The Trade Federation escalates a scintillating trade dispute by blockading Naboo. C-3PO and R2-D2 meet for the first time. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi discover Force-sensitive Anakin Skywalker on Tatooine and save him from slavery. Yippee! 

Queen Padme Amidala leads the liberation of Naboo, where Obi-Wan slices Darth Maul in two – sending him tumbling to his apparent death. Palpatine is elected Chancellor of the Republic, while Anakin starts his Jedi training. Galaxy watches both their careers with great interest. (The Phantom Menace)

Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas commissions Kaminoan cloners to build an army for the Republic. (mentioned in Attack of the Clones)

22 BBY - Separatists make a couple of attempts on Senator Amidala’s life. Obi-Wan’s investigations into the assassin’s identity lead him to Kamino, where he discovers a fully-fledged Clone Army. Anakin slaughters an entire village of Tusken Raiders (men, women and children) in revenge for the death of his mother. Padme becomes strangely attracted to him.

Naboo Senate Representative Jar Jar Binks calls for Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to be given emergency powers to bring the Clone Army into service – those Clone Troopers subsequently follow the Jedi into action against Separatist forces on Geonosis. Jango Fett killed in the battle. Separatist leader Count Dooku is revealed to be Sith Lord Darth Tyranus, and chops off Anakin’s arm in a lightsaber duel. Geonosian leader Poggle the Lesser hands the Separatists’ Death Star plans to Count Dooku. Anakin and Padme marry in secret. The Clone Wars begin. (Attack of the Clones)

22 BBY - Anakin takes on Ahsoka Tano as his apprentice. (The Clone Wars)

21 ABY - The young Boba Fett infiltrates a Republic Star Destroyer in an effort to take revenge on Mace Windu for dad Jango’s death. (The Clone Wars)

~21 BBY - Brilliant energy scientist Galen Erso is captured by Separatist forces and subsequently rescued by Orson Krennic (at this point a Republic officer) – it will later turn out Krennic has an ulterior motive involving a certain planet-killing superweapon… (Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel)

20 BBY - Darth Sidious orders Count Dooku to eliminate Asajj Ventress, the Dark Side apprentice Dooku’s been training in secret. Presumed-dead former Sith Lord Darth Maul is discovered – half the man he used to be – by his brother Savage Opress on Lotho Minor. Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan train meet and train future insurgent Saw Gerrera to fight against the Separatists on Onderon. Construction of Death Star begins above Geonosis. (The Clone Wars)

19 BBY - Maul and Opress join forces with criminal gangs and Mandalorian hardliners Death Watch to overthrow and kill Mandalore’s peaceful leader (and Obi-Wan love interest) Duchess Satine Kryze. Darth Sidious clears up the mess, killing Opress and capturing Maul. 

Wrongly framed for murder, Ahsoka quits the Jedi Order and disappears. (The Clone Wars) 

Supreme Chancellor Palpatine kidnapped by Separatist forces, Count Dooku executed by Anakin during the rescue. Obi-Wan kills the Separatists’ cyborg military commander General Grievous. Palpatine is revealed to be Darth Sidious. Anakin seduced by the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. Palpatine declares himself Emperor and the Galactic Republic becomes the Galactic Empire. Order 66 prompts the Clone Troopers to turn on the Jedi and all-but wipe them out. Darth Vader slaughters the remaining Separatist leaders on Mustafar. Obi-Wan defeats Vader in a duel, critically injuring him and leaving him dependent on an iconic cybernetic life support suit. Padme dies giving birth to twins. Luke is left with his step-uncle/aunt Owen and Beru Lars on Tatooine, Leia with Senator Bail Organa on Alderaan. Obi-Wan and Yoda go into hiding, on Tatooine and Dagobah, respectively. (Revenge of the Sith)

17 BBY - Galen Erso, forced to work on the Death Star, does a runner with wife Lyra and daughter Jyn from their home on Coruscant, with help from Saw Gerrera. (Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel)

13 BBY - Krennic tracks down Erso family on Lah’mu. Lyra dies, Galen goes back to work on the Death Star, leaving Jyn to get an, er, unconventional upbringing with Saw. (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

Han Solo escapes captivity on Corellia, enlists in the Imperial Navy and bags himself a surname. (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

10 BBY - Han Solo meets hairy BFF Chewbacca, defects from the Empire and joins Tobias Beckett’s criminal gang. Rebellious L3-37 initiates a droid uprising on Kessel. Solo completes a Kessel Run in the Millennium Falcon in a record-breaking 12 parsecs – he’s so impressed he later wins the Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of Sabacc. Solo helps out Enfys Nest’s proto-Rebels, but declines to join the cause. Qi’ra assumes day-to-day control of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, answering directly to Maul. (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

5 BBY - Force-sensitive Ezra Bridger joins the crew of Rebel vessel the Ghost. Fugitive Jedi Kanan Jarrus takes him on as his Padawan. (Star Wars Rebels)

4 BBY - Rebel informant Fulcrum revealed to be Ahsoka Tano. Empire commences Siege of Lothal. The Emperor unleashes Darth Vader to sort out growing Rebel problem. Former Clone Troopers Rex, Wolffe and Gregor join Rebel cause. (Star Wars Rebels) 

