Star Wars is a franchise with a galaxy of events that overlap and influence one another in many different ways. If you’ve been following the movies and numerous series over the last 40 years, you’ll know how complex things can get in a galaxy far, far, away. If you’ve only gotten to see a fraction of the stories that comprise the Star Wars galaxy, then you might be even more lost to how deep things can run in this sci-fi universe. But seeing the adventures of Luke Skywalker and many other heroes of the force may have become a little easier with the 2023 book release of Star Wars Timelines: From the Time Before the High Republic to the Fall of the First Order. And yet, as much as the book tries to be a detailed chronology of many events within Star Wars, a number of major and minor issues and inconsistencies prevent it from being a definitive resource for Star Wars fans new and old.
The best parts of Star Wars Timelines are the visuals that do a solid job of mapping out the timeframe in which many events in Star Wars take place. Most of the major occurrences and important franchise events are covered in the book, which includes just about everything you can think of from the mainline movies of the Skywalker Saga and the canon shows. The years that Star Wars Timelines covers is everything from 25,000 years before the battle of Yavin (BBY) to around 40 years after the battle of Yavin (ABY). But in between all the important stuff we know from Star Wars media, the bookmarks off many of the lesser-known moments that build up to the critical moments.
A lot of the stories and characters that are referenced outside of the movies and television shows include things seen in Star Wars books and comics released during the Disney era of Lucasfilm. This would mean things seen in the Star Wars or Darth Vader comics published by Marvel, as well as novels released during the time of the sequel trilogy of movies. There is a lot of information and things to keep track of, to the point that for some it can be overwhelming if you haven’t been able to follow or look into most of what’s included in the book.
This leads to a major problem that Star Wars Timelines has with its information despite how vast its reach is within Star Wars lore. The book does not point out key references or things that readers can go to when touching on important events or characters. There is no guide or listing of specific movies, books, or comics included in any section of any era, which is a huge missed opportunity. Seeing a character or event you might not recognize will leave you without any help since the book won’t point out where you can see the story it comes from, even if it’s a major thing from one of the theatrical movies.
The lack of a guide or any sort of bibliography that marks things readers can go to makes this a book that only the most dedicated Star Wars fan can get the most of. And even for them, they could find themselves lost if they come across something they’ve never read or seen beforehand that appears to be important in the markings of the book’s timelines. A lot of this can be an issue for those who haven’t been able to see everything within the High Republic era that the book focuses on greatly, but can also be applied to nearly every era the book covers within its timeline.
This can be especially problematic with things mentioned in manga, comics, or novels that are briefly touched on. It can bring into question the relevance of events and characters to the greater timeline if they are only mildly important and nothing more. A small solution to this could’ve been something like an asterisk or small note about where key events take place, which would be a massive asset for everyone caught by surprise. The better solution would’ve honestly been to have pages toward the end of the book that include every piece of Star Wars media that was referenced, so any curious person can seek them out.
But that’s not the only major issue with Star Wars Timelines that sticks out. The book can be wildly inconsistent with how it chooses to include certain events as important enough for its timelines, while other arguably more important instances are left out entirely. This is made complicated because of the issue with what is considered canon and what is not for the Star Wars franchise. The biggest omission here is The Old Republic, which for many is arguably one of the most popular eras within Star Wars, but is now considered Legends. The book mentions the time period when things such as Knights of the Old Republic take place but limits its relevance to very limited mentions of it. It is a huge gap left open that is confusing when considering Star Wars Timelines was a book released after the rerelease of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as well as the official announcement of Knights of the Old Republic Remake.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only problem Star Wars Timelines reveals within each section. Many of the shows and game series that were going on right up to when the book was published are left incomplete. This includes games like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, The Mandalorian, and even The Bad Batch. While things like this will inevitably happen with books that cover ongoing series, it can still stick out pretty badly.
At one point, there are mentions of The Bad Batch leading up to the start of the Age of Rebellion, to which anything about them is never mentioned again. The same can also be said about Inferno Squad from the Star Wars Battlefront 2 video game, whose story can reach close to the end of the Skywalker Saga of films in the timeline. A small paragraph or a few lines could have mentioned that things became unknown in the galaxy about such things, which would at least alleviate the jarring nature of their absence.
Star Wars Timelines does have a lot of great insight into many aspects of the galaxy that were influential to key events. Pages of the book are dedicated to specific ships, characters, battles, and other relevant subjects like Order 66. There are multiple timelines laid out and marked with important events as they happened chronologically, as well as how they specifically came into play during their era. This is good and helps smooth out parts of the Star Wars timeline, but their placements in the book can make things feel jumbled.
Often there will be random pages where these sections pop up, breaking up the smooth progressions of timeline events between sections, so you’re never going through an area straight through. It’s like the book jumps between parts often. It would’ve been a lot better and read smoother to have the character or subject highlights towards the end after having one consistent timeline, allowing supplemental information to not become distracting. Some better organization like this would have made the book far easier to go through and a better resource overall.
For all of its flaws and inconsistencies, Star Wars Timelines is a detailed book that covers a wide range of the franchise’s lore and history. It might not be the best resource for every Star Wars fan that hasn’t familiarized themselves with most of the stories out there, especially if you’ve missed a lot. There will most likely be a revised version of this at some point from Lucasfilm, most likely after more Star Wars projects are released and others are given a definitive conclusion. At that point, a book like this will feel much more complete than how it is now. If you still enjoy collectible Star Wars hardcover books, then you can still get a lot of enjoyment skimming through this one. It has enough within it to still justify picking it up sometime.
Are you a big fan of Star Wars? Will you be picking up Star Wars Timelines for your own collection? Do you think we’ll get an updated edition of this book down the line? Let us know all of your thoughts down below in the comment section!
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