Star Wars Undergoes a Calendar Crisis

Illustration for article titled Star Wars Undergoes a Calendar Crisis

Much like the introduction of the Gregorian calendar to replace the Julian calendar, so has a series of tweets from Leland Chee, the keeper of the holocron, turned the Star Wars universe on its head.


For those not content to place the whole of the universe in some nebulous "long time ago," there was a way to track events in Star Wars. Until Chee, the Keeper of the Holocron and member of the story group appointed to evaluate the Expanded Universe, tweeted a way of tracking the passage of time between films and TV shows:

That was on August 3rd, and it immediately confused those who have been tracking the Star Wars universe through places like Wookiepedia. The traditional counting of years was based not on The Phantom Menace but on, obviously, A New Hope. Which was given the in-universe name of "The Battle of Yavin." So the Star Wars version of BC/AD (or BCE/CE, depending on what you use) was "BBY/ABY" or "Before Battle of Yavin" and "After Battle of Yavin."

Of course, with most of the Expanded Universe now stricken from canon, it makes sense to reorganize the calendar around the earliest film. But, just like some groups don't mark time with the Gregorian calendar, so too will we still use the old Battle of Yavin calendar. Basically, we're seeing a schism in Star Wars canon. And it won't just be fans, as Chee clarified the situation yesterday:


Two official timelines. Now that seems needlessly complicated.

[Star Wars Underworld]



Wait, but why would Episode I mark year 0 anyway? While yes, Palpatine's ploy on Naboo ultimately turned out to be important insofar as it led to Anakin's discovery (and Palpatine's initial election) it was basically a backwater affair within the context of galactic politics. A much more logical alternative for year 0 would be the establishment of the Empire, although again, that wouldn't be something the Rebels would really want to go along with?

I guess this ties in possibly to Anakin's role as the Chosen One? And his discovery by Qui-Gon is supposed to be the equivalent of Jesus' birth in our calendar? Seems a bit on the nose to me, especially given how little heed non-Jedi seem to pay the Force.

The BBY/ABY calendar system worked great because it was A) intuitive (since it starts with the first film to be released and one of the most popular ones) and B) made sense in-universe as well, given the Battle of Yavin was supposed to be the Rebels' first big victory over the Empire. Not sure why they feel the need to change it, especially when the Battle of Naboo seems so much more inconsequential and Episode I's clearly not all that popular.