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An Uncanny Guide to Star Wars Canon, Pt. 1

 

by Kameron Perry, nerd

In 2012, Disney purchased Star Wars and, aside from a few previously existing pieces, marked all extended universe materials created prior to the purchase date as ‘Legends’. Those stories are still available today but are not considered to be part of the Star Wars saga and its events have no bearing on the direction the franchise is heading.

After 2012, Disney simplified what constitutes ‘canon’ material in the Star Wars universe – any piece of media (films, television series, online animated shorts, comics, books, games, etc.) released after the Disney purchase will be considered canon.

The purpose of this article is to provide our readers an overview of all canon material currently available in the Star Wars universe. This list will be ordered in-universe; that is, following this list will provide our readers with a chronological list of events as they occur in the Star Wars universe.

Our guide will be split into five separate articles that each focus on a specific time within canon:

  • The Decline of the Republic and the Clone Wars
  •  The Rise of the Empire
  •  The Galactic Civil War
  •  The New Republic
  •  The Resistance Against the First Order

This article will focus on the first events documented in canon: The Decline of the Republic and the Clone Wars.

Understanding Dates in Star Wars Canon

Dates within the Star Wars canon use the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the first Death Star (as seen in A New Hope) as their frame of reference. All dates are labeled as ‘BBY’ – the number of years Before the Battle of Yavin – or ‘ABY’ – the number of years After the Battle of Yavin.

Some dates provided with each piece of media are exact dates found based on characters’ ages or other information while other dates are approximations based on events occurring around the story that is being told.

Spoiler Policy

This article will strive to keep spoilers to a minimum; however, be aware that light spoilers may be revealed in the descriptions below.

The Decline of the Republic and the Clone Wars

Beginning in approximately 32 BBY, the Decline of the Republic and the Clone Wars encompasses the ‘prequel’ era of the Star Wars franchise. Main events in this era include the resurgence of the Sith, the galaxy wide conflict between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, and the creation of Darth Vader.

Please note, there are references in some canon media to the age of the Republic – it is believed that the Republic has existed for thousands of years prior to 32BBY; however, no canon material has been released that occurs during that time period.

Darth Maul – Comic 

~32 BBY

Marvel’s five issue 2017 run of Darth Maul explores Maul’s final months of training under Darth Sidious. As the Sith are not ready to reveal themselves to the universe, Sidious and Maul must train and work in secret; however, Maul is prepared to risk exposing the Sith when a crime lord becomes willing to sell a captured padawan to the highest bidder. Looking to satiate his desire to kill a Jedi, Maul and a group of bounty hunters concoct a plan to acquire the padawan while leaving no witnesses.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace – Film

32 BBY

1999’s The Phantom Menace was the Star Wars franchise’s first feature film in 16 years. Jedi Master and padawan pair Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to resolve a blockade of the peaceful planet of Naboo by the Trade Federation. The negotiations do not go as planned, and the two Jedi must protect Queen Amidala as she pleads with the Republic Senate for the help her planet so desperately needs. While on Tattooine, a young boy – Anakin Skywalker – shows immense potential in the Force. Meanwhile, an evil force is returning to the universe – war is brewing, and the Sith are nearly prepared to reveal themselves on the galactic stage. The echos of these actions will direct the fate of the universe for years to come.

Forces of Destiny: Monster Misunderstanding – YouTube Short

Released in 2017, Monster Misunderstanding is the first episode of Forces of Destiny that occurs chronologically in universe. Shortly after the events of The Phantom Menace, Naboo guards discover a sando aqua monster attacking a harbor warehouse. Padmé steps in to protect the building while providing a peaceful solution.

This short can be viewed here.

Obi-Wan & Anakin – Comic

~29 BBY

Set a few years after the events of The Phantom Menace, 2016’s five issue release of Obi-Wan & Anakin by Marvel places us in the middle of the titular characters’ relationship. Anakin’s time with the Jedi is not everything he thought it would be. Due to the way he has been received in the Temple and with Chancellor Palpatine taking an interest in the Jedi-in-training, Anakin’s faith in the Jedi is wavering. While struggling to navigate his feelings, a distress beacon is activated on a distant planet. Obi-Wan and Anakin are selected to investigate and stumble upon a steampunk-inspired war between two factions not so dissimilar from the Jedi and the Sith. Can Obi-Wan help guide his young padawan while providing help to the natives of this planet?

Episode II: Attack of the Clones – Film

22 BBY

 Attack of the Clones, released in 2002, begins with an assassination attempt on Padmé Amidala’s life. Obi-Wan and Anakin are selected to protect her and, though it is against the Jedi Order’s wishes, investigate who would want Padmé dead. While researching, Obi-Wan stumbles across a clone army requested to be created by a Jedi that has been dead for years and uncovers a plot to throw the galaxy into war by Count Dooku. Meanwhile, Anakin and Padmé discover and embrace their feelings for one another, placing them on a path that will impact the universe for decades. The time of peace has ended – the Clone Wars have begun.

Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu – Comic

~22 BBY

Shortly after the beginning of the Clone Wars, Marvel’s 2017 five issue run of Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu explores the Jedi as they assume a new role in the Republic – generals in the Grand Army. Mace Windu has been assigned to investigate Separatist activities on the planet Hissrich. Selecting fellow Jedi Kit Fisto, Prosset Dibs, and Rissa Mano, Windu sets out to complete his assignment. Unbeknownst to the small cadre, the droid leader on Hissrich, AD-W4, wants only one thing – Windu’s head. Having been cut off from the rest of the republic, can Windu and the group of Jedi survive the droid bounty hunter’s thousands of battle droids – and each other?

