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. Considering the amount of time all this media covers (more than 400 years in Canon so far and more than 25 millennia in Legends), making sense of it all can be downright daunting.
Fortunately, at Youtini, sorting out the Star Wars Expanded Universe is our specialty. We offer a regularly updated schedule of new releases and a handy interactive timeline that you can sort by Canon and Legends and media types. We might be biased, but we think it's the best timeline in the galaxy.
But before getting into all that, it might be helpful to look at how this expansive timeline is organized.
The Star Wars Legends Timeline
Just like we do with our own world's history, we can divide the Star Wars timeline by a seminal event. In a galaxy far, far away, for both Canon and Legends, that event is the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the first Death Star.
Events from the Republic's birth to the 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 perfect, but it's a handy 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, there have been different ways to organize the hundreds of items published in what we now know as Legends. Here at Youtini, we break it down into the following eras.
Old Republic (25,802 – 980 BBY)
The longest era in the publishing timeline covers the first several thousand years of galactic history. Ostensibly, this includes the formation of all the galaxy's diverse civilizations and their exploration of space. Short vignettes included in various reference books and archived in deep corners of the Internet reference subjects like Xim the Despot and the migration of Force-sensitive individuals to the planet Tython. But the only stories from this era readily available are the Dawn of the Jedi comics and the associated novel Into the Void. Here, we meet the Je'daii, forerunners of the Jedi Order, and see their struggle with the Infinite Empire.
Fully realized stories pick up around 5,000 BBY with the Hyperspace War and the rise and fall of several Sith Empires. We also witness the emergence of Revan in the Mandalorian Wars, then his fall and redemption in the Jedi Civil War. Much of the intervening 20,000 years of history is only obliquely referred to by characters or exposition in subsequent books or explained in short in-game reference material such as the codexes Star Wars: The Old Republic.
- Revan is the first in The Old Republic series of Star Wars books that follows the ruthless war between the Jedi and the Sith -- long before Darth Plagueis and Palpatine. The iconic character from the beloved Knights of the Old Republic video game kicks off the series with a dangerous quest to stop evil once and for all.
- The Darth Bane Trilogy introduces the legendary Sith Lord as he establishes the infamous Rule of Two. This series of Star Wars books sets the foundations for Palpatine's Empire long before it crushes the Galactic Republic.
Rise of the Sith (88 – 22 BBY)
After several centuries of galactic history, this era focuses on the heirs to Darth Bane's legacy putting the final pieces in place, and includes events surrounding The Phantom Menace. We meet Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and see the rise of then-Senator Palpatine culminate with his election as Chancellor. Young Anakin Skywalker goes on his earliest missions after joining the Jedi Order, and storm clouds gather before the Clone Wars.
- Darth Plagueis is James Luceno's retelling of the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise and the dark origins of Palpatine. It leads right into The Phantom Menace … including events we never see on screen.
Clone Wars (22 – 19 BBY)
This pivotal era begins with the events of Attack of the Clones. It follows the efforts of the Grand Army of the Republic's clone troopers and the Jedi as they strive to stop the Separatists. The era only covers three years of in-universe time but is densely packed with storytelling.
- The Republic Commando series follows a group of clone troopers as they form unbreakable bonds and try to survive on and off the battlefield. Sadly, this series was never finished, but the published titles are great works worth the read.
Reign of the Empire (19 – 5 BBY)
This era includes the Jedi Purge and the end of the Republic as Palatine reorganizes it into the Galactic Empire. But it also sees the beginning of the Rebel Alliance under Senators Mon Mothma and Bail Organa - along with Bail's adopted daughter, Princess Leia Organa. As the former Anakin Skywalker adjusts to life as Darth Vader, his old master Obi-Wan Kenobi must adapt to his own new reality.
- Kenobi follows Obi-Wan after the end of Revenge of the Sith as he takes up his vigil on Tatooine. When he discovers an ongoing feud between moisture farmers and the Tuskens, he must balance his instinct to resolve conflict and the need to keep his identity and mission a secret. In showcasing one of the saga's most beloved characters and filling in a critical piece of the timeline, this is one of the best books in the Expanded Universe—across both Legends and Canon. It holds a hallowed place as one of the Essential Six books Youtini recommends to new Star Wars readers.
Rebellion (4 BBY – 4 ABY)
In the Rebellion era, we meet the rest of the heroes we became familiar with on-screen and learn about their backstories. After A.C. Crispin and Brian Daley give us glimpses of what Han Solo was up to before encountering Luke and Obi-Wan in that cantina at Mos Eisely, the rest of the books in this era anchor around the Original Trilogy. The era concludes with the splintering of Palpatine's Empire into an Imperial Remnant and various warlord-controlled territories.
