In this article:
- Star Wars is one of, if not the, most well-known tale in sci-fi, but because of Disney’s acquisition of the franchise in 2012, the canon storyline has changed to the point that decades’ worth of books and additional content have been declared non-canonical.
- This has made it harder to keep track of the Star Wars universe and what’s still canon in the series, especially now that the Skywalker saga is effectively over.
- Now, with the addition of Disney+ shows such as The Mandalorian (2019) and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series, following the franchise is even harder to do without missing out on key details found in other shows, movies, and even games.
The hype is real now that Disney has officially announced the release of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which will be coming to Disney+ on May 27th.
Fans are looking forward to seeing Ewan McGregor reprise the role of the titular Obi-Wan Kenobi who will be navigating the fall of the Republic, the destruction of the Jedi Order, and the loss of his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, all while searching for a way to bring hope to a crumbling galaxy.
That said, Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe style approach to adding content to the Star Wars universe has made it harder for fans to keep abreast of franchise events. So, we’ve put together everything you need to know about the Star Wars universe’s timeline so far.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
As of now, Star Wars begins with The Phantom Menace which is set 32 years before the start of the original trilogy.
Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to negotiate with the Trade Federation which has placed a blockade on Naboo to protest the Republic’s recent tax laws. But the Jedi are attacked by a force sent by Darth Sidious (a.k.a Sheev Palpatine).
The attack forces them to flee to Naboo where they meet Queen Amidala. From there, they go to Tatooine where Qui-Gon senses Anakin Skywalker’s connection to the Force and decides to purchase his freedom in a pod race.
Qui-Gon leaves the planet with Anakin who evidently loathes being parted from his mother, Shmi Skywalker.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
Beginning 10 years after the battle of Naboo, Padme Amidala has become a senator for Naboo while Anakin Skywalker is a troubled Padawan who struggles to reconcile his zealous emotions with the Jedi Order’s rigorous standards of behavior.
Following an attempt on Padme’s life, Anakin is assigned as her bodyguard by the Jedi Council. This gives the two time to fall in love, all while the Republic grapples with a Separatist movement initiated by Count Dooku. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan investigates the Clone Army on Kamino.
Chancellor Sheev Palpatine successfully gains emergency powers that give him the authority to mobilize the Clone Army. Meanwhile, Anakin and Padme marry in secret.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The Clone Wars have officially begun and Anakin and Obi-Wan are now leaders of a Clone trooper battalion fighting against Count Dooku’s army. At the same time, Anakin is assigned to teach his own Padawan, Ashoka Tano.
The new master and apprentice duo go on a mission to save Jabba the Hutt’s son, Rotta, which leads them into an ambush by Asajj Ventress. Though, Dooku’s plan ultimately fails and the Jedi manage to get away.
In the animated Clone Wars series, the story stretches to include the execution of Order 66 and Ashoka’s departure from the Jedi Order.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith marks the end of the Jedi Order. After Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine is “kidnapped” by General Grievous, Obi-Wan and Anakin go off to rescue him. Anakin later learns that Padme is pregnant and has nightmares about her dying.
Palpatine begins a plan to get Anakin closer to him and to harp on his fears of Padme’s death, all in an attempt to get him to surrender to the Dark Side of the Force. He succeeds by promising Anakin that the power of the Dark Side can save Padme’s life.
In return, Anakin becomes Darth Vader, betrays his master, and leads the Clone troopers in the massacre of the Jedi under Order 66.
Padme, of course, dies, and her children are split up to be sent to Tatooine and Alderaan.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Bad Batch is a 16 episode series that follows a group of “defective” Clone troopers who are accompanying Jedi Master Billaba and her Padawan, Caleb, when Order 66 is issued.
The group allow Caleb to escape, raising suspicions on their mental programming. The group are later forced to escape without one of their members, Crosshair. Crosshair is placed under stricter control and is used to fight against his fellow Bad Batch clones.
