Unlike most large franchises, the current storytelling universe for Star Wars, a.k.a. canon, includes films, television series, video games–basically all published material. This approach to storytelling began in April 2014 (books, etc. published before then were classified as Legends, though they were never really canon anyway). It’s a massive puzzle for Lucasfilm to fit together to make sure nothing contradicts established characters or timelines. A story being classified as “canon” doesn’t automatically place it on a pedestal or anything. All canon means is that a given story affects and can be affected by other things in the Star Wars universe.
And of course a book or comic not being canon shouldn’t stop you from reading it. Good stories are good stories, regardless of whether they affect current Star Wars events or not, and are absolutely worth your time. Ahem.
So, what does the Star Wars canon timeline look like? Using the films as the anchors and the Battle of Yavin as a date point (BBY means before the Battle of Yavin, ABY means after the Battle of Yavin), let’s break down where the television series, books, and comics fall on the timeline. Many of the books and comics take place concurrently.
- Darth Maul
A five-part comic miniseries about Darth Maul’s training with Darth Sidious.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The beginning of Anakin Skywalker’s story and the Star Wars saga.
- Obi-Wan & Anakin
A five-part comic miniseries about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker’s early years together.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala fall in love and the Clone Wars begin.
- Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu
A five-part comic miniseries about Mace Windu forming a Jedi squad to investigate mysterious Separatist activity.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
An animated movie and a six-season animated television series detailing the adventures of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka Tano during the Clone Wars.
- Dark Disciple
A novel about Jedi Quinlan Vos being sent on a mission to assassinate Count Dooku and becoming entangled with Asajj Ventress.
- Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
A four-part comic miniseries (and the only Dark Horse comic in canon) about Darth Sidious trying to take out Darth Maul and his Shadow Collective.
- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
A novel about Galen Erso’s history with Orson Krennic and the Empire. Note: events in the novel continue past Revenge of the Sith.
- Kanan: First Blood
A six-part comic miniseries about Caleb Dume’s earliest adventures in the Clone Wars.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The Clone Wars continue, Palpatine rises to power, and Anakin becomes Darth Vader.
- Kanan: The Last Padawan
A six-part comic miniseries about how Caleb Dume/Kanan Jarrus escaped Order 66.
A novel about what Ahsoka did after Order 66 and how she became involved with the Rebellion.
- Lords of the Sith
A novel about Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader crashing on Ryloth and trying to get off the planet alive (spoilers: they succeed).
A novel detailing Wilhuff Tarkin’s origins and ambitions, including his involvement with the Death Star.
- Rebel Rising
A novel about what happened to Jyn Erso after Saw took her away from Lah’mu in Rogue One.
A novel about Thrawn’s arrival from the Unknown Regions and his rise to power in the Empire.
- A New Dawn
A novel about how Hera Syndulla met Kanan while fighting the Empire.
- Leia, Princess of Alderaan
A novel about Leia’s teenage years on Alderaan and her early missions for the Rebel Alliance.
- Star Wars Rebels
A four-season animated series about one Rebel cell (the Ghost crew) and the formation of the Rebel Alliance.
- Battlefront: Twilight Company
A novel about a company of Rebel soldiers on the ground trying to making a difference. Note: the story continues concurrently with the original trilogy through The Empire Strikes Back.
- Lost Stars
A Romeo and Juliet-esque novel about two childhood friends who join the Empire, but then one defects to the Rebellion. Note: the story continues concurrently with the original trilogy through the Return of the Jedi and beyond, to the Battle of Jakku.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
A ragtag group of rebels come together to steal the Death Star plans.
Episode IV: A New Hope
A farm boy from Tatooine meets a rebellious princess and a scoundrel and they take on the Galactic Empire.
Battle of Yavin
When the Rebel Alliance destroyed the first Death Star.
- Princess Leia
A five-part comic miniseries about Princess Leia searching for surviving Alderaanians in order to preserve their culture.
A five-part comic miniseries about Chewbacca escaping after he crashes onto an Imperial-controlled planet.
- Star Wars
An ongoing comic series about the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Note: some issues in this series take place BBY.
- Darth Vader
An ongoing comic series about Darth Vader learning about Luke Skywalker and trying to be the best Sith he can be. Note: some issues in this series take place BBY.
- Battlefront: Inferno Squad
A novel about the formation of Iden Versio and her squad of elite Imperial soldiers and their first mission.
- Heir to the Jedi
A novel about Luke trying to learn more about using the Force.
- Doctor Aphra
An ongoing comic series about Doctor Aphra, a chaotic neutral archaeologist who once helped Darth Vader.
A five-part comic miniseries about Lando Calrissian and Lobot plotting to steal a valuable ship.
- Han Solo
A five-part comic miniseries about Han Solo participating in a famous starship race while on an undercover assignment for the Rebellion.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Rebellion takes a hit, but keeps on fighting, and Luke learns about his connection to Darth Vader.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
The Rebel Alliance wrecks a second Death Star and defeats the Empire.
- Shattered Empire
A four-part comic miniseries that picks up right after the Battle of Endor and introduces Poe Dameron’s parents.
A novel about Rebels, a former Imperial, and a bounty hunter ending up together and taking a stand against the remnants of the Empire.
- Aftermath: Life Debt
The second part of the Aftermath trilogy with a sub-plot about Han and Chewbacca liberating Kashyyyk from the Empire.
- Aftermath: Empire’s End
The conclusion of the Aftermath trilogy that sees the New Republic defeat the Empire once and for all with the Battle of Jakku.
Battle of Jakku
The end of the Empire (and the birth of the First Order).
- Last Shot
A novel about Han Solo and Lando Calrissian trying to stop a device that has the power to destroy the galaxy. Note: some events in this book take place before BBY.
A novel about Phasma’s past and how she came to join the First Order.
A novel about Leia facing the rise of the First Order, grappling with the New Republic, and forming the Resistance.
- Poe Dameron
An ongoing comic series about Poe’s mission and team right after he’s recruited by Leia, including the search for Lor San Tekka. Note: some events in this comic take place after The Last Jedi.
Episode VII: The Force Awakens
The Resistance scores a victory against the First Order, and Rey from Jakku searches for Luke Skywalker.
- Captain Phasma
A five-part comic miniseries explaining how Phasma escaped the trash compactor on Starkiller Base.
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Rey learns about the Force from Luke, and the First Order strikes a devastating blow upon the Resistance.
Note: Forces of Destiny is canon, but episodes take place all over the timeline, so it’s not included. Video games, unreleased/unpublished material, short stories, young readers books, comic adaptations of books and movies, and junior novels are not part of this list.
Bookmark this page, as it will be updated with releases in the future.
Amy Ratcliffe is an Associate Editor for Nerdist. She likes Star Wars a little. Follow her on Twitter.