The Clone Wars – Television Show w/ Film tie-in

~22 BBY through ~20BBY

One of the accepted pieces of media created prior to Disney’s purchase of Star Wars, The Clone Wars television show (as well as the tie-in movie, also called The Clone Wars) spans the length of the war started at the end of Attack of the Clones. At over 100 episodes, a true summary of this series would be difficult to condense down into a paragraph – perhaps we’ll visit that in another series of articles. The series goes in depth exploring the humanity behind the clones and uncovers secrets of the Force as seen through the eyes of Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s new padawan. New villains arise in the form of Asajj Ventress, Dooku’s apprentice and personal assassin, Cad Bane, a Duros bounty hunter with a speciality in dispatching Jedi, Hondo Ohnaka, a smooth talking pirate captain that may not be all he makes himself out to be, and General Grevious, the cyborg military leader of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The surprise return of Darth Maul provides some of the most compelling episodes in the series.

Note: The Clone Wars was not released in chronological order; if you are interested in watching this show in order, please visit here.

Forces of Destiny: The Padawan Path – YouTube Short

~21 BBY

The first of a series of shorts taking place during the middle of The Clone Wars television series, The Padawan Path finds Ahsoka late for an important ceremony at the Jedi temple. Along the way, she discovers an out of control construction droid threatening innocent civilians.

This short can be found here.

Forces of Destiny: Teach You, I Will – YouTube Short

~21 BBY

In Teach You, I Will, Anakin is continuing to train Ahsoka to use two lightsabers simultaneously. After she struggles with getting used to the new style, Yoda requests to see her progress.

This short can be found here.

Forces of Destiny: The Imposter Inside – YouTube Short

~21 BBY

Ahsoka provides security services while Padmé and her handmaidens prepare for a political event. Not all is as it seems though, and soon Ahsoka must protect the Senator from an assassination attempt.

The short can be found here.

Forces of Destiny: The Starfighter Stunt – YouTube Short

~21 BBY

On Padmé’s request, Ahsoka takes her out for flight training in Naboo starfighters with R2-D2 in tow. While on their practice run, a Separatist droid fighter ambushes then. Padmé must use her new skills to survive.

The short can be found here.

Forces of Destiny: Unexpected Company – YouTube Short

Anakin has been assigned to a mission that should allow he and Padmé some time alone. Unbeknownst to Anakin, Ahsoka is assigned to assist them with their objective. While taking a short cut, the group encounters a Separatist blockade – perhaps Anakin and Padmé will be thankful for their extra guest?

The short can be viewed here.

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir – Comic

~20 BBY

Released in 2014 under Dark Horse comics, Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir is Disney’s other exception to their new canon. Based on unfinished plot lines from The Clone Wars, this four issue comic arc sees Maul captured by Darth Sidious after his defeat on Mandalore. Sidious wants to pull Mother Talzin – a Nightsister native to Dathomir and a dark side witch – out of hiding, using Maul, her former pupil, as bait. Maul manages to escape with Dooku and General Grevious as hostages. The conflict draws the attention of the Jedi who also interfere with Maul’s plan. Despite this, Maul believes he has the upper hand – but Darth Sidious is on his way to exact his revenge.

Kindred Spirits – Short Story

~20 BBY

Found in 2015’s Star Wars Insider issue 159, this short story focuses on Asajj Ventress, the Nightsister first introduced in The Clone Wars. Years after leaving Dooku’s side, Asajj no longer considers herself a Sith heiress and works as a bounty hunter. During a botched job, she meets Lassa Rhayme – the Pantoran captain of the pirate crew The Blood Borne Order. Together, they attempt to retrieve the item needed to complete Asajj’s mission from Hondo Ohnaka’s pirates.


Dark Disciple – Novel

~20 BBY

Written by Christie Golden and released in 2015, Dark Disciple features the unlikely pairing of Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos (introduced in The Clone Wars) and Count Dooku’s former apprentice Asajj Ventress as they are sent on an even unlikelier mission by the Jedi Council – assassinating Dooku himself. Vos and Ventress struggle with their opposing beliefs, the multitude of enemies that surround them, and the emerging feelings between them.


Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – Film

19 BBY

 2005 marks the end of the decline of the Republic and the Clone Wars with the release of Revenge of the Sith. War rages above the skies of Courscant. Chancellor Palpatine has been captured by the remaining Separatist forces and is being held hostage on their flagship among the space warfare. Obi-Wan and Anakin are dispatched to rescue him; however, during a battle with Count Dooku, Palpatine urges Anakin to kill Dooku rather than capture him. Anakin complies despite believing his action would be against the Jedi teachings. Shortly after the rescue, Obi-Wan is sent to finish what little there is of the Separatist military power, led by General Grevious. Meanwhile, Palpatine continues to break Anakin’s trust in the Jedi – what follows completes Anakin’s path down the dark side and will change him forever. All is not lost though; the birth of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa provides the galaxy with hope.

This marks the end of our first article outlining the current Star Wars canon. The Republic is no more; there is only the Empire. Anakin is gone; there is only Darth Vader. Our next article will detail the Empire’s coming of age and will span from 19 BBY to 0 BBY. Stay tuned, The Rise of the Empire will be coming soon!

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2 comments

  1. Well written and very informative without spoiling the whole storylines. I like that the writer writes to all types of audiences as I feel like it’s easy to understand whether you’re a die hard Star Wars fan or Just slightly familiar with the stories but want to know more.

  2. Really well done. Great background for fans that don’t have quite the time to delve that deeply into the Star Wars Universe. I look forward to subsequent posts.