3 BBY - Maul blinds Kanan Jarrus in battle. Ahsoka faces Vader for the first time since she was Anakin’s apprentice. (Star Wars Rebels)

2 BBY - Obi-Wan Kenobi belatedly finishes the job of killing Maul on Tatooine. Mon Mothma resigns from Imperial Senate, and calls for the formation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic (aka Rebel Alliance). Chopper Base on Atollon destroyed by Admiral Thrawn’s forces, forcing the Rebels to relocate to Yavin 4. (Star Wars Rebels)

1 BBY - Kanan Jarrus killed, sacrificing himself to save the rest of the Ghost crew. Ezra Bridger has an audience with the Emperor, before he and Grand Admiral Thrawn go missing in action. Bo-Katan Kryze takes Mandalorian throne, after Sabine Wren gives her the ceremonial Darksaber. (Star Wars Rebels)

0 BBY - Rebels secure their first significant victory over the Empire at Scarif – though in the ultimate downer, everybody involved in recovering the Death Star plans dies. (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

Princess Leia Organa is eventually captured by Darth Vader. Luke Skywalker meets C-3PO and R2-D2, and takes Death Star plans hidden in R2 to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke begins Jedi training, meets Han Solo and Chewbacca. Alderaan destroyed by Death Star. Leia rescued. Obi-Wan Kenobi dies. The Death Star destroyed. (A New Hope)

0-3 ABY - Darth Vader recruits Boba Fett to help hunt down the Force-sensitive young pilot who blew up the Death Star. (Darth Vader comic)

Rebel Alliance relocates to Echo Base on the distinctly chilly Hoth. (The Empire Strikes Back)

Han Solo runs into an unknown bounty hunter on Ord Mantell. (referenced in The Empire Strikes Back)

3 ABY - The Rebels evacuate Hoth after the Empire discovers Echo Base. Luke Skywalker begins formal Jedi training with Yoda on Dagobah. Darth Vader captures Han, Leia and Chewbacca at Bespin. Han frozen in Carbonite and taken to Jabba the Hutt by Boba Fett. Luke faces Darth Vader, loses a hand and learns the Sith Lord is his father. Noooooooo! (The Empire Strikes Back)

3-4 ABY - Many Bothans die getting information on Death Star 2. (mentioned in Return of the Jedi)

4 ABY - Han Solo rescued from Jabba the Hutt – with Leia killing Jabba in the process. Yoda dies. Luke learns that Leia is his twin sister – awkward! Imperial forces intercept Rebellion’s secret assault on Endor – it’s a trap! Luke faces Darth Vader again, this time in the presence of the Emperor. Vader turns back to the good side and kills the Emperor. Death Star destroyed – despite Ewok involvement. Yub nub! (Return of the Jedi)

5 ABY - Han Solo helps Chewbacca to liberate Kashyyyk from Imperial rule. The New Republic secures a final victory over the remains of the Empire at the Battle of Jakku. Mon Mothma signs the Galactic Concordance and the Empire is dissolved. A faction of top Imperials, led by Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and General Hux’s dad Brendol, travel through the Unknown Regions to start the First Order. Ben Solo is born. (Star Wars: Aftermath novel trilogy)

7 ABY - A lone gunfighter makes his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic. He has a very cool suit. (The Mandalorian)

21 ABY - The First Order starts using crime syndicates to fund its increasing military activities. (Star Wars: Bloodline novel)

28 ABY - The truth about Leia’s Sithy parentage is leaked by political enemies, engulfing her in a scandal that forces her to resign from the Senate. Sensing the threat of an increasingly active First Order, she forms the Resistance to keep them in check. (Star Wars: Bloodline)

28 ABY-34 ABY - Ben Solo is persuaded by Supreme Leader Snoke to turn to the Dark Side. He trashes Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi school, kills most of his fellow students, and renames himself Kylo Ren. Luke goes into exile on Ahch-To and switches himself off from the Force. (Mentioned in The Force Awakens)

Kazuda Xiono goes undercover as a Resistance spy at the Colossus outpost. (Star Wars Resistance)

34 ABY - Poe Dameron finds map containing details of Luke Skywalker’s whereabouts. Trooper FN-2187, AKA Finn, defects from First Order, gets Poe’s jacket and meets Rey on Jakku. The pair steal the Millennium Falcon, and hook up with Han Solo and Chewbacca. The First Order uses Starkiller base to destroy the entire Hosnian system, wiping out the whole of the New Republic’s government. Kylo Ren kills Han Solo. Starkiller base destroyed. Rey tracks down Luke on Ahch-To. (The Force Awakens)

The Resistance evacuate their base on D’Qar and go on the run from the First Order. Kylo Ren kills Supreme Leader Snoke and declares himself Supreme Leader. First Order flagship the Supremacy destroyed when Vice-Admiral Holdo pilots the Raddus through it at hyperspace. Luke creates a Force projection of himself to face Kylo Ren and dies in the effort. The last few survivors of the Resistance escape on the Millennium Falcon. (The Last Jedi)

35 ABY - With Snoke vanquished, an old evil returns... Palpatine. The Resistance is making some headway in their fight back against the First Order, but is it enough? (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)