- The Hutt Gambit is part of Crispin's masterful trilogy, providing part of Han Solo's backstory in Legends. In this installment, he forms friendships that will change his life—and ultimately the course of galactic history. Of course, at the same time, he starts working for an unsavory employer while staying one step ahead of a certain notorious bounty hunter.
New Republic (4 – 24 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 founding of a New Jedi Order.
- The original Thrawn Trilogy was Timothy Zahn’s first venture into Star Wars books and arguably the most influential trilogy in the expanded universe at the time. It introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn and featured the birth of the Solo twins, Jacen and Jaina, who became important characters in their own right as the expanded universe, well … expanded.
- The X-Wing series is one of the most iconic Legends series of Star Wars books you’ll find. These books focus on a group of fighter pilots as they fight for the New Republic’s right to govern over the galaxy.
New Jedi Order (25 – 36 ABY)
This era includes the rise of a New Republic and Luke Skywalker's founding of a New Jedi Order. But the war is far from over, as the victors face 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.
- The New Jedi Order series is a collection of nearly 20 books that make up this entire Legends era. Twenty-one years after A New Hope, the galaxy is invaded by the Yuuzhan Vong, causing widespread conflict and destruction. If you want to dive into this series, be prepared: There are 19 books total, plus a few short stories.
Legacy (40 – 139 ABY)
In this final era, the Galactic Alliance (the successor to the New Republic) and the Jedi Order struggle to sort out the legacy of generations of successive wars. 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 yet another war's end cast their own shadows. 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 Legacy of the Force series is set 40 years after the events of A New Hope. During this time, systems begin leaving the Galactic Alliance, stirring up conflict and threatening to allow new factions to rise to power -- not all of them for the greater good. The Jedi Order may be on the verge of crumbling, and Luke may be unable to save it.
- The Fate of the Jedi series is set two years after the conclusion of the Legacy of the Force series. It follows Luke Skywalker's quest to hold together what remains of the Jedi Order after one of its apprentices falls to the dark side.
The Star Wars Canon Timeline
After Disney acquired LucasFilm, two new timelines emerged. This allowed the creators who would make the sequel trilogy to have the space to tell their stories without having to work around decades of existing material without completely erasing the old stories. The Legends and Canon timelines allow us to enjoy the rich array of stories that had already been published and a whole new universe of integrated storytelling.
In 2001, with the launch of the High Republic publishing initiative, LucasFilm introduced a new timeline that not only takes into account this new era, centuries before the films. The Canon timeline follows the galaxy from the height of the Jedi Order's power and influence through their fall and near extinction, the defeat of the Galactic Empire, and the rise and defeat of the First Order.
The High Republic (382 – 231 BBY … so far)
Beginning roughly 350 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, the High Republic era books, comics, manga, audio dramas, and short stories represent a new standard in integrated storytelling. Every piece of media references events and characters found in others. As the era begins, the Republic is at peace and growing into the Outer Rim. But as the Republic inaugurates Starlight Beacon - a magnificent space station representing peace, stability, and technological achievement - a dangerous new threat emerges.
- Light of the Jedi is the first title in the High Republic publishing initiative. With new characters and a fresh take on Force lore, the book shows us both the Republic and the Jedi as we've never seen them. It also introduces a mysterious and sinister foe eager to plunge the galaxy into chaos and terror.
Fall of the Jedi (42 – 19 BBY)
This era spans the time from Obi-Wan Kenobi's apprenticeship to Qui-Gon Jinn through the end of the Clone Wars. We see Dooku's departure from the Jedi Order in Dooku: Jedi Lost and his return as one of Palpatine's apprentices and leader of the Separatists. Anakin takes on and then loses an apprentice of his own. At the same time, Dooku drives his former disciple into an unexpected alliance as the galaxy hurtles toward the end of the Jedi and the Republic.
- Master & Apprentice features Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before The Phantom Menace. It establishes their relationship's complexities against the backdrop of a complicated mission with an unexpected twist.
- Queen's Peril, Queen's Shadow, and Queen's Hope all heavily feature Padmé Amidala and her handmaidens. The trilogy touches on many of the political and personal dilemmas that arise before the Clone Wars. We also catch glimpses of the very early seeds of the future Rebellion.
- Dark Disciple follows Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos as they team up to complete an assignment on behalf of the Jedi Order. The book shows the Jedi's desperation to win the war and tells one of the greatest love stories in Star Wars history.
