#starwarscanon – Reexamining the Star Wars Canon Timeline
There are plenty of Star Wars canon resources out there to help people get into the non-movie material and develop a sense of timeline and story flow. Some are more accurate than others while some are more complete than others, but they all get at the same basic idea. Consequently they are all basically structured the same way, in a single line or list. Let us challenge this idea for a moment and explore a different, less linear approach.
Let’s begin by asking: What makes Star Wars great? While there are many ways to answer this question, one could say that the vast array of characters and their relationships to each other contribute to Star Wars’s greatness.
Let’s ask another question: What is time? I do not mean to get metaphysical, but let’s think about how we perceive time. What makes time move forward? More to the point, what makes a story, an epic like Star Wars, move forward? Simple answer: Things that happen. Events in the universe. Things that happen in relationship to other things which give us that sense of time and structure.
Creators of Star Wars canon timelines are always striving to understand what year a story took place, but that in and of itself is basically relating each story back to the destruction of the Death Star (as the Battle of Yavin is, by many, considered the 0 year in the Star Wars canon discussion). Perhaps we should concentrate more on the relationships of characters and the arrangement of events and not be so tied up about specific points in time? Who is to say two episodes of the clone wars involving completely different characters could not have happened at the same time in different parts of the galaxy?
As an exercise, let’s take a character in the Star Wars universe and discuss a version of a canon timeline with this idea in mind: Lando Calrissian.
Lando’s first canon appearance is in Star Wars Rebels “Idiot’s Array,” followed by his short story “Rebel Bluff,” and then a brief appearance in Star Wars Rebels “The Siege of Lothal.” He then stars in a mini-series Lando by Marvel comics before his appearance Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and VI: Return of the Jedi. After which he has an appearance in Shattered Empire, Issue #003 and a mention in Aftermath’s Interlude Bespin Cloud City.
Aside from their relationship to other events in the overall Star Wars storytelling space, there is not defined placement for some of these stories. Lando Calrissian’s tale is vague in some spots. His comic series is not tied to much else story wise, we just know it’s before Cloud City but after his Rebel’s appearances due to the inclusion of Lobot. The short story “Rebel Bluff” has only a few elements that make its time relation apparent, such as the inclusion of Tarkentown (which was destroyed in “The Siege of Lothal”).
Lando’s current story as it stands in the current universe cannot even be related to Episode IV: A New Hope but many want to place his comic after the film. While that seems likely, it is not necessarily the case. This character and event approach to the timeline could give us a better understanding of the narrative flow of the overall Star Wars epic.
Taking this approach could be interesting if you started layering in other characters into the mix. Leia, whose story is vast, intersects with Lando’s during and frequently after The Empire Strikes Back. Yet, prior to that, she appeared in “A Princess on Lothal.” Throw Ezra into the mix, and you will have a great visual of Ezra whose story is connected to both Leia and Lando. This could prove to ignite some interesting conversation about the influence these three characters have had on each other and impact on the larger story of the Star Wars narrative. Did Ezra’s experience with Lando prove to influence the events either one of them shares with Leia? An interesting, Coffee With Kenobi worthy question that was ignited by viewing the canon timeline in a more character and event-driven form, rather than forcing it into a single linear timeline.
This image is just a very small sample of what a much more massive and inclusive story flow chart could look like. Perhaps just zooming in on these segments will aid or prompt additional dialogue around the Star Wars canon as we continue to explore the stories that make up this wonderful expansive narrative.
Let me know your thoughts by posting in the comments below. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be found on Twitter: @starwarstce. You can find our coverage of #starwarscanon stories at our YouTube channel Star Wars: The Canon Explained.
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