As Star Wars grows its fictional sci-fi history you’ll eventually need a better measure of time to make sense of its narrative, especially now that Disney is wedging spinoffs into spinoffs, jumping back between different milestones in the past. That’s a recipe for confusion and to structure this sprawling narrative, the franchise introduced a dating system, dividing the timeline into two pivotal eras: BBY and ABY. What does BBY mean in Star Wars though? Or ABY?
It’s time to jump into the Jedi archives to explore the meaning of BBY in Star Wars. Andor notably used this dating system and doesn’t leave much in the way of explanation. So we’re here to the rescue.
BBY and ABY: A New Galactic Calendar System
BBY stands for “Before the Battle of Yavin,” referencing the pivotal military engagement depicted in the original Star Wars: A New Hope.
This event serves as the demarcation line between two crucial eras. BBY represents the extensive period leading up to the Battle of Yavin, while ABY encompasses the time that follows it. It’s that simple.
Like many things fiction, Star Wars borrows from our history. The dating system or the calendar we use today is based on one significant Christian event. You probably know what that is.
The Common Era (CE) and Before Common Era (BCE) serve as secular alternatives to the traditional Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD), signifying the same historical periods. Star Wars adopted a similar approach but with its own unique event as its reference point which is the Battle of Yavin.
What is the Battle of Yavin though and why was it chosen?
The Significance of the Battle of Yavin
The Battle of Yavin holds a central place in Star Wars lore, as it marks the conflict that led to the destruction of the Death Star, the first one in A New Hope.
This climactic battle unfolded in the Yavin star system and played a pivotal role in the Rebel Alliance’s quest for freedom. We’d like to reiterate that Yavin is a system, not a planet.
The Battle of Yavin represented a turning point in the galaxy’s history, symbolizing the first significant victory for the Rebel Alliance against the oppressive Galactic Empire.
Before this momentous battle, the Rebellion had been confined to daring but often suicidal missions, frequently resulting in heavy casualties. The Battle of Yavin showcased that the Empire was not invincible. While it did not mark the war’s conclusion, it did catalyze the possibility of victory.
More importantly, the Rebel Alliance destroyed a superweapon more powerful than the Sith. That ought accounts for a lot, and seeing as plenty of Star Wars’ planets would have been wiped if not for the Battle of Yavin, the whole galaxy owes much to that crucial lore event.
The BBY Era and the Show Andor
The Battle of Yavin and the BBY era are not just historical markers; they are also sources of inspiration for storytelling within the Star Wars universe.
A recent addition to the franchise, the show Andor, takes place in the BBY timeline. This show is responsible for introducing the unique aspect of the BBY era through the display of the cryptic characters “BBY 5” in its opening scene instead of the usual Star Wars fanfare and scrolling narrative text.
In this context, “BBY 5” signifies a point in time that is five years before the events of A New Hope. This detail adds more clarity to the larger Star Wars timeline, offering fans a glimpse into the galaxy’s past and how key figures like Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and other elements from the Star Wars streaming television shows factor into the narrative.
This way, it’s now easier to track where the show or movie fits now that Star Wars is branching out en masse to TV shows and spinoff stories.
You can also view Andor’s choice to employ the BBY timeline notation as a nod to fans who have sought more historical context in recent Star Wars productions.
As the Star Wars universe continues to evolve and expand, both the BBY and ABY eras offer a more concise and explicable way of indicating a Star Wars media’s place in the timeline, making the franchise fertile ground for new spinoff projects.
You can anticipate further explorations of the early history using BBY and the thrilling future of the galaxy using ABY. More importantly, it’s less difficult to feel lost and confused about Star Wars now that you know the answer to ‘What does BBY mean?