Reign of the Empire (19 – 6 BBY)
Beginning with Order 66 and the culmination of Palpatine's grand plan, this era includes the events of Revenge of the Sith and the newly proclaimed Empire's efforts to consolidate power. It marks the Canon introduction of Han Solo, the Rebellion truly getting underway, and the reintroduction of Legends favorite Thrawn.
- Ahsoka is a stand-alone novel by E.K. Johnston about Ahsoka Tano's life just one year after The Clone Wars. It's the only bridge we have between the character we meet in Star Wars: The Clone Wars series and the one we encounter in Star Wars: Rebels and explains how she got to the latter.
- Most Wanted is Rae Carson's debut Star Wars novel and a fast-paced glimpse into the lives of Qi'ra and Han before Solo: A Star Wars Story.
- The Canon Thrawn Trilogy was Thrawn's introduction to Star Wars Canon with the first title's release coincided with his appearance in Star Wars: Rebels. The trilogy follows Thrawn's rise through the ranks of the Empire as he works to address a new galactic threat.
Age of Rebellion (5 BBY – 4 ABY)
As the Rebellion picks up steam, Princess Leia begins to come of age on Alderaan. This era includes Rogue One and surrounding stories, such as Guardians of the Whills, and all the stories that fill in the timeline between the Original Trilogy films.
- Rebel Rising features a young Jyn Erso as she tags along with Saw Garerra and his unique brand of rebel fighters. It fills in many gaps between the prologue of Rogue One and the remainder of the film.
- From a Certain Point of View is a series of anthologies featuring short stories that expand upon details throughout the films. These include tales that capture scheming between two astromechs on a Jawa sandcrawler, retell the trash compactor scene from the dianoga's point of view, and take us behind the scenes on Bespin.
New Republic (4 – 30 ABY)
Beginning right after the party on Endor, this era focuses on the efforts of the former Rebels to defeat what remains of the Empire while simultaneously trying to establish a government in a vast galaxy torn by war. This era not only ties up loose ends from the Original Trilogy and its Galactic Civil War but begins to set the stage for the Sequel Trilogy with books like Adam Christopher's Shadow of the Sith. Television series such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Mandalorian also occur during this era.
- The Aftermath Trilogy tells the story of the New Republic forces who put their lives on the line to ensure darkness could not rise again. But even after Palpatine's apparent demise, the Galactic Empire refused to surrender.
- The Alphabet Squadron Trilogy, similar to Legends' X-wing series, follows a group of pilots as they work to snuff out what remains of the Empire after the Emperor's demise. Each character faces moral dilemmas, trauma, and sacrifice to save the causes they're fighting for.
- Bloodline is a stand-alone novel by Claudia Gray that follows Leia through her struggle to align with the politics of the New Republic. The book explains her decision to form the Resistance and break away from the government.
Rise of the First Order (32 ABY – 35 ABY)
The final era in the Star Wars timeline (at least so far) encompasses the Sequel Trilogy films and all the books and comics surrounding them. Books like Delilah S. Dawson's Phasma finishes setting the stage for The Force Awakens as we find evil preparing to make a comeback. Dawson and Zoraida Cordova's Galaxy's Edge-focused stories also occur during this time.
After the defeat of the First Order in the skies over Exegol, the universe seems wide open for new storytelling. We look forward to creators carrying on the stories of Rey, Finn, and Poe!
- Resistance Reborn serves as a bridge between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The story focuses on central characters such as Poe Dameron and Leia Organa as they work to rebuild the Resistance.
- Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire shows the First Order's growing brutality against those who resist it and the Resistance heroes, big and small, willing to risk everything to secure victory.
How to Navigate the Youtini Star Wars Books Timeline
Even though Star Wars storytelling has been divided into eras that we hope are helpful, it still leaves a vast amount to sort through. But, to paraphrase a young Jedi Knight making a visit to Kamino, that's… why we're here.
Canon vs. Legends
Youtini's Star Wars books timeline isn't just the best looking in the galaxy; it's the easiest to use. You can look at Legends, where we've established our own eras to make the sheer amount of material a little more manageable. Or you can select Canon, where we use LucasFilm's eras to make it easy to find the new stories you're looking for.
Type of Star Wars Media
Our timeline lets you select different types of media. You can focus on comics and graphic novels if that's your passion. If you only want to see traditional novels, you can make that happen (but, like we often say, don't sleep on the Young Adult titles). 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. You can even see where TV episodes and video games fit in!
Regardless of your favorite kind of media, or your favorite eras of the Star Wars books timeline, your friends at Youtini can help you find your next favorite story from a galaxy far, far, away!
Check our regularly updated Release Schedule to know which Star Wars books and comics are releasing and when. Each entry on that page has its own book profile that tells you exactly where that book or comic falls on the timeline!