All the while, the Bad Batch tries to protect Omega, a young female clone, who is the only unmodified copy of Jango Fett who you may remember as the genetic father of another clone, Boba Fett.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Solo takes place after Palpatine has successfully reorganized the Empire with himself as its Emperor. With political instability at its highest, all departures from Coruscant are heavily regulated by the Imperial Army, making it harder for Han and Qi’ra to escape.
Separated, Han is forced to sign up with the Imperial Army to get off the planet, earning his name “Solo.”
Han Solo later abandons the army to join a group of smugglers in a heist, vowing to earn enough money to make it back to Coruscant and save Qi’ra. However, Qi’ra has already joined the Crimson Dawn syndicate controlled by Darth Maul.
Despite reuniting with her friend, she betrays Han Solo to become the new leader of the Crimson Dawn following the death of Dryden Vos.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
A lot of games set in the Star Wars universe have been made in the past years, but it’s mostly the ones after 2014 that remain part of the canon. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is one of the few that are relevant to the wider Star Wars universe because of its close connection with the Kenobi series.
Fallen Order follows Cal Kestis, a former Padawan who survived Order 66, in his journey from being a random scrapper on Bracca to becoming the unwilling hero who searches the galaxy for a Jedi holocron left by Master Eno Cordova.
Cordova is a scholar who studied the ancient Zeffo, a highly Force-oriented civilization, and kept a list of Force-sensitives scattered across the galaxy. In short, the seeds of a new generation of Jedi.
The Kenobi series overlaps with the events of the game and its trailer includes the Inquisitor’s Fortress first featured in Fallen Order. And since Ewan McGregor hinted at further story connections, we will likely see Fallen Order‘s events spill over to Kenobi.
Obi-Wan Kenobi will cover the events after the fall of the Jedi Order, starting immediately after or coinciding with Fallen Order, and will show Kenobi dealing with the loss of Anakin Skywalker and what that means for the galaxy as a whole.
Star Wars Rebels
Rebels is an animated series that overlaps with many key events at the fall of the Galactic Republic. The show mainly deals with the growth of the Rebel Alliance and the remaining pockets of culture and the Jedi way that remain in the galaxy.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
A much grimmer Star Wars movie, Rogue One follows Jyn Erso and her unlikely group of friends, one of which is a Force-attuned monk, as they try to recover the plans for the Death Star.
The group manages to find the plans and identify the trap laid by Galen Erso, Jyn’s father and the architect of the Death Star, which they then send to Princess Leia of Alderaan.
Star Wars: A New Hope
A New Hope marks the true start of the Skywalker Saga. Princess Leia receives the plans for the Death Star but her ship is intercepted by Darth Vader. Leia’s droids, C3PO and R2D2, manage to escape bearing a message from Leia that begs Obi-Wan Kenobi to help her and a copy of the Death Star plans.
After being lost on Tatooine, Luke’s uncle buys the droids. R2D2 plays the message for Luke who goes in search of a “Ben Kenobi” who turns out to be an older Obi-Wan. Luke learns the ways of the Force, teams up with Han Solo to save Princess Leia, and destroys the Death Star by bombing the exhaust port.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
The Rebel Alliance is in full swing under the command of Princess Leia. While Vader hunts her down, Luke goes in search of Yoda to learn more about the Force. Most fans will remember this as the movie where Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian were introduced.
Luke senses that Han and Leia have been captured and abandons his training to rescue them. Han is frozen in carbonite by Vader who wanted to use the method as a non-lethal means of disabling Luke.
Following a confrontation where Darth Vader tried to convince Luke to join him, the Sith is forced to reveal that he is Luke’s father.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Han Solo is still a hunk of carbonite owned by Jabba the Hutt so Luke and Leia hatch a plan to save him, except Leia gets captured and is put in the famous slave Leia dress.
Luke comes to save the day again, but Jabba figures it out and has him, Han, and Chewbacca thrown into a Sarlacc which they escape using Luke’s lightsaber. Boba Fett, however, falls into said Sarlacc.
Leia kills Jabba and the group head for Dagobah where they learn that Luke and Leia are twins and that Luke has to kill Vader to bring balance to the Force. But when faced with the choice of killing his master or letting his son die, Vader has a change of heart and turns on Darth Sidious.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Imperial Commander Iden Versio begins as a loyal officer of the Imperial Army but slowly becomes disenchanted with the cruelty that the army inflicts on citizens. She later joins the Alliance and assists many characters from the canon films, including Princess Leia, accomplish missions.
There isn’t as much to miss compared to Fallen Order, but like Rogue One, Battlefront II gives an insight into the moral lives of people outside of the main cast and what it really takes to mount a rebellion in the Star Wars universe.
After accepting a commission from the Bounty Hunters’ Guild, the Mandalorian discovers that the asset he’s been sent to retrieve is actually a Yoda-like creature known only as the “Child.” Unable to leave the Child with the bounty client after it saved his life, the Mandalorian comes back for him and enlists the help of his fellow Mandalorians to help the Child reunite with the Jedi.
Luke Skywalker later comes to train the Child, now known as Grogu, and the odd father and son pair say their goodbyes.
The Book of Boba Fett
This gets a lot of new fans tripped up, but the Mandalorian is not Boba Fett. Boba Fett is a different, unrelated guy who starts out as a common bounty hunter on the Outer Rim but is pulled into becoming the de facto government leader on his planet after creating his own criminal empire.
Star Wars Resistance
Similar to Battlefront II, the animated Star Wars: Resistance series gives viewers a glimpse into the day-to-day struggles of the Rebel Alliance. Both BB8 and Poe Dameron show up a lot in the series so if you always wanted to see more of them, it’s worth watching.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Force Awakens shifts the Star Wars movies from a focus on the Skywalkers to a nameless scavenger known only as Rey. Rey rescues BB-8 from a group of other scavengers, leading her to cross paths with Resistance pilot Poe Dameron and former Stormtrooper Finn as well as Han Solo who just wants his ship back.
Meanwhile, the First Order reveals that they’ve been developing a new superweapon, Starkiller, which they use to destroy the new Republic capital, Hosnian Prime, and Kylo Ren completes his “training” by killing Han Solo.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren hesitates to shoot at the escaping Resistance ship after sensing that Leia is on board, however, the First Order continues the attack. Leia survives but is incapacitated so Admiral Holdo assumes command.
Meanwhile, Rey attempts to make Luke train her in the ways of the Force which results in her discovering that Luke had attempted to murder his nephew, tipping Kylo Ren fully into the Dark Side.
Back on the Rebel base, Finn and Poe go rogue and start a secret mission contrary to Holdo’s plans which ends in a disastrous defeat for the Resistance.
Rey infiltrates a First Order ship but is captured by Kylo Ren who later chooses to kill his own master rather than kill her. Now the only Force user of the First Order, Kylo Ren assumes leadership of the army but Rey declines to join him.
An enraged Kylo Ren later confronts Luke Skywalker who taunts him so that the others can escape. The battle ends in Luke’s death as he rejoins the Force.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Kylo Ren finds Darth Sidious, once assumed dead, on Exegol.
The former emperor explains that he created Snoke as a puppet and orders him to kill Rey who is now training under Leia. Kylo finds her through their Force bond while Rey flees in search of a Sith dagger and the directions to a wayfinder that will take her to Exegol.
Kylo Ren catches up to her and reveals that she’s Palpatine’s granddaughter. Rey is later able to alert the Resistance about her coordinates all while Rey and Kylo battle Palpatine who wants to transfer his spirit to her body. Kylo Ren dies to save her.
In the aftermath, Rey goes to Tatooine to bury Luke and Leia’s lightsaber and takes on the surname “Skywalker”.
What’s Next for the Star Wars Universe After The Rise of Skywalker?
While it’s not clear what comes after The Rise of Skywalker, Disney is currently working on several shows that will fill in the gaps between the movies and flesh out the glory days of the Sith and Jedi.
One of the shows, Acolyte, is set after the end of the High republic era and focuses on the ways of the Sith.
Andor, another upcoming series, follows Cassian Andor from Rogue One in the years leading up to the movie. There’s also Ashoka which will unfold at the same time as the events of The Mandalorian.